So, you are interested in becoming a certified sewage enforcement officer (SEO) in Pennsylvania?   Whether you’re starting out on a new career, looking to add a new professional designation, or seeking a better understanding of Pennsylvania’s onsite wastewater program, PASEO is here to help you gain and maintain your SEO certification!  Read about the steps to SEO certification below.

You should start your professional journey by familiarizing yourself with the PA DEP SEO Certification and Training Program Guidance (385-2314-002) (Effective December 12, 2020).


First, visit PA DEP’s Clean Water Academy (CWA) and complete an SEO Candidate Request Form.  Once created, your Clean Water Academy account will provide you with access to SEO precertification and informational courses for becoming and maintaining your SEO Certification.  This platform provides on-line and in-class courses for programs within the Bureau of Clean Water.   All DEP approved training for SEOs can be accessed from the CWA. The CWA houses the SEO database where SEOs can check the status of their certification, their total credits, and their historical record of learning.  SEOs will also be able to renew their certification on-line.

Second, complete the Precertification Soils Course.  Once your SEO Candidate account has been created in PA DEP’s Clean Water Academy, you will be able to view when/where the necessary pre-requisite soils course is being offered.  Please note that this soils course is not offered by PASEO but another third-party trainer (SoilHub).  This required course will provide instruction on basic principles of soil science and evaluating and describing soil profiles in the field to  determine suitability for wastewater effluent renovation. The course includes online learning modules as well as hands-on field training with soil scientists. Describing soil properties and identifying limitations to wastewater effluent renovation are critical skills all SEOs need to have to properly site onsite absorption areas. The target audience for this course is SEO Candidates.  The total cost for this course (as of 2023) is $550.  Interested parties can register through their Clean Water Academy account.  The current listing (as of Jan 2024) of Precertification Soils Course offerings includes:  March 14, 2024 – March 15, 2024 at Shippensburg University; May 16, 2024 – May 17, 2024 at Bloomsburg University; July 25, 2024 – July 26, 2024 at Green Lake Park – Montgomery Co; and, August 15, 2024 – August 16, 2024 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (all subject to change — verify availability in CWA).

Third, complete the SEO Pre-Certification Academy offered by PASEO.  This is a week-long classroom course taught by experienced onsite wastewater professionals and offered at different times of the year.  There is also course pre-work that must be completed by students at home prior to arriving for the classroom portion of the Academy.  We attempt to make the Academy more accessible to aspiring SEOs by moving the location of the Pre-Certification Academy around the state throughout the year (e.g., Eastern PA, Centeral PA, Western PA). This course is designed to provide the basic skills and knowledge a future SEO needs to work for a local agency, and to prepare the SEO for permitting on-lot sewage disposal systems in a municipality. An SEO candidate must successfully complete the SEO Precertification Academy before sitting for the SEO certification exam. This DEP-approved training course covers 25 Pa. Code Chapters 71, 72 and 73. The training focuses on teaching the basic skills necessary for an individual to perform as an SEO. At a minimum, the training will cover: slope determination, isolation distances, soil probe evaluations, soil surveys, site evaluations, site testing, daily flow calculations, percolation testing, sewage system selection, building sewers, treatment tanks, distribution systems, absorption area construction, system installation, final system inspections, sewage facilities planning, administration, and system malfunctions and repairs.  The total cost for this course (as of 2023) is $750 and includes lunches.  View the upcoming Pre-Certification Academy offerings below.

Finally, register for and successfully pass the SEO Certification Exam administered by PA DEP’s State Board of Certification of SEOs.  An SEO candidate must first successfully complete all DEP-approved precertification training courses (i.e., the Soils Course & the Academy) before taking the SEO certification exam. Proof in the form of a certificate of completion is necessary.  Typically, this exam is offered at the conclusion of the Precertification Academy to make it convenient for the SEO candidate.  The exam requires a registration separate from the Precertification Academy registration — registration for the Academy does not automatically register you for the exam.  PA DEP & the SEO Certification Board also offer the exam from time to time throughout the year independently from the Academy.  SEO Candidates can register for the exam via their CWA account or by completing the Application for Certification as a Sewage Enforcement Officer form on PA DEP’s website.  The application fee (as of 2023) is $25.


April 8-12, 2024 – York County
York County 4-H Center
771 Stoverstown Rd
York, PA 17408
(registration closes 4/1)

June 10-14, 2024 – Centre County
College Township Municipal Building
1481 E College Avenue
State College, PA 16801
(registration closes 5/31)

August 26-30, 2024 – Chester County
Chester County Government Service Center
601 Westtown Rd
West Chester, PA 19382
(registration closes 8/16)

October 21-25, 2024 – Beaver County
Beaver County Conservation District
156 Cowpath Rd
Aliquippa, PA 15001
(registration closes 10/11)