Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators

(NOC 9243)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

Water treatment plant operators monitor and use 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 use 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 work for municipal governments and industrial facilities. This group also includes waste treatment plant operators in composting plants and other waste management facilities.

Job Outlook

average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 55 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

  • Estimate 435 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 1945 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

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 grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a moderate percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat 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. Also, a average portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$26.67

Median

$32.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,031

Minimum

$51,144

Median

$75,481

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$14.00

Minimum

$20.80

Median

$33.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Water treatment plant operators monitor and use 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 use 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 work for 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:

  • Use 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 make sure 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 adjust plant equipment and systems to ensure quality control.
  • Provide spoken or written instructions for process control changes to waterworks system to make sure water produced meets standardized quality requirements.
  • Do security checks in plant and on grounds.
  • Answer public questions about water quality issues and emergencies.
  • Complete and maintain plant logs, reports and statistics.
  • May do minor maintenance or help skilled tradespersons with installation and repair of plant machinery.
  • May measure, mix, and transport chemicals to maintain feed stocks.

Liquid waste plant operators:

  • Use 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 make sure plant systems and equipment are operating within specified limits.
  • Test and adjust chemical feed rates to make sure that disinfection processes meet quality standards.
  • Collect waste and sewage samples, test and analyze results and adjust plant equipment and systems as required.
  • Perform security checks in plant and on grounds.
  • Complete and maintain plant logs and reports.
  • Do preventive maintenance on plant equipment to make sure that the facility operates in line with required standards.
  • May help 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

  • You should be responsible, alert, and in good physical health. Coordination, agility, and a mechanical skill are important. You must also be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • High 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 necessary 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 necessary for wastewater treatment plant operators.
  • Solid waste, landfill or compost facility operator certification may be necessary 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

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

By the numbers

Quick look

390

employed in 2016

83.3%

employed full-time

0.0%

self employed

10.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
89.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.9

median age

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

15,275

employed in 2016

83.2%

employed full-time

3.2%

self employed

27.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
72.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.7

median age

Where will I likely work?

39.7%

Halifax

$46,602 median annual income
19.2%

Cape Breton

$53,067 median annual income
15.4%

Annapolis Valley

$62,748 median annual income
14.1%

North Shore

$52,470 median annual income
11.5%

Southern

$50,952 median annual income

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

39.4%

Utilities

23.9%

Public administration

8.5%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

7.0%

Construction

5.6%

Wholesale trade

What is the age of Employment?

34.0%

45-54

22.0%

55-64

19.0%

35-44

18.0%

25-34

5.0%

15-24

3.0%

65+

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

24.5%

45-54

20.8%

55-64

19.3%

35-44

16.5%

25-34

15.0%

15-24

Top levels of education

26.9%

High school

$38,353 median annual income
26.9%

College Diploma

$59,189 median annual income
19.2%

Trade Certification

$53,175 median annual income
14.1%

Bachelor

$56,527 median annual income
9.0%

Less than high school

N/A

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,505 median annual income
23.3%

Less than high school

$19,224 median annual income
19.9%

College Diploma

$38,781 median annual income
12.2%

Trade Certification

$43,975 median annual income
4.5%

Bachelor

$39,715 median annual income

Education & training

Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students 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. They include courses in environmental safety principles, testing and sampling procedures, laboratory techniques, instrumentation calibration, safety and protection procedures, equipment maintenance, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

Sydney, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Water and Wastewater Operator

Compulsory Certification (Mandatory): This is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Individuals must hold a Certification of Qualification, be a registered apprentice, or hold a temporary work permit to legally work in this trade.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change
Halifax, NS

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration, Occupational Health and Safety Division
Halifax, NS

Additional resources

There are no additional resources for this occupation.