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Water Operator


In New York State, individuals working at water treatment plants and/or distribution systems who are responsible for process control/system integrity decisions on water quality or quantity that effect public health are required to hold a valid certification issued pursuant to 10 NYCRR Subpart 5-4.

Certification Requirements:

Applicants pursuing a certification to work as a Water Operator in New York State must meet the training, experience and education requirements of the New York State Department of Health. The latest information and requirements for New York State certification of a water operator are available on the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection website at:

Age Requirement:

There is no age requirement for New York State Certified Water Treatment Plant Operator.


There are six grades of certification, based upon the size and complexity of the different water systems. Each operator is required to meet certain education, training and experience requirements to be certified. A detailed summary of specific education requirements for each water operator by grade and level is available on the New York State Department of Health website at:


Water operator applicants in New York must have 6 months to 1 year of experience. For grades IA or IB, 10 years of experience is required, usually as a grade IIA or IIB certified operator, depending on the size of the water system.

Fees: (as of August 1, 2012)

There is no charge for initial application or renewal.

Certificates Issued and Active:

In 2015, there were 1,776 new certifications Issued;
As of December 31, 2015, there were 7,714 active operators for this occupation.

Certification Authority:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Water Supply Protection

Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower, Rm 1110
Albany, New York 12237
Phone: (518) 402-7650
Fax: (518) 402-7599
E-mail: [email protected]

Additional Information:

Questions and Answers About Water Operator Certification and Subpart 5-4: New York State Sanitary Code. This publication is available from the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection.

Standard Occupational Classification:

51-8031 - Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and Systems Operators
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 11/4/16.

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