NY.gov Portal State Agency Listing Search all of NY.gov
D E C banner
D E C banner

Disclaimer

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification Definitions

Activated Sludge Process:

Is defined as a biological wastewater treatment process in which a mixture of wastewater and activated sludge is agitated and aerated. The activated sludge is subsequently separated from the treated wastewater (mixed liquor) by sedimentation and wasted or returned to the process as needed.

Assistant/Shift Operator:

Is defined as an individual who is employed or appointed by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any State department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company, corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, and who is designated by appointing officials as a person who, under the direction of the chief operator, is in responsible supervision of the wastewater treatment plant during a shift or in the absence of the chief operator.

Chief Operator

Is defined as an individual who is employed or appointed by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any state department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company, corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, who is designated by the appointing officials as the person in responsible supervision of the complete and actual operation of any wastewater treatment plant. It is not intended to include city managers, superintendents of public works or municipal or other officials unless their duties include the actual operation of a wastewater treatment plant.

Contact Hour:

Is defined as one hour of acceptable instruction or training in a course or seminar relevant to the field of wastewater treatment.

Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP):

Is defined as any plant or facility owned or maintained by any county, city, village, town, district, or by any State department, agency or authority, or by any sewer company corporation, person or group of persons, or by any industry or institution, which subjects wastewater to a process for removing or altering the objectionable constituents of wastewater for the purpose of meeting the requirements of its State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (SPDES) and making it less offensive or dangerous. Pretreatment facilities (sewer users) are not required to have certified operator and any operational experience acquired at a pretreatment plant does not qualify for certification.

Operating Experience:

Is defined as work experience at a wastewater treatment plant with a SPDES permit. A minimum of fifty (50) percent of the work experience must include hands-on operation of all unit processes at the WWTP.

Approved Operating Experience:

Is defined as work experience at a wastewater treatment plant with a SPDES permit having the same or higher point score for which certification is being sought. Candidates for "A" certification must acquire this experience at an activated sludge WWTP having the same or higher point score for the grade in which certification is being sought. A minimum of fifty (50) percent of the experience must include hands-on operation of all unit processes at the WWTP.

Other Treatment Processes:

Is defined as all biological, physical, and chemical treatment processes other than the activated sludge process. It is intended to include, but is not limited to, treatment processes such as trickling filters, rotating biological contactors, sand filters, biofilters, oxidation ponds, stabilization ponds, activated carbon or any other device or processes performing similar functions.

Responsible Supervision:

Is defined as the accountability for an performance of active, daily on-site operation of the wastewater treatment plant.


  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Facility Operations Assistance Section
    625 Broadway, 4th Floor
    Albany, NY 12233-3506
    518-402-8177
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions