Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know

Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program (OpCert)

Elevated Storage

Operator Certification



Laurie Sharp,
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
As of September 7th, 2021, the DNR will be offering Iowa’s Drinking Water and Wastewater Treatment operators multiple options for examination.

Option 1: Proctored “In Person” exams by appointment at the following venues:

  • DMACC Southridge
    • 1111 E Army Post Rd
    • Des Moines, IA 50315
  • DMACC Urban
    • Des Moines, IA 50314
    • 1100 7th St
  • NICC Calmar
    • Student Center
    • 1625 Hwy 150 South
    • Calmar, IA 52132
  • NICC Dubuque
    • Dubuque Center
    • 700 Main St.
    • Dubuque, IA 52001
  • IDNR Field Offices:
    • Field Office 1 - NE Iowa
      • 1101 Commercial Ct., Suite 10
      • Manchester, IA 52057
    • Field Office 2 - NC Iowa
      • 2300 15th St. SW
      • Mason City, IA 50401
    • Field Office 3 - NW Iowa
      • Spencer, IA 51301
      • 1900 N Grand Ave., Suite E17
    • Field Office 4 - SW Iowa
      • Atlantic, IA 50022 
      • 1401 Sunnsyside Ln.
    • Field Office 6 - SE Iowa
      • Washington, IA 52353
      • 1023 W. Madison 

Option 2: Remote Proctoring- 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.

What steps does an operator take to begin the exam process?

Step 1: Apply for exam eligibility online at Operator Certification Database and Training Calendar

Remember: you must be issued IDNR Eligibility prior to registering to take any exam.

Step 2: Upon receipt of an eligibility email from the IDNR, please email the following information to

  • Operator Name
  • Operator ID#
  • Preferred Exam Option & Venue (i.e. remote or “in person” including venue choice)
  • Examinee’s/ Operator’s email address
  • Examinee’s phone contact info
  • Exam Type(s) and Grade(s)
  • Indication if this is a first attempt or retest

Please do NOT walk in without an appointment or call the venues looking to schedule; they will contact you.

Step 3:IDNR Response following your email submission relative to your choice of exam delivery:

  • “In Person” Proctoring Option:staff from the venue you indicated as your preference will contact YOU and schedule an appointment.Please do NOT walk in without an appointment or call the venues looking to schedule; they will contact you.
  • Remote Option: watch for an email from the proctoring service: PSI Customer Service <> This email will include detailed instructions for exam scheduling and procedure; and 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.

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)