Water Operator Training and Professional Development
Training Contact Hours (TCHs)
License holders must earn continuing education credits for license renewal. The number of training contact hours (TCHs) required for license renewal depends on the classification of the license. Operator training is available in a variety of programs. Self-study programs are also available. Training topics must be relevant to the treatment or distribution licenses held.
Relevant Training topics will have an:
- Influence on water quality, water supply, or public health protection; and
- Be directly related to the operation or maintenance of a water system; or
- Be directly related to managing the operation or maintenance of a water system.
Please review Relevancy Fact Sheet (pdf).
Montana Water Center CD No Longer Allowed
For many years the Maine Board of Licensure of Water Operators awarded Training Contact Hours for reviewing the 2005 “Surface and Ground Water Systems Course” compact disc from Montana Water Center. The Board no longer will grant Training Contact Hours for reviewing this disc, as its content has become outdated. One must use approved training programs and/or providers. A list of approved training providers is available below.
Operator TCH Records
The Drinking Water Program maintains a record of operator contact hours. You can review your TCH record here.
The Drinking Water Program strives to maintain an updated listing of Maine-based training opportunities to meet continuing education requirements for license renewal. Contact James Jacobsen for paper copies of the training calendar. Please contact training providers directly to sign up for courses.
AWRA Webinars for TCH
Operators needing three or fewer Training Contact Hours for the current licensing cycle may wish to consider taking webinars being offered by the American Water Resources Association. Each webinar is rated for 1.0 TCH and costs $25.00. For more information visit their website at https://www.awra.org .
Board of Licensure of Water System Operators reference to these courses does not comprise preference of American Water Resources Association over similar or competing training providers.
EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series
Challenges and Treatment Solutions for Small Drinking Water Systems
Free webinars typically held the last Tuesday of each month from 2:00-3:00 pm ET (Optional Q&A session from 3:00-3:30 pm ET). Attendees have the option of receiving a certificate for one continuing education contact hour for each live webcast attended. https://www.epa.gov/water-research/small-systems-monthly-webinar-series
Public water systems may offer training in-house provided by a water training professional. These trainings may need prior approval or may have been previously approved. Safety programs offering training do not need to be preapproved whether offered by an outside provider or in-house trainer. Accurate records must be maintained, and signed attendance sheets should be kept on file in case of audit. Topics may only be used once during a renewal cycle. General safety topics (example first aid) do not meet relevancy requirements. Contact James Jacobsen for more information or with questions.
The following documents should be submitted prior to the training:
E-learning courses deliver a series of lessons to a web browser or mobile device, to be conveniently accessed anytime, anyplace. They can be offered continuously or for a set duration – 8-10 weeks, on average. An e-learning class is one in which both learners and instructors communicate via their computers. Syllabi, assignments, class lectures, and other course materials are provided on screen, while communication with the instructor and other students in the class is via messaging platforms, personal e-mail, and other media. E-learning classes do not meet in person, and learners work on assignments according to their own time schedules. In many cases there are deadlines for assignments but no set timeframe in which to accomplish them; tests, however, are usually scheduled and most have time restrictions.
Webinars are a new and important means of getting quick training about topics of interest. Many providers today are producing webinars, some of which are free. In some cases they are one-off presentations, often of relatively short duration; others are presented as a series. Unlike e-learning, webinars generally do not work with textbooks, and there tend to be no assignments or exams. Most webinars are live broadcasts, although some providers will post recordings of their webinars online for future viewing. However, it should be noted that recorded webinars do not offer the opportunity for attendee participation as some live broadcasts will. Webinars that are approved by the Board will be added to the training calendar. In many cases, webinars have little lead time for advertising, so check the calendar regularly.
Very Small Water System Study Guide
From the Association of Boards of Certification: The Very Small Water System Operators' Guidebook to Preparing for Certification relates to critical knowledge required to competently operate water systems.
WaterOperator.org Free Online Resources
WaterOperator.org has a collection of small system manuals and training materials.
Groundwater and Well Care for Public Water Systems This course will help owners and operators of public water systems with a groundwater well better understand how to properly care for their water supply. By understanding the basic science of water wells and following best practices to maintain and protect water supplies, well owners will obtain the knowledge needed to extend the life of the well and help ensure the water remains safe to drink
Basics for Small Water Systems in Oregon Manual This 155-page manual from the Oregon Health Authority provides a series of fact-sheets of essential information and considerations for small system operators in Oregon.
Surface Water Treatment Operator Certification Manual This 321-page certification manual from the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection provides operators with the basic knowledge required to manage surface water drinking water systems. This manual provides 15 chapters of the surface water treatment operator certification course.
Introduction to Small Water Systems: A Course for Level I Operators, Chapter 1. You can find all 13 chapters of this course on the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation website.
Introduction to Water & Wastewater Treatment Technology This course from Mountain Empire Community College includes 19 lessons tracing the flow of water from the source through treatment, storage, distribution, use, waste collection, treatment and discharge back into the environment.
The Water Sifu website This fun website's moto is "turning ordinary water workers into water black belts" and includes 28 free podcasts, a companion guide, YouTube videos, and more. One helpful video points out the six most common mistakes people make that stop them from passing their state water treatment/distribution exam.
New Mexico Water Systems Operator Certification Study Manual This manual from the New Mexico Environment Department Utility Operator Certification Program provides study materials up to the Class 4 level of Water Certification.
Five Common Questions on Water Treatment Operator Exams Questions on drinking water regulations, pumps, chlorination, and lab procedures almost always appear on the test. This video covers these questions to better prepare you for the exam. The video is for operators in the earlier stages of their career, such as the first two certification levels. Other test prep videos from this website include: Water Distribution Operator Certification Exam: 4 Practice Problems and Wastewater Treatment Operator Certification Exam: 4 Practice Problems.
For more certification preparation resources, visit WaterOperator.org's document database and search by the category Certification/Exam Prep.
- American Water College
- American Water Works Association (AWWA)
American Water Works Association offers online courses that are self-paced for operators or aspiring operators. Courses vary in operator level and can be used for exam preparation or continued education. AWWA has completely revised Class 1-4 Distribution Guides. Check AWWA’s calendar for upcoming courses.
- At Your Pace Online
At Your Pace Online offers web based training in Water Treatment and Water Distribution. Courses are fully accessible 24/7 and your Certificate of Completion can be printed as soon as you complete each course.
- CEU Plan
- Environmental Finance Center Network
- Hach Training Center
- Joint Environmental Training Coordinating Committee (JETCC)
- Life Safety Specialists
- Maine Rural Water Association (MRWA) (exam preparation and other courses)
- Maine Water Utilities Association (MWUA)
- New England Water Works Association (NEWWA)
- Northeast Water and Wastewater Training Associates (NEWWTA)
- RCAP Solutions
- Red Vector
- Sam Elliot
- Sandra Bolotsky
- Small Water Supply
- Technical Learning College
- University of California (correspondence and online courses)
- Water Otter
Water Otter is a web based provider who offers courses to Drinking Water and Wastewater Operators. Operators may find these courses useful as an exam preparation tool. Please note- The formulas used in these series are not the same as the ABC exam taken for licensure.
Contact James Jacobsen, Water Operator Licensing Coordinator with any questions.
Some organizations wish to become approved training providers. The following information will assist your organization in reviewing the options to provide water operator training in Maine. Contact James Jacobsen for further guidance.
- Provider Application (doc)
- Course Application (fillable pdf)
- Policy and directions (doc)
- ABC Need-to-Know Criteria for Distribution Operators (pdf)
- ABC Need-to-Know Criteria for Water Treatment Operators (pdf)