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Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program

Certified operators play a vital role in protecting public health by providing safe drinking water to the public. EPA established the National Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program to provide certification opportunities for personnel operating public drinking water systems in Indian country.

Various classes of certification are available to operators who meet the requirements:

  • Very Small Water System Operator
  • Class I-IV Water Treatment Operator; and, or
  • Class I-IV Water Distribution Operator.

EPA’s National Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program, offers certification at no cost to water system personnel. For information on how you can get certification through EPA’s program please contact your Regional Tribal Drinking Water Direct Implementation Coordinator.

All community water systems and non-transient non-community water systems are required be operated by qualified or certified operators. Certain National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWRs) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) also required transient non-community water systems to have a qualified orcertified operator.

The 2013 EPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside Program Revised Guidelines specifies that any system receiving Drinking Water Infrastructure Grants Tribal Set-Aside (DWIG TSA) funds must be operated by certified operators.

For more information on EPA’s National Tribal Drinking Water Operator Certification Program; or how to establish your own program for drinking water system operators in Indian country please refer to:

EPA recognizes operator certification provided by a state with an approved operator certification program as meeting the requirements of this program. Additionally, EPA recognizes other approved providers:

  • United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) 
  • The Intertribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)