Helping You To Be All You Can Be

Being a professional in the wastewater industry can be a tall order with new regulations, new products, and new techniques to keep up with. In addition to that, you’re the head of HR, a manager, a customer service expert, a computer technician, a marketing guru, a salesman, and then there’s your job that you have to do.

Missouri Smallflows Organization (MSO) understands the demands of being a small business owner. “We have member needs in mind,” says Nancy Leighton, president of MSO. “We want to help them to be the best installer they can be, and to become better installers. We’re trying to help them do the best job they can—that is what we are about.”

To that end, the association offers many benefits to membership, which is currently around 250 and includes installers, maintenance providers, vendors, scientists and engineers.


Missouri requires its septic professionals to be licensed and to obtain continuing education. As one of the benefits to all septic professionals in the state, MSO offers 13 classes taught by three different professionals: Tom Fritts, owner of Residential Sewage and president of NOWRA; Dr. Randy Miles, professor at Columbia; and Dr. Dennis Sievers, who owns his own design company and has a PhD in soil. “The three instructors are well qualified, well liked, and cover a variety of topics to meet the needs of all of our members.”

Classes are open to anyone, which include: Selling the System to Fit the Site; Drain Fields and Water Management; High Strength Wastewater in Onsite Systems; Media Filters; Aerated Treatment Systems; Onsite Pumps, Panels & Electrical; Operation and Maintenance of Advanced Treatment Systems; Troubleshooting for Onsite Systems; Hydraulics for Onsite Systems; Drip Irrigation Design and Installation; Earthen Structures; and the Fundamentals of Soils for Decentralized Systems.

Missouri has several circumstances that often require advanced systems. In many areas, they have a thin layer of soil above the bedrock, small lots around lake areas, and high clay deposits in the soil. “Even in some of our rural areas where residents have three to five acres to put in a lagoon, some of those counties require advanced treatment before the effluent can be discharged into the lagoon,” says Leighton.
In addition to providing training, MSO also keeps track of those credits for members that take MSO sponsored classes. “If they lose their paperwork or just can’t remember, we look that up for them,” says Leighton.

Annual Conference

MSO hosts an annual conference to help septic professionals learn about the latest products and techniques. “Really, the whole purpose of the conference is the training seminars,” says Leighton. “It’s so they can come to one place and get most of their CEU credit, up to six. We offer a diverse program for our engineers, soil scientists, installers, and general members. We had Weld-On do a seminar on PVC that was really good for everyone and something that everyone could get something out of. We try to make it well rounded.”

Their approach seems to pay off. “Attendance was up this year. We had about 275 people,” says Leighton. “Everyone seemed to have good conversations and there were a lot of people talking to vendors. We also had our first Roe-D-Hoe event, sponsored by NOWRA and St. Louis Bobcat, which went really well. The guys looked like they had a lot of fun with it and it was well received.”

Goals for 2013

The association has several projects in the queue designed to help onsite professionals. “One of our goals is to try and partner with the Eastern Missouri Smallflows Association,” says Leighton. “In their territory, one of the counties has separate educational requirements. So, by partnering, we can help them to provide those classes. We are in the negotiating stage to see what their needs are and to come up with an agreeable program.”

MSO is also working on getting another instructor. “We have been talking to a former regulator from Kansas who has a wealth of experience that she can bring to our classes,” says Leighton. “We offer a lot of classes that cover the entire state from September through April. Bringing her on will help us to continue to do that and give our current instructors a needed break.”

There have also been changes in the state onsite rules that have been in the works and they are looking to assist the state with that. “From what I’ve gathered, it’s a streamlining and refining process,” says Leighton. “We already have pretty stringent rules. This process is about bringing the rules up-to-date and to address new technology.”

Other Benefits

Not only does MSO offer advantages to their members, but it also provides members’ children with a scholarship. “Applicants need to be a senior in order to apply,” says Leighton. “They do need to be the son or daughter of a member, but they don’t have to declare wastewater as their field of study, and it can be for a technical school, community college, or university. It is just to help them in their endeavors. Our approval board, which is made up of one member and the rest nonmembers, is separate from our board of directors to maintain impartiality.”

Also, members of MSO receive membership to NOWRA, which offers a variety of benefits including equipment financing through Wells Fargo, the septic locator, a resource library, Installer Academy, and much more.

Members of MSO also receive a quarterly newsletter to keep them informed on the latest and greatest in the onsite industry helping them to be the best that they can be. The newsletter is also open to submissions and available on their website for viewing any time.

For more information, or to learn how to become a member, visit

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