Renewal Requirements for a North Dakota Water Operator Certification

There’s one major upside to being a certified public water systems operator in North Dakota versus other states. Your renewal fee is so affordable, even with a potential increase on the docket, that it has most other states beat. 

But there’s a downside to the state’s certification, and that centers around the challenge associated with finding information. You’re probably aware that you need to renew your certificate and take continuing education periodically, but you’ll need to dig into the North Dakota Administrative Code 33.1-19-01-07 to find all of the info in one place.  

That’s not fun reading, so we’ll save you the trouble. Here’s all the info North Dakota water operators need to know about renewing their certifications. 

Water operator renewal deadlines

The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires all water operators to renew their certifications by the first day of July each year. While other states only require renewal biennially or triennially, you’re on the hook annually. Fortunately, all you need to do renew is pay the fee. 

The renewal fee

While the DEQ has historically charged $5 for water operator certification renewal, the fee is currently under review to go up. Double-check the fee before you pay it because if that amendment gets passed, the fee will increase to $25.  

The continuing education requirement

The DEQ requires all water operators to complete continuing education (CE) on a regular basis. The idea is that this CE keeps you informed about all of the latest regulations and best practices in the industry 

Regardless of anyone’s certification classification, category, or grade, the state requires all water operators to complete the same number of hours. Everyone needs 12 continuing education credits (CECs) every three years. 

You can earn one credit for a variety of things, but all credits need to come from a course, training program, workshop, etc. that’s at least two hours long. In other words, you’ll need to complete at least 24 hours in order to get the 12 CECs you need. 

Fortunately, you don’t need to take CECs to coincide with your annual renewal. Instead, you need 12 CECs (or 24 hours) over the course of a three-year period. Most operators choose to take their CECs all in one batch so they only have to fuss with this requirement every few years. 

More good news: getting your CECs doesn’t have to mean taking three days off work or sitting in some conference room or classroom. The state has approved certain education providers who offer online water operator CECs that you can take at your own pace. 

Once you finish any CECs, inform the Division of Municipal Facilities. You can mail them your certificate of completion, for example. Their address is:

Department of Environmental Quality

Division of Municipal Facilities

4201 Normandy Street

Bismarck, ND 58503-1324

Because the state’s website isn’t particularly forthcoming with renewal details, you may still have questions. If you do, you can contact the Department at (701) 328-5150 or deq@nd.gov. 

As a quick recap, make sure you pay the renewal fee each year and take 12 CECs (at least 24 DEQ-approved hours) every three years to keep your North Dakota water operator certification active.