New Program Certifies Biosolids Land Appliers

A new biosolids land application (BLA) certification program developed by the Association of Boards of Certification (ABC) was highlighted at the 2009 WEF Residuals and Biosolids Conference recently.

The ABC certification helps ensure protection of public health and the environment through certification and demonstrates professionalism and competency of industry professionals. ABC, a non-profit organization established in 1972, is comprised of almost 100 member certifying authorities from across the globe and works to advance water quality and integrity through certification.

According to Suzanne De la Cruz, chief operating officer, ABC’s biosolids certification program is unique to the industry. “Although all states in the U.S. have a certification or licensing program for wastewater treatment operators, only a few options exist for land applier certification,” she said. “Our program is among the first to provide this mechanism for individuals to demonstrate expertise in the field through certification, as their colleagues in wastewater treatment have done through state regulatory boards.”

During the development phase, ABC conducted a national job analysis of land appliers to identify essential job tasks performed by land appliers and the capabilities required to competently perform job tasks.

“We used the results of the job analysis as the foundation for the development of valid land application certification exams,” said De la Cruz. The Need-to-Know Criteria, found online, contains the results of the analysis and is available for certification programs and trainers to help prepare land appliers for certification.

In order to be certified by ABC, a land applier must meet specific education, experience, and examination requirements for the level of which they are applying. Two levels of ABC certification are available:

  • Class I – Covers knowledge and skills required for field operators
  • Class II – Focuses on knowledge and skills required for managers

De la Cruz explains that in addition to meeting established requirements, participants must pass an exam with a score of 70 percent or higher. Testing options are flexible and exams can be administered nationally and internationally.

For more information, visit For application, examination, and renewal fees, visit the ABC Certification Process Web page.