Compliance with Operator Requirements


Properly certified operators are essential for public water systems (PWSs) to provide safe, high-quality drinking water to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Because of the vital role operators play in protecting public health, there are regulatory requirements for water systems to be properly staffed by qualified operators.

Kentucky requires that all drinking water operators be certified by the Kentucky Certification and Licensing Branch. To be in responsible charge of a PWS, the operator must hold a valid certificate in a class equal to or higher than that required for the system under their supervision (401 KAR 8:030 Section 1). Water system operators are also required to update their employment with the Cabinet.  This can now be easily done via the Kentucky Online Gateway using eForm 136.

The Stage 1 Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Rule under the Safe Drinking Water Act requires that PWSs be operated by qualified operators that meet State requirements and are included on a State register of qualified operators (40 CFR 141.130(c)).

If operator staffing deficiencies are observed during site visits at a PWS, the Division of Water can issue both a state and federal violation to that PWS. The Stage 1 DBP rule violation is a Treatment Technique violation that requires tier 2 (30 day) public notification. All violations remain open until the PWS can demonstrate that the system is properly staffed with qualified operators.

If a PWS is unsure of the operator staffing or certification requirements for their system, please reach out to your regional office inspector. Contact information for each of DOW’s ten regional offices can be found here.

Information about becoming a certified operator, training and exam schedules, and other resources for operator certification can be found on the EEC website at the following link:

Kentucky Operator Certification Program - Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet