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Public Water System Operators: What Applicants for Licensing Need to Know

Preparing for the licensing exams for public water system operators.

This page will assist you in preparing for your licensing exam and your daily job activities. Select the class and type of license you are applying for in the list below to find the information you should know before taking the licensing exam.

Need-to-Know Criteria for Class D Water Operators
SubjectThe Class D Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Be familiar with the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ), for systems serving less than 250 connections.
Safety Be able to identify safety hazards in the work environment; know proper safety procedures and uses of safety equipment.
General Know: the major responsibilities of licensed operators in relation to public-health principles and goals; the types of potential waterborne diseases; the procedures and requirements for bacteriological sampling; proper public and customer relations procedures; definitions of the types of physical and chemical characteristics of water; the hydrologic cycle; sources of drinking water; types of required recordkeeping activities; general types of contaminants of drinking water; the requirements for conducting customer service inspections.
Groundwater Know: sources of well contamination and general methods of well protection; major components of wells and each component’s function; general knowledge of well pumps and motors; general purposes of various groundwater treatment processes.
Surface Water Know: sources of surface water and characteristics of good-quality water; major components of a surface water plant and the treatment processes used in treating surface water
Storage/Distribution Know: purposes of various types of storage reservoirs; components of distribution system; types and general purposes of various meters, pumps, motors, valves and pipes; be familiar with various types of cross-connections and have general knowledge of backflow-prevention assemblies.
Disinfection Know: startup, shutdown, and safety procedures for chlorinators and other disinfection equipment, the various forms, uses, hazards, characteristics and types of storage of chlorine; basic reactions of chlorine in water; first aid procedures for victims of chlorine gas; how to test for chlorine residual.
Math Know how to: use common conversion units from a table of equivalents; solve basic water utility math problems using area, volume, and chemical dosage formulas.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class C Water Distribution Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class D Criteria, the Class C Water Distribution System Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Be familiar with the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ),for public water supplies; know the objectives of public health laws ( Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 341 Exit the TCEQ), rules, and regulations.
Safety Know: safe procedures for self and other employees engaged in waterworks operations; basic first-aid procedures; traffic-control safety procedures; trench-safety procedures.
General Know: diseases caused by waterborne organisms; basic chemistry concepts related to distribution systems; sources and significance of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of surface water and groundwater; requirements for recordkeeping and reporting activities; sanitation and disinfection requirements related to distribution system construction; methods of preventing cross connections; bacteriological and chemical sampling requirements. Interpret lab results for bacteriological analyses.
Distribution Compare various types of storage; know purposes of storage; maintenance, inspection and disinfection procedures for storage and distribution facilities; know causes and effects of corrosion in storage and distribution systems; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, and safety procedures for the following: meters, flushing equipment, hydrants, construction and installation equipment, pumps, motors and generators, pipes and joints, valves and fittings, backflow-prevention devices; leak-detection procedures; critical safeguards of distribution systems.
Disinfection Know: steps involved in sampling for coliform bacteria; relationship between chlorine dosage, demand, and residual and significance of each; hazards of chlorine gas; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, startup and shutdown procedures and safety procedures for chlorinators and other disinfection equipment.
Math Know how to solve problems involving dosage; detention time; construction and maintenance activities.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class C Groundwater Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class D Criteria, the Class C Groundwater Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Be familiar with the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ), for public water supplies; know the objectives of public health laws ( Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 341 Exit the TCEQ), rules and regulations.
Safety Know: safe procedures for self and other employees engaged in waterworks operations; basic first-aid procedures; traffic-control safety procedures, trench safety procedures.
General Know: diseases caused by waterborne organisms; basic chemistry concepts related to groundwater treatment; sources and significance of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of groundwater; basic hydraulic concepts related to groundwater movement and wells; requirements for record-keeping and reporting activities; sanitation and disinfection requirements related to well construction and development; methods of preventing cross connections; bacteriological and chemical sampling requirements.
Production/Treatment Know: objectives and methods used in production/treatment of groundwater; purpose, components, safety procedures, operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, and startup and shutdown procedures for the following: aerators, chemical feeders, chlorinators, fluoridation equipment, pumps, motors, and instrumentation. Study should include well-construction and development procedures and techniques.
Storage/Distribution Compare various types of storage; know purposes of storage; maintenance, inspection and disinfection procedures for storage and distribution facilities; causes and effects of corrosion in storage and distribution systems; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, and safety procedures for the following: meters, flushing equipment, hydrants, construction and installation equipment, pumps, motors and generators pipes and joints, valves and fittings; leak detection procedures; critical safeguards of distribution systems.
Disinfection Know: steps involved in sampling for coliform bacteria; relationship between chlorine dosage, demand, and residual and significance of each; hazards of chlorine gas; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, startup and shutdown procedures and safety procedures for chlorinators and other disinfection equipment.
Math Know how to solve problems involving dosage; detention time; static, pumping, and drawdown levels; construction and maintenance activities.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class C Surface Water Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class D Criteria, the Class C Surface Water Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Be familiar with the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ), for public water supplies; know the objectives of public health laws ( Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 341 Exit the TCEQ), rules and regulations.
Safety Know safe procedures for self and other employees engaged in waterworks operations; basic first-aid procedures; traffic-control safety procedures; trench safety procedures.
General Know: diseases caused by waterborne organisms; basic chemistry concepts related to surface water treatment; sources and significance of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of surface water; requirements for record-keeping and reporting activities; sanitation and disinfection requirements related to surface water production; methods of preventing cross connections; methods of water softening; bacteriological and chemical sampling requirements.
Treatment/Production Know: objectives and methods used in treating surface water; factors affecting pretreatment, taste and odor formation, coagulation and flocculation, jar tests, turbidity, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection and trihalomethane formation; the purpose, components, safety procedures, operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures and startup and shutdown procedures for the following: aerators, chemical feeders, flocculating equipment, sedimentation basins, filtration equipment, fluoridation equipment, pumps, motors and instrumentation; proper sludge disposal methods.
Storage/Distribution Compare various types of storage; know: purposes of storage; maintenance, inspection and disinfection procedures for storage and distribution facilities; causes and effects of corrosion in storage and distribution systems; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, and safety procedures for the following: meters, flushing equipment, hydrants, construction and installation equipment, pumps, motors and generators, pipes and joints, valves and fittings; leak detection procedures; critical safeguards of distribution systems.
Disinfection Know: steps involved in sampling for coliform bacteria; relationship between chlorine dosage, demand and residual; and significance of each; hazards of chlorine gas; operating procedures, preventive and corrective maintenance procedures, startup and shutdown procedures and safety procedures for chlorinators and other disinfection equipment.
Math Know how to solve problems involving dosage, detention time, filter rates, construction and maintenance activities.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class B Water Distribution Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class C Water Distribution Criteria, the Class B Water Distribution Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Have a thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ), with emphasis on distribution systems. Be familiar with proposed EPA rules Exit the TCEQ and regulations.
Safety Be able to implement a safety program in the workplace, conduct tailgate safety sessions, be familiar with the (Texas Hazard Communication Act Exit the TCEQ); know lab hazards, lab precautions, traffic, confined spaces, and shoring safety.
General Know basic concepts regarding employee supervision and requirements for maintenance of a distribution system.
Laboratory Know steps in performing basic chemical-laboratory analyses; be able to interpret results of the lab tests and make proper adjustments; be familiar with methods used in bacteriological examinations.
Storage/Distribution Be able to diagnose and correct complex problems regarding storage and distribution. Have a basic knowledge of meters, valves, and how pumps operate.
Disinfection Be able to optimize chlorine usage in the distribution system and have a thorough understanding of chlorine properties, chlorine reactions in water, and factors affecting disinfection.
Math Know how to solve more difficult problems regarding dosage, flow rates, construction and maintenance activities, horsepower, and laboratory calculations.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class B Groundwater Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class C Groundwater Criteria, the Class B Groundwater Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Have a thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A Exit the TCEQ), Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems and Drinking Water Standards ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ). Be familiar with proposed EPA rules Exit the TCEQ and regulations.
Safety Be able to implement a safety program in the workplace; conduct tailgate safety sessions; be familiar with the (Texas Hazard Communication Act Exit the TCEQ); know lab hazards and lab precautions; know shoring requirements.
General Know: basic concepts regarding employee supervision; well construction requirements and well development procedures; causes of unstable water, methods of measuring corrosiveness, and procedures used to control corrosion.
Treatment/Production Be able to diagnose and correct complex problems in groundwater treatment processes.
Laboratory Know steps in performing basic chemical laboratory analyses; be able to interpret results of lab tests and make proper adjustments to treatment processes; be familiar with methods used in bacteriological examinations.
Storage/Distribution Be able to diagnose and correct complex problems regarding storage and distribution.
Disinfection Be able to optimize chlorine usage in the water system; have a thorough understanding of chlorine properties, chlorine reactions in water, and factors affecting disinfection; have a thorough understanding of chlorinator components.
Math Know how to solve more difficult problems regarding dosage, detention time, flow rates, horsepower and laboratory calculations.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class B Surface Water Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class C Surface Water Criteria, the Class B Surface Water Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Have a thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations regarding licensing ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter A ( Exit the TCEQ), "Public Water System Operators and Operations Companies" ( 30 TAC Chapter 30, Subchapter K Exit the TCEQ), "Rules and Regulations for Public Water Systems" ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter D Exit the TCEQ), and "Drinking Water Standards" ( 30 TAC Chapter 290, Subchapter F Exit the TCEQ). Be familiar with proposed (EPA rules Exit the TCEQ) EPA rules and regulations.
Safety Be able to implement a safety program in the workplace; conduct tailgate safety sessions; be familiar with the (Texas Hazard Communication Act Exit the TCEQ); know lab hazards and lab precautions, know shoring requirements.
General Know: basic concepts regarding employee supervision; causes of unstable water, methods of measuring corrosiveness, and procedures used to control corrosion; problems associated with thermal stratification and how to correct them.
Treatment/Production Be able to diagnose and correct complex problems in surface water treatment processes.
Laboratory Know steps in performing basic chemical laboratory analyses; be able to interpret results of lab tests and make proper adjustments to treatment processes; be familiar with methods used in bacteriological examinations.
Storage/Production Be able to diagnose and correct complex problems regarding storage and distribution.
Disinfection Be able to optimize chlorine usage in the water system; have a thorough understanding of chlorine properties, chlorine reactions in water, and factors affecting disinfection; have a thorough understanding of chlorinator components.
Math Know how to solve more difficult problems regarding dosage, detention time, flow rates, horsepower and laboratory calculations.

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Need-to-Know Criteria for
Class A Water Operators
SubjectIn Addition to Knowledge of the Class B Groundwater, Water Distribution, and Surface Water Criteria, the Class A Water Operator Should:
Rules/Regulations Be knowledgeable of proposed and current (EPA rules Exit the TCEQ) and their implications for public water systems.
Safety Be able to develop safety programs for waterworks operators. Know responsibilities of employer and employee in regard to safety in the work place.
General Know: the health significance of various chemicals when found in water in excess of required or recommended limits: how to plan, organize and implement corrosion control programs; how to plan, organize and implement an emergency management program related to disaster preparedness; how to develop and implement energy and water conservation programs; types of water-borne diseases infectious agents, modes of transmission and methods of control; how to interpret pump curves.
Management Know techniques used in managing a water system and supervising its employees. Be able to plan, organize, staff, direct and control the operations of a public water system.
Treatment/Production Know how to implement special treatment process related to fluoridation, stabilization, softening, desalination, iron and manganese problems, control of trace organics, and taste and odor control.
Disinfection Know alternative methods of disinfection of public water supplies.
Math Know how to solve all types of calculation problems encountered in water system operations.

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