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

Utility Mechanic III
Orange Water and Sewer Authority
Carrboro-Chapel Hill, North Carolina April 24, 2019
Wastewater Treatment Superintendent II
Johnson County, Kansas
Olathe, Kansas April 23, 2019
Wastewater Manager
City of Largo
Largo, Florida April 23, 2019
Water Maintenance Supervisor
City of Meridian, Idaho
Meridian, Idaho April 22, 2019
Division Manager, Utility Services Maintenance
WSSC
Gaithersburg, Maryland April 18, 2019
Sr. Utility Worker / Equipment Operator
Otay Water District
Spring Valley, California April 18, 2019
Chief Water Reclamation Plant Operator
City of Jackson, California
Jackson, California April 18, 2019
Water Utility Operator
City of Garland, Texas
Garland, Texas April 17, 2019
Water Operator
City of Seal Beach
Seal Beach, California April 17, 2019
Water Systems Operator I/II/III
City of San Jose
San Jose, California April 17, 2019

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