Requirements to Renew a South Dakota Water Operator Certification

If you’re a certified water or wastewater operator in the state of South Dakota, consider yourself lucky. While other states require paperwork and fees in order to maintain operator certification, you don’t have to worry about much. 

Still, though, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook entirely. You need to do certain things on a regular basis in order to keep your certification active with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources. So you know what’s required, let’s look at the to-dos in order to maintain a South Dakota water or wastewater operator certification. 

When to renew

Your water or wastewater certification renews on February 1 every year. Right now, certifications automatically renew provided you’ve met certain requirements (we’ll go over that next).

If you don’t meet the renewal requirement by the deadline, you’ll need to apply for your renewal. The clock is ticking once you miss the February 1 deadline, too. If you don’t renew for two years, you’re going to have to reapply for your certification. And that means repaying the application fee and retaking the exam. 

How to renew

As we said, your certification will renew automatically if you’re compliant with the state’s requirements. Specifically, there’s just one thing you need to do to have your certification renew: get the proper number of contact hours. 

Every three years, you need to accrue a specific number of contact hours based on your certification class or classes. So you know what’s required for you, let’s look at each individual contact hour specification:


To reiterate, you only need to get these hours every three years. So the max number of contact hours you need to worry about per year is 10 hours, assuming you take some hours annually. You can also wait and take all of your hours in a single course. 

However you choose to get your contact hours, you’ll be glad to know you don’t need to sit in some classroom to knock them out. Instead, you can take them online and on-demand. That gives you the flexibility and convenience to work on your hours whenever and wherever you want. 

You used to be required to pay an ultra-nominal $6 renewal fee, but now there’s no annual renewal fee. In other words, as long as you’ve completed the number of contact hours required for your specific certification(s) and the applicable class(es), the South Dakota Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources will automatically renew your certification.

All told, it’s not ultra-complicated — and it is very affordable — to keep your water or wastewater operator certification active. But because you only need to worry about contact hours every few years, it can be easy to let it slip your mind. You might want to mark your calendar so you don’t forget.