Water Quality Bureau Certification and Licensing Programs

Water and Wastewater Operator Certification

The Water Supply Operations (WSO) Section is responsible for certifying public water supply (drinking water) treatment and distribution operators, and wastewater and lagoon operators. The purpose of the OpCert program is to ensure that water and wastewater operators have sufficient knowledge and experience to properly operate the system, and in turn protect human health and safety, the environment, and the infrastructure investment.

Environmental Laboratory Certification

Laboratories reporting environmental data to the DNR must be certified. The objective of the certification program is to ensure that the results of testing performed are accurate and legally defensible. The WSO Section certifies laboratories within the State and across the United States for the following environmental programs:

Well Contractor Certification

NOTE: After taking this last year to review the situation, we have seen a number of conferences and continuing education unit (CEU) opportunities resume, but with online or virtual attendance required. Due to these circumstances, the decision was made to reinstate CEU requirements for the current renewal period, 2020-2022. However, the required number of CEU credits for the 2020-2022 renewal period will be reduced by halfWell drillers will need to earn 0.8 CEUs (8 contact hours) and pump installers will need to earn 0.5 CEUs (5 contact hours) by March 31, 2022The CEU requirements for the 2022-2024 renewal period will return to normal (drillers – 1.6 CEU’s or 16 contact hours; pump installers – 1.0 CEUs or 10 contact hours).

Iowa requires the certification of all professionals who construct water wells and geothermal heat exchange loop boreholes, and those who perform well pump and water system related services. Certified well contractors have demonstrated that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to understand how their activities affect the groundwater and influence the services they provide to their customers. The WSO Section is responsible for administering the certification program. This includes reviewing each applicant to ensure that they meet the minimum work experience requirements, and providing test services where individuals prove their knowledge of groundwater related topics and Iowa’s well rules by successfully passing examinations. The current certifications include the following:

  • Well Driller
  • Pump Installer
  • Limited Well Plugger

Time of Transfer Inspector Certification

NOTE: Onsite Time of Transfer Inspectors. Inspectors who are currently certified by the Iowa DNR as Onsite Time of Transfer Inspectors can renew their certification for the 2020 renewal period even if they have not earned the required minimum number of contact hours.

The Time of Transfer law that became effective in 2009 requires that every building served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer for the building. The purpose of the law is to eliminate sub-standard or polluting septic systems, which pose both environmental and public health hazards, and require repair. All inspections must be conducted by an inspector that has been certified by the department.

Commercial Septic Tank Cleaner License

Chapter 68 of the Iowa Administrative Code, "Commercial Septic Tank Cleaners," requires septic tanks to be pumped out only by a licensed commercial septic tank cleaner, which is a person or firm licensed by the DNR’s NPDES Section to clean septic tanks.

Manure Applicator Training [MAC]

Iowa law requires manure applicators in Iowa to be certified. Producers who handle, transport, and land apply manure from a confinement feeding operation with an animal unit capacity of more than 500 animal units must be certified or use a commercial manure applicator. Producers with small animal feeding operations (500 or less animal unit capacity) or open feedlots may land apply manure without being certified. All manure applicators in Iowa, regardless of certification requirements, must follow state laws when land applying manure.

The DNR is responsible for the certification program and offers certification for two types of manure applicators:

  • Confinement site manure applicator
  • Commercial manure applicator (also called a commercial manure service representative)