What does a Water Treatment Operator do?
Water treatment plant and system operators manage a system of machines to transfer or treat water or wastewater. They monitor meters, operating conditions, and gauges often through the use of control boards and record data from the gauge and meter readings. They work for local governments on a full time basis.
How to become a Water Treatment Plant System Operator
Some employers prefer candidates who hold an associate’s degree in a related field, such as wastewater treatment technology or environmental science, or have completed a certification. These programs can be found at trade associations, technical schools, and community colleges.
Some employers may accept a high school diploma or the equivalent to become operators and learn their skills on-the-job under the supervision of an experienced operator. In order for a water treatment plant and system operator to become fully qualified they require long-term on-the-job training.
Larger treatment plants typically combine formal classroom or self-paced study programs with on-the-job training. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators require a license by the state they are working in with standards and requirements varying by state. These licenses have different levels indicating one’s level of training and experience.
Job Description of a Water Treatment Plant System Operator
The specific duties of plant operators depend on the size and type of plant, however they typically have the job of adding chemicals to disinfect water or other liquids. They must regularly inspect equipment and monitor operating conditions, gauges, and meters. They collect and test sewage and water samples and record gauge and meter readings and operational data. He or she operates equipment that purifies and clarifies water or to dispose of or process sewage.
Water treatment plant and system operators have the duties of cleaning and maintaining equipment, filter beds, tanks, and other work areas. They must follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and ensure safety standards are met.