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Detailed Information for: Drinking Water Operator Certification
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Updated: 1/31/2014
Description: Drinking Water Operators and systems must be certified by the Drinking Water Program (DWP) at the appropriate level. The appropriate level depends upon the operating system type. Certification is available for Operators of Small Water Systems (SWS) and larger Water Treatment/Water Distribution (WT/WD) systems.

Community and non-transient, non-community public drinking water suppliers must employ, contract with, or otherwise have a designated certified Drinking Water Operator in direct responsible charge (DRC) of the water system. This DRC Operator is available at the drinking water system when water treatment and operation decisions are made that affect public health.

Similar keywords: drinking water; operator certification; operator training
Statutes, Rules, Ordinances: OAR 333-061-0228
Duration: WT/WD Certification: Annually due Dec. 31st
Fees - application, exam, etc.:  Note: Always refer to the current fees on the exam application form. Fees are subject to change without notice.

Fee for:
  • Regularly scheduled WT/WD certification examination: Always conducted on 3rd Thu. of May, and 3rd Thu. of October. Refer to current certification exam application for current DWP exam fee schedule.
  • Specially scheduled exam (SSE): In addition to paying SSE fee, SSEs are conducted only during months of February, April, June, July and November.
  • Fee payment must accompany submission of all exam applications.
  • Fee for review of reciprocity applications: $100.

    Renewal fees:
  • $40 for one certification; $60 for two
  • $30 late fee: January 1st - March 31st
  • $50 reinstatement fee: April 1st - December 31st
  • Responsible Agency: Drinking Water
    Fee Exemptions: No fees are required for SWS Operator certification
    Examination Information: WT/WD Certification Exams:
  • Applicants for any level WT/WD certification are required to take and pass the 100 multiple-choice Association of Boards of Certification exam.
  • Application filing deadline: March 15th of the same year for the May examination; August 15th of the same year for the October examination.
  • Exams take place on the same day at multiple sites throughout the state.
  • Exam completion time: 3-hours for one certification; 4-hours for two certification exams taken at the same time.
  • Score required to pass exam: 70% or above.

    Note: Applicants cannot take the same exam more than twice in any 12-month period.

    SWS Operator Certification:
  • A SWS and its Operator begins the certification process when the Operator attends (once every 3-years) a 6-hour DWP certification training.
  • The SWS then completes and returns to the DWP program a SWS operator application that assigns an Operator in charge of the SWS. The Operator must attach to the application proof of Operator certification training, or a copy of a valid WT/WD certificate.
  • DWP then sends to the SWS a certificate that include names of the Operator(s) certified to be in charge of the system, and the certification expiration date.
    • Continuing Ed Requirements: For WT/WD renewals, Operators must successfully complete 2.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years, and send to the DWP program evidence of the CEU completions along with certification renewal applications:
    • Operators with last names beginning with the letters A-K are required to submit CEUs at the end of even-numbered years; last names that begin with letters L-Z must submit CEUs at the end of odd-numbered years.
    • CEUs must directly relate to the field of water treatment/water distribution and be acceptable for college transfer or valid CEUs.
    • One year of relevant post-high school education equals 45 quarter hours and 30 semester hours of CEUs.
    • CEU relevance is determined by the Oregon Environmental Services Advisory Council (OESAC). Follow the OESAC link below for a list of CEUs approved for WT/WD certificate renewals.
    • Operators are responsible for maintaining CEU records.
    • CEUs can be used to fulfill post-high school education requirements for Levels 2-4 certifications.
    • CEUs are due for new WT/WD reciprocity Operators on the same schedule as other WT/WD Operators.
      • Bonding Requirements: None
        Insurance Requirements: None
        Prerequisites: WT/WD and reciprocity exam applications require:
      • Proof the applicant completed high school or was the receipient of a GED.
      • Minimum of one year of experience directly related to the certification type for which the applicant is applying.

        Note: "One year" is defined as "equivalent to 12 months" full time, with 100% of that time spent on activities directly related to the certificate type for which the applicant is applying.

        Filtration endorsement examination applicant requirements:
      • Must be an Operator currently certified as a Water Treatment Level 2 or higher
      • Have one-year of operational decision-making at a conventional filtration treatment plant.
      • Additional prerequisite information can be found by clicking here.
        • Application Form: Application for Certification Exam Drinking Water System Operator (link below)
          Renewals: Operator Certification Renewal:
        • An Operator may renew certificate(s) upon payment to the DWP of renewal fee and satisfactory evidence that the Operator has successfully completed 2 CEUs or 2 college credits every two-years.
        • Current Oregon Drinking Water Operator Certification.
        • Renewal form postmarked by due date December 31st and submitted to DWP annually.
        • On-line renewal available.
        • The SWS Operator certification is due once every 3-years on July 31st.

          Required Documentation:
        • Completed renewal form and fees.
        • Proof of completed CEUs (if required for that year).

          Certificate Suspension and Renewal:
        • The DWP program will suspend an Operator's certification if the Operator's certification is not renewed by the certification expiration date.
        • Note: An Operator with a suspended certification is not allowed to be in charge of a drinking water system's operations.
        • The suspension may be lifted by the payment of the $30 late fee (along with renewal fee) and documentation of CEUs (when required), by March 31st following the date of expiration.
        • An Operator who fails to renew a certification by March 31st following the date of expiration must apply for reinstatement of certification by submitting the signed application form, the annual renewal fee plus the reinstatement fee, and documentation of CEUs (if required).
        • If an Operator fails to renew a certification for a year following certification expiration, the certificate is terminated, and an Operator must meet all new applicant requirements: WT/WD system Operators must take and pass an examination; SWS system Operators must attend the 6-hour DWP program training course once every three years.
        • Service Links:  Drinking Water System Operator Certification
           Oregon Environmental Services Advisory Council (OESAC.com)
           Operator Grade Level Prerequisites (pdf)
           Application by Exam (pdf)
           Application by Reciprocity (pdf)
           Renewal On-line
           Renewal Form (pdf)
           Small Water System Operator Application (pdf)
           Small Water System Training Course Schedule
           Drinking Water Program Home Page
          contact Agency Contact Information
          Required Documentation: All certification applications must include proof of high school graduation (or GED), and affidavit of employment.

              Agency Information
            Please refer to the Agency Website for further details and additional information.
            Agency Name: Drinking Water
            E-mail Address: health.webmaster@state.or.us
            Phone: 971-673-0405
            Mail Address: 800 NE Oregon Street
            Suite 640
            Portland, OR 97232
            Website Information: http://public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/DrinkingWater/Pages/index.aspx

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