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NR 114.52(22)(a) (a) Facilities defined as private sewage systems in s. 145.01 (12), Stats.
NR 114.52(22)(b) (b) Pretreatment facilities which discharge to a public sewer system for treatment.
NR 114.52(22)(c) (c) Industrial wastewater treatment which consists solely of a land disposal system.
NR 114.52(22)(d) (d) Digesters at agricultural operations that reuse, recycle or landspread the treated wastes.
NR 114.52(22)(e) (e) Concentrated aquatic production facilities (fish hatcheries) in which no biological treatment process is utilized.
NR 114.52(23) (23)“WPDES permit" means a permit issued to a publicly owned treatment plant under s. 283.31, Stats., for the purposes of controlling pollutant discharge.
NR 114.52 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15; correction in (7) (intro.) made under s. 35.17, Stats., Register June 2014 No. 702.
NR 114.53 NR 114.53General requirements.
NR 114.53(1)(1)Every WPDES permitted treatment plant shall have a designated operator-in-charge holding a current and valid certificate pursuant to this subchapter. The designated operator-in-charge shall be certified at the level and in all subclasses of the treatment plant, except laboratory. Treatment plant owners shall notify the department of any changes in the operator-in-charge within 30 days.
NR 114.53(2) (2)Owners of treatment plants, which includes both the treatment plant and sanitary sewage collection system to it, shall have a designated collection system operator-in-charge for sanitary sewage collection systems. The designated operator-in-charge shall have passed and be certified in the sanitary sewage collection system subclass. For owners of satellite sanitary sewage collections systems, collection system operator certification is voluntary.
NR 114.53(3) (3)All wastewater treatment plants holding a WPDES permit that have a registered or certified laboratory shall have at least one operator that works in the laboratory certified at the basic level in the laboratory subclass.
NR 114.53(4) (4)Upon a change in a wastewater treatment plant's classifications caused by the addition of a new subclass listed in s. NR 114.56 (4), the operator-in-charge shall have 12 months to pass the necessary subclass examinations and to gain the one year of subclass specific experience.
NR 114.53(5) (5)Upon a change in a wastewater treatment plant's level of operations from basic to advanced, the operator-in-charge shall have 36 months to obtain advanced certification, provided the person is making earnest efforts towards advanced certification and that the treatment plant is in compliance with all terms and conditions of its WPDES permit.
NR 114.53(6) (6)Owners of basic wastewater treatment plants, in the event of the unexpected loss of the operator-in-charge, may designate an operator-in-training certified in all subclasses of the plant as the operator-in-charge for a period up to twelve months.
NR 114.53(7) (7)Owners of advanced wastewater treatment plants, in the event of the unexpected loss of the designated operator-in-charge, shall ensure the continued proper operation and maintenance of the treatment plant by another advanced certified operator in all subclasses of the plant.
NR 114.53 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15.
NR 114.54 NR 114.54Examinations and applications.
NR 114.54(1)(1)Examinations, education and on-the-job experience shall be used to determine knowledge, skill, and the ability of the applicant to perform duties at a wastewater treatment plant. A score of 75% or higher shall be a passing score on each examination. An applicant desiring to be certified to perform duties at a wastewater treatment plant shall submit a completed exam application to the department at least 28 days prior to the established date of the written examination. The applicant shall submit the completed application on an application form provided by the department. Fees as listed in s. NR 114.55 shall accompany the application.
NR 114.54 Note Note: The application form is available on the following website: or by writing to the Department of Natural Resources, Operator Certification Program, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.
NR 114.54(2) (2)Written examinations shall be conducted on week days at least 2 times annually in locations specified by the department.
NR 114.54(3) (3)Basic examinations shall consist of 25 to 50 questions specific to the subclass. The wastewater treatment plant advanced examination shall consist of 100 questions with content from all subclasses.
NR 114.54(4) (4)Examinations shall not be issued to applicants who have not properly registered 28 days prior to the examination date, or fail to identify themselves on request.
NR 114.54(5) (5)Examinations shall not be returned to an examinee. Examination results shall be mailed to the examinee within 60 days of the examination date.
NR 114.54(6) (6)Applicants who fail to pass a written examination may apply to the department for reexamination at a subsequent scheduled examination.
NR 114.54(7) (7)The department shall provide study guides pertaining to each subclass.
NR 114.54(8) (8)A wastewater treatment plant operator shall take and successfully complete the general wastewater examination and subclass examinations to become an operator-in-training in each subclass.
NR 114.54(9) (9)A wastewater treatment plant operator shall take and successfully complete the requirements of sub. (8) and meet one-year subclass-specific experience to become a basic level operator in a subclass.
NR 114.54(10) (10)A wastewater treatment plant operator may take the wastewater treatment advanced certification examination to earn four points towards advanced certification according to the table in s. NR 114.57 (1) (c).
NR 114.54 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15.
NR 114.55 NR 114.55Fees.
NR 114.55(1)(1)Fees for certification shall be as follows:
NR 114.55(1)(a) (a) Each basic examination     $ 25.00
NR 114.55(1)(b) (b) Advanced examination     $ 50.00
NR 114.55(1)(c) (c) Advanced certification application   $100.00
NR 114.55(1)(d) (d) Certification renewal     $ 45.00
NR 114.55(1)(e) (e) Late renewal penalty     $ 25.00
NR 114.55(1)(f) (f) Reciprocity application     $100.00
NR 114.55(2) (2)Fees shall accompany completed application forms. Fees are non-refundable.
NR 114.55(3) (3)Certifications shall be renewed every 3 years. The renewal fee is due no later than the expiration date of the certificate. A late renewal penalty fee shall be assessed for any renewal application postmarked after the expiration date.
NR 114.55 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15.
NR 114.56 NR 114.56Classification of wastewater treatment plants.
NR 114.56(1)(1)Each wastewater treatment plant shall be assigned a basic or advanced rating. An advanced wastewater treatment plant is one that meets any one of the following criteria:
NR 114.56(1)(a) (a) Is a mechanical plant with an annual average design flow greater than 1.0 MGD.
NR 114.56(1)(b) (b) Has a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) limit of 10 mg/L or less.
NR 114.56(1)(c) (c) Has surface water limits for total phosphorus or total nitrogen and utilizes a biological nutrient removal process.
NR 114.56(1)(d) (d) Uses a tertiary phosphorus removal process to achieve ultralow phosphorus limits.
NR 114.56(1)(e) (e) Is a municipal treatment plant that receives wastewater from a major contributing industry.
NR 114.56(1)(f) (f) Is a municipal treatment plant that produces Class A biosolids.
NR 114.56(2) (2)Wastewater treatment plants that do not meet any of the criteria in s. NR 114.56 (1) shall be classified as a basic facility.
NR 114.56(3) (3)Wastewater treatment plants that utilize special or unique biological, physical, chemical, or other unique treatment methods shall have an operator certified in subclass U.
NR 114.56(4) (4)Thirteen wastewater treatment plant subclasses are established in Table 1.
Table 1
Wastewater Treatment Plant Categories and Subclasses - See PDF for table PDF
NR 114.56 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15.
NR 114.57 NR 114.57Qualifications and level of wastewater treatment plant operators.
NR 114.57(1)(1)Two levels and 13 subclasses of wastewater treatment plant operators are established. Operator subclasses are the same as plant subclasses listed in Table 1. To qualify for certification at a given level and subclass, a person shall meet the appropriate examination, education and experience requirements.
NR 114.57(1)(a) (a) Operator-in-training. To qualify for operator-in-training in a specific subclass, a person shall pass the basic general wastewater examination and a basic subclass examination.
NR 114.57(1)(b) (b) Basic level. To qualify for basic certification in a specific subclass, a person shall pass the basic general wastewater examination, the specific subclass exam and have one year of satisfactory experience in that subclass.
NR 114.57(1)(c) (c) Advanced Level. An advanced certification point system is established in Table 2. To qualify for advanced certification in a given subclass, a person shall have earned a total of 10 points and met the requirements of s. NR 114.57 (1) (b). Of the 10 points, 4 to 6 years of experience accounts for 4 to 6 points. A minimum of 4 points of experience is required. Six points is the maximum number of points that may be given for experience.
Table 2
Advanced Certification Point System - See PDF for table PDF
NR 114.57(2) (2)A person shall submit an advanced certification application provided by the department documenting education, experience and the advanced certification points earned. Diplomas or certificates showing successful education completion shall be attached to the application. Transcripts highlighting wastewater related classwork shall also be attached. Applicants shall be notified of the status of their advanced certification with 90 days of receipt of a complete application.
NR 114.57(3) (3)The department shall establish and update a list of eligible advanced course offerings by September 1 of each year. Trainers shall submit an application provided by the department for approval of advanced courses by no later than June 1 of each year. Trainers of listed courses shall annually renew their course application by June 1 each year and notify the department of any changes in course content. An advanced course of 18 to 19 hours may be eligible for .5 points if listed by the department.
NR 114.57(4) (4)A general wastewater examination is not required for unique treatment systems (subclass U) or sanitary sewage collection systems (subclass SS) basic certifications.
NR 114.57(5) (5)Upon development and availability of the sanitary sewage collection system subclass SS study guide and examination, and at the time of permit reissuance, collection system operators shall have a permit term of 5 years to obtain collection system certification.
NR 114.57 History History: CR 13-054: cr., except (3), Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15, cr. (3) eff. 7-1-14.
NR 114.58 NR 114.58Certificate issuance, renewal and continuing education.
NR 114.58(1)(1)Upon satisfactory fulfillment of the qualifications required by this subchapter, the department shall issue a certificate to a person indicating the certification level and subclasses for which the person has qualified.
NR 114.58(2) (2)All certificates shall expire 3 years from the date of issuance. Certificates may be updated to show additional examinations passed, additional experience gained and changes in certification level and classifications, but the expiration date shall not change. Updating a certificate shall not extend nor change the expiration date. Certificates shall only be renewed subject to the requirements of sub. (3).
NR 114.58(3) (3)A person who desires to renew a certificate shall submit evidence of having met the continuing education requirements under sub. (4) on forms provided by the department. Training or courses must be approved by the department. These may include, but are not limited to courses sponsored by the department, university, technical college, technical sessions at meetings of professional organizations, in-house training, and on-line training classes that are wastewater related. Failure to successfully complete and document the required number of hours of continuing education training within the 3-year period shall result in rejection of a certificate renewal application.
NR 114.58(4) (4)Renewal applications shall meet the following continuing education requirements:
NR 114.58(4)(a) (a) Operators-in-training and basic wastewater treatment plant certified operators require 18 hours per 3-year renewal period.
NR 114.58(4)(b) (b) Advanced wastewater treatment plant operators require 24 hours per 3-year renewal period.
NR 114.58(4)(c) (c) Wastewater treatment plant operators may use up to 6 hours of health and safety training per 3-year renewal period.
NR 114.58(4)(d) (d) Operators-in-training and basic wastewater treatment plant operators may use up to 3 hours of supervisor or management training per 3-year renewal period. Advanced wastewater treatment plant operators may use up to 6 hours of supervisor or management training per 3-year renewal period.
NR 114.58(5) (5)A person whose certificate has expired may within one year of expiration, be reinstated by paying the renewal fee, the late penalty fee and fulfilling the continuing education requirements. A person not renewing within the one year period shall have to re-take the basic subclass examinations. To regain advanced certification, the basic examinations must be passed and the person shall have to reapply for advanced level certification.
NR 114.58(6) (6)Certificates may be issued through reciprocity, without examination, to a comparable level and subclass to any person who holds a current wastewater treatment plant operator certificate in any state, territory or possession of the United States, or any country, if in the judgment of the department, the person requesting comparable certification meets the equivalent requirements of this subchapter in examinations, education, and experience.
NR 114.58 History History: CR 13-054: cr. Register June 2014 No. 702, eff. 7-1-15.
NR 114.59 NR 114.59Sanctions.
NR 114.59(1)(1)The department may, on its own motion, make investigations and conduct hearings and may, on its own motion or on a signed and verified written complaint, revoke, suspend or refuse to renew any operator's certificate, or reprimand the operator if the department finds that the holder of the certificate has done any of the following:
NR 114.59(1)(a) (a) Made a material misstatement in the application for certification or any application for a renewal of certification.
NR 114.59(1)(b) (b) Demonstrated incompetence to operate the type of facility or subclass for which the certificate was issued.
NR 114.59(1)(c) (c) Bypassed sewage from a treatment plant without notifying the department as required by the WPDES permit.
NR 114.59(1)(d) (d) Failed to comply with any other provision requiring department notification in the facility's WPDES permit.
NR 114.59(1)(e) (e) Tampered with or manipulated any samples to misrepresent the actual sample results.
NR 114.59(1)(f) (f) Falsified any monitoring, operating or other records submitted to the department.
NR 114.59(1)(g) (g) By intentional or negligent action, caused or significantly contributed to a violation of any provision of ch. 281 or 283, Stats. or any administrative codes, permits, or orders adopted or issued under those chapters.
NR 114.59(1)(h) (h) Used deception or any form of dishonesty when writing examinations, or removed examination materials from the examination site.
NR 114.59(2) (2)Notice of revocation of, suspension of, or refusal to renew a certificate shall be served on the certified operator and shall state the reasons for revocation, suspension, or refusal to renew.
Published under s. 35.93, Stats. Updated on the first day of each month. Entire code is always current. The Register date on each page is the date the chapter was last published.