Background

On 22nd April 2002, the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC), signed a Testing Service Agreement with Caribbean Basin Water Management Programme (CBWMP) Inc to provide the ABC Testing Service in the Caribbean. This Agreement is renewed annually and since the initial signing, the Caribbean Basin Water Management Programme (CBWMP) Inc has been renamed the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA) Inc.

Under this Agreement, the ABC has designated the CAWASA Inc as the certifying authority for the administration of its environmental certification programme in the Caribbean region. As the regional Test Administrator, CAWASA is authorized to conduct periodic inspection and classification of the collection and distribution systems of water and wastewater utilities and to administer annual certification examinations for Operators/Analysts in the Caribbean region.

Since the commencement of the programme in 2003, CAWASA Inc has inspected and classified the collection and distribution systems of water and wastewater utilities for most of its member utilities. The CAWASA Inc Secretariat has also administered certification examinations and on average it has issued approximately thirty-two (32) certificates annually to successful Operators/Analysts in the Caribbean region.

Recent studies on the Caribbean water and sanitation sector acknowledge the fact that there is a growing problem of water quality management in the region. In most cases, the reports recommend skills training and professional certification for water and wastewater Operators and Analysts as one of the approaches necessary to tackle the quality management problem.

The programme has now gained acceptance among the management of utilities that are members of both the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA) Inc and the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA) as the basis for classifying their systems and facilities as well as for certifying their operators and analysts.

Certification Categories

The CAWASA/ABC Certification programme covers eight (8) critical areas as follows:

Examination Classes
Water Distribution Levels I-IV
Water Treatment Levels I-IV
Wastewater Treatment Levels I-IV
Wastewater Collection Levels I-IV
Water Laboratory Levels I-IV
Wastewater Laboratory Levels I-IV
Very Small Water System Level  I
Small Wastewater System Level I

 

Criteria for Eligibility  (Download Form)

Water Operators Certification

Class Education

Experience

I 5 years of secondary school education with O’ level passes in English and Mathematics or CXC or equivalent; One year of acceptable operating experience of a Class I or higher utility
II 5 years of secondary education with O’ level passes in English and Mathematics or CXC or equivalent Three years of acceptable operating experience of a Class I or higher utility
III 5 years of secondary school education with O’ level passes in English and Mathematics;900 contact hours, or 90 CEUs, or 90 quarter credits, or 60 semester credits of post high school education in the environment control field, engineering or related science; Four years of acceptable operating experience of a Class II or higher utility, including two years of direct responsible charge.
IV 5 years of secondary school education with O’ level passes in English and Mathematics or CXC;1,800 contact hours, or 180 CEUs, or 80 quarter credits or 120 semester credits of post high school education in the environmental control field, engineering or related science; Four years of acceptable operating experience of a Class III or higher utility, including two years of direct responsibility charge

Very Small Water System and Small Wastewater System

High School Diploma, Six contact hours of very small system education; Six months of acceptable operating experience of a very small water system or higher utility.

 

Classification of Utility Systems and Facilities

This component of the policy makes provision for the implementation of a classification system that covers the following areas:

No

Classification Category Description of Testing Activity

1

Water & Wastewater Treatment Plants The process involves data collection on the size of the plant, type of water supply source, chemical and biological contaminants in raw water, the treatment process, residual disposals and instrumentation on the plant;

2

Distribution and Collection Systems The process involves a general review of the distribution system under the control of the operator and specific information on the number of consumers served by the distribution system, including the population equivalent of hotels and other industrial/commercial enterprises;

3

Very Small Water Systems The process involves an evaluation the public water system in a community with a maximum of 500 persons or with at least fifteen (15) service connections used by year-round residents of the area or regularly serves at least twenty-five (25) year-round residents. This classification also applies to a non-community public water system.

Points Classification System   (Download Form)

 

Certification Policy

Examination Performance

CAWASA issues each Operator/Analyst who successfully completes the examination with a certificate for the category and class qualified. Those who fail are allowed to re-sit the examination on payment of the prescribed fees.

Certification Procedures

 

Steps involved in achieving ABC/CAWASA certification through Examination are as follows:

  • Apply for the class level for which you qualify;
  • Ensure that you meet the education and experience requirements;
  • Indicate the category in which you are seeking certification;
  • Complete the Certification Application Form and obtain the relevant documents;
  • Submit the Application Form along with prescribed fee and the documents to the Secretariat;
  • Certification examinations must be taken in sequential order, (i.e. from Class I to Class IV);
  • Start at Class I (lowest level) examination and pass it with a score of 70% and above;
  • Take the Class II examination and pass it;
  • Take the Class III examination and pass it;
  • Meet the education and experience requirements;
  • Certificates will be issued on the successful of each level examination.

 

Renewal of Certification  (Download Form)

In keeping with ABC standards, all CAWASA certificates are issued for a specified period at the end of which they must be renewed. The validity of the CAWASA Certificates as well as the policies and procedures for renewal are described in the sections that follow.

  •  Validity of Certificates

Certificates issued by CAWASA in a category and class to successful Operators/Analysts are valid for a period not exceeding two (2) years. At the end of the two (2) years, each Operator/Analyst is required to apply to the Secretariat for renewal of his/her certificate in accordance with the criteria specified. Any certificate that has expired for more than two (2) years will no longer be valid. Also, operators whose certificates have not been renewed after two (2) years may be de-listed.

  • Renewal Policy

In order to renew their certificates, all Operators/Analysts are required to provide evidence of continuous work in the water sector and must have participated in at least two (2) approved continuing education courses during the life of the certificate. Also, a certificate is ineligible for renewal if its renewal has lapsed for more than one (1) year.

Renewal Procedures

Procedures for the renewal of an Operator’s Certificate are as follows:

  • Three (3) months prior to the expiration date of the certificate, the Operator/Analyst must submit through the member utility a renewal application form to the CAWASA Secretariat
  • Documentation confirming that the Operator/Analyst has completed a total of 2.4 CEUs (24 contact hours) of professional growth during the two-year term of the certificate. A list of courses attended along with a signed copy of the certificate or a letter issued by the provider stating the title of the course, the number of course hours or CEUs awarded and the date of completion

 

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

All operators are required to provide evidence of continuous work in the water sector and must have participated in at least two (2) approved continuing education courses during the life of the existing certificate. As part of its annual programming the CAWASA Secretariat offers training courses that will enable the Operators/Analysts to achieve the number of “Continuing Education Units (CEUs)” required for the renewal of their certificates.

 

Reciprocity Certification 

Certificates issued by any certification programme, which, as determined by the CAWASA Certification Board, satisfy the provisions of the certification policy promulgated hereunder shall be accorded reciprocal treatment and shall be recognized as valid and sufficient within the purview of the certification policy.

Guidelines developed by the Secretariat to govern reciprocity certification are as follows:

  • The Operator/Analyst must hold a valid certificate obtained through examination with a passing score of 70% or above;
  • Obtain and complete an application form from the Secretariat;
  • Indicate the category in which certification is being sought;
  • Return the Application from along with the required Processing Fee and Application Fee;
  • Submit the required documentation to the Secretariat.