Drinking Water Operator Certification
Frequently Asked Questions

What is an operator and who needs to be certified

A water supply system operator means a person who has direct responsibility for the operation of or operates a water supply system or such parts of the system as would affect the quality and safety of the water. Any community and nontransient-noncommunity public water supply system that provides pumped water for human consumption must employ a certified water operator. There are five water operator certificate class levels; A, B, C, D, and E. The certificate levels are based on education, experience, and system requirements.

A community public water supply system is a system that has a minimum of 15 service connections or living units used by year-round residents, or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents. These systems generally provide drinking water to people where they permanently reside. Municipalities, mobile home parks, correctional institutions, apartments, and nursing homes are all examples of community systems.

A nontransient noncommunity public water supply system is a system that provides drinking water to at least 25 of the same nonresident people (such as students and employees) on a regular basis. These systems include schools, daycare facilities, factories, and businesses.

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What do I need to do to get certified?

To become certified, you must demonstrate your knowledge by passing the required written examination. Certain education and experience requirements must be met to take the exam. An applicant who seeks certification must meet the qualifications for one of the classes specified in Minnesota Rules, chapter 9400, Certification of System and Facility Operators, or meet the requirements for reciprocity.

Fully complete a Water Supply System Operator Exam Application Form and submit it with the correct fee to the Minnesota Department of Health. The deadline for accepting applications is 15 days before the examination date. We will notify you by mail if you have been approved to take the exam. Study aids for the different classifications are available.

A nonrefundable $32 examination fee, valid for all certificate class levels, must accompany the qualification application.

The written examination contains multiple choice questions. All exams are closed book and have a three-hour time limit. You will be given a formula sheet and we suggest the use of a calculator. An operator must score 70 or more points out of 100 to pass an exam.

Water examinations are given several times per year, usually on the last day of a formal training course. Exam sessions for individual operators will not be scheduled. Dates and locations for exams are available by calling 651-201-4652, or by going to the Minnesota Water Operators Training Schedule, which includes training schools and the examination calendar.

You will be sent a letter notifying you of your examination score. Upon receipt by the department of the $23 certification fee your certificate will be sent to you. The $23 fee must be received within 90 days of passing the examination or you will need to retake the exam. Your written exam is available for your review up to 60 days after the date of examination. If you do not pass you may retake the exam in 90 days.

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Where do I get more information on Operator Certification?

You can receive information on operator certification by contacting:

Mark Sloan, 651-201-4652
Noel Hansen, 651-201-4690

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Updated Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 08:04AM