Plant Operators

Wastewater treatment-plant operators control processes and equipment that remove excess nutrients in wastewater that would otherwise cause harm to people, wildlife, and the environment. Workers in this field must have an educational background in wastewater and earn state certification by passing operator exams.

A wastewater operator oversees the equipment, machines and monitoring devices at the wastewater treatment facility and makes necessary adjustments to ensure compliance with standards and guidelines.

The equipment they are responsible for generally includes valves, meters, control panels and pumps, generators, and other equipment necessary for operations.   A wastewater operator also makes regular physical inspections of the plant on an hourly or semi-hourly basis by walking around the plant and observing the performance of each piece of equipment.

In addition to their monitoring and maintenance duties at the plant, a wastewater operator may be required to occasionally visit sanitary lift stations and storm water pump stations within the city.  At these remote locations, they monitor equipment and activity and investigate any issues that could lead to more severe problems.  They are also trained to handle power outages or natural disasters that may interrupt wastewater operations.