An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Building the Capacity of Drinking Water Systems

Water Operator Hiring And Contracting Guide

The Water Operator Hiring And Contracting Guide is a resource that can help public water system decision-makers hire or contract with a licensed/certified water operator. Understanding how to select an operator (either a permanent employee or a contractor) and what to expect from that operator can help you ensure that your public water system complies with all state and federal regulations and delivers safe drinking water to your customers.

You may need a PDF reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.
  • Water Operator Hiring And Contracting Guide (PDF)(41 pp, 3 MB, September 2019, EPA 810-B-19-001)
    This document offers suggestions on how to find the right operator for your system, helps you to communicate with your operator about water system responsibilities, and assists with your documentation of expectations for operating the water system. This document was designed to be customized by state drinking water programs and primacy agencies prior to distribution to water systems.