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Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprenticeship
Did you know?*
- Treating used water, or wastewater, and returning it into the environment is a pillar of public health.
- Wastewater comes from homes, businesses and industries. It includes everything from street debris to human waste to chemicals.
- The need for wastewater treatment will increase due to population growth, suburban expansion, and retiring operators.
- Job prospects should be excellent. Employment is projected to increase by nearly 10% by 2022.
*Statistics retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators run the equipment, control the biological and chemical processes, and monitor the systems that remove pollutants from residential, commercial, and industrial wastewater. Once treated, the wastewater is safe to return to streams, rivers, or oceans, or use for irrigation.
- Promote a safe work environment for self and others.
- Operate wastewater treatment plant facilities and equipment.
- Manage wastewater treatment plant collection system processes.
- Manage laboratory testing, equipment, and reporting.
- Maintain wastewater treatment plant and collection systems equipment and technology.
- Manage wastewater treatment plant solids program.
- Utilize computers and wastewater treatment technologies, including reports and plant logs.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators work both indoors and outdoors. They are often exposed to unpleasant odors and often work in areas that are difficult to access. Plants operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operators in small plants are likely to work during the day and be on call nights and weekends. Operators in medium and large-size plants work in shifts to constantly monitor and control the plant. All operators are likely to work more during severe weather conditions.
- The program is 6,000 hours, or approximately three years.
- 5,568 hours are on-the-job learning.
- 432 hours are paid related instruction.
- Paid related instruction is offered entirely online through Moraine Park Technical College or entirely in the classroom through Gateway Technical College.
- The apprentice must pass four certification exams by the WI Department of Natural Resources.
- The apprentice must obtain First Aid, CPR, and Confined Space Entry certifications in the first year of the program and maintain them throughout.
- The apprentice must complete the Transition-To-Trainer course in the final year of the apprenticeship.
- High school diploma or equivalency
- Valid driver's license
- Physically able to perform the work with reasonable accommodations
- May be required by the employer to undergo drug or alcohol testing at time of selection as an apprentice
- May be required by the employer to obtain a commercial driver's license.
- The applicant applies directly to the treatment plant or municaplity.
- Operation and control: control the operations of equipment or systems.
- Operation monitoring: watch gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Inspect equipment, structures or material: identify the cause of errors, problems and defects.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators
- Wastewater Operator Certification (WI Dept of Natural Resources)
- Wisconsin Wastewater Operator Association
Sources: Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Position Descriptions, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, ONET Online