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Reciprocity Information for Water and Wastewater Operators

The State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater Systems Operators may issue a Pennsylvania certification to an applicant holding a valid water and/or wastewater operator certification from another state, territory, the District of Columbia, or Board-approved registry.

The following are considered a Board-approved registry:
  1. The Association of Boards of Certification Registry.
  2. Discharge papers documenting water or wastewater system operation from the United States Military or United States Coast Guard.

An applicant for reciprocity shall be granted a certificate based upon meeting the experience requirement working at the highest comparable Pennsylvania class system. (Note: Up to 50 percent experience credit for bioperable status.) Applicants for reciprocity must meet the experience requirements for Track I as seen below. No credit for completion of an advanced education program will be provided to candidates for certification through reciprocity.

Class Definitions and Experience Requirements

  • Class A >5 MGD – must have worked at a Class A plant for 4 or more years
  • Class B >1 MGD but < 5 MGD – must have worked at a Class B or higher plant for at least 3 years
  • Class C >100,000 GPD but < 1 MGD – must have worked at a Class C or higher plant for at least 2 years
  • Class D < 100,000 – must have worked at a Class D or higher plant for at least 1 year
  • Class E – Must have worked at a distribution or collections system for at least 1 year
Technology subclassifications shall be granted for all appropriate technologies operated for a year or more, regardless of system size. An applicant for reciprocity must demonstrate he or she has a minimum of one year’s experience operating that specific technology.

An operator who lives and works in Pennsylvania can apply for reciprocity as long as they have a valid certificate from another state or from ABC. An operator cannot apply for reciprocity if the out of state license is expired.

If an operator previously held a Pennsylvania license that was revoked, suspended, or denied/expired due to insufficient continuing education, that operator cannot apply for reciprocity in Pennsylvania. Revocation or suspension of an operator's license is a formal action taken by the board after DEP petitions them. The conditions for when, or if, an operator can apply for re-certification will be defined within the board's formal action.

If an operator obtained a license through reciprocity and had their license denied/inactivated due to lack of continuing education and wants to become recertified, they must pass the appropriate exams and reapply to obtain a license in Pennsylvania. Click on the exam schedule to register for an exam.

To apply for reciprocity, go to the web page "Operator Certification Documents & Forms" and click on the link "Application for Certification through Reciprocity to Operate Water or Wastewater Systems." You may also obtain an application by contacting 717-787-5236.

Once issued a reciprocity license, operators must adhere to the continuing education requirement of their class license. Operators should only take DEP Approved training. Information on DEP-approved training can be found on DEP's EarthWise Academy.

See chart for continuing education requirements:
Operator Class Training Hours Required 
First 3−Yr Cycle
Training Hours Required 
Subsequent 3−Yr Cycles
A 15 30
B 15 30
C 15 30
D 8 15
E 8 15