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COVID-19 response: Policy for water and wastewater operators
Policy to provide guidance on Conditional certification of water and wastewater operators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information about Alberta’s COVID-19 response, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.
The Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program was developed to ensure proper operation and maintenance of water and wastewater facilities, and to protect the health of citizens and the environment. In line with that mandate the Operator Certification Program with its stakeholders devised a 5 year Strategic Plan that will result in timely updates to the program.
- July 1, 2022 – Renewal requirement changes take effect.
- January 2, 2021 – Standardized exam use for Level III and IV.
- January 2, 2020 – Key Policy updates to the Operator Certification Guidelines.
- January 2, 2020 – Level I exam applications open to all suitable candidates in Alberta.
- October 1, 2019 – Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program’s 5 year Strategic Plan released.
- January 2, 2019 – Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Portal launched.
The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act requires that specified water and wastewater facilities in Alberta have certified operators to supervise and/or carry out day-to-day operations. Each facility's operating approval specifies the certified operator requirements.
Policies and guidelines
- Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines
- Canadian Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Best Practices (PDF, 584 KB)
- Taking Care of Your Drinking Water and Wastewater – Guide for Municipal Councils
- Conditional Certification during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program has 5 levels of certification:
- Small Systems
- Level I
- Level II
- Level III
- Level IV
Each level of certification has different education, training, experience and examination requirements.
For information on Small Systems, Level I and Level II certification training, contact the Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association (AWWOA).
To qualify for writing certification exams, applicants must meet minimum education, experience and training requirements for each level.
Other than for Small Systems certification, the minimum requirement is completion of Grade 12. If you did not complete Grade 12, you can obtain a high school equivalency diploma.
For more information on each level’s specific requirements, read the Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines.
Transcripts submitted prior to applications for certification must show completion of Grade 12.
If you completed high school in Alberta, you can order high school transcripts through Alberta Education.
Contact your local department of education if you completed high school in another province or state.
Information on assessing education received from outside Canada is available through the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS).
Continuing education units
The certification program requires that operators have post-secondary education, or equivalent, to meet the requirements for Levels III and IV certification. Substitutions of applicable approved experience or CEUs can be used to gain the equivalent of post-secondary education.
- Read the Policy for Continuing Education Unit Evaluation and Credit
- Read the Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines
It is the responsibility of certified operators to keep track of their training. Operators are responsible for maintaining proof of completion of their continuous education requirements, submitting the required documentation and having it approved in Compliance 365 before applying for certification or renewal.
As referenced in the above policy, the Alberta government will not recognize CEUs or award CEUs for the following:
- mass media programs (webcast, video, DVD, webinars) not part of an educational program
- on-the-job training, apprenticeships and work experience
- association nomination and elections sessions
- work related staff and committee meetings
- association business meetings and reports
- self-directed study without course completion/verification
- assigned reading and study time (homework) associated with any training program
- report writing
- trade shows
- product demonstrations (any length)
To apply to have a course evaluated, contact us to activate an account in the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Portal.
Mandatory training requirements
Mandatory entry level training is only required for Small Systems certification and Level I certification. The following organizations offer training that fulfils the mandatory entry level training requirement:
- Alberta Water and Wastewater Operators Association (AWWOA)
- NAIT – Water and Wastewater Technician Certificate
- Northern Lakes College
- Portage College
For more information, read the Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines.
Operators and trainees meeting the certification requirements
All operators and trainees must have a Compliance365 account created to apply for exams with the ministry.
All profiles must be complete before applications can be submitted.
Supervisors must verify all experiences.
Certification Advisory Committee meets to advise on applications.
All Certification Exams will be approved or denied with the decision communicated approximately 2 weeks prior to the opening of the on-line exam window. Check your portal during this time for updates.
Once approved, a follow-up email from AMP/PSI will be sent within a couple of business days with instructions on how to schedule and pay for an exam. Once an exam window opens up, it will remain open for 30 days so an operator can schedule and write their exam at one of the testing locations across the province: Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Lloydminster, Grande Prairie, Lac La Biche, Fort McMurray.
If an examinee misses the scheduled date, contact us. You will be placed into the next testing window, if that is your desire. A confirmation email will also be sent from AMP/PSI closer to the beginning of the next testing window date.
Yearly exam window schedule
Exam sessions open for 30 days on these dates (days may vary slightly year to year):
- January 13
- March 9
- May 15
- July 15
- September 16
- November 12
Operators and trainees not meeting the certification requirements
Do not request an account to apply in the portal.
If you are not yet able to meet the requirements for Level I certification, but would like to challenge the Level I exam and you are a resident of Alberta, you will need to contact our exam provider, AMP/PSI, for this provision at: AMP/PSI Candidate Information.
You can apply to write the Level I certification exam through AMP/PSI at any time, however AMP/PSI will always adhere to the Alberta government’s testing window dates as shown above.
After assessing the AMP/PSI link make your selection in the category as follows:
- Alberta Environment and Protected Areas
- Choose the Level I exam you wish to take and click 'Register for this Exam'
These 6 steps must be completed before you can schedule your exam:
- Terms and conditions
- Contact information
- Qualification questions
- Application status
- Electronic signature
Successfully challenging the exam does not constitute certification. You are still required to meet all conditions for certification found in the Water and Wastewater Operators Certification Guidelines within 3 years of successfully passing the exam.
After meeting the employment criteria, request an account to the Operator Certification Portal. Send us an email with your legal name, a personal email address and the name of your current employer.
The online exam fee is US$99 for each exam, paid directly to the exam provider.
Renewal fees are now C$130. Renewal fees must be paid every 3 years beginning July 1, 2021 within your Compliance365 account.
Applicants may request an examination accommodation (PDF, 30 KB) for a documented disability.
If a candidate does not pass a certification exam, they can apply for re-examination. The exams used for rewrites follow the same format as the standardized exams.
The following restrictions apply:
- a candidate can rewrite the exam at least 4 months, but not more than one year, after the unsuccessful attempt
- should a candidate be unsuccessful after their third or subsequent attempt at an exam, they must apply for re-examination showing the acquisition of at least 5 relevant CEUs since the last unsuccessful exam attempt
The Water and Wastewater Operator Certificate of Qualification must be renewed every 3 years to ensure that the operator continues to meet certification program requirements.
Beginning July 1, 2021:
- operators pay a non-refundable fee of $130 to renew
- instructions will be provided in Compliance365
Beginning July 1, 2022:
- Small Systems Operators renewal requirement increases to 1.8 CEUs
- discipline specific renewals commence
For more information on discipline specific renewal requirements, see:
- Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines
- Renewal of Water and Wastewater Operator Certificate of Qualification
Failure to renew certification will result in the certificate becoming inactive. Conditional certificates are not renewable.
If a Water and Wastewater Certificate expires and it is later required, this triggers a reactivation. The requirements outlined in the Water and Wastewater Operators’ Certification Guidelines must be met to reactivate a certificate.
Operators pay a non-refundable fee of $130 for each discipline reactivated beginning July 1, 2021.
Alberta is required to issue the same type and level of drinking water and wastewater certificates issued in other provinces and territories if the certificate is in good standing.
Certificates will be issued at a comparable level, without examination, to any person operating an Alberta facility requiring certified operators, who holds valid operator certification from another province or equivalent certifying authority.
Operator certification portal
Water and Wastewater Operators are required to have an account in the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Portal to apply for certification exams, renewals, training or course CEUs and reciprocity.
To request an account, if you are not yet a certified operator in Alberta and want to become certified; or transfer your certification from another province by reciprocity, contact us. Provide your legal name, a personal email address and the name of your current employer.
Instructions to log in and use the portal are provided through:
- the help button for instructional videos in Compliance365
Note: activate your account as soon as you receive your activation link.
Certification Mentorship Program
Provincial programs branch recognizes the importance of certified operators as stewards of protecting the drinking water and wastewater of Albertans. This program focuses on continuing to provide support to operators by connections and collaborations across the province water and wastewater industry.
The Certification Mentorship Program launched in April 2020, is voluntary.
PDF form issues
Fillable PDF forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save the form:
- Save the PDF form to your computer – click or right-click the link and download the form.
- Open the PDF form with Adobe Reader. Fill it in and save it.
If you are still having problems opening the form, contact PDF form technical support.
Certification Mentorship Program policy and application
- Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Mentorship Program policy
- Completing the Certification Mentorship Application (PDF, 131 KB)
- Certification Mentorship Application Form (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Attach all forms to your application in the Operator Certification Portal.
- Contract Operator Experience Verification Form (PDF, 733 KB)
Connect with the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program:
Email: [email protected]
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