CWEA Certification Code of Ethics 
Info Sheet 
Downloaded from www.cwea.org/code
The CWEA Code of Ethics establishes basic standards of  values and conduct for certificate applicants and certificate holders. The Code applies only to CWEA certificate holders. The intent of the  Code is to identify the circumstances that may compromise the reliability of CWEA’s certification process to establish, or certify, the minimal competency of a certificate holder or applicant. Any action of a certificate holder or applicant that compromises the reliability of the certification process may be subject to the process described by the Ethics Procedures.
Who is Affected
All certificate applicants and those renewing existing certificates will be required to sign the Technical Certification Program Code of Ethics statement. The Code will be included in the renewal reminders for individuals with certificates expiring January and July of 2006. The Code will also be included in the certification application packets for anyone applying for certification beginning January 2006. The Code affects only CWEA certification applicants and certificate holders. 
The Code of Ethics Becomes Effective January 2006
We will begin asking existing certificate holders who renew and new applicants to sign the Code beginning January 2006.
How the Code of Ethics Will Be phased-in
All CWEA certification applicants will be required to sign the Code of Ethics as part of their application package beginning with the January 2006 test. Existing certificate holders will be asked to sign the Code when they renew their certificates in 2006 (either in January or July). Those who do not sign the Code will not be able to renew their certificates. 
Why Have A Code of Ethics?
Being certified means that CWEA is making a statement that its certificate holders can perform their jobs safely and competently. Certain standards are developed by CWEA to support this statement of competency. The basic requirements are that certified individuals have the required combination of relevant work experience and education, and that they pass a written test covering the breadth of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the profession at a certain grade level. Certificate holders are also required to demonstrate continuing competency through the completion of 12 contact hours of relevant training or education every two years. The purpose of the continuing competency component of certification is to help ensure that certificate holders are remaining current with safe and effective professional practices. 

The Code of Ethics is designed to support the validity of the certification process and the continuing competency requirements. If the integrity of the application or testing process is compromised by an applicant or certificate holder, or if a certificate holder’s on-the-job actions do not meet standards of competency, then CWEA’s statement of competency is no longer valid. The Code of Ethics establishes basic standards that support CWEA’s statement of competency. Read some examples of how the Code might be used.
Who is Affected
All certificate applicants and those renewing existing certificates will be required to sign the Technical Certification Program Code of Ethics statement. The Code will be included in the renewal reminders for individuals with certificates expiring January and July of 2006. The Code will also be included in the certification application packets for anyone applying for certification beginning January 2006. The Code affects only CWEA certification applicants and certificate holders. 
The Code of Ethics Becomes Effective January 2006
We will begin asking existing certificate holders who renew and new applicants to sign the Code beginning January 2006.
How the Code of Ethics Will Be phased-in
All CWEA certification applicants will be required to sign the Code of Ethics as part of their application package beginning with the January 2006 test. Existing certificate holders will be asked to sign the Code when they renew their certificates in 2006 (either in January or July). Those who do not sign the Code will not be able to renew their certificates. 
The Benefits of the Code of Ethics
For Certificate Holders
The Code and Procedures add value to certificates held by wastewater professionals because employers and the public know that certificate holders are continuing to meet or exceed competency standards everyday while performing their jobs. This gives more meaning and value to holding a certificate than just passing a test, or taking 12 contact hours of continuing education every two years. It also provides a fair process for certificate holders to deal with potential accusations of ethics violations and lets certificate holders know what is expected of them.
For Employers
Employers benefit from a code of ethics because it shows that CWEA certification depends on on-the-job behavior as well as passing a written test and keeping-up with continuing education. The Code allows CWEA to decertify individuals that do not uphold minimum competency standards on the job. Thus, employers can be more confident that all certificate holders not only have the knowledge, skills and abilities required, but also perform their jobs competently. 
For Applicants
Applicants will benefit because they will know what is expected of them before even signing their applications. Many potential code violations can occur before a person is even certified. 
For CWEA
Ethics violations come to the attention of CWEA every year. The Code and Procedures will help to ensure that CWEA deals with each situation fairly and equitably. It also helps CWEA to disclose, up front, what is expected of certificate holders and applicants.
Enforcing the Code of Ethics
Certificate Holders
CWEA does not monitor its certificate holders' work performance. The Code relies mostly on an honor system where certificate holders are expected to perform their work within the standards expected of a certificate holder. In other words, it is expected that  those who are certified by CWEA will work safely with basic competence (this is what CWEA certifies). If it comes to the attention of CWEA that a certificate holder is not performing at  a standard of very basic competency and safety levels, then CWEA is likely to look into the matter.  The standard of basic competency expected of certificate holders is the same as the standard of basic competency set for the certification process.
Certificate Applicants
All CWEA certificate applicants are required to go through each step the certification process honestly and without circumvention any of the procedures designed to determine basic competency.  Some examples of circumvention of the certification process would be providing false work history on an application, using prohibited reference materials during a test, and taking test materials from a test site. Any action that might undermine CWEA's process of certifying basic minimal competency will be investigated.
Procedures for Processing Potential Code of Ethics Violations
The Ethics Procedures provide a fair process for dealing with ethics complaints. The Procedures define the participants in an ethics case and how each case will be handled. Individuals going through the process will be given opportunities to defend themselves and appeal any decisions made. The Ethics Officer handles all official ethics complaints and determines if there is enough merit in each case to follow though with the Procedures. If appropriate, the Ethics Officer may suggest mediation to resolve ethics disputes without the formality of going though the entire procedural process. Read the Procedure
Examples of When the Code of Ethics Might be Used
Each of the example below have actually occurred with wastewater professionals in California. The Code of Ethics and Procedures will help to ensure that each case is dealt with fairly. 
Falsifying Information Given on a Certification Application
Since there is a standard for relevant education and experience for certifications above Grade I, providing false information on the application undermines the ability of CWEA to make a determination of competency. In this case, if the applicant cannot provide satisfactory documentation supporting claims made on the application, then an ethics complaint will be made and processed.
Forging a Continuing Education Certificate of Completion
Forging a certificate of completion is one way to circumvent the continuing education requirement. If CWEA receives a falsified certificate of completion, or other similar document, it may choose to initiate an investigation and the Code of Ethics Procedures.
Cheating on a Certification Test
Cheating on a test includes a wide array of intentional activities that call into question the validity of an individual’s test performance. Once a test-taker cheats on a test, then CWEA can no longer make a determination about that person’s competency. Cheating also can adversely affect the integrity of the entire certification program and devalue certifications of all CWEA certificate holders.
Negligence in Duties and Falsifying Records
Allowing a discharge in violation of the NPDES permit which threatens public health or disregarding failing monitoring tests is an example of a person not performing up to minimal competency standards. These types of violations are often coupled with falsifying records or disregarded failing monitoring tests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is affected by the Code of Ethics and Procedures?
A: Only CWEA certificate holders and those who hold certificates in other states through certificate programs administered jointly by CWEA and other WEF Member Associations. CWEA members are not affected by the Code.
Q: What are the penalties for violating the Code?
A: The penalties may be suspension of a certificate for at least one year or revocation. A person with a revoked certificate can petition after 5 years to regain his or her certification.
Q: Will I be in violation of the Code if I get a poor performance review at work?
A: No. CWEA will not be monitoring your work performance. Violations will occur only if significant evidence comes to CWEA’s attention that work behavior is below minimal competency standards. Then the Code of Ethics Procedures will be used to determine if that person should remain certified by CWEA.
Q: What will happen if I don’t sign the Code of Ethics?
A: You will be reminded about the requirement 3 times, just as you would with any other certification requirement not met. After that, you will not be able to become certified or renew an existing certification. Signing the Code is a requirement.
Q: What if my religious beliefs do not allow me to sign a pledge?
A: In this case, please contact us and we will make other accommodations, if possible.
Q: If I see somebody violating the Code what should I do?
A: You can contact CWEA and a preliminary investigation will occur. Only if a significant possibility of a Code violation is found, then CWEA may take further steps to start an ethics investigation. 

The Code of Ethics
Introduction:
This Code of Ethics has been adopted by the California Water Environment Association to promote and maintain the highest standards of professional water quality service and conduct by its certificate-holders and applicants for certification. Adherence to these standards is expected from all certificate-holders and applicants, and serves to ensure public confidence in the integrity and service of professional water quality workers while performing their duties. 
Pledge:
As a certificate-holder of, or applicant for certification to, the California Water Environment Association or any organization utilizing CWEA certification services, I pledge myself to the following:
Certification Program Ethics:
  1. I will represent myself truthfully and honestly throughout the entire certification process.

  2. I will maintain professional competence in my CWEA certified vocation(s).

  3. I will adhere to all test site rules and make no attempt to complete the test dishonestly or to assist any other person in doing so.

  4. I will not engage in activities that may jeopardize the integrity of the Technical Certification Program. 

  5. I agree that CWEA has the primary authority to interpret and apply the ethics code.
On-The-Job Ethics
  1. I will perform my job safely, effectively, and within reasonable standards held by the profession.

  2. I will understand and follow existing laws pertaining to my professional work and I will perform my job in compliance with all federal state and local laws.

  3. I will avoid harm to myself, my co-workers, the public, property, and the environment by working safely and complying with all applicable regulations.

  4. I will honor contracts, agreements, and assigned responsibilities in connection with the performance of my job.

  5. I will use reasonable opportunities to improve public understanding of the wastewater industry and the role of water quality experts.
I understand and agree that, by my continuing certification and/or application for certification by CWEA, I am bound by this Code of Professional Ethics and by the Ethics Procedures (the “Procedures”). I hereby confirm that I understand and agree that if it is determined by CWEA that I have failed to comply with the above Pledge in any respect, I will be subject to appropriate remedial action pursuant to the Procedures. 

Date: __________________________

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Signature of Applicant/Certificate Holder

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Printed Name of Applicant/Certificate Holder
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