KWEA Voluntary Certification Program for Water & Wastewater Operators

The Kansas Water Environment Association (KWEA), in collaboration with the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC), administers a voluntary certification program for a multitude of disciplines associated with water and wastewater treatment. Although certification for water and wastewater operators has been mandatory in the state of Kansas since 1975, mandatory certification is not a requirement for those working in support positions.

KWEA firmly believes that certification is necessary to ensure the protection of public health and the environment as it motivates employees to expand their knowledge and skills and thereby increases their competency in their respective disciplines. The benefit to the employee is that certification is a mechanism to demonstrate professionalism and competency, which brings with it the potential to open doors to advancement, higher wages, and greater recognition. The benefit to the employer is a more motivated, educated, and competent employee capable of making better workplace decisions.

Since the certification program began in 1990, it has been adopted by most of the large Kansas municipalities and has grown to more than 550 active certificate holders.

Program Administration

The program is administered through KWEA. Currently, the program provides certification levels in the following disciplines: Collection Systems, Distribution Systems, Water and Wastewater Laboratory Analysis, Industrial Pretreatment (Biological & Physical Plants), and Residuals Management.

In order to achieve certification, an individual must attain competency through study, training, and on-the-job experience. Once a minimum amount of experience has been gained, the individual must pass a written examination. Upon passing the written examination, KWEA issues a certificate to the individual. The certificate must be renewed every two years. Prior to renewal, operators must attain continuing education in some aspect of their area of certification.


KWEA is a member of the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) and maintains reciprocity with the ABC. In almost all cases, we honor certificates issued by states whose examinations are also reciprocal with ABC. If you have a certificate from an ABC-certified state, you can probably obtain a KWEA certificate. For states not reciprocating with ABC, reciprocity will not be awarded.