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The Certification and Licensing Branch is home to the solid waste, drinking water and wastewater certification programs. Through education and certification exams, these three programs help ensure that the people charged with dealing with community solid waste, drinking water and wastewater are knowledgeable and capable of handling the responsibilities required of those positions.

Testing, Renewal and Training Event Information

For the time being we are continuing to register people for exam events.  Please note that our ability to hold exams will be contingent upon COVID-19 conditions.

Because of COVID conditions our scheduled February events have been cancelled.

When we resume testing our events will continue to be small with a limited number of operators. Testing slots are on a first-come, first-served basis. The testing calendar can be found here.

Registering for Exams

As we are unable to provide in-person training, we will be providing our training course material online for those registering for testing.  At this time, we are offering this at no additional charge.  So, you will only pay the exam fee.

When you register, register for the exam only

A link to the training materials will be provided to you in your notification email. 

Math study guides are now available on our test preparation page.

Renewal Deadline:

Drinking Water: The division waived late renewal fees through Sept. 30th to allow more time for operators to obtain hours without monetary penalty. Licenses submitted for renewal after the Sept. 30th deadline incurred a late fee. If a license was not renewed by Dec. 31st it was terminated. Retesting is the only way to obtain that license back.

Wastewater: The wastewater renewal deadline is June 30, 2021. This deadline will not be extended. Licenses submitted for renewal after the June 30th deadline will incur a late fee.

Inactive Renewal: For operators who are retired and no longer actively using their license at a facility or in support of water or wastewater operations, there is inactive license renewal option of $100. An operator holding this license does not have to seek CEUs to renew. However if they wish to go back to using their license, they will have to seek the required CEUs and pay the difference in the licensing fees to reactivate the license. This type of license renewal will have to be submitted through the mail by completing the Application for Certification Renewal Form. There will be an electronic process available in the future. Until the electronic process is available, the cabinet will waive the additional paper submittal fee.

Live Training Events: 

The division is NOT currently offering in-person classes through June of 2021.  A decision of how to proceed for the second half of 2021 will be made later in the year. For the time being, anyone that registers for an exam will be allowed access to the recorded certification courses free of charge. After registration, the division will send each operator a link to the on demand classes. Please make sure your email address is up to date with us as the links will be sent there.

CEU Classes:  

DCA is not offering CEUs at the time, however the division may do so in the future. A list of approved training providers and courses for continuing education can be found on our Training Provider Information page. Many of these providers have online options.


Solid Waste Training and Testing: 

DCA is in the process of working on self-paced learning modules for solid waste classes.  As the training is no longer a set time, your testing date options will be broader as it is offered on multiple days throughout the month. DCA will be in contact with solid waste operators in the near future.

Once again, thanks for your continued patience as we alter operations to protect the health of those conducting and participating in our services.

Contact Information

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the Department for Environmental Protection has implemented telecommuting to enable better social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. During this time there will be periods when the staff of the Division of Compliance Assistance will be working remotely. This contact list will help you identify the staff member that can best help you.

We highly encourage you to reach out via e-mail in addition to leaving email contact information in any phone messages or communications with us at this time.

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Operator Shortages/Sampling Requirements

Please contact the Division of Water (DOW) immediately if you find you are running into with complying with staffing, sampling and reporting requirements or any other issues.  Sarah Gaddis is DOW's point of contact in the event of an emergency.  In the event there is an issue at your system here is a list of certified operators. DOW can also help you locate resources to help in these situations. 

Information from the EPA

On March 27, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Governors in all 50 states, territories, and Washington, DC, requesting that water and wastewater workers, as well as the manufacturers and suppliers who provide vital services and materials to the water sector, are considered essential workers and businesses by state authorities when enacting restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. The Agency has provided a template that state, localities and water utilities can use to provide documentation to workers that are considered essential: Water Utility Template: COVID-19 Pandemic (DOCX).

New Regulations in Effect

As of Nov. 1, 2019, new regulations governing drinking water and wastewater operator certification took effect and are being implemented by the cabinet. This fact sheet covers highlights of changes made to Title 401 KAR Chapters 5, 8 and 11.  We are currently processing all applications in accordance with the new regulations.  However, not all of our online processes will be immediately available. Watch the DCA webpage for more information as new materials and processes become available. 

What does the Certification and Licensing Branch do to ensure that operators are properly trained?

The Kentucky Operator Certification Program provides training and issues certifications to ensure that individuals engaged in performing many of Kentucky's critical environmental activities are qualified and capable to perform their duties. Program activities include:

  • Issuing certification licenses to Kentucky's bottled water, collection, distribution, treatment and solid waste operators.
  • Presenting classes for bottled water, collection, distribution, treatment, landfarm, landfill and composting operators.
  • Assisting the Kentucky Board of Certification of Water Treatment and Distribution System Operators and the Kentucky Board of Certification of Wastewater System Operators.
  • Developing and implementing an operator recruitment strategy that encourages individuals to consider a career in wastewater, drinking water and solid waste facilities.
  • Attending career fairs and speaking to groups about water treatment and solid waste careers.
  • Providing relevant information to certified operators and interested parties through e-mail newsletters and the program blog. You can be added to the program's distribution list by calling the Division of Compliance Assistance at (502) 564-0323, or by emailing

Operator Certification is responsible for the testing and training records of certified operators. The Certification Program does not administer facility requirements. If you have a question on what classification of operator your drinking water, wastewater or solid waste facility is required to have or any other staffing requirements, contact the Kentucky Division of Water at (502) 564-3410 or the Kentucky Division of Waste Management at (502) 564-6716.​​​