Rhode Island Wastewater and Drinking Water Certification and Training Requirements
Contact for Rhode Island Wastewater Certification:
Rhode Island Board of Certification of Operators of Wastewater Treatment Facilities
RI DEM, Water Resources
235 Promenade St.
Providence, RI 02908-5767
Phone: (401) 222-3961, ext. 7264
In Rhode Island the Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) Office of Water Resources certifies wastewater treatment facility operators. There are four levels of certification for wastewater treatment facility operators based on treatment complexity with Grade 1 the lowest level and Grade 4 the highest level wastewater treatment operator certification. Certificate shall be renewed every two years upon successful completion of minimum training requirements.
At a minimum a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED) is required to attain wastewater certification in Rhode Island. Applicants for certification must pass the required written examination. Examinations shall be held at least twice annually at a place and time set by the Board. Individuals not employed at an approved wastewater treatment facility in the State of Rhode Island shall not be allowed to sit for examination.
In evaluating qualifications of applicants, RIDEM will evaluate an individual’s work experience and education. Where applicable, education may be substituted for a portion of experience requirements. For example, two (2) years of college studies in science, engineering, or related fields may be considered as equivalent to a maximum of one (1) year of experience.
Additionally, where applicable, experience may be substituted for a portion of educational requirements. For example, one (1) year of experience may be considered as equivalent to a maximum of two (2) years of college.
The Board may permit an applicant for any grade to take an examination in a given grade, if the individual has submitted evidence of education and experience satisfactory to the Board for the purpose of becoming an operator-in-training (OIT). OIT Certificates may be valid for up to three (3) years; therefore any applicant for examination must at the time of examination require only a maximum of three (3) years additional experience.
Certification for Collection System Operators is a voluntary program administered through the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA). 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. Visit the voluntary wastewater laboratory analyst certification program for further information.
Contact for Rhode Island Drinking Water Certification:
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RI DOH) certifies drinking water operators. There are four levels of certification, in addition to VSS (Very Small System) certification. For water treatment facility operators, Grade 1T being the lowest level and Grade 4T being the highest-level water treatment operator certification, based on treatment complexity of the system. There are also four levels of certification for water distribution system operators, based on population served. Again, Grade 1D being the lowest and Grade 4D being the highest-level water distribution system operator certification.
Applicants seeking drinking water operator certification must have a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED). Additionally, applicants for certification must pass a drinking water operator certification examination.
Examinations are held at least three times per year at a time and place designated by the Board.
Full certification will be in effect for three (3) years from issuance and may be renewed in accordance with section 11.0 of these regulations.
Classification and qualifications of water supply treatment and distribution operators are as follows:
Full Grade 1 Treatment (1T), or Grade 1 Distribution (1D), certification requires:
- A high school diploma (or equivalent) and
- Six (6) months full-time experience as an operator at a Class 1T (or higher) drinking water supply treatment facility, or Class 1D drinking water distribution facility.
Each higher level of certification has an incrementally more stringent requirement for experience at correspondingly higher rated facilities. For example, a Full Grade 3 Treatment (3T) or Grade 3 Distribution (3D), certification requires:
- Possession of a Full Grade 2T or a Full Grade 2D with full-time experience as an operator at a Class 2T (or higher) drinking water supply treatment facility or Class 2D drinking water distribution facility for an additional two (2) years after certification; or
- A high school diploma (or equivalent) and four (4) years full-time experience as an operator at a Class 2T (or higher) drinking water supply treatment facility, or Class 2D drinking water distribution facility; or
- An Associate’s Degree in the physical and/or biological sciences and two (2) years full-time experience as an operator at a class 2T (or higher) drinking water treatment facility. (Degree shall be in the areas of sanitary, civil, chemical, or environmental engineering, public health, biology, chemistry, or other discipline acceptable to the Board); or
- A Bachelor’s degree in the physical and/or biological sciences and one (1) year full-time experience as an operator at a class 2T (or higher) drinking water treatment facility. (Degree shall be in the areas of sanitary, civil, chemical, or environmental engineering, public health, biology, chemistry, or other discipline acceptable to the Board).
An applicant seeking certification as an Operator-in-Training (OIT) must meet all of the minimum qualifications outlined in the regulations except for the full-time employment and/or full time experience requirements for the certification type and grade for which he/she is seeking before he/she will be allowed to take the examination. If the applicant passes the examination to the satisfaction of the Board, the Board shall issue the applicant a certification as an OIT. Upon satisfactory completion of the required full time employment and/or full time experience for the certification type and grade for which the OIT is certified, and upon application to the Board, full certification shall be granted.
In order to renew a certification, an applicant must complete the number of continuing training/education contact hours related to drinking supply treatment and/or transmission and distribution specified below:
|Certificate Class||OIT (Two Year Renewal Period)||FULL (Three Year Renewal Period|
|Class VSS||2 hrs||3 hrs|
|Class 1||10 hrs||15 hrs|
|Class 2||10 hrs||15 hrs|
|Class 3||20 hrs||30 hrs|
|Class 4||20 hrs||30 hrs|
Note: One (1) continuing education unit (CEU) equals ten (10) training contact hours.
OIT = Operator in Training status FULL = Full Certification status
Contact for Rhode Island Drinking Water Operator Certification Board:
Water Treatment, Distribution, and Very Small Water System Certifications
Web Site: http://health.ri.gov/programs/detail.php?pgm_id=158/
Training courses: http://health.ri.gov/licenses/detail.php?id=273