(1) The director shall adopt and promulgate minimum necessary rules and regulations governing the qualifications of operators of public water systems. In adopting such rules and regulations, the director shall give consideration to the levels of training and experience which are required, in the opinion of the director, to insure to the greatest extent possible that the public water systems shall be operated in such a manner that (a) maximum efficiency can be attained, (b) interruptions in service will not occur, (c) chemical treatment of the water will be adequate to maintain purity and safety, and (d) harmful materials will not enter the public water system.
(2) The director may require, by rule and regulation, that the applicant for a license successfully pass an examination on the subject of operation of a public water system. The rules and regulations, and any tests so administered, may set out different requirements for public water systems based on one or more of the following: Physical size of the facilities, number of persons served, system classification, source of water, treatment technique and purpose, and distribution complexity, so long as the criteria set forth in this section are followed.
(3) An applicant for a license as a public water system operator under the Nebraska Safe Drinking Water Act who previously held a license or certification as a public water system operator under the act and whose license or certification expired two years or more prior to the date of application shall take the examination required to be taken by an applicant for an initial license under the act. The department's review of the application for licensure by an applicant under this subsection shall include the results of such examination and the applicant's experience and training. The department may by rules and regulations establish requirements for relicensure under the act which are more stringent for applicants whose license is expired or has been revoked or suspended than those for applicants for initial licensure.