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Maryland's Certification Guide and Examination Handbook

The Certification Guide and Examination Handbook are designed to help Maryland's environmental professionals prepare for certification to operate water and wastewater systems. 

Maryland state law requires certification of operators responsible for treatment, storage, and distribution of drinking water and collection, treatment, and discharge of wastewater.  A rigorous certification process ensures that qualified personnel are operating Maryland's water and wastewater facilities.

The Certification Guide outlines the state certification requirements, as well as the certification renewal requirements. The Guide provides a step-by-step overview of the certification process.

The Examination Handbook describes in detail the examination process and how to prepare most effectively for the examination.  It identifies the topics that are tested on each exam and offers helpful test-taking strategies.

Please note that while these publications are available, some of the exam prescriptions are out dated. MCET is working with WWOA and CWEA to update this publication.

These books were produced with funding and in partnership between the Maryland Center for Environmental Training (MCET) of the College of Southern Maryland, the Water and Waste Operators Association of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and the Maryland Board of Waterworks and Waste Systems Operators.

To view the some of our training documents Adobe® PDF file, you will need the Adobe® Reader®. It is free and available for download at the Adobe® Web site.

Process vs. Non-Process: AKA the 50% Rule

As an operator of a system in Maryland that provides drinking water for our citizens and treats the waste generated by our daily activities, you play an important role in protecting both public health and the environment of Maryland.  The process of certifying operators in Maryland is governed by regulations and standards which you need to meet in order to be in compliance.

The original intent of the certification training requirements was to ensure that the operators of water and waste systems maintained an adequate level of technical knowledge about the processes they operated at their facility.

Over a number of years many non-process technical training events were approved for certification hours because the topics were relevant to operations.  Some examples would be maintenance of equipment, safety topics, math skills, and lab testing. 

More recently, the intent of the regulations was reviewed by the Board of Waterworks and Waste Systems Operators.  The Board became aware of a trend in the industry related to the types of training being submitted to renew certificates.  Specifically, many operators were renewing their certificates without taking any process type of training.  In fact, an operator could renew his/her certificate without taking one process related class.

This review of the intent of the regulations resulted in the 50% rule which is now in effect.  The rule requires that a minimum of half the training used for renewal hours is process related.  Any training event where at least 50% of the material covered is approved for process control will be designated as a "process" class.  All others will be designated as non-process.  Operators must have at least 50% of their credits in process to renew or gain their certification.

Note: The Maryland Department of the Environment is located at the Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230. New phone for the Board is 410-537-3167.