Contract Operator Approval Policy

Background

The Operator Certification and Training Regulations (18 AAC 74) require that all small untreated and small treated water systems have an operator, certified at a level equal to or greater than the classification of the system, onsite at the system, or available by radio or telephone with the ability to be on-site within three hours. The Department may approve a contract operator scenario, in which an operator supervises more than one system. In approving such a plan, the Department will consider:

  • • The complexity of the system,
  • • The proposed frequency of routine visits by the certified operator;
  • • System accessibility;
  • • Plans for response when emergency action is needed;
  • • Total number of systems the certified operator operates;
  • • The compliance history of other systems under the supervision of the certified operator; and
  • • Other factors relevant to system oversight or to the protection of public health and safety.

Framework

The following table serves as a framework for Department approval of contract operator scenarios. It is important to recognize that the intent of the regulations is to have a certified operator onsite each day that the system operates. The Department may modify the required frequency of visits based on system specific conditions in order to protect public health.

General Guidelines for Frequency of Routine Visits by the Certified Operator given System Complexity

Small Treated Systems (chemical - public health sensitive*)
Non-certified trained** personnel onsite 1 visit per week
Non-certified personnel onsite 2 visits per week
No trained personnel onsite 3 visits per week
Small Treated Systems (chemical - nonpublic health sensitive*)
Non-certified trained** personnel onsite 1 visit per 2 weeks
Non-certified personnel onsite 1 visit per week
No trained personnel onsite 2 visits per week
Small Untreated Systems
Non-certified trained** personnel onsite 1 visit per 4 weeks
Non-certified personnel onsite 1 visit per 3 weeks
No trained personnel onsite 1 visit per 2 weeks

* A public health sensitive chemical is one that, when dosed incorrectly, can have an immediate, adverse effect on public health. Examples of public health sensitive chemicals include fluoride and chlorine for purposes of disinfection.

** Trained means completion of the small untreated/treated course appropriate for the system classification. The small treated course will substitute for the small untreated course for personnel of small untreated systems.

Reduced Frequency of Visits

The system owner and contract operator may request approval of a reduced frequency of visits after six months of successful operation by the contract operator. The Department will not approve a frequency of visits of less than once per month. In reviewing a request for reduced frequency of visits, the Department will consider:
 
  • • The revised proposed frequency of visits;
  • • Types of treatment and treatment chemicals;
  • • The system’s six month compliance record with 18 AAC 80; and
  • • Any other factors relevant to system oversight or to the protection of public health and safety.

Requirements for Approval

In order for the Department to consider approval of a contract operator scenario, water system owners must submit the following:
 
  • • The Application for Approval of a Contract Operator, click here for the application;
  • • One (1) signed copy of the Operational Contract between the water system and the contract operator. The essential elements
       required in the operational contract include:
    • Operator's name and certification number;
     
    • Company name, if applicable;
     
    • Water system information;
     
    - System name;
     
    - System contact person;
     
    - System PWSID number; and
     
    - System mailing address.
     
    • Date contract begins and ends;
     
    • List of operator responsibilities;
     
    • List of system owner responsibilities;
     
    • Signature of water system representative;
     
    • Signature of contract operator; and
     
    • Date agreement is signed.

Revocation of Approval

The Department may revoke approval of a Contract Operator Application after considering:
 
  • • The water system's compliance record with 18 AAC 80;
  • • The contract operator's performance under the terms of the contract;
  • • Changes to the system's classification or treatment chemicals; and
  • • Factors relevant to the protection of public health.

Contact

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Operator Training & Certification Program
410 Willoughby Ave., Suite 303
P.O. Box 111800
Juneau, AK 99811-1800
Email: dec.opcert@alaska.gov
Phone: (907) 465-1139
Fax: (907) 465-5177