Water and Waste Treatment Plant Operators

(NOC 9243)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

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 Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate stable employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 25 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 1275 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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)

Hourly Pay

$23.00

Minimum

$27.50

Median

$39.42

Maximum

Annual Pay

$4,031

Minimum

$51,144

Median

$75,481

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$12.00

Minimum

$18.75

Median

$30.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Water treatment plant operators monitor and 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 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 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.

By the numbers

Quick look

340

employed in 2016

87.5%

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

86.6%

employed full-time

3.1%

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

19.2%

Cape Breton

15.4%

Annapolis Valley

14.1%

Northern

11.5%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

37.8%

Utilities

23.0%

Public Administration

8.1%

Management, Admin & Other Support

6.8%

Construction

5.4%

Wholesale Trade

What is the age of Employment?

40.5%

45-54

23.8%

35-44

19.0%

55-64

14.3%

25-34

4.8%

15-24

4.8%

65+

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

41.6%

45-54

28.6%

55-64

20.8%

35-44

5.2%

25-34

2.6%

15-24

Top levels of education

27.0%

High school

$48,806 median annual income
27.0%

College certificate or diploma

$69,745 median annual income
20.3%

Trades certificate

$71,104 median annual income
13.5%

Bachelor's degree

$71,620 median annual income
5.4%

Less than high school

N/A

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,358 median annual income
22.9%

Less than high school

$21,011 median annual income
20.3%

College certificate or diploma

$36,968 median annual income
12.4%

Trades certificate

$37,356 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor's degree

$36,852 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Environmental engineering technology/environmental technology

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

301 Alexandra Street

Sydney, NS B1S 2E8

(902) 539-9766

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

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

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

Job postings

There are currently no job postings for this occupation.