Wastewater OperatorJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

One of the essential services cities and governments provide to their citizens is water and wastewater treatment. Monitoring and treating water helps ensure a safe water supply for the entire community. Wastewater operators play an essential role in this process. 

Wastewater operators operate equipment to purify and clarify water or to process or dispose of sewage. Along with monitoring, regulating, and correcting water quality, they clean and maintain equipment, tanks, filter beds, and other work areas.

Most wastewater operators are employed by local governments, at water and wastewater treatment plants, or for local and regional utility companies.

Sample job description #1

ABC Company is seeking a Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator. This person will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, and supervision of wastewater treatment.


  • Operates and maintains wastewater system including servicing of pumps, motors, valves, generators, and equipment
  • Maintains pump stations
  • Perform sample collection, preparation, and laboratory testing
  • Maintain records, perform data entry, and provide detailed reporting
  • Ensures completion of work assignments within specified deadlines and in compliance with Federal and State safety regulations and procedures
  • Analyzes and evaluates pump equipment, trouble-shooting malfunctions, and monitoring of water operations
  • Performs preventive maintenance and minor repairs of equipment and infrastructure
  • Performs facility grounds maintenance including cleaning equipment and tanks
  • Perform general landscape maintenance including mowing, trimming, clean-ups, pruning, and other typical landscape maintenance tasks
  • Performs other related duties as directed

Job qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Class 1 Wastewater Treatment Operator Certification required
  • Valid driver’s license and acceptable Motor Vehicle Records required
  • Experience within a water treatment environment
  • Ability to work independently
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Requires the ability to read, write, compile, and analyze data and reports daily
  • Ability to monitor control panels, gauges, and meters to ensure proper plant operation
  • Must be available to work weekends, overtime and ‘on-call’ as needed

Sample job description #2

Are you looking for a fantastic career at ABC Company? We have a great opportunity for a Wastewater Operator located in (City, State). Under the direction of the Area Supervisor, this position is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the division’s water treatment plants and collection systems.

Essential duties

Assures the proper operation of wastewater treatment plants and collection systems in accordance with company and division policies and procedures.

  • Performs the necessary monitoring required as part of the operation of the wastewater treatment plants and collection systems
  • Performs all necessary preventive maintenance on wastewater treatment plants and collection systems
  • Inspects daily and maintains the condition and appearance of all stations
  • Maintains all records pertaining to maintenance and treatment as required
  • Conducts sampling of the distribution system and wastewater treatment plants and collection systems as needed
  • Participates in on-call duty
  • Performs other related duties and assignments as required


  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Possess valid NJDEP Class, S2 and C2 licenses
  • Candidate must possess a valid driver’s license

Working conditions/physical demands

  • May be subject to extreme temperatures, noise, wet and/or humid conditions, mechanical, electrical, gas exposure hazards, fumes, dusts, mists, gases, and/or poor ventilation atmospheric conditions
  • Must be able to lift and carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Working conditions may include travel to work sites of Essential Utilities and/or other constituents

Sample job description #3

Your opportunity

This position is responsible for tending the pumps and other equipment used to decontaminate waste water (sewage). Operator is responsible for collecting samples; reading charts and flow meters and gauges to determine equipment malfunctions and performing minor repairs on equipment.

Core responsibilities

  • Tends pumps, conveyors, blowers, chlorinators, vacuum filters, and other equipment used to decontaminate waste water (sewage) by settling, aeration, and sludge digestion
  • Collects samples and makes process reports
  • Reads charts, flow meters, and gauges to detect equipment malfunctions
  • In the absence of key personnel the employee’s supervisor or qualified designee (one that has been trained in the key employee’s duties) is responsible to complete or delegate the completion of all required tasks and responsibilities


  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED) and 2+ years relevant experience and/or training, required
  • Class I Wastewater License (or able to acquire within 3 years of employment); and Class I Water License (or able to acquire within 2 years of employment)
  • Ability to effectively present information in one-on-one small group situations to customers, clients, and other employees of the organization
  • Ability to carry out instructions furnished in written, verbal or diagram form
  • Knowledge Microsoft Office, including Excel and Word
  • Must be able to travel occasionally with possible extended overnight stays
  • Must be available for night and weekend on-call status
  • Ability to work well with others in fast paced, dynamic environment
  • Ability to be respectful, approachable and team oriented while building strong working relationships and a positive work environment

Work environment & physical demands

  • The plant environment will include include outdoor weather conditions, wet or humid conditions (non-weather related), extreme cold and heat (non-weather related), working near moving mechanical parts, exposure to fumes or airborne particles, and chemicals
  • Noise level in the work environment is usually moderate but can be loud when in the production area
  • Occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds
  • Specific vision abilities required include close vision, distance vision, and ability to adjust focus
  • Frequently required to sit, stand, walk; use hands to handle, or feel, and talk or hear; reach with hands and arms; stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a wastewater operator is $46,200 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$45,950$62,150
Los Angeles, California$51,850$70,150
Denver, Colorado$43,200$58,450
Washington, DC$52,600$71,200
Miami, Florida$43,000$58,200
Orlando, Florida$39,650$53,650
Tampa, Florida$40,050$54,200
Atlanta, Georgia$42,000$56,850
Chicago, Illinois$48,300$65,350
Boston, Massachusetts$52,250$70,650
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$41,650$56,300
New York City, New York$55,000$74,400
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$44,750$60,550
Dallas, Texas$43,600$58,950
Houston, Texas$43,200$58,450
Seattle, Washington$50,250$68,000
National Average$39,250$53,150

Sample interview questions

  • What skills and qualities do you have that make you a good wastewater operator?
  • Why are you passionate about wastewater management?
  • Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?
  • What responsibilities did you have in your prior facility?
  • How do you keep up to date with the latest technological advances? 
  • Describe your technical skills with operating the machinery and equipment.
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you correct your error? 
  • Describe a time you received criticism from your supervisor. How did you respond? 
  • Explain your process for double-checking your work to avoid mistakes.
  • How do you make sure the facility is operating in a way that complies with regulatory standards?
  • Tell me about a time you made a suggestion that improved efficiency in your plant. 
  • Describe the proper procedure for treating and storing wastewater.

Wastewater Operator Jobs in Ashburn

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