Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Wastewater System Supervision Requirements

Idaho's Wastewater Rules (IDAPA 58.01.16) require all public wastewater treatment and collection systems to have a responsible charge operator and, when the responsible charge operator is not available, to designate a substitute responsible charge operator to replace the responsible charge operator. The operators must be licensed at a type and class equal to or greater than the system's classification. Responsible charge means active, daily, on-site or on-call responsibility for the performance of operations or active, on-going, on-site or on-call directions of employees and assistants (Rules of the Board of Drinking Water and Wastewater Professionals [IDAPA 24.05.01]). The responsible charge operator and substitute responsible charge operator must be two different people, and the responsible charge operator of both a wastewater treatment system and a collection system must hold two certificates, one each for wastewater treatment and collection. DEQ is responsible for ensuring that wastewater systems comply with this requirement.

Note: The Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses (IBOL) is responsible for ensuring that operators are properly trained and issuing operator licenses. For information on operator licensure requirements, education and continuing education requirements, and fees, and to apply for an operator license, visit the IBOL website.

System and Operator Licensure Classes

The class of licensed operator required is based on the type and class of the wastewater system. The table below lists 10 different types and classes of wastewater systems and 16 different types and classes of wastewater operator classes for which licenses are issued.

Wastewater System Classifications and Correlating Operator Classes


Type of System

Type of System
Treatment Collection Treatment Collection

  Operator in Training* X X


    Restricted Class 1 X X
Class I X X   Class I X X
Class II X X   Class II X X
Class III X X   Class III X X
Class IV X X   Class IV X X
    Land Application** X  

*An individual may obtain an operator-in-training permit with no prior experience or when beginning work at any type and class of wastewater system. No one system classification matches this operator class. The purpose of obtaining an operator-in-training permit is to gain supervised on-the-job experience.

**A wastewater treatment license is a prerequisite to obtaining a land application or wastewater laboratory license.

How to Meet the Licensed Operator Requirement

Systems may choose how to meet the licensed operator requirement. Larger systems usually designate an employee of the system to fulfill this role. Smaller systems may choose to obtain a volunteer (either an unpaid association member or an individual served by the system) who agrees to become licensed and provide supervision.

Systems also have the option of contracting for this service. Systems may contract with a licensed wastewater operator or with another wastewater system that has licensed operators. In all cases, the contracted operator or contractor employed by the system will be serving as the responsible charge operator and must be licensed at the grade equal to or greater than the system's classification.

If the decision is made to contract with a licensed operator, the terms of the contract or agreement should outline the supervision or responsible charge duties assigned to the contract individual, state the specific duties to be performed, and identify situations when the contractor must get prior permission from the system owner for a situation not covered in the contract.

Hiring Recommendations

To assist systems in finding and hiring independent licensed operators, DEQ has prepared a summary of contract issues that should be discussed when interviewing potential contract operator candidates.

Contract Operators for Hire

A number of operators have indicated interest in hiring out their services for contract work at wastewater systems. Search for a contract operator for hire or, if you are a licensed operator interested in contracting out your services, submit your name below.

Staff Contacts

Senior Water Quality Engineer

DEQ State Office
Water Quality Division
1410 N. Hilton
Boise, ID 83706

Water Quality Engineering Manager
Valerie Greear
DEQ Boise Regional Office
1445 N. Orchard St.
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 373-0550

Water Quality Engineering Manager
Matthew Plaisted
DEQ Coeur d'Alene Regional Office
2110 Ironwood Parkway
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 666-4622

Water Quality Engineering Manager
Gregory Eager
DEQ Idaho Falls Regional Office
900 N. Skyline Drive, Suite B
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
(208) 528-2650

Water Quality Engineering Manager
Michael Camin
DEQ Lewiston Regional Office
1118 "F" St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
(208) 799-4370

Drinking Water/Wastewater Manager

Drinking Water/Wastewater Manager
DEQ Twin Falls Regional Office
650 Addison Avenue West, Suite 110
Twin Falls, ID 83301

State Rules

Related Pages

Wastewater Collection and Treatment Systems

Wastewater Disposal Options

Wastewater System Classifications

Wastewater Operator Resources