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 are holding an informal comment period on the draft fee schedule and draft rule language from October 25 - November 26, 2018. Please see the rulemaking page for more information.
Sign up for our email listserv for periodic rulemaking updates and to stay informed about future opportunities to comment on draft proposals.
Informal Draft Public Comment Period
We are taking comments on a first draft of new rule language for Chapter 173-230 WAC Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Plant rule to establish a new fee schedule and other changes to improve the operations of the Wastewater Operator Certification Program.
Visit the rulemaking website to view draft rule language and make comments for our consideration.
Ecology will consider all comments received and incorporate and/or make changes to the draft language where necessary. An updated draft proposal will then be made available for a formal Public Comment Period in the Spring.
2017 Outstanding WWTP awards
Throughout the year we require more than 300 wastewater treatment plants to submit data on the water quality leaving their plants. Some of those plants have met every standard and never missed a deadline. This year we are recognizing 111 of those excellently run plants from 2017. Each plant receives a plaque commemorating their achievement, and we notify their administrators and legislators. Read more about it on our blog or see the list of awardees.
How do I get certified?
What exam level do I qualify for?
- All levels require a high school diploma or GED. Excess WWTP operating experience can substituted for a high school diploma or GED.
- "Operating experience" means the routine performance of duties, onsite in a WWTP, that affect plant performance or effluent quality.
||Required domestic operating experience and relevant
|Allowable substitutions for operating experience
Allowable substitutions for education
Examples of substitutions for excess operating experience with no relevant experience and not enough credits/CEUs
|Operator in Training
||3 months operating experience
||3 relevant credits/CEUs
||1 yr operating experience
||3 yrs operating experience
||Up to 1.5 yrs relevant experience, education or portion of both
(1.5 yrs=67.5 credits/CEUs)
||4 yrs operating experience (with at least 2 yrs at a class II or higher plant)
|Up to 2 yrs relevant experience, education or portion of both
(maximum 90 excess relevant 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
||4 yrs (with at least 2 yrs at a class III or higher plant)
|Up to 2 yrs of relevant experience, education or portion of both
(maximum 90 excess relevant credits/CEUs)
|Excess operating experience
1 yr for each 45 credits/CEUs for 1st 90
3 yrs for last 45 credits/CEUs for 2nd 90 credits
(8 yrs excess operating experience)
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
What counts as relevant experience?
Included but not limited to:
- Boiler operator
- Building/equipment maintenance
- Environmental or engineering branch of federal, state, county, or local government
- Environmental or operations consultant
- Laboratory technician
- Water distribution manager
- Water treatment plant operator
- Wastewater collection operator
- Wastewater pump operator
To substitute education for operating experience, education credits or Continuing Education Units (CEUs) must be in excess of the required education.
- 1 year = 45 quarter credits/CEUs or 30 semester credits
- 1 month = 4 credits/CEUs
Frequently asked questions