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Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program (OpCert)

Laurie Sharp,
Phone: 515-725-0284, Fax: 515-725-0348
Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

Qualified and well-trained Drinking Water and Wastewater operators play a vital role in drinking water quality. The WSO Section is responsible for certifying public water supply treatment and distribution operators and Wastewater and lagoon operators as prescribed by Chapter 81 of the Iowa Administrative Code (IAC). The purpose of the OpCert program is to insure that water and wastewater operators have sufficient knowledge and experience to properly operate the system, and in turn protect human health and safety and the environment.

Interactive Operator Certification Web Database: Operator Certification Database and Training Calendar

This database is a resource for the following:

  • Individual Operator information: certifications held, continuing education tracking and employment information
  • On-line, electronic submission of exam and renewal applications
  • Affidavit Operator database
  • Operator mailing labels
  • Facilities in need of properly certified operators
  • Training calendar

Proposed Rulemaking - Home Base Iowa Act

The Iowa DNR Water Quality Bureau (DNR) invites the public to provide comments on a proposed rulemaking to amend the Iowa Administrative Code 567-Chapter 81 (Operator Certification: PWS Systems and Wastewater Treatment Systems), to adopt provisions to comply with the Home Base Iowa Act of 2014 related to veterans and military service personnel.


The proposed rule amendments will clarify the process by which the Department provides credit toward operator certification qualifications for military service, education and training, and the procedures for reciprocal certification for veterans who are certified water or wastewater operators in another state.


How to Provide Input on the Proposed Rules
On November 19, 2014, the Environmental Protection Commission approved the proposed rules for publication and comment. The Notice of Intended Action will be published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on December 24, 2014. A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., at the DNR Water Supply offices, located on the second floor of the Wallace Building at 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa.


Please provide any written comments and suggestions on the proposed rules to Diane Moles, Iowa DNR Water Quality Bureau, by 4:30 p.m. on January 15, 2015, as follows:


Fax: 515-725-0348
Hand-delivery or Mail: DNR Water Supply Offices, Wallace State Office Building, Attn: Diane Moles, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034.


For more information, please contact Diane Moles at the e-mail address noted above or by phone at 515-725-0281.


External Review

Recognizing the need to protect the integrity of certification programs and to provide operator certification authorities with a definitive, peer-reviewed administrative standard and resource for program evaluation, the Association of Boards of Certification released Model Standards for the Administration of an Operator Certification Program Certification authorities can use the industry-developed Model Standards as a review tool to improve the efficacy of programs and the operators they certify. This resource identifies best practices and provides a framework for aligning them to national and international standards. The State of Iowa was the first state certification program to use these standards for the purpose of Program Review.

Iowa External Review Process 

External Review Assessment Report

Certification Process

Exam Preparation
Water Treatment
Water Distibution

Certification Renewal
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Requirements
IDNR CEU Reporting Form
Eligible Courses for Renewal: CEU Course Guidance lists
IDNR CEU Policy and Issuing Agency information

Operator by Affidavit
Guidance for Operators and Owners
Operator by affidavit form 542-3119
List of Affidavit operators

Other Links
Renewal Fees and Frequency
Reciprocity Application form    Reciprocity Application form

Congratulations to all Operators who passed an exam in the past year
Exam Pass List