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 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.  ABC recommends that at a minimum, every operator (Level I-IV) should obtain at least 2.4 CEUs (24 contact hours) every renewal cycle (usually a two-year period).  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.

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.