Implementing US EPA's Operator Certification Program for Small Drinking Water Systems in Virginia


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Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech researchers conducted a study to assist the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) in determining the policies and procedures necessary for the implementation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency final guidelines for the certification and recertification of small water system operators of community (CWS) and nontransient noncommunity public (NTNC) water systems serving under 3,300 people. A 42-question survey was developed and mailed to 2011 public water systems that serve 3,300 people or less.

Survey results revealed that small systems in Virginia encompassed a diverse group of waterworks and owners/operators. Significant differences were found when survey results were analyzed by the number of people served and system category. Systems serving less than 100 people tended to not have a licensed operator, not have a full time employee, not meter their customers, and not have an operations and maintenance budget. As the system size increased, the likelihood of each increased.

This research was supported by a grant from the Virginia Department of Health.



operator certification, small drinking water systems, operator training