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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.

2019 Exam Schedule

Exam datePostmark deadlineExam location(s)
February 6, 2019 January 9, 2019 Plover
May 1, 2019 April 3, 2019 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, West Allis and Plover
August 7, 2019 July 5, 2019 Plover
November 6, 2019 October 9, 2019 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, West Allis and Plover


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.

The next exam date is November 6, 2019. Applications will be posted on this web page at the end of August.

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 [PDF] 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 [PDF] for more information.

Last revised: Friday August 16 2019