Operator Certification

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) fully supports mandatory certification of persons in responsible charge of water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution and collection systems. Further, all engineering, operations and maintenance staff of water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution and collection systems should be encouraged to gain certification. AWWA believes model certification program and training coordination procedures such as those developed by the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) should be followed to ensure the efficient use of state, provincial, and local resources.

Thoroughly trained and qualified operators are essential to protect public health through the safe and reliable operation and maintenance of water and wastewater treatment plants and distribution and collection systems. Operator certification is integral to ensuring that operators are qualified and trained on an ongoing basis.

Continuing education measured by recognized units, such as contact hours or continuing education units (CEUs), is essential to the development and sustained competence of all operators and should be required for certification renewal. For example, ABC recommends a minimum number of contact hours every operator should obtain every renewal cycle. Each state, province and/or agency in charge of operator certification has the option to modify the number of recommended continuing education credits required per renewal period based on the needs of the region/state/province.

Practices specified in this policy statement are consistent with all other pertinent AWWA policy statement.

Adopted by the Board of Directors Jan. 30, 1977, and revised Jan. 31, 1982, June 14, 1987, Jan. 26, 1992, and Jan. 19, 2003, and Jan. 17, 2010. Revised June 7, 2015. Revised June 10, 2018.