Water & Wastewater Operator Jobs

Water Operator Jobs Jar testing is an integral part of the water treatment process.

There are few jobs more important in the protection of public and private water and wastewater treatment systems than the Water Operator and Wastewater Operator. These positions are the backbone of the water supply and wastewater industries.

Becoming an operator is an attainable goal for men and women who meet basic requirements and qualifications. Each career path offers an entry level position typically called Operator-In-Training which requires minimal skills and experience. Those who are hired as a trainee must complete a probationary period ranging from 3 months to 1 year. Upon successful completion, the trainee is promoted to the next level.

Latest Job Openings in Water Operations

Operations Manager in Water Department
City of Fairmont
Fairmont, Minnesota December 06, 2021
Instrumentation Control Technician for Wastewater
City of Boulder
Boulder, Colorado December 06, 2021
Wastewater Operator
Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside
Half Moon Bay, California December 06, 2021
Utility Foreman - Water System Operations
City of Arvada
Arvada, Colorado December 06, 2021
Temporary Water Utility Person
Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District
Beaumont, California December 03, 2021
Water Distribution Supervisor
City of Fullerton
Fullerton, California December 02, 2021
Field Supervisor
West Bay Sanitary District
Menlo Park, California December 01, 2021
Water Treatment Plant Senior Shift Operator
Modesto Irrigation District
Modesto, California December 01, 2021
Operator OIT/I/II
Santa Ynez Community Services District
Santa Ynez, California December 01, 2021
Laborer Trainee
Vista Irrigation District
Vista, California November 29, 2021

Salary Comparison for Water Jobs

Salaries for Water Operators can vary dramatically depending on location. The United States Department of Labor reports the median salary for such jobs is $45,760 per year ($22 Hourly)1. Federal, State and Local governments offer compensation that can be higher than private agencies, but most employers include benefits such as basic health care, sick and vacation time. Below are salary ranges common in the water and wastewater industries:

Operator I Operator II Operator III
$25,800 - $66,500 Annually $50,300 - $75,100 Annually $65,200 - $88,300 Annually

Requirements & Qualifications

General Knowledge

Water Operator jobs require knowledge of electronic equipment and how to interpret and store the data collected during water treatment and distribution. Operators are expected to understand inventory management regarding the chemicals used during water treatment as well as fuel and supplies. Operators must know how to generate reports based upon routine operations, and understand current technology in water treatment, distribution and water quality.

A career in the water industry

Operators should have working knowledge of water treatment plant maintenance and the safety regulations that pertain to the work. In some cases, they must know how to service the equipment that treats the water which can include calibration and repairs. Employees should be familiar with standardized water quality tests and state and federal regulations that apply to that particular system.

Skills

Water Operators must be able to manage and operate water treatment system equipment including automatic control devices. They typically are responsible for repairing and calibrating plant equipment. Most employers expect water operators to be able to work without immediate or detailed supervision.

Education

Entry level positions in Water Operations or Wastewater Operations typically require only a high school diploma, however organizations prefer applicants have some level of higher education. A college degree will be beneficial for promotional opportunities in either career path—especially for positions like manager/supervisor or an executive management position in the water/wastewater industry.

Certification

Most operator jobs in the water and wastewater industries require employees to be certified for work within facilities of different sizes and types. Each state is responsible for maintaining a certification program for water and wastewater system operations. Certification levels and types differ from state to state, but they do share similarities in their requirements. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a summary of state certifications.

Water Distribution and Water Treatment Certifications for California

Senior Water Treatment Plant Operator A senior operator surveys water quality.

In California, distribution systems are classified as D1 to D5 based on two factors: complexity of the system and population in the service area. Treatment systems are classified by three factors: treatment techniques, source water characteristics, and system capacity. Employees must meet the criteria to be certified for work in each of these classifications. In some cases, job applicants will be hired as a water operator or treatment plant operator with the expectation they apply for and receive the required certification at a certain point during their employment.

Water Operator Certification Costs in California

Below are the costs associated with the different levels of water distribution and water treatment system classifications2:

  1. United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. California State Water Resources Control Board