NDEP Wastewater Certification Program

Background: In 1992, the Nevada State Legislature adopted provisions that require "supervisors and technicians responsible for the operation and maintenance of plants for sewage treatment be certified" (Nevada Revised Statutes 445A.425(2)). The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) Bureau of Water Pollution Control is the agency responsible for administering the Wastewater Certification Program (Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 445A.287 to 445A.292). The Nevada Water Environment Association, Inc. (NWEA), a non-profit educational organization, is under contract with NDEP to operate the Wastewater Certification Program as provided for in NAC 445.288.

Program Overview: Nevada regulation requires that "a person responsible for the operation and maintenance of a plant for sewage treatment must be certified as an operator of a plant for sewage treatment." (NAC 445A.287). Individuals may apply for certification as an operator of a wastewater treatment plant in Nevada by submitting the appropriate applications and fees to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Applications are located on the Nevada Water Environment Association, NDEP's designated program operator, website at the link provided below. Holders of operator certification from other States may also apply for reciprocal certification in Nevada.

Currently, NWEA assists NDEP by performing the following contract functions:

  • Operate the Wastewater Certification Program in accordance with the appropriate law (NRS), regulations (NAC), and direction of NDEP;
  • Develop, maintain and distribute application forms for certification, reciprocity and provisional certification;
  • Receive, review and evaluate applications for certification; 
  • Administer standardized examinations for certification Grades I through IV;
  • Evaluate the applicants' training and experience, requests for reciprocity, and other appropriate requests to establish that requirements for certification are satisfied;
  • Establish the qualifications and provide recommendation for certification of qualified applicants to NDEP;
  • Provide quarterly report to NDEP on the number of applications received, certifications issued, where certificate holders are employed, and other additional information as appropriate;
  • Maintain records of all certifications that are in current status;
  • Process all appeals and protests as prescribed by established policies and procedures. Any appeals or protests which cannot be resolved will be referred to NDEP for final resolution.

Certification Grades and Types: Nevada certifications range from Grade I (lowest) to Grade IV (highest). Please refer to the NWEA's Certification website for education, experience, and examination requirements for each certification Grade and each corresponding application from the main header menus. 

Nevada regulations require mandatory certification for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators. Additional certifications, listed below, are offered by the NWEA Board of Certification as a voluntary program.

  • Collection System Operators
  • Industrial Waste Operators
  • Industrial Waste Inspectors
  • Wastewater Quality Analysts
  • Plant Maintenance Technologists (Grades I to III)

Certification Requirements for Supervisors and Operators of Wastewater Treatment Plant's (WWTP): NAC 445A.290.2 provides minimum certification requirements for operators of sewage treatment plant as follow:

Any person, other than a supervisor or assistant supervisor, who is working as an operator of a plant for sewage treatment must be certified as at least a Grade I operator of a plant for sewage treatment, or obtain such certification within 1 year after the date on which he or she begins employment at the plant for sewage treatment as such an operator.

"Supervisor" means the person in direct responsible charge of the operations of a plant for sewage treatment. NAC 445A.290.3(c)

"Assistant Supervisor" means the person in direct responsible charge of the operations of a plant for sewage treatment in the absent of the supervisor. NAC 445A.290.3(a)

Table 1 below lists minimum operator certification requirements for supervisors and assistant supervisors of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) based on the plant's classification. Table 2 shows WWTP's classification based on treatment process and capacity.


Table 1. Grades of Certification, based on the classification of the WWTP (NAC 445A.290)


Table 2. WWTP Classification Schedule, based on the type of treatment process and plant capacity (NAC 445A.289)

Certificate Renewal & Decertification (NAC 445A.287):

Certifications and renewals are valid for a period of two (2) years. Certified operators may renew their certificates by submitting the appropriate renewal fee to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. The application must be postmarked on or before the expiration date shown on the current certificate in order to maintain certification.

Renewal within six (6) months after the certificate's expiration date is accepted, provided the certificate holder submits a late fee in addition to renewal fee. If a certificate is not renewed within six months after the expiration date, the holder of that certificate shall be deemed decertified in Nevada. Decertified certificate holders may not renew their certificates. A decertified individual who re-applies for certification is required to successfully complete the standardized examinations for certification. For information, contact the NWEA Board of Certification at:

P.O. Box 98235
Las Vegas, NV 89193
Phone/Fax: (775) 465-2045

Email: certification@nvwea.org


Other Resources

Nevada Water Environment Association

Water Environment Federation

Association of Boards of Certification

US EPA Wastewater Programs

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