File No. 35203

This rule was published in the September 15, 2011, issue (Vol. 2011, No. 18) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Environmental Quality, Water Quality

Rule R317-10

Certification of Wastewater Works Operator

Notice of Proposed Rule


DAR File No.: 35203
Filed: 08/31/2011 04:31:46 PM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

The purpose of this amendment is to modify the reinstatement and renewal requirements and procedures to allow consistency and flexibility in administering the wastewater operator certification program.

Summary of the rule or change:

The changes are: 1) in Section R317-10-6, Table 2, footnote (3), add a missing space; 2) at Subsection R317-10-11(D) reinstatement allowed within one year of expiration of a valid certificate; and 3) add authorization for the Council to consider petitions for exceptions to the reinstatement/renewal rule.

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Section 19-5-105
  • Section 19-5-104

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

Increase of $100 per application for additional request for reinstatement with renewal that would previously not have been possible due to the maximum time requirement. Increase in mailing costs and staff time for additional reminders sent during the extended time allowed for reinstatement. Decrease of $14 per exam application that may have been received when the individual was required to retest for certification. Actual overall change will probably be a slight increase in revenue received, however more staff time may be used to manage the records for the additional nine months allowed for reinstatement.

local governments:

Local government will save the cost of providing time (or time off) for preparation and "sitting" for exams, but will have the option of paying the reinstatement fee or requiring operators to cover the costs individually. The saving is dependent upon the actual salaries paid and whether the communities pay for the cost of the exams and renewals.

small businesses:

Some small businesses may be affected if they choose to employ certified wastewater operators, however, the rule only applies to political subdivisions of the state.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

Individual operators could save the cost of time spent away from work in preparation for and "sitting" for exams. However, depending on their level of mastery of certification knowledge and skills, they may still choose to retest rather than pay the reinstatement fee.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

Costs will essentially be the same as they currently are. The maximum fee for reinstatement will be charged from 3 to 12 months after certificate expiration.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

The proposed amendments apply to political subdivisions of the state that operate wastewater treatment works and sanitary sewerage systems. No impacts to businesses are anticipated except where they voluntarily participate in certification of wastewater operators.

Amanda Smith, Executive Director

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

Environmental Quality
Water QualityRoom DEQ, Third Floor
195 N 1950 W

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Judy Etherington at the above address, by phone at 801-536-4344, by FAX at 801-536-4301, or by Internet E-mail at

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:


This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Walter Baker, Director


R317. Environmental Quality, Water Quality.

R317-10. Certification of Wastewater Works Operators.

R317-10-6. Facility Classification System.

Treatment plants and collection systems shall be classified in accordance with Table 1.



FACILITY                             CLASS
CATEGORY              I          II           III          IV

Collection  Pop.     3,500      3,501 to    15,001 to    50,001 and
(1)         Served   and less   15,000      50,000       greater

Treatment   Range    30 and     31 to 55    56 to 75      76 and
Plant (2)   of Fac.  less                                 greater

Small       Pop.      3,500 and less
Lagoon      Equiv.
Systems(3)  Served

     (1)  Simple "in-line" treatment (such as booster pumping,
preventive chlorination, or odor control) is considered an
integral part of a collection system.
     (2)  Treatment plants shall be assigned "facility points"
in accordance with Table 2 "Wastewater Treatment Plant
Classification System".
     (3)  A combined certificate shall be issued for treatment
works/collection system operation.




     Each Unit process should have points assigned only once.

   Item                                                   Points
SIZE (2 PT Minimum - 20 PT Maximum)

   Max. Population equivalent (PE) served,                 1 - 10
    peak day(1)
   Design flow average day or peak month average,          1 - 10
    whichever is larger(2)

   Variations do not exceed those normally or                0
    typically expected
   Recurring deviations or excessive variations of           2
    100 - 200% in strength and/or flow
   Recurring deviations or excessive variations of           4
    more than 200% in strength and/or flow
   Raw wastes subject to toxic waste discharges              6
   Acceptance of septage or truck-hauled waste               2

   Plant pumping of main flow                                3
   Screening, comminution                                    3
   Grit removal                                              3
   Equalization                                              1

   Clarifiers                                                5
   Imhoff tanks or similar                                   5

   Fixed film reactor                                       10
   Activated sludge                                         15
   Stabilization ponds w/o aeration                          5
   Stabilization ponds w/aeration                            8

   Polishing ponds for advanced waste treatment              2
   Chemical/physical advanced waste treatment w/o           15
   Chemical/physical advanced waste treatment               10
    following secondary
   Biological or chemical/biological advanced waste         12
   Nitrification by designed extended aeration only          2
   Ion exchange for advanced waste treatment                10
   Reverse osmosis, electrodialysis and other               15
    membrane filtration techniques
   Advanced waste treatment chemical recovery, carbon        4
   Media Filtration                                          5

   Chemical additions (2 pts./each for max. of 6 pts.)   2 - 6
   Dissolved air flotation (for other than sludge
   thickening)                                               8
   Intermittent sand filter                                  2
   Recirculating intermittent sand filter                    3
   Microscreens                                              5
   Generation of oxygen                                      5

   Solids conditioning                                       2
   Solids thickening (based on technology)               2 - 5
   Mechanical dewatering                                     8
   Anaerobic digestion of solids                            10
   Utilization of digester gas for heating                   5
    or cogeneration
   Aerobic digestion of solids                               6
   Evaporative sludge drying                                 2

   Solids reduction (including incineration, wet            12
   On-site landfill for solids                               2
   Solids composting                                        10
   Land application of biosolids by contractor               2
   Land application of biosolids under direction            10
    of facility operator in DRC

DISINFECTION (10 pt. max.)
   Chlorination or ultraviolet irradiation                   5
   Ozonation                                                10

   Mechanical Post aeration                                  2
   Direct recycle and reuse                                  6
   Land treatment and disposal (surface or subsurface)       4

   Use of SCADA or similar instrumentation systems
    to provide data with no process operation                0
   Use of SCADA or similar instrumentation systems
    to provide data with limited process operation           2
   Use of SCADA or similar instrumentation systems
    to provide data with moderate process operation          4
   Use of SCADA or similar instrumentation systems
    to provide data with extensive/total process operation   6

LABORATORY CONTROL (15 pt. max)(4)
   Bacteriological/biological (5 pt. max):
    Lab work done outside the plant                          0
    Membrane filter procedures                               3
    Use of fermentation tubes or any dilution                5
     method (or E. coli determination)
   Chemical/physical (10 pt. max):
    Lab work done outside the plant                          0
    Push-button, visual methods for simple tests             3
     (i.e. pH, settleable solids)
    Additional procedures (ie, DO, COD, BOD, gas             5
     analysis, titrations, solids volatile
    More advanced determinations (ie, specific               7
     constituents; nutrients, total oils,
    Highly sophisticated instrumentation (i.e.,             10
     atomic absorption, gas chromatography)

    (1)  1 point per 10,000 P.E. or part; maximum of 10 points
    (2)  1 point per MGD or part
    (3)  Key concept is frequency and/or intensity of  deviation
or excessive variation from normal or typical fluctuations; such
deviation may be in terms of strength, toxicity, shock loads,
inflow and infiltration, with point values ranging from 0 - 6.
    (4)  Key concept is to credit laboratory analyses done
on-site by plant personnel under the direction of the operator
in direct responsible charge with point values ranging
from 0 - 15.


R317-10-11. Certificates.

A. All certificates shall indicate one of the following grades for which they are issued.

1. Wastewater Treatment Operator - Grades I through IV.

2. Restricted Wastewater Treatment Operator - Grades I through IV.

3. Wastewater Collection Operator - Grades I through IV.

4. Restricted Wastewater Collection Operator - Grades I through IV.

5. Small Lagoon System Operator - Grade I Wastewater Treatment and Collection System Combined.

6. Restricted Small Lagoon System Operator - Grade I Wastewater Treatment and Collection System Combined.

B. An applicant shall have the opportunity to take any grade of examination. A restricted certificate shall be issued if the applicant passes the exam but lacks the experience or education required for a particular grade.

An unrestricted certificate shall be issued if the applicant passes the exam and the experience and education requirements appropriate to the particular grade are met. Restricted certificates shall become unrestricted when the appropriate experience and education requirements are met and a change in status fee is paid. A restricted certificate does not qualify a person as a certified operator at the grade level that the restricted certificate is issued, until the limiting conditions are met, except as provided in R317-10-5. Upon application, a restricted certificate may be renewed subject to the conditions in C below. Replacement certificates may be obtained by payment of a duplicate certificate fee.

C. Certificates shall continue in effect for a period of up to three years unless revoked prior to that time. The certificate must be renewed each three years by payment of a renewal fee and submittal of evidence of required CEUs. The certificates expire on December 31 of the last year of the certificate. Operators considered in DRC must renew by the expiration date in order for the wastewater works to remain in compliance with this rule. Request for renewal shall be made on forms supplied by the Council. It shall be the responsibility of the operator to make application for certificate renewal.

D. An expired certificate may be reinstated within [three months]one year after expiration by payment of a reinstatement fee. After [three months]one year, an expired certificate cannot be reinstated, and the operator must retest to become certified. The required CEUs for renewal must be accrued before expiration of the certificate. When unusual circumstances exist, an operator may petition the Council to request additional time to meet the requirements. Each petition will be considered on its own merits.

E. CEUs must be earned during the 3 year period prior to the expiration date of the certificate.

F. The Council may, after appropriate review, waive examination of applicants holding a valid certificate or license issued in compliance with other certification plans having equivalent standards, and issue a comparable Utah certificate upon payment of a reciprocity fee.

If the applicant is working in another state at the time of application, or has relocated to Utah but has not yet obtained employment in the wastewater field in Utah, a letter of intent to issue a certificate by reciprocity may be provided. When the applicant provides proof of employment in the wastewater field in Utah, and meets all other requirements, a certificate may be issued.

G. A grandfather certificate shall be issued, upon application and payment of an administrative fee, to qualified operators who must be certified (chief operators, supervisors, or anyone considered in direct responsible charge). The certificate shall be valid only for the wastewater works at which the operator is employed as that facility existed on March 16, 1991. Operators must obtain initial certification on or before March 16, 1994. The certificate may not be transferred to another facility or person. If the facility undergoes an addition of a new process, even if the facility classification does not change, or the collection system has a change in rating, the respective operator must obtain a restricted or unrestricted certificate within one year as specified in this rule.

Grandfather certificates shall be issued for a period of up to three years and must be renewed prior to the expiration date to remain in effect. Renewal shall include the payment of a renewal fee and submittal of evidence of required CEUs. The renewal fee shall be the same as that charged for renewal of other certificates. If the grandfather certificate is not renewed prior to the expiration date, the wastewater works may be considered to be out of compliance with this rule. The operator would then be required to pass the appropriate certification examination to become a certified operator.

The grandfather certificate shall be issued if the currently employed operator:

1. Was a chief operator or person in direct responsible charge of the wastewater works on March 16, 1991; and

2. Had been employed at least ten years in the operation of the wastewater works prior to March 16, 1991; and

3. Demonstrates to the Council his capability to operate the wastewater works at which he is employed by providing employment history and references.


KEY: water pollution, operator certification, wastewater treatment, renewals

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [October 22, 2007]2011

Notice of Continuation: October 2, 2007

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 19-5


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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Judy Etherington at the above address, by phone at 801-536-4344, by FAX at 801-536-4301, or by Internet E-mail at