Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Technicians

Technician Checks Wastewater Treatment Plant Systems

Wastewater treatment plant operators control, monitor, and maintain the equipment and treatment processes in wastewater (sewage) treatment plants. They remove or neutralize the chemicals, solid materials, and organisms in wastewater so that the water is not polluted when it is returned to the environment. There are approximately 114,770 water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators currently working in the United States.

Wastewater treatment plant technicians work under the supervision of wastewater treatment plant operators. Technicians take samples and monitor treatment to ensure treated water is safe for its intended use. Depending on the level of treatment, water is used for human consumption or for nonconsumptive purposes, such as field irrigation or discharge into natural water sources. Some technicians also work in labs, where they collect and analyze water samples and maintain lab equipment.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Control, monitor, and maintain the equipment and treatment processes in wastewater treatment plants
Salary Range $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
Experience Internship or part-time experience
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
  • Math
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Plant Supervisor or Superintendent
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Technician
  • Wastewater Treatment Attendant or Operator-in-Training