What time is it? License renewal time! Every two years the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) water and wastewater treatment plant operator’s license and water distribution system operator’s license expire on April 30. You are going to want to renew your license by that date, because after that it will cost you one hundred dollars more for your renewal! And after that date, operators will be working on an expired license and may be subject to disciplinary and enforcement actions.
Before You Can Renew
Continuing education units (CEUs) must be obtained before renewing your operator’s license, so you are going to want to finish them as soon as possible to count for your license. Go to the FWPCOA Online Training Institute at our website (www.fwpcoa.org) for online classwork. Another option is to attend our Spring State Short School at the Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, which will be held March 18 to 22. You can register through the training office or on our website.
Some regional meetings offer CEUs; check the calendar on our website. The CEU requirements are as follows:
- Water/wastewater class A, B – 2 CEUs
- Water/wastewater class C – 1 CEU
- Water/wastewater class D – 0.5 CEUs
- System operators class 1,2,3,4 – 0.5 CEUs
- Dual water/wastewater class A,B – 1.5 CEUs each = 3 CEUs
Check your own CEUs at this FDEP site: https://prodlamp.dep.state.fl.us/ocp/reports/accesspublic/Search_form. There’s also a CEU history link on your own search page that shows you all you’ve earned before, so you don’t repeat any in the next renewal cycle. Hopefully, you have already accomplished this goal of obtaining your CEUs. If not, we’re here to help you, so contact our training office or website for more information on training.
The cost for renewal of your license is the same as the last renewal in 2017. Remember to do this before the end of April! You are responsible for your own license; many employers, however, do help in the cost of a license, but it’s up to you to make sure it’s completed. Like I said before, if you renew after the April 30 deadline, the cost is an additional one hundred bucks! If you don’t renew in that time frame before the next renewal (24 months) after the deadline date, your license will become null and void. Renewal fees are as follows:
- Water/wastewater class A, B, C - $75; after expiration date - $175
- Water/wastewater class D - $50; after expiration date - $150
- System operators class 1,2,3,4 - $50; after expiration date - $150
If your license goes to the null and void status, you must apply as a first-time applicant and take the required coursework, pass another exam, and document your actual experience time all over again. So what are you waiting for!
Over the last few renewal cycles, around 60 to 65 percent of operators have used the FDEP online business portal to renew either their drinking water, wastewater, or water distribution license, which means that many of you have already taken advantage of this time-saving feature. Beginning this year, however, FDEP’s operator certification program (OCP) has added options to its online capabilities. Because of this, a new login/registration process has been added. For many of you, this may be the first time you will experience this new login feature.
I had a chance to talk with Ron McCulley of the FDEP operator certification program and he filled me in on some of the changes. The renewal process starts by going to the OCP website at www.floridadep.gov/ocp. On the top left-hand side, there is a link titled, “Renew My License Online.”
Once in the business portal, the process starts by your registration; if you don’t have a portal login, you must create one. If you already have a registration, you will have to choose “Operator Certification Program” from the program list tabs once you sign in.
Once you’re registered, you can now sign into the portal system, where you’re directed to create an application file name (in case you have to reference back to it later). Next, you will be directed to the request page where the renewal can be selected and requested. Ron informed me that the new login/registration portion was added in response to the new online features the program has recently implemented. This added a layer of security that was needed to prevent others from viewing and/or changing certain information in your records. Ultimately, this change helps to protect information on us all.
An overview of the steps are listed below:
- Visit OCP website (www.floridadep.gov/ocp)
- Click on “Renew My License”
- Register for a login
- Create a file application name
- Update your address (if needed)
- Request renewal of your license
These new features offer improvements and enhancements to more easily get information to operators across the state. Your pin number is now accessible through the request page, so if you lose the OCP card with your pin (which is mailed to you for renewal), there is no need to call OCP; it can be accessed through the online process quick and easily.
The request page is broken down into four sections:
A new profile section has been created, which now allows you to access and review your profile listed on file at OCP. You can get your pin number in this request section. You can now change your address or contact information through this portal. Before you renew your license, you’re going to want to be sure you do this if you have changed your address in the renewal period. You certainly do not want your new operator license to be mailed to someone else—do you?
Be sure to review your profile before you renew your license to ensure your information is correct. In addition to your name and address, your profile information contains your current type and level of licensure, along with your license expiration date. Another new feature is that you may now view a listing of your exam and license history. This is pretty cool!
In the exam section, you can now submit your exam application online. This new feature allows you to submit information and course work through this portal, but keep in mind that OCP staff must still manually review and approve what you submit—this still isn’t an automatic or instant approval process.
Once the approval process is complete, the OCP will send you an approval letter, which speeds up the process by reducing mailing time. You can also apply for an exam retake in this section. The good thing about this is that the retake process is automatic: you simply pay your exam fee with your credit card and an approval letter is immediately emailed to you. After receiving your approval letter, you are then able to schedule your exam with the testing vendor in about two days. The FDEP needs a couple of days to transfer your exam approval data to the testing vendor’s database.
In the license section, you can also now submit your license application online. You can pay your fees and add your experience. And similar to the online exam application submittal, OCP is still required to conduct a manual review of the documents that were submitted. If you meet all the requirements, your new license will be issued and mailed to you. Another new feature is that you can now request a reprint of your license should you lose it. Of course, there is a twenty-five dollar fee associated with a duplicate license, but if you need one, just click and pay. How cool is that!
In the renewal section, you can renew your license for this cycle, or download and print a copy of your renewal notice. As I mentioned previously, make sure all your information is correct in the profile before you renew, then pay your fees and your renewal will be processed. Your new license will be sent to the address on file and a receipt of the transaction will now be automatically emailed to you. Pretty simple!
And for those of you who don’t check your emails, you can use this site to view your payment history, or you can print your receipt and use it for reimbursement or print one off come tax season. This function is located at the bottom of the request page. This is a very handy feature you can do quickly online at work or at home—you no longer need call the OCP.
Ron and his staff at the operator certification program are to be commended on these efforts to improve and modernize the flow of information to all operators. I think these improvements will reduce time on many of their processes, which is always a good thing. This means that operators will have less time stressing through the process and waiting on paperwork.
Combined with the recently rebooted (in July 2018) computer-based testing by OCP, operators look to be in a good position for success in the future. Thank you OCP for helping us in our mission!