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The exams previously scheduled on May 6, 2020 have been cancelled, for ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, drinking water, wastewater, septage, landfill and incineration as well as ch. NR 146, Wis. Adm. Code, licensed well drillers and pump installers. Credit will be issued to applications that have been processed and non-processed checks will be returned. Exams have been scheduled to be held statewide on August 5, 2020, in 6 locations and you will need to reapply for that exam period and location.

March 20, 2020: Important notice

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and Governor Evers' Executive Order #72 declaring a public health emergency, DNR is currently evaluating continuing education, certification/license renewal and exam requirements for ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, drinking water, wastewater, septage, landfill and incineration operators, as well as ch. NR 146, Wis. Adm. Code, licensed well drillers and pump installers. More detailed information about program requirements during the public health emergency will be available in coming weeks.

The DNR is pursuing the legal process to temporarily suspend ch. NR 114, Wis. Adm. Code, requirements and intends to provide significant flexibility in allowing for operators to complete their critical public health work without being burdened by certification renewal and continuing education requirements at this time. Please check the respective DNR program webpages for new information and reach out to your DNR facility contact if you have any questions or concerns. The DNR greatly appreciates your efforts for completing critical public health work during this challenging time.

Ch. NR 114, 499 and 524 Wis. Adm. Code require an individual to pass one or more exam in order to become a certified operator. These exams are provided by the department at least two times annually in various locations. See the schedule below for more details.

All exams are multiple choice. The one exception is the wastewater unique treament exam, which is short answer. The majority of wastewater exams are 50 questions in length. The wastewater advanced exam is 100 questions and the attached growth process, recirculating media filters and total nitrogen exams are 25 questions each. All municipal waterworks exams are 40 questions. The one exception is the surface water exam, which is 80 questions. Septage exams are 40 questions and landfill exams are 50 questions each.

Each exam date has a morning and afternoon session. Each session is three hours in length. An applicant may split up their exams between the morning and afternoon session. If you are taking exams at both times, please indicate on the exam application which exams you would like to take during each session.

A score of 75 percent or higher is a passing score for waterworks, wastewater, septage, and small water systems (OTM/NN) exams. A score of 70 percent or higher is a passing score for landfill exams.

Exam results will be mailed to each applicant normally within 30 days of the date of the exam. Applicants who have failed a written exam may apply to re–take the exam at any future exam date by completing an application and paying the exam fee.

Additional information, including study guides, can be found under the various program certification tabs.

2020 Exam Schedule

Application available Postmark deadline Exam date Exam location(s)
November 27, 2019 January 8, 2020 February 5, 2020 Plover
February 26, 2020 April 8, 2020 May 6, 2020 CANCELED
May 27, 2020 July 8, 2020 August 5, 2020 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake and Plover
August 26, 2020 October 7, 2020 November 4, 2020 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, West Allis and Plover

Renew Online

You can now renew wastewater, waterworks and small water systems certification online.


The Operator Certification program is continuing to provide additional quarterly exams in February and August. These opportunities are in addition to the main exam dates in May and November. They are open to all operators and registration will be on a first come, first served basis. Applications will be accepted until the exam site is full.

image of a test answer sheet

The exam applications for May 6, 2020 are now available.

To register, operators must send an exam application with payment to the address on the application. The deadline to apply is April 8, 2020. All registered applicants will receive a confirmation letter in the mail.

Note: The Social Security Number Collection Request Form (page 2 of the exam application) only needs to be completed if it is the first time an applicant is taking an operator certification exam.

View the exam application instructions for more detailed information on how to complete the exam application. Exam fees may be paid by check or money order. Sorry, no credit cards.

Veterans fee waiver program

Veterans may apply for a one-time fee waiver to be used towards exam fees. Refer to the veterans fee waiver program information for more information.

Last revised: Monday April 06 2020