August 24, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations to make changes and find new ways to ensure continuity of service to customers. Phoenix Water employees are essential and provide the lifeblood of our community. Many positions require Operator Certifications to meet state requirements and uphold Phoenix Water’s mission of providing clean, reliable water and wastewater services.
Gateway Community College (GWCC) was offering testing for certifications on campus, but due to the pandemic, GWCC had to eliminate in-person classes and testing. The Operator Certification tests are required to be administered in person and proctored by a certified Association of Boards of Certifications organization.
“Maintaining state certification is just as important in a pandemic. We realized we had to pivot quickly to keep our employees compliant so they can continue the important work they do to support our residents, businesses and their families” said Brandy Kelso, Assistant Director for Phoenix Water.
Phoenix Water transitioned to become a proctoring agency for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Operator Certification exams. The partnership with ADEQ and the Association of Boards of Certifications to administer operator certification is just one of the innovative ways Phoenix Water continues to provide quality service to customers.
Many of our Phoenix Water employees are required to maintain Operator Certification in Water Distribution, Water Treatment, Wastewater Collections, and Wastewater Treatment to perform essential job functions. These certifications expire over time and require renewal. If employees are also hoping to promote to the next level position, certification is often required.
Now that Phoenix Water is administering the certification testing, all city of Phoenix employees and the general public can schedule a test at our 305 City Garage building in downtown Phoenix. The testing facility maintains social distancing protocols, limiting the number of people that can test at one time, and everyone is required to wear a mask. Since May 2020, 74 tests have been administered to internal employees and 50 tests have been administered to external candidates.
ADEQ’s Operator Certification Program establishes guidelines to ensure that only certified operators make decisions about process control or system integrity that affects public health. The program sets minimum standards for certification and re-certification of the operators of drinking water and wastewater systems.
Classification and Grade Levels:
Water Distribution Exam — Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 (D)
Water Treatment Exam — Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 (T)
Wastewater Treatment Exam — Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 (W)
Wastewater Collections Exam — Grade 1, 2, 3, 4 (C)
For more information visit: phoenix.gov/waterservices/testing
This press release was produced by the City of Phoenix. The views expressed here are the author’s own.