The purpose of water and wastewater treatment operator certification is to protect public health and welfare and to prevent pollution by classifying all water and wastewater treatment plants, water distribution systems, and public wastewater collection systems, and by establishing a program for the certification of the competency of operators to operate such plants and systems.
The operator certification regulations are in Division 335-10-1
To become a certified Water or Wastewater System Operator, a person must complete a State of Alabama Water & Wastewater Operator Exam Application
(Form 505). This form is available on the ADEM web page. An applicant submits the form via regular mail to the address shown on the form. Electronic submittals of Form 505 are not presently accepted by the ADEM. The appropriate exam fee must accompany the exam application that is mailed to ADEM.
The Alabama operator exams are proctored by a contractor, Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP). Once an applicant is approved to take the exam, AMP will notify the applicant directly by e-mail and by standard mail. We recommend that you provide a valid e-mail address on your Form 505 application so that you will receive prompt and convenient notification.
Written exams are no longer administered. The applicant will take an electronic exam given at one of the six AMP-proctored test centers located around the state (for example, in Montgomery, a local H&R Block office is established as a private AMP-proctored test center).
Upon receiving notification from AMP, the applicant selects a convenient site for the exam and registers in advance to take the exam at a specific place and time. Upon receiving the e-mail notification (or a notification card in the regular mail), the applicant must register to take the exam at the Applied Measurement Professionals web site. Click on the following web site to register for your exam:
An applicant will be notified at the test center if he or she passes or fails the exam. If the exam is failed, the applicant may repeat the application and registration process and retake the exam a second time. However, the applicant must re-apply by submitting a new Form 505 to ADEM, along with a new exam fee that must accompany each application submitted to re-take an exam. An applicant may continue to re-take an exam multiple times. However, after the second test failure, the applicant will be required to obtain continuing education classes prior to applying to take the exam for a third time. Contact ADEM's Operator Certification Program at 334-271-7796 to obtain further information before re-applying for an exam after a second test failure.
When an applicant passes the exam with a grade of 70 or better, the applicant will have earned the title of an "Operator Intern". The test center will provide the applicant with an Operator Intern number. At that point, the intern must complete his or her minimum Operator Intern experience, as outlined in the ADEM regulations. The intern must continue to work in a publicly-owned, permitted facility for the length of time listed in ADEM's Chapter 335 Division 10 regulations (335-10-1). When the minimum duration of experience is obtained by the intern, he or she must complete a State of Alabama Water and Wastewater Operator Experience Verification (Form 506)
. The Form 506 is submitted to ADEM by mail (no electronic submittal accepted), along with the applicable Form 506 fee.
ADEM will evaluate the intern's experience and make a determination. The intern will be notified by mail and, upon approval, ADEM will mail the intern a valid Operator Certificate. Upon passing the examination, an intern has 5 years to obtain the minimum experience required to become certified or the intern must retake the exam for that grade level.
Alabama's certification exams are prescriptive. This means that the exams are not standardized national exams. ADEM does not endorse or formally approve exam trainers. However, the following entities are familiar with Alabama's exam classification. Links are provided below to providers of exam training:
Alabama Rural Water Association
Alabama Water Pollution Control Association
Birmingham Water Works Board University
Consulting Services of Alabama
Utility Engineering Consultants
Water Girl Consulting
Alabama's certified water and wastewater operators are required to take continuing education classes during each three-year certification renewal cycle. During each three year period, operators must attain a minimum number of Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) described in ADEM's Division 10 regulation. The training entities listed above provide classroom-based CEH training.
The following entities provide on-line CEH training. Please be aware that the links below are provided for information purposes only. ADEM does not pre-approve training courses and has no control over the training content or of the posting of any material on these websites. The Department takes no responsibility for the validity of these training services. It is the Operator's responsibility to identify valid CEH classes that are appropriate for the operator's individual level or grade of certification:
Approved Environment, Inc.
AWWA Online Institute
California State University Sacramento
David H. Paul, Inc.
Technical Learning College
The following organizations may offer other supplemental training information to Alabama-certified operators and operator exam candidates:
American Water Works Association
Environmental Protection Agency
National Rural Water Association
Water Environment Federation
Attn: Operator Certification
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463
(334) 271-7950 fax