Focus On Water
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


Report a Problem

Test Dates for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators

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 Environment & Energy (NDEE) approved continuing education.

The Department monitors compliance of those facilities that are required to have certified operators. In addition, the NDEE 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:

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:

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, please contact the Department. 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

All applications, citizenship attestations forms and fees must be mailed in advance in order to be scheduled for an exam to the contact address below.

Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy
Onsite Section
P.O. Box 98922
Lincoln, NE 68509-8922

Toll-free: (877) 263-2603


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