Wastewater Operator Certification Program

Examination Waiver (Formally Known As Reciprocity)

Wastewater operators with valid, unexpired wastewater certifications from another state, U.S. Territory, or land under the jurisdiction of Indian tribe may apply for an examination waiver (according to the California Code of Regulations, title 23, division 3, chapter 26, section 3689).   Please note that the Wastewater Operator Certification Program (WWOCP) does not have formal reciprocity agreements with any other states.

An approved examination waiver application exempts the applicant from taking the WWOCP exam or submitting the applicable fee; however, they must submit a certification application and fee and an exam waiver application and fee.

No person may operate a wastewater treatment plant in California unless that person has been certified by the Wastewater Operator Certification Program (WWOCP) as a wastewater treatment plant operator.

Requirements for Examination Waiver

An applicant who holds a valid, unexpired certificate may receive an examination waiver if:

  1. The experience, education, examination requirements and enforcement capability of the *certifying body are comparable to the WWOCP’s requirements;
  2. The applicant meets the minimum education and qualifying experience requirements for the applicable grade level;
  3. The applicant has passed a written examination, administered by the certifying body, that is comparable to the examination given by the WWOCP for the applicable grade of operator certification; and
  4. The applicant completes both a certification application and an examination waiver and pays the certification and examination waiver fees.

*A certifying body can be a state or a tribal government that certifies or registers any person performing wastewater duties at a wastewater facility. The Indian tribe must provide a signed resolution from the governing body signifying that the responsibility of certification of their operators has been relinquished to the certifying body.

Applying for Examination Waiver

Submit the following items:

  1. A completed Examination Waiver application with an original signature;
  2. A completed Certification application with original signature;
  3. A copy of your valid, unexpired certificate issued by a certifying body; and
  4. A check or money order for the appropriate certification application fees
  5. A check or money order for the an examination waiver fee of $100 made payable and submit to the "State Water Resources Control Board" at the following address:

    State Water Resources Control Board
    Wastewater Operator Certification
    P.O. Box 944212
    1001 I Street, 17th Floor
    Sacramento, CA 94244-2120

Please note that the WWOCP can now accept online checking/savings account payments. Instructions are available on the WWOCP home webpage https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/operator_certification/operator_certification.html at the bottom of the page locate the Online Payments Section.

(Note: Application, certification, and examination waiver fees are not refundable.)

Questions or Comments?

If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Operator Certification by email at: wwopcertprogram@waterboards.ca.gov or by phone at (916) 341-5819.