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SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Protecting South Dakota's Tomorrow...Today!
Joe Foss Building
523 E Capitol Ave
Pierre, SD 57501-3182
Contact Us  Field Offices

Drinking Water Program

Operator Certification Training and Exams


March 29, 2021




Basic Water Treatment

April 6-8

Webinar by SDARWS

OpCert Exam (Exam session full)

April 8-1:00 pm

Sioux Falls-Ramkota-Harvest Room

Small System Water Treatment Workshop

April 27

Webinar by SDARWS

Small System Water Treatment Workshop

April 29

Webinar by SDARWS

Intermediate Water Treatment

May 4-6

Webinar by SDARWS

OpCert Exam (20 Seats Left)

May 6-1:00 pm

Sioux Falls-Ramkota-Harvest Room

Advanced Water Treatment

May 18-20

Webinar by SDARWS

OpCert Exam (3 Seats Left)

May 25-12:30 pm

Pierre-Matthew Center/Foss Bldg

Stabilization Pond Workshop

June 1

Webinar by SDARWS




More classes/exam sessions will be scheduled for 2021.

All classes and exam sessions are tentative based on status of pandemic.


*The Stabilization Pond class deals strictly w/ ponds and is the best class for preparing to take the Small WW
System exam. The Basic WW Treatment class deals w/ all types of wastewater treatment other than ponds
and is the best class for preparing to take the Class I WW Treatment exam. Small systems that use ponds for
treatment can come into compliance w/ the OpCert Law by passing either the Class I WW exam or the Small
WW System exam.
**Water systems serving less than 500 people that use wells can come into compliance by passing the
Small Water Treatment exam. Larger systems must pass the Class I Water Treatment exam.

All dates are tentative based on number of applicants. Certification exam applications must be submitted for ALL exams including retakes. Applications MUST be received by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at least two weeks before the exam date, as required by the Operator Certification Rules (ARSD 74:21:02:40). Applicants will receive a confirmation of their exam receipt by the Department. Applications will be accepted via fax at 773-5286. Check or money orders made out to "DENR-Operator Certification" are required. Applications must be filled out completely as they are the sole source of information used to determine operator eligibility to take an exam.

The following must have a certified operator in direct responsible charge of their system:

  • All wastewater treatment or wastewater collection systems that serve more than 500 people.
  • All transient non-community water treatment systems using surface water or groundwater under the direct influence of surface water or treating with a disinfectant (chlorine, chlorine dioxide, ozone, etc.).
  • ALL community and non-transient non-community (NTNC) water treatment/distribution systems regardless of size.

The following operators must be certified:

  • Any operator in charge of one of the above water or wastewater systems.
  • Any operator making process control/system integrity decisions affecting water quality/quantity at a community or NTNC water system must be certified at any level.
  • An operator certified at the designated level of the treatment plant/distribution system must be available for each operating shift at a community or NTNC water system.

Exam References-ABC's exam questions are primarily referenced to publications from California State University, Sacramento (916-278-6142); the Water Environment Federation (WEF) (800-666-0206); and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) (800-926-7337). SD Association of Rural Water Systems (SDARWS) does have some study material; however, the best study material is from the above organizations. DENR does not supply any study material. For more information on references and study materials, please check the Association of Boards of Certification WEB page.

Any questions on the various training courses that are presented may be directed to the South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems (605-556-7219). If there are any questions on certification, please contact Rob Kittay at the Drinking Water Program in Pierre (Phone: 605-773-4208) (Fax: 605-773-5286) (E-mail: Rob Kittay). More information can be found on the Operator Certification WEB Site.

The following forms are available for download:

All exams cost $10.00, there will be no free retake exams, and renewals will be $6.00 per certificate.

Questions about operator certification should be directed to Rob Kittay at the Drinking Water Program in Pierre (phone: 605-773-4208  fax: 605-773-5286 email: Rob Kittay)

Question concerning the various training courses and for study materials should be be directed to the SD Association of Rural Water Systems (605-556-7219).