Wastewater Operator Licensing Program

Enforcement Branch employees oversee the Wastewater Operator Licensing Program, traveling the state to test and license operators of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants.

All wastewater treatment plants must have a licensed operator. Requirements for the licensing of wastewater treatment plant operators were established by Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Regulation 3. DEQ posts training opportunities and maintains a searchable database for licensed wastewater operators in the state.

Wastewater Operator Licenses

Operators qualify for licenses by completing approved training and passing an examination. License types include Class I, II, III, and IV for municipal facilities; Basic and Advanced levels for industrial facilities.


Free Webinar Training for Wastewater Operators

Technical Assistance Webinar Series: Improving CWA-NPDES Permit Compliance | US EPA

Note: Past Recorded Webinars Certificates of Completion are NOT issued for viewing past recorded webinars.

  • Renewal statements are mailed to operators' employers, unless otherwise requested.
  • Licenses expire and renewals are due by June 30 of odd years. There is a 30-day grace period after the expiration date before a late charge goes into effect.
  • To renew licenses, operators must submit all training hours taken toward license renewal on the Training Hours Submittal Form, as well as license fees.
  • A lapsed license may be renewed up to a year after its due date (by June 30 of the next year) if the licensee submits the required training hours and renewal fees by that date. After a year, the license becomes inactive, and the operator must be reviewed/approved by the Arkansas Wastewater Licensing Committee (AWLC) for retesting to reactivate the license.
  • Out-of-state operators moving to Arkansas may apply for a license by reciprocity. Each application for reciprocity will be reviewed by the AWLC for approval.
  • FAQ's Regarding Wastewater License Renewals

Municipal License Requirements:

  • Class II license
  • Carried out the duties of a Class II operator
  • Satisfactory completion of 120 hours of approved training or equivalent or substitute training as determined or defined by the Wastewater Licensing Committee
  • Three years experience (with one year in treatment plant operation)
  • Pass the Class III Exam
  • Wastewater License Exam Application
  • Additional License Application Instructions
  • Class III license held for at least three years
  • Carried out the duties of a Class III operator
  • Satisfactory completion of 200 hours of approved training or equivalent or substitute training as determined or defined by the Wastewater Licensing Committee
  • Six years experience in wastewater treatment (with at least two years in direct charge of a plant or one of the major components)
  • Pass the Class IV Exam
  • Wastewater License Exam Application
  • Additional License Application Instructions

Industrial License Requirements:

  • An operator with this license must be prepared to deal with car washes, sedimentation, oil and grease separation, pH adjustment, aeration ponds, or similar basic wastewater treatment processes. Requirements include:
  • An operator with this license must be prepared to deal with active sludge, treatment of metal finishing waste streams, sedimentation/clarification with chemicals, dissolved air flotation, or similar advanced wastewater treatment processes. Requirements include:

Multiple Licenses

Any operator can hold multiple licenses (a municipal license and an industrial license). The operator is required to fulfill all of the requirements of both types. Those operators that hold multiple licenses may use the same renewal hours for more than one license but must pay renewal fees for each license held.

Training and Testing

Wastewater operators are required to take training courses, workshops, seminars, or other events from DEQ-approved sources only. Individuals interested in training must contact the training facilities directly for course information, registration, and any additional training fees.

DEQ conducts exams and issues and renews licenses for wastewater operators. To register to take an exam, an applicant must submit the license application form and nonrefundable examination fee no less than five business days before the scheduled test date.

DEQ maintains a list of approved training courses and exam schedules.

License Application Forms and Fees

Licensing applicants should register for classes before applying for a license. DEQ must receive a completed license application and exam fees 5 business days before the applicant's examination date. Application documents or fees will NOT be accepted at test locations, unless prior arrangements have been made with DEQ.


  • Include your social security number.
  • Use your full legal name or first and last names with a middle initial.
  • Indicate the classification and level of license(s) for which you are applying.
  • Attach a check or money order in payment of licensing fees (see licensing fee schedule). For credit card payment arrangements, contact Sarah Pierce at 501-682-0664. These fees are nonrefundable.
  • Mail completed application and fee payment to:

    Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
    Wastewater Operator Licensing Program
    5301 Northshore Drive
    North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317

Application Forms

Licensure Program Fee Schedule

Wastewater Operator License

Please make note of the following, regarding wastewater licensure and renewal:

DO contact training provider(s) at AETA or ARWA to sign up for either classroom training or online courses.

  • Please note:
    Separate registration fees may apply for training courses and must be paid to the training providers. DEQ exam fees are in addition to any training fees, and must be paid to DEQ Wastewater Licensing.

DO make sure exam applications and fee payments reach DEQ five (5) business days prior to test date. Failure to do so may delay the issuance of your license!

DO include payment for exam fees with your application, or make arrangements to pay online by calling Sarah Pierce at 501-682-0664.

  • Employers and Facilities, please note:
    If paying exam or renewal fees for more than one operator, the payment can be made with one check or placed onto one invoice for a single online credit card transaction.

DO NOT combine payment for Wastewater License fees with any other fees that may be owed to different divisions of DEQ.

DO NOT bring exam applications and/or fees to the testing location, unless specifically instructed to do so by DEQ Wastewater Licensing staff.

License Fee Type Fee Per License
Application Fee (exam and license) $40
Retaking of Exam $20
Reciprocity Fee (review and license) $40
License Renewal Fee $40
Late Renewal Penalty $10
Apprentice License $10

* Receipt can be provided upon request.