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What does a Wastewater Operator do?

Learn all about Wastewater Operator duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Wastewater Operator.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A wastewater operator is responsible for the operation and maintenance of a wastewater treatment plant. They ensure that the plant is running smoothly and efficiently, and that the treated water meets all regulatory standards.

Wastewater Operator job duties include:

  • Collects samples of wastewater for laboratory analysis to determine the presence of pollutants.
  • Operates and maintains equipment used to treat wastewater, including aerators, pumps, and chlorinators.
  • Adjusts treatment process to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.
  • Monitors wastewater treatment process and keeps accurate records of operating data.
  • Troubleshoots problems with the wastewater treatment system and takes corrective action as necessary.
  • Performs regular maintenance on all wastewater treatment equipment.
  • Keeps abreast of new developments in the field of wastewater treatment and incorporates new technologies as appropriate.
  • Works closely with other members of the wastewater treatment team to ensure smooth operation of the facility.
  • Responds to after-hours emergencies as needed.

Wastewater Operator Job Requirements

A wastewater operator is responsible for the treatment of sewage and industrial wastewater. They must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must complete a certified training program. Wastewater operators must also have experience in operating and maintaining treatment facilities.

Wastewater Operator Skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Organizational skills
  • Patience
  • Physical stamina
  • Problem solving skills
  • Safety conscious
  • Strong work ethic

Related: Top Wastewater Operator Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Wastewater Operator

The first step to becoming a wastewater operator is to obtain the necessary education and training. Many community colleges offer certification programs that can be completed in as little as two semesters. These programs typically include coursework in mathematics, chemistry, and biology, as well as hands-on training in operating and maintaining wastewater treatment facilities.

After completing a certification program, most states require wastewater operators to pass an examination administered by the state environmental agency. Some states also require operators to complete continuing education credits on a regular basis to maintain their license.

The best way to learn the skills needed to become a wastewater operator is on-the-job training. Many operators start their careers as entry-level technicians or trainees, working their way up through the ranks as they gain experience. Some larger treatment facilities may offer formal apprenticeship programs that combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction.

Operating a wastewater treatment facility is a demanding job that requires a high level of responsibility and technical expertise. But for those who are up to the challenge, it can be a rewarding career that makes a real difference in protecting public health and the environment.

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