ADEQ's Operator Certification Program establishes guidelines to ensure that only certified operators make decisions about process control or system integrity that affects public health. The program establishes minimum standards for certification and recertification of the operators of drinking water and wastewater systems.
Operator certifications are classified into one of four grades by facility type, size, complexity and population served. The grade corresponds with the level of system complexity with Grade 1 being the most simple and Grade 4 being the most complex. Operators are required to maintain their certification through participation in continuing professional education workshops and must be re-certified every three years.
For more information, forms and document submission please contact ADEQ's Operator Certfication Section
- Drinking Water Monitoring and Protection Unit Contact Information -- (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Operator Certification Program -- (PDF)
Operator Certification Fees
The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) approved ADEQ’s proposed rules to charge fees for drinking water and wastewater system operator certification. The fees become effective July 1, 2016. Visit http://www.azdeq.gov/function/laws/draft.html#water for the full Notice of Final Rule Making (NFRM).
One Certificate – $150.00 Two Certificates – $200.00
Three Certificates – $250.00 Four Certificates – $300.00
New Certificate –$65.00 (from exam or reciprocity)
Reciprocity Application Review –$250.00
Early Exam Application Review –$150.00
Can an operator renew early before July 1, 2016?
YES. You will receive a new expiration date based on the requested early expiration month. To renew early, submit:
- Renewal form documenting the 30 PDHs necessary for renewal
- All PDH documentation
- Statement requesting “ADEQ expire my certificate(s) early and renew them early.”
To receive the maximum renewal timeframe without paying the renewal fee, please submit the documentation listed above in the month of June 2016. Request your certificate(s) be expired in June 2016 and renewed. Your certificates will be expired on that date and renewed until June 30, 2019.
Please do not submit early renewal documentation before June 2016.
The Operator Certification Program hosts free workshops throughout the year. All operators, stakeholders and community members are welcome to attend and participate. PDHs will be awarded at all workshops.
Please check often for updates as workshops subject to change.
WaterOperator.org is a collaboration between the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the University of Illinois, through the Illinois State Water Survey and the Illinois Water Resources Center, and funded by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. They constantly scour the Internet for water operator training events, workshops, classes, conferences, and webinars across the United States and on tribal lands. No longer do you need to visit two, three, or more websites in your area to find available training. We have it all here, in one easily-searchable place.
Operator Certification Examinations
ADEQ has contracted with Gateway Community College (GWCC) to proctor Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) operator certification exams for all operator classifications and grade levels.
Please visit Gateway Community College for registration, exam dates and locations.
A person sitting for an exam for the purposes of obtaining a certified operators license must present appropriate identification. Such documentation includes but is not limited to, an Arizona drivers license issued on or after January 1, 1997, a U.S. Passport or a birth certificate issued in any state, territory or possession of the United States.
What to Bring to the Exam
In addition to identification, bring a nonscientific/nonprogrammable calculator, pencils and registration confirmation.
Operator Certification Exam Need-To-Know Criteria
Visit the Association of Boards of Certification
web site for the 2012 standardized exam need-to-know criteria and conversion sheets.
Operator Certification Reference Materials
The link below is a list of reference materials for operator certification exams. The references cover topics listed on the ABC Need-to-Know Criteria. Providing this list of references does not constitute an endorsement. The references on the list are not the only training materials available. Although you may use these resources in preparation for certification examinations, this list does not imply that any one of these references includes all information contained on an operator certification exam.
- Operator Certification Reference Materials -- (PDF)
Reactivation of an Operator Certificate(s)
An operator certificate is active for three years. Once the certificate expires, 90 days are given to submit a renewal form with 30 PDHs. After 90 days, the certificate(s) become inactive and testing is required for reactivation. Contact the Operator Certification Program for an approval letter if you are re-testing at a grade two or higher.
Obtaining Certificate Copies
The Operator Certification Program will provide copies for valid certificates that have been lost or damaged. To obtain a certificate copy, provide the following information in writing:
- Operator Identification Number
- Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number
- Current Mailing Address
- Employment Information (Name and identification number of water and/or wastewater systems that you operate)
Requests for certificate copies will be processed monthly. Current or potential employers may contact the Operator Certification Program directly to verify your certification.
ADEQ will recognize certifications obtained from other jurisdictions. To receive reciprocity, you must:
- Demonstrate that you passed an examination that is equivalent to those administered by ADEQ approved testers; and
- Complete and submit the Arizona Request for Operator Certification Reciprocity along with copies of your current active certificate(s).
The reciprocity form can either be electronically filled out or hand written.
Download here -- (PDF)
Certificate Renewal and Professional Development Hour (PDH) Tracking Form
To renew an operator certificate, complete and return the Certificate Renewal and PDH Tracking Form to the Operator Certification Program. All renewal requests will be processed in the month certificates actually expire. Please allow four to six weeks from your certificate expiration date for delivery of your new certificates.
The form can either be electronically filled out or hand written.
Download here -- (PDF)
Operator Certification Professional Development Hour (PDH) Workbooks
Arizona certified operators may complete each of the following workbooks once during a certification period. Workbooks that are illegible will not receive PDHs. Submit the completed workbook(s) when your certificate(s) is due for renewal.
- PWS Inspection Workbook-2PDHs -- (PDF)
- Water PDH Workbook - 5 PDHs -- (PDF)
- Wastewater PDH Workbook - 5 PDHs -- (PDF)
- Water & Wastewater Security PDH Workbook - 2 PDHs -- (PDF)
- Backflow & Cross-Connection PDH Workbook - 1 PDH -- (PDF)
- Operator Math PDH Workbook - 1 PDH -- (PDF)
- Safe Drinking Water Regulations PDH Workbook - 1 PDH -- (PDF)
Drinking Water/Wastewater Operator Certification Listserv
This listserv sends out email notices regarding upcoming workshops, training and stakeholder meetings related to drinking water and wastewater system operator certification. If you're interested, please subscribe to our listserv, select the Drinking Water/Wastewater Operator Certification box, enter a valid email address and select 'subscribe.'
Operator Certification Update
The Operator Certification Program would like to be notified of address and employment changes for Arizona certified operators. Fill out and submit the Operator Certification Update Form to the Operator Certification Program.
The update form can be electronically filled out and saved to your desktop and then emailed, mailed, or faxed to ADEQ.
Download here -- (PDF)
Operator Certification Database
The Operator Certification Database allows active operators to research the status of their certificates, including expiration dates. You may also use it to run queries on groups of operators, sorting them by type, grade and city. To make corrections or changes to the database fill out an Operator Certification Update Form and return the completed form to the Operator Certification Program.
The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides career information for the water and wastewater industry. The Occupational Outlook Handbook covers hundreds of occupations and describes what they do, their work environment, how to become one, pay and more.
- Operator Certification Program Annual Report FY2012 -- (PDF)
- Operator Certification Program Annual Report FY2013 -- (PDF)
- Operator Certification Program Annual Report FY2014 -- (PDF)
- Operator Certification Program Annual Report FY2015 -- (PDF)