Plant operator jobs are likely to exist in many industries that each pertain to distinct responsibilities. In a power plant, for example, operators may inspect gas and steam turbines, while water plant operators often repair water supply systems. Treatment plants usually control community wastewater processes, and gas plant operators may load and unload gas cylinders for customer deliveries. Asphalt plants routinely mix additives with sand and asphalt, and boiler plant operators are likely to maintain and repair facilities for heating.
Utility authorities in many different parts of the world often need people to perform skilled and routine technical work within the generating plant. Responsibilities of power plant operator jobs are thus likely to include operating and maintaining combustion and steam electric units, repairing and inspecting machinery in gas and steam turbines and performing routine equipment tests. This last function may also involve such components as gaskets, filters, valves and hoses. In addition to technical maintenance, power plant operators may also monitor and maintain conditions that affect plant operations, provide instructions to plant personnel and comply with material safety data sheets. Some occasions may also require the operator to transport, mix or handle hazardous materials and conduct emergency procedures relative to chemical spills or power plant shut-downs.
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Public water systems often provide residents of a community with safe, clean water for drinking and other purposes. This water is likely to be moved through pipes from a distribution center to residential and commercial buildings. Water plant operator jobs often help to maintain, repair and inspect water systems at various points, including pump stations and storage tanks. These positions may also assist with equipment, building and grounds maintenance activities. In many instances, operators must meet goals concerning compliance with local and national regulations, and they may in turn test water samples and record plant operating data.
Treatment plant operator jobs may also be available at water facilities, although these positions are likely to handle treatment activities rather than equipment maintenance. Specific responsibilities may include operating facilities to control the flow and processing of wastewater, sludge and effluent. Additional tasks often involve diagnosis of operating problems, monitoring gauges and meters and periodically adjusting treatment processes. Some wastewater facilities may require candidates to hold certification relevant to local or national testing mandates.
Gas suppliers often exist in many different capacities. Some may distribute such industrial application gases as acetylene, while others may specialize in medical gases or dry ice. In many instances, these plants require an individual who can check and fill cylinders for delivery to customers. Gas plant operator jobs may thus load and unload cylinders on vehicles, record the type and quantity of cylinders and examine returned cylinders for surface defects. These positions may also perform calibration checks for scale accuracies, operate and maintain equipment for compressing gas into cylinders and fill cylinders or containers to proper pressure levels.
Contractors or construction material suppliers routinely offer asphalt paving services to residential and commercial customers. Such asphalt is normally mixed in plants that maintain production and quality standards. Asphalt plant operator jobs may thus ensure smooth and efficient daily operations. They are likely to be involved with heating, drying and mixing asphalt, sand, stone and specified additives as well as adjusting such equipment as screens and conveyors. Operators may also order raw materials, maintain inventories and ensure mixing bins are stocked and correctly prioritized. These positions routinely require knowledge of environmental regulations and emission control devices.
Health care facilities are examples of places in which boiler plants may be found. The boilers may be used for heating and sterilizing equipment, thus placing a heavy demand upon the plant. Boiler plant operator jobs often require knowledge of both water treatment and plumbing, including pipe fitting, chemical testing of feed water and local or national electrical codes. These positions are likely to thread rigid pipe, replace pumps and motors and repair steam traps and receivers. Emphasis may also be placed on facility maintenance for electrical, plumbing and construction purposes.