Public Water System Operator Requirements

Community , Non-transient Non-Community and Transient water systems using surface water supplies are required to place the operation of the system under the direct supervision of a licensed water operator.  Systems are classified according to size and complexity and the qualification of the operator must match the system classification. See Drinking Water Rules and Water Operator Rules for clarifications.

Guidance on Becoming a VSWS Operator

Operator Requirements:

To be in compliance with operator requirements, the system owner or representative and the licensed operator must submit a Designated Operator Form. Systems may designate multiple responsible persons but must identify one Primary Operator who must hold a minimum of license qualifications equal to the system’s operating category.
Public Water System Designated Operator Form

Contract Operations:

Some systems contract operations out to another utility or contracting firm. Owners and operators of public water systems share responsibility to public health. Designated operators are responsible for all quality and quantity decisions. The DWP has developed a policy for determining when a designated operator is responsible for a system.

The DWP strongly suggests anyone entering into contact operations review the resources below.

Contract Operations resources

Contract Operations Guidelines

Available Contract Operators (pdf file)

Licensed Operator Determination handout

Water System Operator Roles and Responsibilities: A Best Practices Guide EPA Guidance (external link)

Water System Owner Roles and Responsibilities: A Best Practices Guide EPA Guidance (external link)

Owners and Operators share responsibilities of running a water system. The Owner delegates responsibility of operation to a licensed operator, however this delegation does not remove responsibility. The operator may also delegate tasks to other persons under direct supervision- once again this delegation does not remove the responsibility. The operator is responsible for all water quality and quantity decisions in a public water system for which he/she is the designated operator.  Persons making decisions or performing tasks related to quantity and quality may be viewed as “operating a water system without a license”, a criminal offense under the water operator rules. Designated operators are responsible to supply directions for tasks preferably in the form of written standard operating procedures (SOP) and to train and observe persons performing these tasks to assure correct operation.