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Alberta Composting Facility Operator Certification Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum requirements for basic certification as a compost facility operator?
An applicant for a Basic Certificate must be at least 18 years of age, and have at least one year of full time operational experience at a composting facility within the past three years

I already have a Certificate of Qualification from Alberta Environment. Do I need to reapply for a Basic Certification?
Certificates of Qualification for Compost Facility Operators issued by Alberta Environment between September 1999 and December 2009 were based on the classifications of composting facilities defined in the Activities Designation Regulation. As of January 1, 2010, all certificates issued by Alberta Environment will be considered Basic Certificates. The expiry dates of Certificates of Qualification remain unchanged

I have a Conditional Certificate from Alberta Environment. Do I need to reapply for a Basic Certification?
Conditional Certificates are issued to facilities that do not have operators that met the requirements for certification. Conditional Certificates are temporary and are not renewable. Operators who hold conditional certificates are required to comply with the timelines outlined in their conditional certificate to obtain Basic Certification.

I have a Conditional Restricted Certificate issued by Alberta Environment. Do I need to reapply for a Basic Certification?
Conditional Restricted Certificates are “grandfathered” certificates issued prior to September 1, 2001. These certificates are designated with ‘CR’ preceding the certificate number. Conditional Restricted Certificates can be renewed until December 31st, 2011 and will remain valid until the expiry date or until the certificate holder is no longer employed at the specified facility. Upon expiry, the Conditional Restricted Certificate holder must apply for Basic Certification.

I am the Facility Manager. Can I become a certified operator?
Provided that they meet the qualification requirements contained in the guidelines, Facility Managers can apply for Basic Certification.

I am the Facility Manager. Can I obtain a Manager Certification?
A manager level certificate is expected to cover competences that are above and beyond what is required of operators, and is beyond the scope of the current program. It has been recommended that manager level certificates be introduced to the program at a later date.

None of my Facility Operators meet the qualifications for Basic Certification. What can I do?
Provided that the qualification requirements contained in the guidelines are met, Facility Managers or Owners can apply for Basic Certification. If the Manager or Owner does not have the necessary qualifications, it may be possible to obtain a Conditional Certificate.

Applications for Conditional Certificates must be made directly to Alberta Environment. Please contact, Natasha Page of Alberta Environment at (780) 427- 5830 or natasha.page@gov.ab.ca for conditional certificate application requirements.

What is covered on the Compost Operator Certification Exam?
Alberta Environment maintains and updates the question bank from which the exams are prepared. The question bank for composting facilities was developed from competency profiles and occupational analyses and input from a number of operators and stakeholders in Alberta.

Each exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions drawn from the question bank. Questions cover the following critical tasks:

  • Feedstock Management
  • Health and Safety
  • Site Operations Management
  • Regulatory Requirements
  • Composting Science
  • Process Control
  • Process monitoring and control
  • Composting Technology and Equipment
  • Communications
  • Role of Composting in Waste Management
  • Compost Markets

What is the passing grade on the Certification Exam?
70%

How long does it take to process the exam results?
You will generally be notified of your exam results and certification status within six weeks of writing the exam.

What does it cost to become certified?
The Compost Council of Canada operates its certification programs on a cost-recovery basis. Applicants for certification will be assessed a fee to offset the costs of preparing/marking the examination and administering the program. Fees are also charged for certification renewals. The current fee structure is:

New Applications for Certification – $150

Re-application for Certification – $100

Applications for Certificate Renewal – $75

I have a National Compost Operator Certificate issued by the Compost Council of Canada. Is this valid in Alberta?
Alberta’s Composting Facility Operator Certification Program contains specific information on provincial regulations and requirements that are not covered in the National Compost Operator Certification Program. Therefore, a National Compost Operator Certification from The Compost Council of Canada is not equivalent to a Basic Certification.

What is required to renew a certificate?
In order to renew an existing Basic Certification, the certificate holder must:

  • have at least one year of relevant full-time operating experience at a composting facility during the past three years;
  • have obtained a minimum of 0.6 continuing education units (CEUs) from a recognized training course or event; and
  • submit the required applications to the CCC prior to the expiry of their existing certificate.

What is a continuing education unit or CEU?
Continuing education units are educational classes or experiences that increase the operator’s knowledge of practices in landfill and composting operations. For the Alberta Landfill and Composting Facility Operator Certification program, one CEU is defined as 10 contact hours of participation in an organized, relevant continuing education experience as approved by the Solid Waste Certification Advisory Committee (the Advisory Committee).

What courses and events are approved?
Alberta Environment maintains a list of approved training courses and events. this listing is contained in the Alberta Landfill and Composting Facility Operator Certification Program’s Continuing Education Unit Policy which is available from Alberta Environment’s web site.

When and where will the next exam sitting take place?
Dates and information on certification exam sittings are posted on the Compost Council of Canada’s website.

The Compost Council of Canada is the national non-profit, member-driven organization dedicated to advocating and advancing organics residuals recycling and compost use. The Council serves as the central resource and network for the compost and organics recycling industry in Canada and, through its members, contributes to the environmental sustainability of the communities in which they operate.