SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1710







                        52nd Legislature

                      1991 Regular Session



Passed by the House March 12, 1991

  Yeas 96   Nays 0




Speaker of the

       House of Representatives


Passed by the Senate April 17, 1991

  Yeas 45   Nays 2




President of the Senate












Governor of the State of Washington



I, Alan Thompson, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1710 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                                      Chief Clerk











                        Secretary of State   

                       State of Washington  




                            SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1710



                             AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


                     Passed Legislature - 1991 Regular Session



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By House Committee on Environmental Affairs (originally sponsored by Representatives Miller, Fraser, Rust, Valle, Roland, Winsley and Dorn; by request of Department of Health).


Read first time February 26, 1991.  Requiring certification of water systems operators.

     AN ACT Relating to water systems operator certification and registration; amending RCW 70.119.010, 70.119.020, 70.119.030, 70.119.060, 70.119.090, 70.119.100, 70.119.110, and 70.119.130; and prescribing penalties.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 70.119.010 and 1983 c 292 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

     The legislature declares that competent operation of a public water ((supply)) system is necessary for the protection of the consumers' health, and therefore it is of vital interest to the public. In order to protect the public health and conserve and protect the water resources of the state, it is necessary to provide for the classifying of all public water ((supply)) systems; to require the examination and certification of the persons responsible for the technical operation of such systems; and to provide for the promulgation of rules and regulations to carry out this chapter.


     Sec. 2.  RCW 70.119.020 and 1991 c 3 s 369 are each amended to read as follows:

     As used in this chapter unless context requires another meaning:

     (1) "Board" means the board established pursuant to RCW 70.95B.070 which shall be known as the water and waste water operator certification board of examiners.

     (2) "Certificate" means a certificate of competency issued by the secretary stating that the operator has met the requirements for the specified operator classification of the certification program.

     (3) "Certified operator" means an individual holding a valid certificate and employed or appointed by any county, water district, municipality, public or private corporation, company, institution, person, or the state of Washington and who is designated by the employing or appointing officials as the person responsible for active daily technical operation.

     (4) "Department" means the department of health.

     (((4))) (5) "Distribution system" means that portion of a public water ((supply)) system which stores, transmits, pumps and distributes water to consumers.

     (((5))) (6) "Ground water under the direct influence of surface water" means any water beneath the surface of the ground with:

     (a) Significant occurrence of insects or other macroorganisms, algae, or large diameter pathogens such as giardia lamblia; or

     (b) Significant and relatively rapid shifts in water characteristics such as turbidity, temperature, conductivity, or pH which closely correlate to climatological or surface water conditions.

     (7) "Group A water system" means a system with fifteen or more service connections, regardless of the number of people; or a system serving an average of twenty-five or more people per day for sixty or more days within a calendar year, regardless of the number of service connections.  Group A water system does not include a system serving fewer than fifteen single-family residences, regardless of the number of people.

     (8) "Nationally recognized association of certification authorities" shall mean an organization which serves as an information center for certification activities, recommends minimum standards and guidelines for classification of potable water treatment plants, water distribution systems and waste water facilities and certification of operators, facilitates reciprocity between state programs and assists authorities in establishing new certification programs and updating existing ones.

     (((6) "Certified operator" means an individual employed or appointed by any county, water district, municipality, public or private corporation, company, institution, person, or the state of Washington who is designated by the employing or appointing officials as the person responsible for active daily technical operation.

     (7))) (9) "Public water ((supply)) system" means any ((water supply system intended or used for human consumption or other domestic uses, including source, treatment, storage, transmission and distribution facilities where water is furnished to any community or group of individuals, or is made available to the public for human consumption or domestic use, but excluding all water supply systems serving one single family residence)) system, excluding a system serving only one single-family residence and a system with four or fewer connections all of which serve residences on the same farm, providing piped water for human consumption, including any collection, treatment, storage, or distribution facilities under control of the purveyor and used primarily in connection with the system; and collection or pretreatment storage facilities not under control of the purveyor but primarily used in connection with the system.

     (((8))) (10) "Purification plant" means that portion of a public water ((supply)) system which treats or improves the physical, chemical or bacteriological quality of the system's water to bring the water into compliance with state board of health standards.

     (((9))) (11) "Secretary" means the secretary of the department of health.

     (12) "Service" means a connection to a public water system designed to serve a single-family residence, dwelling unit, or equivalent use. If the facility has group home or barracks-type accommodations, three persons will be considered equivalent to one service.

     (13) "Surface water" means all water open to the atmosphere and subject to surface runoff.


     Sec. 3.  RCW 70.119.030 and 1983 c 292 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) ((All public water supply systems which serve either)) A public water system shall have a certified operator if:

     (a) The system serves one hundred or more services in use at any one time; or

     (b) ((Twenty-five or more persons which are supplied from a stream, lake or other surface water supply source and which are required by law to use a water filtration system;

are required to have a certified operator)) It is a group A water system using a surface water source or a ground water source under the direct influence of surface water.

     (2) The certified operators shall be in charge of the technical direction of a water system's operation, or an operating shift of such a system, or a major segment of a system necessary for monitoring or improving the quality of water. The operator shall be certified as provided in RCW 70.119.050.

     (((2))) (3) The amount of time that a certified operator shall be required to be present shall be based upon the time required to properly operate and maintain the public water ((supply)) system as designed and constructed in accordance with RCW 43.20.050. The employing or appointing officials shall designate the position or positions requiring mandatory certification within their individual systems and shall assure that such certified operators are responsible for the system's technical operation.

     (((3))) (4) Operators not required to be certified by this chapter are encouraged to become certified on a voluntary basis.


     Sec. 4.  RCW 70.119.060 and 1977 ex.s. c 99 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:

     The secretary shall further categorize all public water ((supply)) systems with regard to the size, type, source of water, and other relevant physical conditions affecting purification plants and distribution systems to assist in identifying the skills, knowledge and experience required for the certification of operators for each category of such systems, to assure the protection of the public health and conservation and protection of the state's water resources as required under RCW 70.119.010, and to implement the provisions of the state safe drinking water act in chapter 70.119A RCW.  In categorizing all public water systems for the purpose of implementing these provisions of state law, the secretary shall take into consideration economic impacts as well as the degree and nature of any public health risk.


     Sec. 5.  RCW 70.119.090 and 1983 c 292 s 7 are each amended to read as follows:

     Certificates shall be issued without examination under the following conditions:

     (1) Certificates shall be issued without application fee to operators who, on ((the effective date of this act)) January 1, 1978, hold certificates of competency attained under the voluntary certification program sponsored jointly by the state department of social and health services, health services division, and the Pacific Northwest section of the American water works association.

     (2) Certification shall be issued to persons certified by a governing body or owner of a public water ((supply)) system to have been the operators of a purification plant or distribution system on ((the effective date of this chapter)) January 1, 1978, but only to those who are required to be certified under RCW 70.119.030(1).  A certificate so issued shall be valid for operating any plant or system of the same classification and same type of water source.

     (3) A nonrenewable certificate, temporary in nature, may be issued to an operator for a period not to exceed twelve months to fill a vacated position required to have a certified operator.  Only one such certificate may be issued subsequent to each instance of vacation of any such position.


     Sec. 6.  RCW 70.119.100 and 1987 c 75 s 11 are each amended to read as follows:

     The issuance and renewal of a certificate shall be subject to the following conditions:

     (1) Except as provided in RCW 70.119.090, a certificate shall be issued if the operator has satisfactorily passed a written examination, has paid the department an application fee as established by the department under RCW ((43.20B.110)) 43.70.110, and has met the requirements specified in the rules and regulations as authorized by this chapter.

     (2) ((The terms for all certificates shall be for one year from the date of issuance.))  Every certificate shall be renewed annually upon the payment of a fee as established by the department under RCW ((43.20B.110)) 43.70.110 and satisfactory evidence is presented to the secretary that the operator has fulfilled the continuing education requirements as prescribed by rule of the department.

     (3) The secretary shall notify operators who fail to renew their certificates before the end of the ((certificate)) year that their certificates are temporarily valid for two months following the end of the certificate year.  Certificates not renewed during the two month period shall be invalid and the secretary shall so notify the holders of such certificates.

     (4) An operator who has failed to renew a certificate pursuant to the provisions of this section, may reapply for certification and the secretary may require the operator to meet the requirements established for new applicants.


     Sec. 7.  RCW 70.119.110 and 1983 c 292 s 9 are each amended to read as follows:

     The secretary may, with the recommendation of the board and after hearing before the same, revoke a certificate found to have been obtained by fraud or deceit; or for gross negligence in the operation of a purification plant or distribution system; or for an intentional violation of the requirements of this chapter or any lawful rules, order, or regulation of the department.  No person whose certificate is revoked under this section shall be eligible to apply for a certificate for ((six months)) one year from the effective date of the final order of revocation.


     Sec. 8.  RCW 70.119.130 and 1983 c 292 s 10 are each amended to read as follows:

     ((On or after one year following the effective date of this act,)) Any person, including any operator or any firm, association, corporation, municipal corporation, or other governmental subdivision or agency who, after thirty days' written notice, operates a public water ((supply)) system which is not in compliance with RCW 70.119.030(1), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.  Each month of such operation out of compliance with RCW 70.119.030(1) shall constitute a separate offense.  Upon conviction, violators shall be fined an amount not exceeding one hundred dollars for each offense.  It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general, as appropriate to secure injunctions of continuing violations of any provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations adopted hereunder:  PROVIDED, That, except in the case of fraud, deceit, or gross negligence under RCW 70.119.110, no revocation, citation or charge shall be made under RCW 70.119.110 and 70.119.130 until a proper written notice of violation is received and a reasonable opportunity for correction has been given.