Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program (OpCert)

Laurie Sharp, Laurie.Sharp@dnr.iowa.gov
Phone: 515-725-0284, Fax: 515-725-8202 
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.

Exam Schedule Notice (11/13/2017 - 1/2/2018): The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is moving both the Operator Certification Program staff and the testing area from the second floor to the fifth floor of the Wallace State Office Building in Des Moines. Due to this move, Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment exams will not be available at the Wallace Building from November 13, 2017 through January 2, 2018. Exams will still be offered at five Regional Field Offices during this time by appointment (Manchester, Mason City, Spencer, Atlantic, and Washington). Please call us at 515/725-0463 with any issues this may cause and we will work with you on a solution. We thank you for your patience during this time of transition. Laurie, Laurie.Sharp@dnr.iowa.gov

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

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 http://www.abccert.org/. 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 Distribution

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
Operator Certification Compliance Plan (542-3120)
Operator Certification Compliance Plan (542-3120)

Other Links
Renewal Fees and Frequency
Reciprocity Application form (542-3117)    Reciprocity Application form (542-3117)

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