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

Class B applicants are expected to have a mastery of all subjects listed under Class C and D. They are not expected to have complete mastery of all subjects listed below, but at least should have some familiarity of them in the context of water quality and treatment. Ability to make common water works measurements, calculations, and conversion is expected. Topics listed with an asterisk (*) may have some level of calculation involved.

Source Water

Characteristics

  • Bacteriological
  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Physical

Monitor and Evaluate

  • Aquifers, confined vs unconfined
  • Geological formations – effects on quality
  • Intake structures
  • Watershed management

Perform Security and Administrative Duties

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

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System Design

  • Assess system demand, losses
  • Flushing program
  • Perform pressure readings
  • Read blueprints, readings, and maps
  • Select materials
  • Select pipes
  • Size mains
  • System layout
  • System map
  • Write plans (operation and maintenance)

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Monitor/Evaluate/Adjust Treatment Processes

Chemical Treatment/Addition Process

  • Aeration
  • Breakpoint chlorination – meaning, significance, determination
  • *Chemical addition
  • *Chlorine disinfection-hypochlorite, gas
  • Chlorine dioxide disinfection
  • Corrosion control
  • *Fluoridation – chemicals used, hazards, testing
  • Ozone disinfection
  • pH adjustment
  • Ultraviolet disinfection

Coagulation and Flocculation Process

  • Carbonate vs. non-carbonate hardness, removal differences
  • Chemical coagulants – types, dosage rates
  • Coagulation aids
  • *Flocculation tanks
  • Lime-soda ash softening
  • Rapid mix units

Clarification/Sedimentation Process

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

Filtration Process

  • Backwash – purpose, characteristics, hazards, rates
  • Calculate filtration and backwash rates
  • Conventional vs. direct filtration
  • Dual media
  • Filter/Backwash aids
  • Filter media – types, uses, and effective size
  • Gravity/rapid sand filtration
  • Loss of Head – meaning, significance, measurement
  • Oxidation and iron/manganese reduction methods
  • Pressure or greensand filtration - uses, parts
  • Sand expansion
  • Surface wash, mudballs, air binding

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
  • Computers
  • Electronic equipment
  • Engines
  • Generators
  • Hydrants
  • Hydraulic equipment
  • Instrumentation
  • Leak detection and repair
  • Meters - positive displacement, turbine, compound
  • Motors
  • Pneumatic equipment
  • Pumps
  • SCADA system/RTU/Telemetry/GIS
  • Tools, power and hand
  • Valves – pressure reducing, gate, corporation stop, altitude, pneumatic

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Evaluate and Maintain Equipment

  • Backflow prevention devices
  • Blowers and compressors
  • Cathodic protection devices
  • Chemical feeders
  • Corrosion Control Equipment
  • Filters
  • Fittings
  • Generators
  • Head – static, dynamic, suction, and discharge
  • Hydrants
  • Hydraulic equipment
  • Inspect equipment for abnormal conditions
  • Instrumentation
  • Intake structures
  • Meters - testing, maintenance, and repair
  • Motors
  • Perform preventative maintenance on:
  • Pipes – flushing and cleaning
  • Plant building and grounds
  • Pneumatic equipment
  • Pumps – packing, bearings, alignment, priming
  • Pressure gauges
  • Storage facilities
  • Treatment units
  • Valves- pneumatic, altitude, pressure reducing

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Laboratory Analysis

Collect Samples, Perform Analyses, and Interpret Results

  • *Alkalinity
  • Ammonia
  • *Chlorine dosage/demand/residual
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Coliforms – fecal, pathogens, general, presence/absence
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Disinfectant by-products (THMs)
  • Disinfection testing – DPD, amperometric, CT values
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • *Fluoride concentration
  • Giardia Lamblia
  • Hardness
  • Incrustation and corrosion – Langelier index
  • Iron/Manganese
  • Jar test – coagulation, anions, cations
  • Lead/copper
  • Microbiological – pathogens, waterborne disease
  • Nitrate and nitrification
  • pH – acids, bases, alkalinity
  • Phosphate compounds
  • Radiological parameters
  • Settleable solids
  • SOCs/VOCs
  • Taste and odor – cause, effect, removal, control
  • Temperature
  • Total Dissolved Solids, meaning, significance, reduction methods
  • Turbidity and color – measurements, units, natural ranges

Basic Chemistry

  • Atoms, molecules, elements, compounds
  • Effects of bacteria, viruses, cysts
  • Gases, liquids, solids
  • Organic, Inorganic compounds
  • Solution, concentration, precipitation

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Perform Safety Procedures

  • Confined space entry
  • Electrical hazards
  • Excavation
  • Fire safety
  • First aid
  • General safety and health
  • Lifting
  • Lockout/tagout
  • Natural disasters
  • 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 statutes and rules
  • Cold weather operation
  • 10-States Design Standards
  • Sanitary surveys
  • Source water protection plans
  • Vulnerability assessment

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Knowledge of:

  • Anaerobic/aerobic/facultative organisms
  • Approved backflow methods and devices
  • Bacteria growth in water mains – iron, sulfur, and nitrifying bacteria
  • Blueprint reading
  • Cathodic protection
  • Chemical application, properties, handling and storage
  • Corrosion control process
  • Disinfection concepts, design parameters, effects on microorgansims
  • Disinfection process, ammonia effects
  • Disinfection and dechlorination processes
  • Electrical controls
  • 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
  • Pipe C factor, head loss, tuberculation
  • 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
  • SCADA systems
  • Standard methods
  • Start-up and shutdown procedures
  • Tools – hand and power
  • Water Storage facilities - types, purposes, maintenance
  • Water treatment concepts and processes

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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, April 08, 2013 at 07:38AM