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Water Operator


A water operator operates and maintains drinking water system machinery and equipment to provide safe water for human consumption. She/he performs necessary testing to ensure that water is safe to drink.

Certification Requirements:

Applicants pursuing a certification to work as a Water Operator in New York State must meet the training, experience and education requirements of the New York State Department of Health. The latest information and requirements for New York State certification of a water operator are available on the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection website at:

Age Requirement:

There is no age requirement for New York State Certified Water Treatment Plant Operator.


There are six grades of certification, based upon the size and complexity of the different water systems. Each operator is required to meet certain education, training and experience requirements to be certified. A detailed summary of specific education requirements for each water operator by grade and level is available on the New York State Department of Health website at:


Water operator applicants in New York must have 6 months to 1 year of experience. For grades IA or IB, 10 years of experience is required, usually as a grade IIA or IIB certified operator, depending on the size of the water system.

Fees: (as of August 1, 2012)

There is no charge for initial application or renewal.

Certificates Issued and Active:

In 2013, there were 293 new certifications Issued; and 1,942 certifications Renewed
As of July 24, 2014, there were 5,467 certified operators for this occupation.

Licensing Authority:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Water Supply Protection

Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower, Rm 1110
Albany, New York 12237
Phone: (518) 402-7650
Fax: (518) 402-7599

Additional Information:

Questions and Answers About Water Operator Certification and Subpart 5-4: New York State Sanitary Code. This publication is available from the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection.

Standard Occupational Classification:

51-8031 - Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and Systems Operators
To learn more about this occupation search the Occupational Information Network (O*Net).


Fees stated and other information contained in this report are subject to change. Please contact the licensing authority listed above for the most current information.

This page was last updated on 7/24/14.

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