While all water operator jobs in some way relate to the transfer, storage, filtering, or delivery of water to and from consumers, the various positions within the industry can vary significantly. Some water operator jobs are offered by waste treatment plants that filter and reclaim used or dirty water. Others relate more toward harvesting water from various sources and preparing it for use in the public water system. Water services may include drivers, meter readers, water testers and scientists, and plant operators who control various machinery or computer systems. Customer service representatives also work for various water utility companies or entities.
Water operator jobs within a water plant can vary from managers and supervisors who oversee a team and all processes executed throughout the day to laborers who operate various types of machinery within the plant. These laborers often maintain pumps that move water through the filtration systems that will ultimately provide clean drinking water to the public. Filtration systems are also present in wastewater plants, as some wastewater can be reclaimed for use in the public, though not for drinking water. This water is often used for landscaping applications or for decorative water features such as fountains.
All employees who participate in water operator jobs must undergo training that prepares them for certification, as water management is highly regulated in most countries, so laws and regulations must be adhered to at all times. Inspectors will ensure that all plants are operating within these laws and regulations, and a water treatment plant is likely to hire one or more safety supervisor to ensure the plant is always operating within code. Safety operators may be responsible for developing safety and emergency procedures as well, since storms or other natural weather occurrences can cause overflows that can damage machinery.
Machinists may be hired for water operator jobs as well. These trained mechanics are responsible for maintaining and repairing any machinery within the confines of the water plant, and in some cases, he or she may be required to tend to machinery or other equipment off-site that needs attention in order to keep the water system efficient and safe. Sometimes these machinists have other duties, and they may be water operators within the plant as well.
Meter readers will work mostly outside of the water plant to read meters at residences or businesses; this is especially important in locations where bills must be sent out for water use. The operator may also be responsible for checking in on various pieces of equipment to ensure that equipment works properly.