UpStream Blog

  • Katelyn Hearon

How to Win at TCEQ License Renewal



Imagine this scenario with me. You take 43 hours of TCEQ-approved training and believe you have 43 CEUs on your water license. Confident (and not a small bit proud of yourself), you apply for a renewed license and wash your hands of the matter. A few weeks go by before you realize something may be wrong.


Then, it happens. A TCEQ deficiency letter appears in your mailbox. WTH?


Suddenly, that self-congratulatory feeling shifts to confusion and frustration as you look to the heavens and shake your first saying, "Darn you, TCEQ!"


Sounds far-fetched, right? Well, it happens more often than you might think. Speaking from experience, I can say that taking the correct steps before applying for your renewal can save a lot of time and frustration!


So, come with me on a quick journey. I'll show you how to avoid the scenario outlined above so you can win at TCEQ license renewal.


1. Check Your License


Our second-ever blog shows you how to use the TCEQ’s license search tool—a tool we're about to use. So, if you need a refresher before moving forward, head on over to that article.


A table outlining the status of various TCEQ water and wastewater licenses
TCEQ License Search is an indispensable tool for tracking your TCEQ license.
If you're under 30, you're flyin' dirty.

The first step in any renewal process is to check your license status. Mind-numbingly simple as this may sound, it's frequently missed.


To check your license status, use the TCEQ License Search utility. When your license status loads:


  1. look for the license you want to renew.

  2. note the CE hours to date.


The key for water and wastewater operators is the 30-hour requirement. To renew without hiccups, ensure the 30-hour requirement is fulfilled before applying for renewal. So, pay close attention to that CE Hours column and remember: If you're under 30, you're flyin' dirty.


2. Practice the 1:3 Rule


Like Major Hochstetter in Hogan's Heroes, the TCEQ has ways of keeping us all in line. One way they achieve this is by prohibiting the use of a training course more than once per three-year renewal cycle. Unfortunately, we see folks who take the same course yearly under the impression it'll count toward their license.


This just isn't the case. And it's why we encounter water and wastewater hero(in)es who say, "I'll take 10 hours [with H2Online Training] when I only need 8 because I don't trust the TCEQ to award me the correct number of CEUs."


We think this is a shame, and it's not your fault. That's why H2Online Training takes proactive steps to help you save time and money while renewing your license. Look for a future blog post where we outline how we do this.


So, What’s Going On Here?


Taking Water Utility Safety on a yearly basis might be a great personal practice. In actuality, we highly recommend it. But there's a cost.


By taking a course more than once (during your three-year renewal cycle) you risk falling below the 30-hour requirement.

Failing to practice the 1:3 rule is a strategy that can leave your king open to attack.

Here's what I mean.


I earned my water license in January 2019, and it expires in January 2022. During those three years, I took the following courses.

Course​

CEUs

Date

Provider

Water Utility Safety

20

12/6/2020

COL

Lab Safety

1

5/2/2020

H2Online

Confined Spaces Safety

2.5

5/2/2020

H2Online

Vehicle Safety

1.5

5/2/2020

H2Online

Water Utility Safety

20

2/20/2019

COL


Even though it looks like I have 45 CE hours, I only have 25 because I repeated a class within the three-year renewal cycle.


However, if my license looked like the following, I'd be golden.

Course

CEUs

Date

Provider

Water Utility Safety

20

12/6/2021

COL

Lab Safety

1

5/2/2020

H2Online

Confined Spaces Safety

2.5

5/2/2020

H2Online

Vehicle Safety

1.5

5/2/2020

H2Online

EPA Pretreatment Workshop

5

2/15/2019

US EPA

Water Utility Safety

20

4/30/2018

COL


Live It. Love It.


Remember, you can re-take the same course as many times as you want, renewal cycle or no renewal cycle. But if you want it to count toward your license renewal, only take it once every three years. That's the 1:3 rule, and it's imperative for ensuring you meet your 30-hour requirement.


3. Resolve Your Deficiency


So, you didn't practice the 1:3 rule and you didn't check your license regularly. Now you have a TCEQ deficiency letter. What happens now?


Simply put you should:

  1. meet the 30-hour requirement.

  2. call the TCEQ (or send an email).


Deficiency letters happen. Annoying as they can be, the TCEQ gets it. Resolving them is relatively painless.


Once a deficiency letter gets triggered, simply contact the TCEQ Occupational Licensing Section at either of the following:

  • 512-239-6133

  • licenses@tceq.texas.gov

Remember, you'll only need to take the above action if the 30-hour requirement hasn't been met before your license expires or if you attempt to renew your license before meeting the 30-hour requirement.


In a day when you can sign up for and take TCEQ-approved on-demand courses without ever having to speak to an instructor, it seems a little odd to have to call someone for, well, anything. Unfortunately, the TCEQ's reporting database, STEERS, isn't quite on par with that expectation. A quick phone call or email will get your deficiency letter sorted so you can continue your license renewal.


The Wrap


Water and wastewater license renewal doesn't have to be a bear. By checking your license regularly and ensuring you've met your 30-hour requirement before applying for renewal, you're likely to never get a deficiency letter. And even if you do, following the steps outlined here will clear it up in a jiff so you can win at TCEQ license renewal.