The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) has adopted the national Water Industry Operator Certification Framework 2018: Drinking Water, Wastewater, Recycled Water effective 1 July 2019. This was done in partnership with the Victorian Water Industry Association (VicWater) and recognises that water treatment operators have an essential role in the production of safe drinking water.
Victoria’s safe drinking water regulatory framework includes the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003 (the Act) and the Safe Drinking Water Regulations 2015 (the Regulations). Victoria’s water agencies have risk management plan obligations under sections 7 and 8 of the Act and regulation 8(1)(f) of the Regulations. The latter states that risk management plans must contain details of the requirements for competency and training of personnel who are employed or engaged by the water agency.
Water treatment operators need to have appropriate training and skills in the processes for which they have responsibility. The national framework provides a minimum competency framework for operators who are directly involved in water treatment activities.
The national framework supersedes the Victorian Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies, Best Practice Guidelines 2010 (Victorian framework). The national framework was revised and informed by the Victorian framework, interstate pilot projects and targeted industry and stakeholder consultation. The Water Industry Operator Certification Taskforce is responsible for the national framework with the secretariat role being provided by the Queensland Water Directorate. The Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) is the certifying body.
Adoption of the national framework was recommended by a working group, chaired by the department and comprising representatives from Barwon Water, Coliban Water, Gippsland Water, Wannon Water, VicWater and WIOA. It provides uniform professional recognition at a national level, includes competency and capability requirements that align with the tasks performed and encompasses all water treatment operators.
The national framework is available at Water Industry Operator Certification page.