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    Draft Criteria for the Qualification of Certification Programs for Irrigation System
    Installation and Maintenance Professionals under EPA's Water Efficiency Program

1.0 Scope and Objective

This specification establishes criteria for the qualification of certification programs for irrigation
system installation and maintenance practitioners under EPA's Water Efficiency Program.  It
applies to irrigation professionals who install new irrigation systems and/or repair and maintain
existing irrigation systems. The purpose of the qualification is to identify programs that certify
irrigation system installation and maintenance practitioners with demonstrated ability to apply
water efficiency concepts in their practice. An irrigation practitioner who holds an EPA Water
Efficiency Program qualified certification should be capable of installing and maintaining
irrigation systems with water efficiency being a fundamental component of their practice.

2.0 Qualification Criteria

To be qualified under EPA's Water Efficiency Program, the certification program must meet the
following criteria:

2.1 Independent Oversight Committee

     The certification process provided by an organization must be supervised by an
     independent oversight committee.  The oversight committee must be established by the
     organization and be composed of at least three professionals who are recognized for their
     expertise in the irrigation field. Full time employees  of the organization must hold less
     than half of the oversight committee positions. The committee must be able to exercise
     independent judgment and oversight to assure the integrity of the certification process.

2.2 Experiential Requirement

     The certification must require that the applicant have a minimum of at least three years of
     demonstrated experience in the field of irrigation installation and maintenance. In addition,
     the practitioner must provide evidence of a working understanding of all components (full
     comprehension of all system parts and the ability to disassemble, repair, and assemble each
     part). The oversight committee must have established the standard of proof for the
     experiential requirements.

2.3 Exam Requirement

     The certification must include a requirement for the successful completion of an exam or
     series of exams.  Testing procedures must be established or approved by the oversight
     committee.

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              2.3.1  Exam Content

              The exam process should be structured so that passing practitioners must have
              demonstrated proficient applied knowledge in the following subject areas:

                     System design layout and equipment specifications particularly as they
                      pertain to distribution uniformity and system efficiency
                     Soil/water/plant relationships
                     Precipitation rates and irrigation scheduling
                     Impact of site conditions on equipment choice
                     Hydraulics and pumps
                     Blueprint reading and interpretation
                     Recent innovations and technology developments

              Specific exam questions should be established or approved by the oversight
              committee.

              2.3.2  Exam Passing Score

              The oversight committee should establish the passing score. The passing score on
              an exam must provide an objective level of assurance that the concepts listed
              above are understood and can be applied by the practitioner.
              2.3.3  Quality Assurance/Quality Control

              The examination process must include the following QA/QC elements:

                       The technical content of exam questions should be established or
                        approved by, and periodically reviewed by the oversight committee to
                        ensure that the exam meets the requirements specified in Section 2.3.1.
                        In addition, an independent academic institute or professional testing
                        organization must review the exam questions to ensure that they
                        accurately test the subject material. The exam question review process
                        should be conducted at least once every two years, or more frequently
                        as determined by the oversight committee.
                       Exams must be administered by an independent academic institute, a
                        professional testing organization, or an irrigation professional certified
                        in the subject matter.
                       Exams must be graded by an independent academic institute,
                        professional testing organization, or a certified irrigation professional
                        not involved in the training or proctoring of the practitioner being
                        examined.

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                       The security and integrity of the test questions and test processes must
                        be protected at all times.

2.4 Renewal Process

     The certification must have a renewal process with a set periodicity.

              2.4.1   Expiration

              A certification must be renewed at least once every two years, or more frequently
              as established by the oversight committee.

              2.4.2   Maintained Proficiency

              One aspect of the renewal process must require the submission of documentation
              that the practitioner has maintained proficiency in the subject matter (e.g.
              continuing education units). The oversight committee should establish valid
              documentation requirements of maintained proficiency.

3.0 Application for Qualification

The organization seeking to qualify must submit an application to EPA's Water Efficiency
Program for review.  Qualification will be granted upon the approval of an organization's
application by EPA's Water Efficiency Program staff. The application should document that the
organization's certification process meets the criteria listed in Section 2.0.  The application must
include the following materials:

3.1 Letter of Intent

     The letter of intent serves to introduce the organization's certification program and should
     include a background section that describes their certification and reason for seeking
     qualification under EPA's Water Efficiency Program. The letter should include a statement
     attesting to the validity of information submitted, and be signed by the chairman of the
     oversight committee responsible for the certification program and an officer of the
     organization.

3.2 Identifying Information

     Provide the following identifying information for this application: a) Title of certification,
     b) Name and address of certifying organization,  and c) Name, address, phone number, and
     email address of point of contact with certifying organization.

3.3 Documentation of Independent  Oversight Committee Responsibility

     For the oversight committee identified in  Section 2.1, provide a description of the role,
     responsibility, and function of the oversight committee within the organization.  The

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     description should address the following topics:  1) How committee members are selected
     or appointed, and 2) Committee member terms of service, such as duration of appointment
     or nature of compensation, if any.  If available, a copy of the organization's by-laws
     pertaining to the oversight committee may be submitted as documentation.

3.4 Documentation of Independent Oversight Committee Composition

     For the current oversight committee, provide each committee member's name, committee
     position, professional affiliation, and a brief synopsis of irrigation expertise.

3.5 Documentation of the Certification Process

     This portion of the application consists of documentation for both the experiential and
     exam requirements.

              3.5.1   Experiential Requirement

              The organization must submit a description of the process they use to ensure the
              experiential requirement listed in Section 2.2 is met as part of the certification
              process.

              3.5.2   Exam Content

              The organization must submit a sample certification exam that has been
              administered no more than 6 months prior to the application date. The sample
              exam should be annotated to indicate how each subject, listed in Section 2.3.1, is
              tested in a sufficient manner. This documentation should link exam questions
              with the subject areas and demonstrate how each subject area was  tested. The
              exam may be claimed as confidential business information and if so, will be
              safeguarded as such.

              3.5.3   Exam Administration

              Describe the process used to administer and grade the exam.  Indicate what a
              passing grade is.

              3.5.4   Documentation for the Exam Material Review Process

              Provide the name and address of the independent academic institution or
              professional testing organization used to review exam material, and describe the
              process used by that organization for the review.

3.6 Documentation of the Certification Renewal Process

     The organization must submit a description of the certification renewal process, including
     the  documentation required for renewal.

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