Water Operators


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What you need to know

NEW: Continuing Competency Waiver Information

The Department offers six grades of water operator license. Five of the grades are for public water system operators. One grade (Grade VI) is for public water system authorized backflow preventer testing and repair technicians. Anyone who tests or repairs backflow preventers with test ports, installed to protect a public water system from backflow, is required to hold a Grade VI license.

Renewal & Continuing Education

All licenses expire December 31st of each odd-numbered year.

For continuing education info, please contact Mike Wentink at mike.wentink@nebraska.gov or (308) 535-8135.

To renew a license, the license holder must: 

  • Submit the completed renewal application
  • Have obtained acceptable Department approved continuing education for the license grade held
  • Pay the license renewal fee

Grade V licensees are exempt from the continuing education and renewal requirements. All other licensed operators must obtain the number of continuing education hours as follows:

  • Licensees obtaining their initial license during an even-numbered year must have at least 5 hours of continuing education for their first renewal.
  • Licensees obtaining their initial license during an odd-numbered year will have continuing education waived for their first renewal.
  • All licensees other than initial licensees must have at least 10 hours of continuing education at the time of renewal. 


To qualify for a license as a water operator in Nebraska you must:

  • Be in adequate physical condition
  • Be able to read and write the English language
  • Be able to maintain logs and records of operation and perform maintenance consistent with the applicable grade
  • Be at least 19 years of age and of good character
  • Be a citizen of the United States, or an alien or nonimmigrant eligible for a credential under the requirements of the Uniform Credentialing Act
  • Document the minimum required experience and education obtained for the water operator grade requested
  • Successfully complete a written exam for the water operator grade requested. Individual exams are scheduled for the first Monday of each month at locations in Lincoln, Blair, Norfolk, Grand Island, North Platte and Chadron. Written exams are also offered at conclusion of water operator training courses delivered by the Public Water Supply Program through the year.

Application for Water Operator Training Courses and Exams (This form opens in Rich Text Format (RTF) allowing you to edit and save to your hard drive.)

COURSES - Click here for the latest course listings.


An application for license reinstatement to practice as a water operator is required if your license has been revoked, expired, placed on inactive status, lapsed or voluntarily surrendered without disciplinary action.

The individual must re-take and re-pass the examination in order to have a license reinstated if:

  • The license has been expired or on inactive status for a period of two or more years; or
  • The individual did not meet the requirements for continuing education before each renewal period

Reinstatement Application
  (This link takes you to the Nebraska Dept. of Environment and Energy website.)

For continuing education information, scope of practice, eligibility, and reinstatement please see the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) web page here

or contact:

Mike Wentink, Training & Licensure Officer
Phone: (308) 535-8135
E-mail: mike.wentink@nebraska.gov 

Office of Rehabilitation & Community Services
Department of Health & Human Services/Division of Public Health/Licensure Unit 
Phone Number
(402) 471-2299
Fax Number
(402) 742-1152
Mailing & Physical Addresses

DHHS Licensure Unit

Attn: Water Operators

PO Box 94986

Lincoln NE 68509-4986


Nebraska State Office Building

301 Centennial Mall South

14th & M Streets, 1st Floor

Lincoln NE 68508

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed federal holidays.