Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) serve an essential function to protect public health and the environment from contaminated water leaving homes and businesses. Competent, trained, and certified operators must run these plants. We assure qualified operators fill this role through evaluating certification requirements and ongoing professional training.
We will hold a formal public comment period on changes to Chapter 173-230 WAC Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Plant in mid-March. The rule establishes a new fee schedule and other changes to improve the operations of the Wastewater Operator Certification Program.
To stay informed and for periodic rulemaking updates, visit the rulemaking website and sign up for our email listserv.
or request an application be mailed to you.
You have one year to take and pass the exam from our review date. If you don't pass, you can retake the exam after 14 days.
Allowable substitutions for education
Examples of substitutions for excess operating experience with no relevant experience and not enough credits/CEUs
Excess operating experience
1 yr for 1st 45 credits/CEUs
3 yrs for last 45 credits/CEUs
(4 yrs excess operating)
6 yrs total operating experience + 29 relevant credits/CEUs
7 yrs total operating experience + 12 relevant credits/CEUs
8 yrs total operating experience + 0 relevant credits/CEUs
10 yrs total operating experience + 29 relevant CEUs/credits
11 yrs total operating experience + 12 relevant credits/CEUs
12 yrs total operating experience + 0 relevant credits/CEUs
Included but not limited to:
To substitute education for operating experience, education credits or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) must be in excess of the required education.
1. Education: You will qualify for an Operator in Training with 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or college credits relevant to wastewater.
2. Gain experience through:
The current professional growth cycle is Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2018.
View professional growth transcripts anytime by logging into SecureAccess Washington.
See our approved course list.
Approved trainers offering Continuing Education Units (CEUs):
We do not offer a training program, only certification. Some colleges and treatment plants have training or internships to become an operator. See "Where can I get CEUs?" or internships under "How do I get certified with no operating experience?"
Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) (exam developers)
Treatment Plant Operator (TPO) magazine
American Water Works Association (AWWA)
You may qualify for reciprocity, a state to state certification exchange, if you meet Washington state's requirements.
To qualify for reciprocity you must:
Department of Ecology
Wastewater Operator Certification
PO Box 47696
Olympia, WA 98504-7696
Department of Ecology
PO Box 47611
Olympia, WA 98504-7611
Operator Certification Program Coordinator
Operator Certification Program Assistant