Operator Certification

The Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) classifies Small Water Systems and certifies Operators.  

The logo of the EOCP, a yellow, green and blue ribbon in the shape of a drop of water.

The EOCP has established classification systems for water and wastewater systems including small systems. The EOCP sets standards and processes for certifying water system operators and it is recognized under the Drinking Water Protection Regulation.

Under the Drinking Water Protection Regulation, operator certification is not required for a water supply system that is designated as a “small system” which is a water system that serves no more than 500 people in any 24-hour period. For small systems, operator training is only mandatory if it is a condition of the operating permit - as discussed under Section 12(4) of the Drinking Water Protection Regulation. However, operator training is strongly recommended to ensure that operators have the training they need to provide safe water to their water users.

The EOCP does not provide training; however, it has an online Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)  to help connect trainers with those seeking training. To learn more, login in to the CRM. For more information on operator certification, go to the EOCP’s “How to Become an Operator” web page and review the EOCP Program Guide.


While small water systems are not necessarily required to meet the operator training certification requirements for large facilities (those serving over 500 persons), the regional health authority’s Drinking Water Officer may add a condition on the water supply system’s operating permit stating what specific training is required. This decision is based on the size and complexity of the water supply system. Regardless of whether or not operator training is a condition on permit for a small system, operator training is always recommended.

We recommend that all people intending to operate a SWS take an EOCP-certified SWS operator training course. The Environmental Operator’s Certification Program has a list of certified small water system courses offered by several different course providers. These courses have been reviewed and approved by the EOCP for BC operators. Ideally, an operator should also have some hands-on experience with water systems before starting. While anyone can become a SWS operator under the Drinking Water Protection Act and standardized training requirements are not mandatory (unless stated as a condition on permit), training can empower you in confidence and decision making. 

Before an Operator obtains a Small Water System operator’s certificate, an application should be submitted to the EOCP to have the small water system facility classified. Classification of a water system provides an indication of the degree of knowledge and training that is required of an operator of that specific facility. 

Stay Certified!

Our webinars count towards maintaining your certification! For each webinar you attend live, you will receive 0.1 CEUs. To maintain certification, an EOCP-certified SWS operator must take 12 hours of appropriate continuing education (1.2 CEUs) every 2-year reporting period. We offer 6 webinars per year.


Becoming a certified small water system operator is easier than you might think.

The SWS Operator training requirements are:

  • 12 hours of continuing education in an EOCP approved SWS course such as those listed on the EOCP web site 
  • a passing mark in the EOCP SWS certificate course exam (fees can be found on the EOCP Fees web page)

To maintain certification, an EOCP-certified SWS operator must take 12 hours of appropriate continuing education (1.2 CEUs) every 2-year reporting period. Annual dues are also payable to the Environmental Operator’s Certification Program.

A High School Diploma is not a requirement for small systems certification (you can see all requirements at the EOCP Exam Requirements page). To be issued the EOCP SWS operator’s certificate, you must pass an EOCP-approved SWS operator certificate course and complete 50 hours of hands-on operating experienceEOCP-certified SWS Operators can also apply to write exams to obtain Level 1 and higher EOCP certification once they acquire the additional work experience and education.