The law

A drinking water quality analyst is certified to test drinking water in Ontario.

To work as a water quality analyst in a municipal system or a regulated non-municipal system, you need a valid certificate.

The certificate allows you to:

  • conduct chlorine residual or turbidity tests
  • take samples from residential plumbing and municipal distribution systems for lead analysis
  • perform pH tests in plumbing
  • conduct tests at drinking water systems that are not required to be submitted to a licensed lab (e.g. alkalinity, colour, hardness, aluminum)
  • take required samples for submission to a licensed lab
  • perform flushing or the taking of water samples in a school or day nursery

Source law

See a complete set of provincial rules related to this activity in:

Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002

Ontario Regulation 248/03

Ontario Regulation 128/04

Become a water quality analyst

To apply for your certificate, you must:

  • have successfully completed Grade 12 or equivalent
  • get at least 70% to pass the water quality analyst exam
  • pay the fee
  • have completed one of the following:
    • 1 year of experience working in either:
      • a drinking water system, performing tests on water
      • a facility that provides related experience or
    • complete the Water Quality Analyst course through the Walkerton Clean Water Centre or other training which has been approved by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

The certificate is valid for 3 years.

Register: Water Quality Analyst exam

Certification guide for operators and water quality analysts

Water Quality Analyst experience and Director approved course

Renew a certificate

It’s your responsibility to renew your certificate before it expires.

To renew your certificate, you must:

  • meet annual training requirements
  • have at least 3 months experience in the last 3 years, working as a water quality analyst or related experience
  • pay the fee

Certification  Guide: Renewal of Water Quality Analyst certificate

Guide: renewal of certificates and training requirements

Experience as a drinking water operator

Application form: Water Quality Analyst certificate renewal

Renew an expired certificate

If your certificate expires and you wait less than 1 year to replace it, you must:

  • meet the normal requirements to renew your certificate
  • pay a late renewal fee, as well as the normal renewal fee

If your certificate expires and you wait over 1 year to replace it, you must:

  • pass the water quality analyst exam
  • complete the Diligence in Drinking Water Operations
  • pay a late renewal fee, as well as the regular renewal fee

Course: Diligence in Drinking Water Operations

Certification Guide: Re-issuance of WQA certificate after it expires

Certified outside Ontario


All provinces signed the Canadian Reciprocity Agreement. This means credentials from each jurisdiction are easily transferable.

Ontario will accept the certificate of a water quality analyst from another province, if you received your certificate by passing an exam and not by being grandparented.

To have your certificate recognized in Ontario, you must:

  • complete the Reciprocity Application section of the Drinking Water Certificate and Wastewater Licence Application form
  • submit a photocopy of the certificate you received from the other province
  • pay the fee

Application form: Reciprocity

Guideline: certificate from another jurisdiction

Certified outside Canada

If you hold a certificate from a jurisdiction outside of Canada, please contact the Certification Office for details of obtaining an Ontario certificate.


Before you can apply to become a certified water quality analyst, you must pass a certification exam (pass is 70%).

You must wait a minimum of 90 days from the date you write your exam to re-write an exam, after failure.

The Ontario Water and Waste Water Certification Office administers exams and certification on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Please contact the Certification Office, if you want to:

  • register for an exam
  • prepare for an exam (e.g. study guides and exam aids)
  • get a list of exam dates and locations

The Certification Office will send you a letter to confirm:

exam to be written

  • date and time of the exam
  • location of the exam – map included
  • materials you’ll need to bring to the exam – personal photo ID and calculator
  • information about the documents you’ll need to submit to get your certificate, once you’ve passed the exam

You must also bring the following items to the exam or you will not be allowed to write it on your scheduled date:

  • the confirmation letter from the Certification Office
  • a government-issued photo ID
  • a document with your address

Examination Registration form


Please include payment of any applicable fee(s) when you submit your application form.

Pay by either:

  • credit card (Visa, Mastercard)
  • cheque payable to the “Minister of Finance”

Fees (effective January 1, 2016)

Operator-in-training (all 4 exams; Drinking Water & Wastewater)$50
Class 1-4 (Drinking Water & Wastewater)$140
Drinking Water Limited Subsystem$140
Water Quality Analyst$140
Certificate/Licence Issuance (upgrade)Fee
Drinking Water Operator-in-Training$40
Wastewater Operator-in-Training$40
Class 1-4 (Drinking Water & Wastewater)$175
Drinking Water Limited Subsystem$150
Water Quality Analyst$175
Certificate/Licence RenewalFee
Drinking Water Operator-in-Training$145
Wastewater Operator-in-Training$145
Class 1-4 (Drinking Water)$145
Class 1-4 (Wastewater)$145
Drinking Water Limited Subsystem$145
Water Quality Analyst$145
Certificate/Licence - Late RenewalFee
Class 1-4 (Drinking Water)$25
Class 1-4 (Wastewater)$25
Drinking Water Limited Subsystem$25
Water Quality Analyst$25
Certificate/Licence Replacement CertificateFee
All certificates and licences$75
Facility Classification*Fee
Drinking Water Systems$475
Wastewater Facilities$475

*Paid by owner

Course Assessment**Fee
Drinking Water Courses$175
Wastewater Courses$175
Course Reassessment**Fee
Drinking Water Courses$125
Wastewater Courses$125

**Paid by course provider

Contact the certification office

For more information on training and certification, please contact the Ontario Water and Wastewater Certification Office at:

Phone: 416-231-2100