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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.

COVID-19 Related Announcements

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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Classes, Testing and Renewal Information

As we continue to work through Corona Virus response, the Division of Compliance Assistance (DCA) is working to resume training and testing services to operators while still being protective of operator and employee health. We appreciate your patience as we have had to cancel and reschedule events. Below is an update of what we are doing/planning in the near future. As many of these processes are new and untried, please note that schedules and formats may change as we learn what works, what doesn't and what operators need or prefer. 

  • Renewal Deadline: DCA will continue to monitor drinking water renewal numbers and the availability of online classes to meet renewal needs.  Currently, the division has waived late renewal fees through Aug. 31st to allow more time for operators to obtain hours without monetary penalty. While technically the licenses will expire if not renewed by June 30th, the Kentucky Division of Water is taking the grace period into consideration when it comes to inspections and alternate staffing plans through that time.

  • User Survey: DCA will be issuing a survey in the near future in regards to renewal status and preference for online courses.  We will distribute this through our blog, our current contact list and ask partner organizations to send out to their membership.  It will also be posted on our website.    

  • Online Training: As indoor, group activities such as our training courses still carry risk, the division will seek to use online methods of education delivery until the situation allows us to safely resume some form of in-person instruction. The division anticipates offering online education services beginning in July and will likely use that format for the foreseeable future. 

  • CEU Class Enrollees: DCA is rescheduling those who have enrolled in continuing education courses that were to be held June. The Division is working on providing online substitutions for these before Aug. 31 when the renewal waiver is currently set to expire.  Staff will contact those enrolled soon with details. For those who have not registered for CEU courses, but are interested in online options, we will open those events up for registration once they are established. 

  • New Training Schedule: DCA will issue a new training and testing schedule in the near future.  Because we are training online, the division may change the traditional time format of classes.  For instance, our certification courses, which are typically held over 3 days with 6-hours of training per day, may be changed to 4-5 days of 3-4 hours of online instruction. 

  • Testing: DCA is looking at ways to safely resume operator exams. Please be patient as there is a backlog of people who need testing services, but our ability to test in large numbers is limited.  The division is looking at events in Frankfort initially and expanding in areas across the state as we identify testing locations and outline procedures to conduct exams safely.  Look for more information about testing in late June and early July.

  • License Application and Class Registration: As soon as our new training schedule has been created and testing events scheduled, DCA will resume taking class registrations and license applications. 

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

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.​​​