Drone view of shabby factory with round settling tanks with mechanical means removing solids in water treatment plant
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Waste Water Treatment Operator Job Description

Water Treatment Operators run the equipment, control the processes, and monitor the plants that treat water so that it is safe to drink.

The Primary Objectives of a Water Treatment Operator:

  • A Water Treatment Operator primary objective is to make sure that the water is treated so that it is safe for consumption.
  • A Water Treatment Operator primary objective is to make sure that the right amount of chemicals are used for the treatment of water but not too many as to harm the people who will be consuming the water.
  • A Water Treatment Operator primary objective is to follow all the safety and hazmat rules.

It is a well known factor that water is one of society’s most valuable natural sources. The water that is available today may contain bacteria or other pollutants that need to be removed for the safety of society. The Water Treatment Operator main concern is removing the bacteria and pollutants that are in the water. Waste Treatment Plant Systems Operators do similar functions remove pollutants from domestic and industrial waste. The Water Treatment Operator pumps fresh water from wells, rivers, streams, and reservoirs to water treatment plants. There the Water Treatment Operator removes any pollutants to make the water safe for consumption. The Water Treatment Operator controls equipment and monitors processes that remove or destroy harmful materials, chemicals, and microorganisms from the water. They also run tests to make sure that the processes are working correctly and keep records of water quality and other indicators.

Water Treatment Operators operate and maintain the pumps and motors that move water and wastewater through filtration systems. The Water Treatment Operator monitors the indicators at their plants and makes adjustments as necessary. The Water Treatment Operator reads meters and gauges to make sure that plant equipment is working properly. The Water Treatment Operator may take samples and run tests to determine the quality of the water being produced. The Water Treatment Operator knows that they must adjust chemicals, such as chlorine and fluorine, being added to the water.

Water Treatment Operators are expected to work during emergency situations. There are large amounts of storm water and wastewater flow into the sewers during incumbent weather. When this happens it exceeds a plants water limit. Malfunctions within a plant may cause an emergency such things as chemical leaks or oxygen deficiency are some of the malfunctions that a water plant encounters from time to time. Water Treatment Operators are trained in emergency management procedures and use safety equipment to protect their health, as well as that of the public. The Water Treatment Operators know that both tap water and wastewater are highly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Water Treatment Operator must be familiar with these regulations and ensure that their high standards are met. Water Treatment Operators are responsible for keeping records that document compliance and for being aware of new regulations that are enacted. Water Treatment Operators work both indoors and outdoors and may be exposed to noise from machinery and to unpleasant odors. The Water Treatment Operators’ work is physically demanding and often is performed in locations that are difficult to access or unclean. The Water Treatment Operator must pay close attention to safety procedures because of the presence of hazardous conditions, such as slippery walkways, dangerous gases, and malfunctioning equipment. Water Treatment Operators have a higher-than-average occupational injury rate.

Plants are operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In small plants, operators may work during the day and be on call in the evening, at night, and on weekends. Medium-size and larger plants that require constant monitoring may employ workers in three 8-hour shifts. Since these larger plants require constant monitoring the Water Treatment Operators’ are required to work weekends and holidays as well.

Employers will hire high school graduates and train them on the job. Then they require the employee to get a certification or take courses in a local college getting an associate’s degree. Many employers prefer to hire a person who has a certification or taken courses in college as this takes less on the job training. Most Water Treatment Operators start as operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job while under the supervision of a Water Treatment Operator.

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