Facility classification

In November 2018, the Water and Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board updated and revised the criteria for facility classification in Regulation 100. These sections had not been updated since 2000. The revisions focused on the complexity of facility operations as related to environmental or public health exposure, not the level of plant automation or current staffing. These revisions are important because treatment facility and distribution/collection system classification establishes the minimum certification level for operators who act as the certified operator(s) in responsible charge (ORC).

The revised regulation includes a delayed implementation period for existing facilities. If you are a certified operator in responsible charge (ORC) for a facility and if the classification will be changing, you will be expected to upgrade to the new level if you want to stay on as the ORC. Please review this webpage and Regulation 100 to be informed.

Impact of the revisions

  • All facilities are subject to classification according to the criteria adopted by the board.
  • Many facility classifications will remain unchanged.
  • Facilities most likely to be reclassified are:
    • Drinking water treatment facilities using bag or cartridge filters to filter surface water or groundwater under the direct influence of surface water will be a minimum C level classification for all permitted flows.
    • Some drinking water treatment facilities with plant design flowrates between 350 to 1400 gpm, depending on technologies used at the treatment facility.
    • Domestic wastewater facilities with advanced treatment (i.e., purpose to treat beyond secondary limits both within secondary treatment units and/or physically separate processes after secondary treatment) will be an A level classification beginning at 1 MGD plant design hydraulic capacity.
    • Distribution systems serving less than 3300 people with identified complicating factors such as multiple pressure zones, chloramines use, booster chlorine stations, or multiple entry points.
    • Collection systems serving less than 3300 people with identified complicating factors such as multiple lift stations, larger lift stations, or presence of multiple significant industrial users in the collection system service area.
  • If you are a certified operator in responsible charge (ORC) for a facility, you will be expected to upgrade to the new level if you want to stay on as the ORC.
Summary of the revisions
  • Distribution and collection classifications will involve a 2-step process.
    • The first step will be consideration of population using the same numerical thresholds as before.
    • The second step will be evaluation of identified complicating factors (such as multiple pressure zones in distribution or large lift stations in collection).
  • Treatment facilities will be classified according to the technologies used at the facility.
    • Drinking water treatment includes three plant design flowrate categories (Note: Plant design flowrate is better defined in this version of Regulation 100.):
      • Less than 350 gpm.
      • 350 to 1400 gpm.
      • Greater than 1400 gpm.
    • Domestic and industrial wastewater sections identify more technologies.
  • A new reclaimed water classification section was added. This section references existing classifications; it does not create a new operator certification type.
    • Reclaimed water distribution systems will require distribution system classification.
    • One Water and purple pipe indoor uses will require a drinking water treatment classification.
  • For details, please review Regulation 100. Sections 100.4 to 100.9 are the primary facility classification sections that changed.
    • 100.1.5 Automatic Exemptions.
    • 100.4 Drinking water treatment.
    • 100.5 Domestic wastewater treatment.
    • 100.6 Reclaimed water treatment and distribution (new section).
    • 100.7 Industrial wastewater treatment (was 100.6).
    • 100.8 Drinking water distribution (was 100.7).
    • 100.9 Wastewater collection (was 100.8).
Schedule for Implementation
  • The new criteria will be applied to new or substantially modified facilities beginning March 1, 2019. Any treatment facility submitting changes to the division for approval (water or wastewater) will be evaluated by the Engineering Section during design review for classification changes.
  • For existing facilities, the new criteria will be applied beginning March 1, 2021. Distribution and collection systems will not change until March 1, 2021, unless system population increases to the next level.
  • Under certain circumstances, facilities will be able to request a site-specific ORC designation to extend the compliance period for operators unable to meet an increased classification by 2021. [Section 100.10.8]

Frequently asked questions and answers
Use ctrl-f to search for words within the table.

Individual questions can be emailed to:

  • Domestic wastewater, collection, reclaimed water, industrial wastewater: David Kurz, Lead Wastewater Engineer david.kurz@state.co.us.
  • Drinking water, distribution: Tyson Ingels, Lead Drinking Water Engineer tyson.ingels@state.co.us.