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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.

Exams are multiple choice questions (with the exception of the wastewater - unique treatment systems exam). Wastewater exams are 50 questions each, with the exception of the advanced exam (100 questions), attached growth processes exam (25 questions), and the recirculating media filters exam (25 questions). Waterworks exams are 40 questions each with the exception of the surface water exam which is 80 questions. Septage exams are 40 questions. Landfill exams are 50 questions.

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.

Schedule for 2018

Exam datePostmark deadlineExam location(s)
February 7, 2018 January 10, 2018 Plover
May 2, 2018 April 4, 2018 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, West Allis and Plover
August 1, 2018 July 5, 2018 Plover
November 7, 2018 October 10, 2018 Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, West Allis and Plover


Exam registration for August is now closed. Applications for the November exam will be posted soon.

Landfill [PDF]

Municipal Water Supply [PDF]

Septage [PDF]

Small Water Systems (OTM/NN) [PDF]

Wastewater [PDF]

image of a test answer sheet

To register, operators must send an exam application with payment to the address on the application. The deadline to apply is October 10th, 2018. 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 [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.

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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: Tuesday August 21 2018