Drinking Water Operator Certification
What a Class A Operator Needs To Know

Class A applicants are expected to have a mastery of all subjects listed under Class B, C, D, and E, plus a practical familiarity with treatment plant design, water utility management, security, safety, and public health. Ability to make a wide range of advanced water utility calculations is expected.

Topics listed with an asterisk (*) may have some level of calculation involved.

Source Water

Characteristics

  • Bacteriological
  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Physical

Monitor and Evaluate

  • Sample site plan
  • Sanitary surveys
  • Inspect springs
  • Surface water, stratification effects on treatment, and water quality

Perform Security and Administrative Duties

  • Administer compliance program
  • Administer emergency preparedness plan
  • Administer safety and security program
  • Coordinate emergency response with other organizations
  • Coordinate employees activities
  • *Develop budget, finance, and rates
  • Develop operation and maintenance plan
  • Organize work/Plan activities
  • Promote customer service, public information program
  • Record compliance information
  • *Record facility operation information
  • Record maintenance information
  • Respond to customer concerns/complaints
  • Write reports (internal, state, federal)

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Monitor/Evaluate/Adjust Treatment Processes

Chemical Treatment/Addition Process

  • Advanced oxidation - hydrous manganese oxide (HMO)
  • *Chemical addition
  • *Chlorine disinfection-hypochlorite, gas
  • Chlorine dioxide disinfection
  • Corrosion control
  • Corrosion studies
  • Excess lime softening
  • *Fluoridation
  • Ozone disinfection
  • pH adjustment
  • Ultraviolet disinfection

Coagulation and Flocculation Process

  • Chemical coagulants
  • Coagulation aids
  • Clarification/sedimentation process
  • *Flocculation tanks
  • Rapid mix units

Clarification/Sedimentation Process

  • Sedimentation basins, short-circuiting, overflow rates
  • Sludge - characteristics, handling, disposal
  • Suspended matter, colloidal particles
  • Temperature effects
  • Tube sedimentation
  • Upflow solids-contact clarification

Filtration Process

  • Backwash aids
  • Cartridge filters
  • Direct filtration
  • Filter aids
  • Gravity filtration
  • Microscreens
  • Pressure or greensand filtration

Other Treatment Processes

  • Aeration
  • Discharge to lagoons
  • *Disposal to sanitary sewer
  • Granular activated carbon/Powdered activated carbon
  • *Ion Exchange/softening, brine disposal
  • *Iron/manganese removal
  • *Lime-soda ash softening
  • Mechanical dewatering
  • Membrane filtration
  • Packed tower aeration
  • Reverse Osmosis

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Operate Equipment

  • Blowers and compressors
  • Cathodic protection devices
  • Chemical feeders
  • Chlorinators
  • Computers
  • Drives
  • Electronic testing equipment
  • Engines
  • Gates
  • Generators
  • Hydrants
  • Hydraulic equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Motors
  • Off-gas equipment
  • Pneumatic equipment
  • Pumps-centrifugal, diaphragm
  • SCADA system/RTU/Telemetry/GIS
  • Tools, power and hand
  • Valves

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System Design

  • Assess System Demand
  • Flushing program
  • Perform pressure readings
  • Read Blueprints, readings, and maps
  • Select materials
  • Select pipes
  • Size mains
  • System Layout
  • System Map
  • Write plans (Operation & Maintenance)

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Evaluate and Maintain Equipment

  • Blowers and compressors
  • Cathodic protection devices
  • Check speed of equipment
  • Chemical feeders
  • Chlorinators
  • Corrosion Control Equipment
  • Drives/Prime movers
  • Engines
  • Filters
  • Fittings
  • Gates
  • Generators
  • Hydrants
  • Hydraulic equipment
  • Inspect equipment for abnormal conditions
  • Instrumentation
  • Intake structures
  • Measure temperature of equipment
  • Motors
  • Off-gas equipment
  • Perform preventative maintenance on:
  • Pipes
  • Plant building and grounds
  • Pneumatic equipment
  • Pumps
  • Read charts
  • Read meters
  • Read pressure gauges
  • Storage facilities
  • Treatment units
  • Valves

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Laboratory Analysis

Collect Samples, Perform Analyses, and Interpret Results

  • *Alkalinity
  • *Chlorine dosage/demand/residual
  • *Fluoride concentration
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Coliforms
  • Conductivity
  • Cryptosporidium
  • CT values
  • Disinfectant by-products (trihalomethanes)
  • Dissolved oxygen - effects of temperature
  • Giardia Lamblia
  • Hardness
  • Inorganic (heavy metal) chemicals
  • Iron/Manganese
  • Jar test
  • Lead/Copper
  • Microbiological
  • Nitrate and nitrification
  • pH
  • Phosphate
  • Polymers - anionic, cationic, and nonionic
  • Radiological parameters
  • Settleable solids
  • Synthetic Organic Chemicals/Volatile Organic Chemicals (SOCs/VOCs)
  • Temperature
  • Turbidity
  • Virus inactivation
  • Zeta potential - meaning, calculation

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Perform Safety Procedures

  • Chemical handling
  • Confined space entry
  • Contamination
  • Electrical hazards
  • Excavation
  • Fire safety
  • First aid
  • General safety and health
  • Lifting
  • Lockout-tagout
  • Natural disasters
  • Pathogens
  • Personal hygiene
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Respiratory protection
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Spill response
  • Traffic /work zone
  • Trenching and shoring

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Comply with Part 141 National Primary Drinking Water Regulations

  • Subpart A - General definitions
  • Subpart B - Maximum contaminant levels
  • Subpart C - Monitoring and analytical requirements
  • Subpart D - Reporting and recordkeeping
  • Subpart E - Special regulations
  • Subpart G - National drinking water regulations-MCL, max disinfect
  • Subpart H - Filtration and disinfection
  • Subpart I - Control of lead and copper
  • Subpart K - Treatment techniques
  • Subpart L - Disinfectant residuals, byproducts, and precursors
  • Subpart O - Consumer confidence reports
  • Subpart P - Enhanced filtration and disinfection
  • Subpart Q - Public notification of Drinking Water violations

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Knowledge of Minnesota Specific Needs

  • Certification Laws of Minnesota
  • MDH/10-States Design Standards
  • Sanitary surveys
  • Source water protection plans
  • Vulnerability assessment

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Knowledge of:

  • Approved backflow methods and devices
  • Blueprint reading
  • Cathodic protection
  • Chemical properties
  • Cold weather operation
  • Corrosion control process
  • Disinfection concepts, design parameters
  • Disinfection process
  • Emergency plans
  • Facility operation and maintenance
  • Fire flow requirements
  • Function of recordkeeping system
  • General chemistry and biology and physical science
  • *General electrical and mechanical, and hydraulic principles
  • Hydrology
  • Joints, restraints, and thrust blocks
  • Laboratory equipment and techniques
  • Lubricant and fluid characteristics
  • Monitoring and reporting requirements
  • Normal characteristics of water
  • Normal chemical range
  • Operation and maintenance practices
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Pipe fittings, material, type and size
  • Pneumatics
  • Principles of measurement, instruments
  • Principles of finance
  • Principles of general communication
  • Principles of management and supervision
  • Principles of public relations
  • Process control instrumentation
  • Proper chemical application, handling, and storage
  • Proper lifting procedures
  • Proper safety procedures
  • Proper sampling procedures
  • Public notification requirements
  • Quality control/quality assurance practices
  • Recordkeeping policies
  • Regulations and standards
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Safety procedures
  • Safety regulations
  • Standard methods
  • Start-up and shutdown procedures
  • Tools – hand and power
  • Types/purpose of storage tanks
  • Water treatment concepts and processes
  • Watershed protection

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Ability to:

  • *Adjust chemical feed rates
  • Adjust equipment
  • *Adjust flow patterns
  • *Adjust process and system units
  • Assign work to proper trade
  • Assess likelihood of disaster occurring
  • *Calculate dosage rates
  • Calibrate equipment
  • Calibrate instruments
  • Communicate written and verbally
  • Confirm chemical strength
  • Demonstrate safe work habits
  • Determine what information needs to be recorded
  • Diagnose/troubleshoot process and system units
  • Differentiate preventative/correct maintenance
  • Discriminate normal/abnormal equipment conditions
  • Evaluate facility performance
  • Evaluate operation of equipment
  • Evaluate process units
  • Follow written procedures
  • Generate a written safety program
  • Identify potential safety hazards
  • Inspect pumps
  • Interpret and transcribe data
  • Interpret Material Safety Data Sheets
  • Maintain normal operating conditions
  • Measure chemical weight/volume
  • *Monitor electrical and mechanical equipment
  • Select and operate safety equipment
  • *Order necessary spare parts
  • Perform advanced math
  • Perform general maintenance and repairs
  • *Perform laboratory calculations
  • *Perform physical measurements
  • *Perform process control calculations
  • Perform impact assessments
  • Prepare chemicals
  • Recognize normal/abnormal analytical results
  • Recognize unsafe work conditions or potential safety hazards
  • Record information
  • Review reports
  • Report findings
  • Translate technical language into common terminology
  • Use hand and power tools

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Return to Water Supply Operator Exam References

Updated Monday, 08-Apr-2013 07:38:16 CDT