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Operator Certification (Revised March 2024)

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.

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Operator Certification Newsletter March 2024

Operator Certification Training

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EPA Climate Resilience Training- USEPA is offering five webinars in May 2024. The webinars are FREE, 2 hours each, require registration, and are eligible for Alabama CEHs. Registration ends May 8, 2024.

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Pending Regulation Change

ADEM intends to issue a Revised Division 10 Regulation (Operator Certification Program). We are developing an updated version of these proposed changes and they will be posted here when it is ready for review. If you have any questions about the regulations, please contact Bobby Rowland at: 334-279-3071 browland@adem.alabama.gov

Becoming a Certified Public Water System or Public Wastewater System Operator in Alabama

To become an Alabama-Certified Water or Wastewater System Operator, an applicant must 1) have a High School diploma or GED, 2) pass a standardized exam with a 70% or higher, and 3) attain required experience at a publicly-owned, permitted facility. The Alabama operator exams are Computer Based exams administered at Exam Centers operated by PSI . Please note, an operator candidate may acquire experience at a facility of the same (or higher) grade and classification as the certification pursued, BEFORE taking the exam.

To register for a standardized exam, an applicant must complete a State of Alabama Water & Wastewater Operator Exam Application (Form 505). The application and appropriate exam fee must be mailed to ADEM at the address indicated on Form 505. An Exam Application and fee is also required for Alabama Certified Operators who wish to acquire an additional certification. Checks and money orders MUST include the Applicant’s Name and/or Operator Number. Electronic submittals of Form 505 are not accepted.

Upon receipt of an Exam Application and correct fee, ADEM will review the application. Missing, unlabeled checks or money orders (no applicant name or operator number), or incorrect fee amounts will delay exam application processing. Incomplete or Illegible Form 505s will also delay processing.

Once an applicant is approved by the Department to take an exam, applicant approval will be forwarded to PSI. New applicants will be assigned a number by the Department. This is the number used by PSI and will become your Operator Number, should you meet the criteria to become certified. If you are a Certified Operator submitting an Exam Application, please ensure your Operator Number appears on BOTH the Application Form 505 AND the check or money order.

All approved exam applicants will receive a Registration email from PSI to the email address provided in the Form 505 Application. The PSI registration email will have a link to take the Applicant directly to their registration page. At the registration page, applicants may select the location, date and time for their exam. Incorrect, missing or illegible email addresses on Exam Applications will delay your exam registration process. The exam registration process is managed entirely by PSI.

Upon completion of the exam, the applicant will be notified at the PSI Exam Center whether they have passed the exam. You will not receive additional notification from the Department.

If the exam is failed, the applicant may repeat the application and registration process and retake the exam. However, the applicant must re-apply by submitting a new Form 505 to ADEM, along with a new exam fee. Please include your Operator Number on the application. If you are not yet a Certified Operator, you will still have an assigned number issued when you submitted your first exam application. Please use that number when re-applying.

An applicant may continue to re-take an exam multiple times, however, after the second test failure, the applicant will be required to obtain 8 continuing education hours (CEHs) prior to applying to take the exam for a third time. The CEHs MUST pertain to the exam, for instance Water CEHs for a Water Exam retest; Wastewater CEHs for a Wastewater Exam retest.

If the exam is passed (with a grade of 70 or better), the applicant will not receive any additional notification from the Department. However, the applicant will have earned the title of "Operator Intern" at the level of the exam just passed. For example, an applicant who passes a Grade IV Water Exam will be a “Grade IV Water Operator Intern.”

If the Operator Intern does not already have the required Operator Experience, the Operator Intern may now pursue attaining the minimum experience as outlined in ADEM’s regulations. Experience must be attained at a facility of the same (or higher) grade and classification as the Certification being pursued. For example, a Grade IV Water Operator Intern may now attain experience at a Grade IV Water Treatment facility.

Upon passing an 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.

To become certified at the level of the exam just passed, 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 Operator 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 postal mail (no electronic submittal accepted), along with the applicable Form 506 fee. Missing, unlabeled checks or money orders (no applicant name or operator number), or incorrect fee amounts will delay Experience Verification processing. Incomplete or Illegible Form 506s will also delay processing.

ADEM will evaluate the intern's experience and make a determination. If ADEM has any questions, the Operator Intern will be contacted using information provided on the Form 506. Upon approval, ADEM will mail the intern a valid Operator Certificate and set of Wallet Cards. Wallet Cards must be kept on your person at all times.

If you have any questions, please contact ADEM’s Operator Certification Program at 334-271-7796 to obtain further information.

Contact Information

Attn: Operator Certification
Post Office Box 301463
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-1463
(334) 271-7796
(334) 271-7796 fax