Massachusetts Wastewater and Drinking Water Certification and Training Requirements
Contact for Massachusetts Wastewater Certification:
Massachusetts State Board of Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Facilities
John J. Murphy
MA Department of Environmental Protection
1 Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108-4747
Phone: (617) 292-5867
In Massachusetts there are seven levels of certification for wastewater treatment facility operators. Grade 1 (lowest) to Grade 7 (highest) correspond to increasing levels of treatment complexity. License Status – When and If (W&I): for an applicant that has passed an exam is not working in the field and does not have wastewater experience. Operator- In-Training (OIT) status is for an operator who has passed an exam and does not have enough experience needed for full certification.
There are two certification exam opportunities per year.
Entry Level Grade Operators shall possess experience and/or education as follows:
Grade 1 Operators – Shall have passed a Grade 1 examination and possess at least one year of experience at a level of responsibility comparable to that of a Class I plant or higher. Education may be substituted for not more than six months of experience.
Grade 2 Operators – Shall have passed a Grade 2 examination and possess at least three years of experience at a level of responsibility comparable to that of a Class 1 plant or higher. Education may be substituted for not more than two years of experience.
Grade 3 Operators – Shall have passed a Grade 3 examination and possess at least five years of experience at a level of responsibility comparable to that of a Class 2 plant or higher. Education may be substituted for not more than three years of experience.
Grade 4 Operators – Shall have passed a Grade 4 examination and possess at least six years of experience at a level of responsibility comparable to that of a Class 3 plant or higher. Education may be substituted for not more than four years of experience.
Education-Experience equivalents are set forth below:
|Masters Degree||5 years|
|Bachelors Degree (Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Environmental, Mechanical, or Sanitary. Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, Bacteriology, or Public Health||4 years|
|Associates Degree in the above or Wastewater Treatment Technology||3 years|
|Bachelor’s Degree in other fields||3 years|
|Graduation from High School or its equivalent||2 years|
Every two years, Active operators must demonstrate to the Board in their application for renewal that they have earned twenty or more Training Contact Hours (TCH) in the previous two year period. If, during the two year period, the operator has passed a certification examination which upgrades their certification, this shall equal 10 TCHs. An Operator with Full or OIT status who is not working in the field may apply for Inactive status; an Inactive operator need not obtain regular TCHs. If an Inactive Operator wishes to become Active, the operator must obtain 10 TCHs and apply for status change to active, then accrue TCHs for renewal as required above. A W&I operator who is not working in the field need not obtain TCHs, but must pay the license renewal fee when due.
Certification for Collection System Operators is a voluntary program administered through the New England Water Environment Association. This voluntary certification program has been established to promote the employment of trained, experienced, reliable, and efficient personnel for the operation of public and industrial wastewater works. There are currently four grades of certification based on system complexity and flow capacity. Certification exams are held by the Collection Systems Certification Committee of NEWEA at time and places of their choosing. Further information on this program, and the voluntary wastewater laboratory analyst certification program, can be found at the NEWEA website.
Contact for Wastewater Exam and Renewal Information:
Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Facilities (the regulations)
Contact for Massachusetts Water Certification:
Massachusetts Board of Certification of Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities
Paul S. Niman, Board Chairman
MA DEP, Division of Water Supply
One Winter St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108-4746
Phone: (617) 556-1166
In Massachusetts the Division of Professional Licensure Board of Certification of Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities certifies operators for both water distribution and treatment systems. There are four levels of certification for water treatment facility operators, based on treatment complexity, Grades T1 the lowest and GradeT4 the highest. There are also four levels of certification for water distribution system operators, based on population served, again Grades D1 lowest and Grade D4 highest. Additionally, there is a VSS Grade for very small systems and a VND Grade for vending machines.
At a minimum a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) is required to attain water certification in Massachusetts. No experience is needed to become an Operator-In-Training (OIT), but individuals need to pass an examination. Experience is needed for full certification.
For example, to attain a Grade I (class T or D) full certification, a person must have either:
- High School diploma (or GED) and two years full-time experience in the particular grade of water facility; or
- High School diploma (or GED) and Certificate of competency in water treatment technology or other related technical fields, or one or more years of education beyond high school with courses in the physical and/or biological sciences (courses shall be in the areas of sanitary, civil, chemical or environmental engineering, public health, biology, chemistry, or other discipline acceptable to the Board), and one year full-time experience in the particular segment of a public water system and pass the Board exam for the particular Grade.
There are three certification exam opportunities per year.
Every two years documented technical training contact hours are required for certification renewal. All operators, including operators-in training, must demonstrate to the Board that they have completed from between 5 to 20 approved training contact hours in the previous two years to renew their certifications.