Focus On Water Division
Wastewater Treatment Facility Operator Certification Program (OCP)

Well-trained and competent operators are an essential component to ensuring that Nebraska wastewater treatment plants are well run and protect the environment. Proper operation and maintenance programs can prolong the life span and sustainability of treatment facilities, protect the owner’s financial investment, help the owner meet permit requirements and protect public health and the environment.


Who to Contact

Wastewater Operator Certification Program, (402) 471-4285
E-mail:
NDEQ.moreinfo@Nebraska.gov
Report a Problem


Program Description -
The Nebraska Wastewater Treatment Facility Operator Certification Program (OCP) is a fee-funded program established to provide operator certification, determine operator needs through facility ratings, and identify ways to help wastewater treatment facility operators do their jobs. The program administers nationally accredited certification exams to new wastewater operators and issues certification renewals for operators who have obtained the necessary Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) approved continuing education.

The Department monitors compliance of those facilities that are required to have certified operators. In addition, the NDEQ reviews applications and issues limited operator exemptions to a number of towns and other entities that have full-retention non-discharging lagoon wastewater treatment facilities that may not require certified operators.


Certification Application and Examination –
As provided for in Nebraska’s Wastewater Treatment Operator Certification Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. Sections 81-15, 128 to 81-15, 143) and in accordance with Title 197 – Rules and Regulations for the Certification of Wastewater Treatment Operators in Nebraska, all wastewater works shall be operated and maintained by a competent, designated operator. The Director issues certificates to operators who meet the education and experience requirements and apply for and pass the respective certification test. For more information, go to:

Certification Application and Examination Procedures Fact Sheet

Application for Certification and Examination

Fee Schedule (Title 197 Appendix C)

Operator Certification Renewal –
Wastewater treatment operator certificates expire quarterly two years from the date of issuance. Renewal dates are January 1, April 1, July 1, and October 1. The Department will notify the certified operator of the expiration of the certificate at least 60 days prior to the certificate expiration date. Failure of the Department to notify the certified operator of the expiration of their certificate, however, does not relieve the operator of their responsibility for renewal of their certificate. The certificate renewal fee is required with the renewal application.

Continuing Education -
Continuing education is required for a certified operator to renew his or her wastewater treatment operator certificate. Prior approval by the Department of training or educational programs, however, is required if the training or program is to be used as continuing education for purposes of fulfilling the education requirements of a certified operator. For more information go to:

Operator Certification Continuing Education Fact Sheet

Guide to Submittal of Continuing Education Programs for Professional Wastewater Operator Certification.

Operator Continuing Education Hours

Certification Exam Preparation Providers

Courses Approved for Continuing Education

Application for Approval of Continuing Education for Certified Wastewater Treatment Facility Operators


Facility Ratings -
Municipal and Industrial (compatible or non compatible) wastewater treatment facilities are classified by the Department as Class L, Class I, Class II, Class III, Class IV, Industrial I, Industrial II, Industrial III, Industrial IV. For more information, go to Facility Ratings Fact Sheet.

Four Year Exemption -
A business or community that operates a non-discharging lagoon system (complete retention lagoon) may be exempted from Title 197 regulations for up to a four-year period by the Director. Wastewater treatment facilities qualifying for the exemption must apply to renew the exemption every four years.

To apply for an exemption, an
Application for Exempt Status must be completed and submitted along with the appropriate fee to the NDEQ. The Department will evaluate applications for exemption for wastewater treatment facilities on a case-by-case basis. Exemptions may be granted for the life of the wastewater treatment facility or for a fixed four-year period. Any modification of the wastewater treatment facility will require re-evaluation by the Department.

Related links:

Title 197 – Rules and Regulations for the Certification of Wastewater Treatment Operators in Nebraska

Title 119 – Rules and Regulations Pertaining to the Issuance of Permits Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

Title 123 – Rules and Regulations for the Design, Operation and Maintenance of Wastewater Works

Association of Boards of Certification web site, for nationally accredited exams* (URL: www.abccert.org *)

Operator Certification Continuing Education Fact Sheet

Certification Exam Preparation Providers

* This Page contains links to Non-NDEQ websites, these links will open in a New Tab or Window