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Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators

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NOC:9243
Occupation:Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators
Category:Manufacturing and Utilities

About the job

Nature of work:

Water treatment plant operators monitor and operate computerized control systems and related equipment in water filtration and treatment plants to regulate the treatment and distribution of water. Liquid waste plant operators monitor and operate computerized control systems and related equipment in wastewater, sewage treatment and liquid waste plants to regulate the treatment and disposal of sewage and wastes. They are employed by municipal governments and industrial facilities. This group also includes waste treatment plant operators in composting plants and other waste management facilities.

Job duties:
Water treatment plant operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate and monitor computerized control systems and related equipment in water filtration and treatment plants to regulate the treatment and distribution of water.
  • Monitor and inspect plant equipment and systems to detect equipment malfunctions and to ensure plant systems are operating normally.
  • Read flow meters, gauges and other recording instruments to measure water output and consumption levels, bacterial content, chlorine and fluoride levels.
  • Collect and test water samples for chemical and bacterial content, analyze test results and instrument readings and make adjustments to plant equipment and systems to ensure quality control.
  • Provide verbal or written instructions for process control changes to waterworks system to ensure water produced meets standardized quality requirements.
  • Perform security checks in plant and on grounds.
  • Respond to public enquiries regarding water quality issues and emergencies.
  • Complete and maintain plant logs, reports and statistics.
  • May perform minor maintenance or assist skilled tradespersons with installation and repair of plant machinery.
  • May measure, mix and transport chemicals to maintain feed stocks.
Liquid waste plant operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate and monitor computerized control systems and related equipment in wastewater treatment, sewage treatment and liquid waste plants to regulate the flow of sewage through settling, aeration and digestion tanks, and to treat and dispose of sewage and wastes.
  • Patrol plant to check pumps, motors, filters, chlorinators and other plant equipment; monitor and read gauges, meters and other recording instruments to detect equipment malfunctions and ensure plant systems and equipment are operating within prescribed limits.
  • Test and adjust chemical feed rates to ensure that disinfection processes meet quality standards.
  • Collect waste and sewage samples, test and analyze results and make adjustments to plant equipment and systems as required.
  • Perform security checks in plant and on grounds.
  • Complete and maintain plant logs and reports.
  • Perform preventive maintenance on plant equipment to ensure that the facility operates in accordance with required standards.
  • May assist skilled tradespersons with installation and repair of plant machinery
Sample job titles:
  • environmental systems operator - water treatment
  • industrial waste treatment plant operator
  • pump station operator - water treatment
  • sewage plant operator
  • waste treatment plant operator
  • wastewater treatment plant worker
  • water and wastewater operator
Skills:

To work in these jobs, you should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical aptitude are important. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is required.
  • College or industry training courses in chemistry, pollution control or related subjects are required.
  • Certification in water treatment and distribution (Levels I, II, III or IV depending on the certification level of the plant) is required for water treatment plant operators.
  • Certification in wastewater collection and wastewater treatment (Level I, II, III or IV depending certification level of the plant) is required for wastewater treatment plant operators.
  • Solid waste, landfill or compost facility operator certification may be required for operators in waste treatment plants.
  • Certification in workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS), transportation of dangerous goods (TDG), and courses in safety practices may be required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
Other considerations:

Previous experience as a worker in the water treatment or wastewater field may be required. There is limited mobility between water treatment plant and waste plant operators. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. The number employed in this occupation is expected to remain largely the same over the next few years. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically temporary positions (such as a term, contract, or casual work). With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 74% of Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $54,277. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators340stable25Low
Minimum: $23.00
Median: $27.50
Maximum: $39.42
Minimum: $4,031
Median: $51,144
Maximum: $75,481
Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities15,275Weak growth1,275Moderate
Minimum: $12.00
Median: $18.75
Maximum: $30.00
Minimum: $6,056
Median: $30,111
Maximum: $70,518
Water and Waste Treatment Plant OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
Percent employed full-time88%87%
Percent self-employed0%3%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentWater and Waste Treatment Plant OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern12%x12%$30,581
Northern14%$57,67016%$33,660
Cape Breton19%x13%$32,974
Halifax40%$50,28547%$41,209
Annapolis Valley15%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeWater and Waste Treatment Plant OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
15-245%3%
25-3414%5%
35-4424%21%
45-5440%42%
55-6419%29%
65+5%3%
Median Age4745
GenderWater and Waste Treatment Plant OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Manufacturing and Utilities
% Employed% Employed
Female10%28%
Male90%72%
EducationWater and Waste Treatment Plant OperatorsCompared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school5.4%x22.9%$21,011
High school27.0%$48,80638.1%$28,358
Trades certificate20.3%$71,10412.4%$37,356
College certificate or diploma27.0%$69,74520.3%$36,968
University certificate or diploma2.7%$80,8331.1%$35,915
Bachelor's degree13.5%$71,6204.4%$36,852
University advanced certificate or diploma2.7%x0.3%$55,581
Master's degreeN/Ax0.5%x
Doctorate2.7%xN/A$25,380
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.1%N/A
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Water and Wastewater Operator
Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory):This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Environment
PO Box 442
Halifax, NS B3J 2P8
(902) 424-3600
(902) 424-0503
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300
ohsdivision@novascotia.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Blanche.Theriault@usainteanne.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
cumberland.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
akerley.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
burridge.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
kingstec.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
pictou.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
shelburne.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
marconi.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
truro.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Environmental engineering technology/environmental technology
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in developing and using indoor and outdoor environmental pollution control systems. These programs include courses in environmental safety principles, testing and sampling procedures, laboratory techniques, instrumentation calibration, safety and protection procedures, equipment maintenance, and report preparation.
See all institutions providing this program+
Maritime Environmental Training Institute
301 Alexandra Street
Sydney, NS B1S 2E8
(902) 539-9766
training@metiatlantic.com
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
lunenburg.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
strait.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute
80 Mawiomi Place
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5
(902) 491-1100
waterfront.info@nscc.ca
Additional resources: