As a certified water operator in Vermont, you’re probably familiar with a state agency that goes by the very long name of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Drinking Water & Groundwater Protection Division. Even its acronym, DWGWPD, is a mouthful.
Fortunately, their name is more complicated than the renewal process they require for water operator certifications. Really, as long as you know what’s required and what to expect, the process to keep your certification active should be a breeze.
With that goal in mind, here’s a step-by-step guide to renewing all classes of Vermont water operator certifications with the DWGWPD.
Water operator certifications stay valid for three years. That clock doesn’t tick down from the day you initially got your certification, though. Instead, the DWGWPD sets a deadline that applies to all water operators.
Specifically, it’s June 30 every three years for most operator types. If you’ve got a Class 2, 3, or D-type certificate, your deadline is June 30, 2022. All types of Class 4 operator certificates (i.e., 4A1, 4A, 4B, and 4C) are due for renewal June 30, 2023.
Long story short, the first step in keeping your Vermont water operator certification active is to figure out when your renewal to-dos are due triennially.
The DWGWPD requires most water operators to take a specific number of continuing education (CE) hours, also called training contact hours (TCHs), during each renewal period. As you’d probably expect, the number of hours you need increases the higher your certification class.
If you have a Class 1A cert, you’re off the hook. You don’t need any TCHs for renewal.
Class 1B certification holders do need hours, however. You need three hours each renewal cycle. Fortunately, you can take all three online.
From there, the TCH requirement gets more involved. Let’s look at it by certification class:
We have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can take some of your TCHs online and on-demand. That means you can knock them out whenever you have free time from your computer, tablet, or phone. Just make sure you’re getting hours from a provider with DWGWPD approval.
The bad news is that only 50% of your TCHs can be completed online. That means you’re looking at five or ten in-person hours, depending on your certification class.
If you’re not sure how many hours you have toward your renewal right now, you can use this drinking water database to find out. Just enter your operator ID number to get started.
Last up, it’s time to send in your renewal application, along with the fee. The form and fee depends on your class.
All classes of certified water operators are also required to submit a child support and taxes statement with their renewal.
Historically, you needed to send in a paper renewal application, but things changed during the pandemic. Now, you can use the DWGWPD’s all-purpose online form to submit your renewal and pay your fee. Scroll to the bottom of that page and click “Begin Form Entry” to get started.
You’ll need to have an account with the Agency of Natural Resources to log in and use that form. If you need to set up an account, you can do so here.
Three steps: mark your calendar, get your TCHs (if applicable), and submit your renewal application, support/tax statement, and fee. With those three things accomplished, the DWGWPD will keep your certification active.