Requirements to Renew an Oregon Water Operator Certification

As a certified drinking water operator, you’re probably aware that you need to do certain things to maintain your license. But recent changes apply to how, exactly, you need to get information into the Oregon Drinking Water Services (DWS) Department in order to make your certificate eligible for renewal. 

We’ve got you covered. Here, we outline all of the steps Oregon drinking water operators need to follow in order to meet the continuing education requirement and renew their certification. 

Step one: keep your address current

  • The DWS mails out renewal notices to operators in the first week of November. 
  • Your renewal comes due December 31 every other year. To make sure you’re aware of when you need to get the rest of these steps done, make sure you keep your address updated with the DWS.  

Step two: take the continuing education units (CEUs)

In order to be eligible to renew your drinking water operator certification, you need to get two continuing education units (CEUs). Each unit equals 10 hours, so you technically need 20 hours to renew. 

The state specifies that 16 of those 20 hours need to focus on “technical, managerial, or financial capacity topics.” Anything else, they call discretionary. 

They also mandate that you take your hours from a provider that’s been reviewed and approved by the Oregon Environmental Services Advisory Council (OESAC). 

Now for the good news. The OESAC has approved some education providers to offer your Oregon drinking water operator CEUs online (such as the classes found here). And if you choose a course package designed for you, you can rest easy knowing it will hit the topics you need.  

With online CEUs, getting your 20 hours completed gets a whole lot easier. You can do it from any internet-connected device (including your phone) whenever you have time. 

Step three: self-certify that your CEU is done

You used to have to file paperwork about your CEUs, but the state has streamlined the process. Now, they ask you to sign an affidavit saying you’ve completed the required hours. 

Here’s that document for you to fill out and send in. Remember, it’s legally binding, so don’t be tempted to fudge the truth. 

Step four: send in the renewal form and pay the fee

Once you have your CEUs done, you’re ready to send in your renewal application. It’s pretty simple and you’ll notice that the second page is just the CEU self-certification form. The main thing is to make sure you complete that self-certification and pay the required renewal fee.

If you have one certification, it’s $140. If you have both distribution and treatment certifications, it’s $210. You can:

  • Pay online
  • Pay by check made out to “OHA Cashier”

Complete and return the renewal application and the self-certification and pay your renewal fee. With that, you’ve checked off the main to-dos for renewing a drinking water operator certification in Oregon.

That said, you might want to brace yourself for one more step.

Step five: prep for an audit

With the new self-certification process, the state is randomly choosing operators to audit in March or April each year. If you get picked for the audit, you’ll have 30 days to send in copies of your CEU training certificates. 

The audit doesn’t have to be stressful provided you have the paperwork on hand. After you finish your CEUs, file your certificates of completion somewhere safe and easy to access just in case.