Certifications, trainings and COVID-19

PDF icon COVID-19 policies and procedures for in-person trainings and events (p-tr2-71)

Policies and procedures in place to ensure MPCA's in-person training events are safely delivered during COVID-19.

certificateThis page contains information related to certification and training for:

Solid waste landfill operator training and certification

The MPCA has released the Fall 2020 schedule of training events for solid waste landfill operators; the first classes begin in September.

The most up-to-date offerings, cancellations, rescheduling, and event changes can be found on the Training for landfill operators page.

Training events will follow Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have implemented plans to hold certain training events with measures in place to mitigate risks: limited capacities, physical distancing, and mandatory masks. Special instructions will be provided to individuals participating in our training events to make sure everyone understands the new requirements to participate (health screening, minimize contact and maintain distance, wear face coverings, etc.).

Events may be canceled or rescheduled as conditions and logistics allow. We will keep you updated through announcements posted on the MPCA Landfill Operator Training webpage.

Those enrolled in canceled MPCA conferences, workshops, and exam sessions are encouraged to use those fees towards future training courses, but you may request a refund if you prefer. Contact Diane Belanger by phone if you would like to request a refund: 651-757-2072.

The MPCA wants to assure certified individuals that:

  • Certifications scheduled to expire between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, will not lapse as a result of course cancellations or COVID-19 related restrictions. This date may be reassessed in the future.
  • Individuals with certifications that expire during this timeframe will not be required to retest, and;
  • Solid waste landfill professionals will still be responsible for obtaining their required continuing education hours within one year of when training becomes available again.

Operators whose certifications expire in this timeframe should complete their renewal form and submit it to the MPCA.

We appreciate your patience as we work to identify and respond to landfill operator needs. 

Individuals seeking regulatory flexibility due to COVID-19 for issues other than certification renewal must contact MPCA.COVID19REGFLEX@state.mn.us where these requests will be managed on a case-by-case basis. More information: COVID-19 and regulatory flexibility.

Wastewater operator training and certification

The most up-to-date cancellations, rescheduling, and event changes can be found on the Wastewater training and certification page

The MPCA has modified our schedule of training events for Fall 2020, which includes opportunities for operators to take certification exams, limited classroom offerings, and webinars. 

  • Classroom trainings. We have implemented plans to hold certain training events with measures in place to mitigate risks: limited capacities, physical distancing, and mandatory masks. Special instructions will be provided to individuals participating in our training events to make sure everyone understands the new requirements to participate (health screening, minimize contact and maintain distance, wear face coverings, etc.).
  • Certification exams. In addition to the exam sessions at the end of each classroom workshop, we are planning on hosting three sessions in the metro area in September, October, and November. Individuals looking to take certification exams should complete the exam application form and submit them to our office.
  • Online learning. We will soon be announcing a series of webinars on a variety of topics to take place this fall and winter. Scheduled in-person workshops may be shifted to online delivery or canceled in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. We will keep you updated through announcements posted on the MPCA Wastewater training and certification webpage.

Managing Your certification

Even with the offerings we are providing, we understand that disruptions to our 2020 calendar have had an impact on peoples’ plans to meet certification requirements. To that end, we want to assure certified operators:

  • Certifications scheduled to expire between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, will not lapse as a result of course cancellations or COVID-19 related restrictions. This date may be reassessed in the future.
  • Individuals with certifications that expire during this timeframe will not be required to retest, and;
  • Wastewater professionals will still be responsible for obtaining their required continuing education hours within one year of when training becomes available again.

Operators whose certifications expire in this timeframe should complete their renewal form and submit it to the MPCA.

We appreciate your patience as we work to identify and respond to wastewater operator needs. 

Those enrolled in canceled MPCA conferences, workshops, and exam sessions are encouraged to use those fees towards future training courses, but you may request a refund if you prefer. Contact Annaliza Heesch by email if you would like to request a refund: annaliza.heesch@state.mn.us.

Individuals seeking regulatory flexibility due to COVID-19 for issues other than certification renewal must contact MPCA.COVID19REGFLEX@state.mn.us where these requests will be managed on a case-by-case basis. More information: COVID-19 and regulatory flexibility.

SSTS professional training and certification

Training and certification exam opportunities

The University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program (OSTP) announced a modified schedule of events for SSTS professionals. Upcoming training includes in-person certification workshops and exam sessions for most specialty areas, and hybrid (online and field/classroom) continuing education. The adjusted schedule of program offerings, including cancellations, rescheduling, and event changes is online: https://septic.umn.edu/workshop-enrollment/online-enrollment-calendar

OSTP will be announcing additional classroom offerings and online learning in the months ahead. Please sign up for a waiting list if the offering you have selected is full. This helps us understand and work to accommodate your training needs. Additional schedule adjustments will be based on further guidance from University of Minnesota leadership. 

Certification exams will be offered on the last day of each certification workshop. Additional exam sessions have been scheduled for October 22 and November 5  in the metro area. Contact Jane Seaver with questions about upcoming SSTS exams.

End-date extended for certification renewal flexibility

The MPCA has extended the date range where certification expirations are being managed with regulatory flexibility. All SSTS certifications that expire between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, will be renewed, regardless of whether or not individuals have met their continuing education requirements.

Continuing education that was missed as a result of course cancellations or COVID-19 related restrictions needs to be made up within one year of when training becomes available again. Individuals that have not fulfilled their continuing education requirement due to the closure of workshops will be issued a conditional certification, which is no different than a full certification, but helps us keep track of this training debt.

Individuals with certification needs who are unable to attend required training due to COVID-19 restrictions or cancellations may follow the MPCA’s regulatory flexibility process, where these requests will be managed on a case-by-case basis. More information: COVID-19 and regulatory flexibility.

Existing certifications and renewals

Even with the offerings being provided through our partnership with OSTP, we understand that disruptions to our 2020 calendar have had an impact on plans to meet certification requirements. To that end, we want to assure certified SSTS professionals:

  • Certifications scheduled to expire between March 13, 2020, and June 30, 2021, will not lapse as a result of course cancellations or COVID-19 related restrictions. This date may be reassessed in the future.
  • Individuals with certifications that expire during this timeframe will not be required to retest, and;
  • SSTS professionals with certifications that expire during this timeframe will still be responsible for obtaining their required continuing education hours within one year of when training becomes available again.

Please use this page to keep up to date with developments and adjustments to the MPCA’s SSTS professional certification and licensing program.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work to identify and respond to SSTS professional certification and training needs.