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E-Splash November 2013 - Water Operator Certification
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Illinois Section AWWA - E-Splash - November 2013


 

Water Operator Certification
Lisa Hoffhines, Education Coordinator

We at Illinois Section AWWA (ISAWWA) often are asked the question, "What can you do to help me become a water operator?” Although we cannot answer this question in one simple response, and by the end of the conversation the person asking may feel as though they just experienced a "choose your own adventure” story, it’s a conversation worth having and a profession worthy of holding.

In Illinois, the drinking water operator certification levels and eligibility are as follows:

· Class "A” and "B” Certification: Requires graduation from high school or equivalent and three years of responsible experience in water supply operation

· Class "C” Certification: Requires graduation from high school or equivalent and one year responsible experience in water supply operation

· Class "D” Certification: Requires graduation from high school or equivalent and six months responsible experience in water supply operation

The way we at ISAWWA see it, there is an equation to become a certified water operator in the State of Illinois with various paths to choose from. According to the State of Illinois, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Sample Collector’s Handbook, under chapter 14 on Operator Certification, "To become certified in Illinois, a person must meet minimum experience requirements for each classification and pass a written examination.” In simple mathematical terms, this means: Minimum experience + pass written exam = certified water operator. This usually leads to the question, "What type of experience do I need?”, and this is exactly where ISAWWA can help.

To become a Class A, B, C or D water operators in Illinois, IEPA requires that you have some experience. Illinois Section AWWA offers courses which qualify towards the minimum experience required; IEPA refers to these training courses as "equivalent experience credit”. Upon completion of one of these approved ISAWWA courses, IEPA will award aspiring operators:

· Class A & B Operator License: 6 months of equivalent experience credit towards the 3-year requirement (can earn up to 12 months total by taking additional qualifying courses); must hold 2 years of hands-on experience at an "A” water supply

· Class B Operator License: 6 months of equivalent experience credit towards the 3-year requirement (can earn up to 12 months total by taking additional qualifying courses); must hold 2 years of hands-on experience at an "A” or "B” water supply

· Class C Operator License: 6 months of equivalent experience credit towards the 1-year requirement; must be matched with 6 months of hands-on training at an "A”, "B” or "C” water supply

· Class D Operator License: 3 months of equivalent experience credit towards the 6-month requirement; must be matched with 3 months of hands-on training at an "A”, "B”, "C” or "D” water supply.

IEPA Approved, "Equivalent Experience Credit” Courses offered by Illinois Section AWWA:

Online Courses:
#3000 - Water Treatment Plant Operations Certificate: Standard
#3001 - Water Treatment Plant Operations Certificate: Advanced
#3002 - Water Treatment Plant Operations Certificate: Complete
#3003 - Water Distribution Systems
#3004: Water Treatment 1
#3005: Water Treatment 2

Home Study:
#4000 - Small Water System Operation & Maintenance
#4001 - Water Distribution System Operation & Maintenance
#4002 - Water Treatment Plant Operations: Volume 1
#4003 - Water Treatment Plant Operations: Volume 2

Video Training:
#4004 - Small Water System Operation & Maintenance
#4005 - Water System Operation and Maintenance

8 Week, In-Person Night Class:
Thursday nights from 6:30-8:30pm, 02/20/14 - 04/17/14 - Water Distribution System O&M - Westmont, IL

Check the ISAWWA training calendar at www.isawwa.org to see if there are any additional upcoming approved "equivalent experience credit” night classes scheduled near you.

For questions, guidance on how you can become a water operator in the State of Illinois, or to register for any of the courses that ISAWWA has to offer, visit www.isawwa.org or call us at 866-521-3595 x2. We are here to serve you!

***As of October 11, 2013, Illinois EPA has proposed to adopt new rules pursuant to the Public Water Supply Operations Act in Part 681, and therefore is seeking to repeal the existing Part 680. Illinois Section AWWA has summarized the proposed changes for you at www.isawwa.org/IEPA681


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