Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators
Overview Routines Hours/Wages Qualifications Jobs References

Figure 1. An Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Gives a Tour

Overview - What is a Wastewater Treatment Operator?

Wastewater treatment operators work with environmental scientists, engineers and technicians to ensure that water being pumped out of the wastewater treatment facilities meets the water quality standards set by Federal and State Regulations. The operator's job is to oversee the removal of industrial or domestic pollution that is present in the wastewater when it enters the treatment facility. This includes everything from logs and branches washed into the water from a storm to chemicals used by local factories to sewage flushed down the toilet in residential homes.

In Acrata, there are also water treatment operators that work specifically with drinking water. In this role, operators ensure that when the drinking water is distributed to the public, the water is disinfected, purified and safe for humans to drink. Some of the operators work in the areas of both wastewater treatment and water treatment.

As technology improves, it is becoming more and more common for operators to use heavy machinery and equipment for the work in a treatment plant. These can be used to regulate the flow of water into and out of the plant, as well as monitor the water as it flows through the system. Depending on the size of the plant, operators may have different levels of specialization. In a relatively small plant, one smaller than the Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant, an operator may be in charge of the entire plant and all of the operations that have to be dealt with. As the size of the plant increases, more employees are needed and each operator's work becomes more specific to a certain area.