Water and Wastewater Operator Certification FAQs

Program Overview

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

When did certification in Alberta start?

In 1975, a voluntary certification program was started in Alberta. In February 1982, the Clean Water (Municipal Plants) Regulations were amended to require the day-to-day operation of all municipal plants be supervised by one or more certified operators. Hence, in 1983, the first mandatory certification program in Canada came into effect.

In 1993 when the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) was proclaimed, certified operators became a requirement for waterworks systems, which include water treatment plants and water distribution systems. As well, wastewater facilities required certified operators not only in the treatment plants, but the wastewater collection systems.

On January 1, 2005, new certification requirements, that included mandatory entry level training and continuing education for renewal, came into effect.

Why do I need a Water or Wastewater Operator Certificate of Qualification?

The Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) requires that specified water and wastewater facilities in the province of Alberta have certified operators to supervise and/or carry out day-to-day operations. The approval/registration/code document for each facility will specify the certified operator requirements.

Certification Information

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

How do I become certified?

Certified operators in Alberta have taken many different paths to become certified. There is no one specific course or training that anyone can take to become certified.

NAIT does offer a one-year fulltime Water and Wastewater Technician Program that is recognized as approved training. However, completion of the NAIT Water and Wastewater Technician Program is neither mandatory nor does taking it certify you.

There are five 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. Information on each level of certification can be found in the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Guidelines at:

Where do I find information on the mandatory entry level training requirement?

The Alberta Water & Wastewater Operators Association (AWWOA) offers both the Level I Certification Preparation Course and the Entry Level Training Course. Successful completion of either one of these courses will fulfill the mandatory entry level training component of Level I Certification. The AWWOA also offers the Small Systems training that fulfills the training component of small systems certification. Information on the AWWOA Training Program can be found at:

  • AWWOA
    Toll Free: 1 877 454-7745
    Edmonton: 780 454-7745

Portage College (Lac La Biche) and Northern Lakes College also offer approved training that fulfills the mandatory entry level training requirement. For more information on the training offered by these colleges, see:

How much does it cost to become certified?

There is no fee to apply, but exam fees are being phased in to accommodate the new computer based exams. There are fees associated with the entry level training courses. To find out the current costs of the courses please contact the AWWOA, Portage College or Northern Lakes College directly.

Where can I find an application for certification?

You can find copies of the various applications for certification on the department’s website at:

Education Requirements

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

I did not finish Grade 12. Does that mean I can never become certified?

If you did not complete grade 12, you can obtain either a High School Equivalency Diploma or a General Educational Development Diploma (GED). AEP recognizes both of these Diplomas as ‘equivalencies’ for Grade 12. Please contact Alberta Education for more information.

I can’t find a copy of my high school diploma, now what do I do?

If you completed high school in Alberta, Alberta Education will provide high school transcripts. Please contact the Transcript Office of Alberta Education at 780 427-5732 (for toll-free access within Alberta, first dial 310-0000), or visit the Alberta Education website at:

If you completed high school in another province or state, contact the local department of education to find out how to get a copy. Transcripts submitted with applications for certification MUST show completion of grade 12.

If you obtained your education from outside Canada, you can find information on how to get your education evaluated at:

Applications for Level I Certification will not be accepted without verification of completion of Grade 12 (or GED).

Who keeps track of the training I have taken?

It is the responsibility of each certified operator to keep track of their training, Continuing Education Units (CEUs), etc. Remember this is YOUR certification. Each operator is responsible for maintaining proof of completion of their continuous education requirements and submitting the required documentation when applying for certification or renewal.

Certification Exam

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

If I failed my certification exam when can I rewrite and what do I need to do to request a rewrite?

A candidate who is unsuccessful in an examination may, on request, rewrite the exam at least four months, but not more than one year, after the unsuccessful attempt. A candidate is eligible for a maximum of two rewrites following the initial attempt.

You do not need to fill out another application for certification for your second or third attempt at the exam (you must submit a written request to rewrite including when and where you wish to write). Should a candidate be unsuccessful in their third (or subsequent) attempt at an exam, they must submit a completely new application showing the acquisition of at least five relevant CEUs since the last certification exam attempt.

Certification Renewal

Screen-reader users: the following section uses links to control collapsible areas of content.

How do I renew my certification?

Certificates must be renewed every three years to ensure that the individual continues to meet Certification Program requirements in a fashion satisfactory to AEP. Renewal letters will be sent to operators well in advance of the renewal date; the renewal forms will be posted online in July of each year.

A certified operator must complete the renewal forms and return them to AEP. Failure to renew certification will result in the certificate becoming inactivated. A complete list of the requirements for renewal of certification can be found in the Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Guidelines. The Guidelines and a complete list of all courses/training that have been approved for CEUs can also be found at:

Contact

For more information on the Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) Water and Wastewater Operator Certification Program please contact:

Email inquiries can be sent to:

 

Page Information

Updated: Sep 29, 2017