Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program (OpCert)

Elevated Storage

Operator Certification

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.

NOTE: Update on Operator Certification Examinations

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa's drinking water and wastewater operators took proctored, standardized certification exams either at the DMACC Southridge Computer Lab or by appointment at one of the six Iowa DNR Regional Field Offices. Due to the ambiguity of when, and if, these venues will again be open to the public, Iowa DNR is switching to a process using "remote proctoring" for the examinations. 

An operator is able to take a drinking water or wastewater certification exam on any laptop or desktop computer that has a camera and microphone; this does NOT include tablets, IPads, or phones. Once you log in on the link provided by the testing company via email, your browser is frozen; a proctor can see you through the camera; your surroundings are monitored for extra materials or cheating; and the test session is recorded for future reference if there are any cheating suspicions or accusations.  The testing company will provide a YouTube Video and live customer support for any technical issues arising during a "remote" session. 

After the pandemic, operators will have two options for exam delivery: "remote proctoring" and the traditional method of on-line testing at an Iowa DNR Field Office or Community College computer lab.

How does an operator sign up for a remotely proctored exam? To register to take your exam remotely, email the following information to this address: ExamRemoteProctoringRegistrationOpCert@dnr.iowa.gov:

  1. Name 
  2. Operator ID#
  3. Exam Category and Grade you have already received Iowa DNR approval to sit for.  Remember: you must have been issued an IDNR Eligibility Letter prior to registering to take a remote exam. 

You will receive an automatic reply from the Iowa DNR confirming our receipt of your request.

Next Step: Watch for an email from the proctoring service: PSI Customer Service <schedule@goamp.com>  This email will include the following:

  1. Detailed instructions for exam scheduling and procedure; 
  2. A link for the scheduling and rescheduling of your unique exam(s). You will have complete control over this. Remote Proctoring is offered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week;
  3. A tutorial video; and,
  4. An 800 customer service number you can call anytime, 24/7, with any questions concerning the Remote Proctoring process or for any technical assistance.

Please direct any questions to the Iowa DNR Operator Certification Program to Beth Feilmeier at elizabeth.feilmeier@dnr.iowa.gov or (515)725-0463.

What happens after I complete the remote exam? Upon completion of your exam, the DNR will receive and process your score.  Please allow 48 to 72 business hours to process and mail the letter.

If you receive a passing score: Once the score is processed, the fee can be paid online on the database webpage (fastest method), or you can wait for your "pass" letter in the mail and then mail the letter and payment back to DNR.

If you need to retest: Once the score is processed, you can pay the retest fee online on the database webpage (fastest method), or you can wait for your "retest" letter in the mail and then mail the letter and payment back to the DNR.  Once you have paid your retest fee, you may begin the process of scheduling your retest by following the directions shown above under the heading of "How does an operator sign up for a remotely proctored exam?"

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. 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

Control Screen

Exam Preparation
Water Treatment
Water Distribution

Certification Renewal
Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Requirements
IDNR CEU Reporting Form (542-0570)
Eligible Courses for Renewal: CEU Course Guidance lists
IDNR CEU Policy and Issuing Agency information

Chemical Feed Pumps

Operator by Affidavit
Operator by affidavit form (542-3119)
Operator by affidavit form (542-3119)
Operation and Maintenance Plan (542-0862)
Operation and Maintenance Plan (542-0862)
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)