Nova Scotia’s operator certification program dates back to 1984, when it was a voluntary program. Operator certification became mandatory in 1996 and further requirements and guidance were introduced in 2005, including the need to renew certificates. The requirements for persons operating classified water and wastewater facilities in Nova Scotia are described in the Water and Wastewater Facilities and Public Drinking Water Supplies Regulations.
The operator certification program is required to ensure that operators have the necessary training and experience to operate a system for the protection of human health and the environment.
The benefits of a certification program include:
- Measure of competency
- Meets a national standard
- Provides some assurance of public safety
- Employee pride and recognition
- Reciprocity (ability to move between Provinces)
The regulations state an "operator" means a person who directs, adjusts, inspects, tests or evaluates an operation or a process that controls the effectiveness or efficiency of a facility.
An operator can become certified in the following categories of facilities in Nova Scotia:
- Water Treatment
- Water Distribution
- Wastewater Collection
- Wastewater Treatment
Each type of certificate may be issued in one of the following classes:
- Class I
- Class II
- Class III
- Class IV
To reach the level of Class I an operator must first complete one year of experience at a classified facility. Since only certified operators may operate these facilities the Operator in Training (OIT) certificate was developed to bridge that experience gap. More information on the OIT process is provided in the OIT brochure.
Operator in Training (OIT) brochure (PDF: 92k)
To be qualified for certification a combination of education and experience is required. For level 3 and 4 certifications a portion of the experience must be direct responsible charge (DRC) experience. DRC means direct responsibility for a process that controls the effectiveness or efficiency of a facility. Once these requirements are met a person is eligible to write a certification exam.
|Class||Acceptable Operating Experience||Education||Post-Secondary Education|
|OIT||-||-||Grade 12, GED or equivalent||-|
|Class I||OIT||1 year at Class I or higher facility||Grade 12, GED or equivalent||-|
|Class II||I||3 years at Class I or higher facility||Grade 12, GED or equivalent||-|
|Class III||II||4 years at a Class II or higher facility, including 2 years of DRC||Grade 12, GED or equivalent||2 years or 90 CEUs of acceptable education or training|
|Class IV||III||4 years at a Class III or higher facility, including 2 years of DRC||Grade 12, GED or equivalent||4 years or 180 CEUs of acceptable education or training|
Substitutions are available if an operator is short on experience or education. The substitutions are shown below. Applications for certification must clearly indicate that substitutions are being requested and outline what substitutions are being used.
Failure to do so may result in an application being rejected as incomplete.
|Education or training||May be substituted for||Limit|
|1 year of post secondary||1 year of operating or DRC experience (Class II, III, and IV only)||Up to 50% of required experience|
|45 CEUs of specialized operator training||1 year of operating or DRC experience (Class II, III, and IV only)||Up to 50% of required experience|
|Experience||May be substituted for||Limit|
|1 year of operating or DRC experience||2 years of education (Grade 1 to 8)||None|
|1 year of operating or DRC experience||1 year of education (Grade 9 to 12)||None|
|For Class III, 1 year of DRC (only) experience in Class II or higher||1 year of post secondary||1 year|
|For Class IV, 1 year of DRC (only) experience in Class III or higher||1 year of post secondary||2 year|
|45 CEUs of specialized operator training||1 year of post secondary||None|
Any education used to substitute for experience cannot be used to fulfill education requirements, and vice versa.