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Drinking Water Operator Certification

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Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Drinking Water Operator Certification

Breaking News! Drinking Water Operator Training and Certification is now accepting exam applications via email. The exam applications have been completely reformatted as a fillable PDF. The applications have changed, so be sure to read the instructions carefully within the application. To apply by email, follow these three steps: Step 1) Fill out the exam application(s), Step 2) Complete payment online, and Step 3) Submit both the payment receipt and the exam application(s) to Location preference for examination is on a first come, first serve basis, therefore, emailing the application will get it to us much faster. 

Here are the links to the new Distribution, Limited Treatment, Complete Treatment, and Level 5 exam applications.

Drinking Water Certification continually updates throughout the 2024 Training Calendar for Drinking Water Courses taught by EGLE. There is a combination of webinars and in-person trainings available throughout the year. Continue to check for an updated calendar as we will be adding new courses as the year goes on.

Curious about careers in drinking water?

No matter your skills or interests, there is a career for you in water. It takes a variety of positions to help ensure Michiganders have clean water, and there is a substantial and immediate demand for workers in these fields. Careers in water operations are stable and offer competitive salaries and opportunities for growth.

Learn about positions
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A side view of a glass of clear water sitting on a wooden table
Webinar training - 4j-kelly-brito-PeUJyoylfe4-unsplash

Training and Events

EGLE offers a number of independent training courses, as well as courses co-sponsored with various technical assistance providers throughout the year. In addition to the EGLE courses, we approve courses by other providers for CEC credits.


You need to know which exam or exams you would like to take. The exams available are based on the classifications and requirements explained in our Exam Applications and Study Guides section. After you know which test you want to take you need to get a copy of an exam application. You can do that by contacting us or by printing the application available on this web site.

Certification Exams are offered twice a year in May and November. Certification exam application and study guides can be found on the right. In addition to applying for exams, you can also check the number of CECs you have earned, as well as look up certification renewal information.

Do not send in applications before 90 days prior to your certification expiration date. Do not use this application for any other certification renewal.

How to Be Certified

  1. Apply by the deadline: Applications received after the deadline will not be processed.
  2. Application Review: We will review your application to make sure you have the required operating experience and education requirements for the certification(s) you are applying for.
  3. Eligibility: You will be notified whether or not you have been approved to take an exam approximately two weeks prior to the exam date. If approved, you will be notified of the time and place you will be taking the exam.
  4. Exam time: The next step in the process is taking the exam itself.
  5. Immediately after the exam: The grading process is started. You will be notified of your score within 45 days of the exam date for levels 1-5. If you pass, you will receive a certificate.
  6. Certifications: Certifications have a renewal requirement that involves completion of drinking water Advisory Board approved courses. Within three years from the issue date on your certificate, you will need to earn Continuing Education Credits ( CEC's) for your certification(s) to be renewed. Certificates that expire can be renewed if the pro-rated continuing education requirement is satisfied within one year of the certification expiration date. A certification "Renewal" postcard is mailed to all individuals 8 weeks prior to their expiration date detailing steps necessary to renew current certification(s). Use the chart below to determine renewal requirements for each certification level. The CEC's required are based on the highest certification level held.
Certification Level Held Renewal CECs Needed 1-90 Days Expired 91-180 Days Expired 181-270 Days Expired 271-365 Days Expired
1, 2, or 3 2.4 2.6 2.8 3 3.2
4 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6
5 0.9 0.9 1 1.1 1.2

Drinking Water Certification Reciprocity

The State of Michigan allows for temporary reciprocity of certification for operators that have certification in another state. Operators holding certification in another state who would like to become certified in Michigan are allowed to apply for a temporary reciprocal license under Rule R325.11914 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 1976 PA 399 as amended. A temporary license will be issued for a time frame to where the applicant can take and receive the results from the next certification exam, which shall not exceed 18 months. Temporary license holder(s) who pass the certification exams will receive full certification in the State of Michigan. If the applicant fails to pass the certification examination their temporary license will no longer be valid.

The following list contains items the reciprocity applicants must complete before submission:

Approval of Programs for Continuing Education Credit-CEC

Courses submitted for Continuing Education Credit (CEC) must relate directly to the operation, maintenance, or management of a drinking water system.  Wastewater CECs are managed separately. If you feel that your course could also qualify for wastewater CECs, please see the Wastewater Operator Certification page for the information on applying for wastewater CECs.

To obtain approval of a training course, the course sponsor must submit an Education and Training Programs CEC Approval Application and a course agenda for each training program electronically to or to one of the addresses on the application. The agenda must list, at a minimum, the topic of discussion for each segment of the program and the duration of each program segment.  (See example agenda) Please provide as much detail as you can about the topics and learning objectives of your course to help the Drinking Water Advisory Board of Examiners (ABE) make their decision.

Following receipt of the application and agenda, the course will be submitted for approval by the ABE.  The ABE meets at least twice a year and all meeting dates are posted on the EGLE website.  Please submit all courses for approval at least two weeks before the scheduled meeting.  All applicants will receive notification of course approval or disapproval as well as specific course completion requirements after the ABE decision.  CEC course approval is valid for three years.

Free Approved Courses

Any live webinars that are about drinking water, including technical and managerial topics, that grant CECs, and are at least 1 hour in length, are approved for CECs. In order to earn credit, you must sign-up and watch the webinar on your own and request a certificate from the EPA. We are unable to grant CECs without a certificate from the EPA, so if it is unclear as to whether certificates are being awarded for any particular webinar, please contact the EPA directly before attending. Please submit the certificate(s) to


In Person Classes

August 14, 2024 - EPA - Climate Resilience Training for Water Sector Utilities - Course Code 4294 - 0.6 Technical

Online Course(s)

Cybersecurity Refresher Webinar - Course Code 4285 - 0.1 Tech - Drinking Water Credits - July 17 at 10 am

FEMA - Emergency Management Institute Classes

     -ICS 100: Introduction to the Incident Command System - Course Code 3143 - 0.2 Other CECs

     -ICS 200: Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response - Course Code 3144 - 0.4 Other CECs   

   - IS 700: An Introduction to National Incident Management System - Course Code 3145 - 0.3 Other CECs      

    -IS 800: National Response Framework - Course Code 3146 - 0.3 Other CECs

EPA Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series


Reports are submitted annually to the Environmental Protection Agency.


The Safe Drinking Water Act 399 contains information for Supplying Water to the Public, and consists of 27 parts. The Rules for Drinking Water Operator Certification are included in Part 19.