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Water and Wastewater Plant Operator

Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

Water and wastewater plant operators control the pumping of water for supply and storage.

They treat water to purify it or to remove waste in order to meet various national standards.

Water and wastewater plant operators may specialise in water treatment, wastewater treatment or maintenance of distribution and collection systems.

They often work outdoors and sometimes work in remote areas.

In treatment plants, which require 24-hour operation, shiftwork is required.


    Water and wastewater plant operators may perform the following tasks:

  • operate pumps, valves and gates to control the flow of water or waste
  • regulate water flow through stages of the treatment such as filtering, the addition of chemicals (polymers, for example) and aeration
  • receive, load and unload chemicals
  • monitor flow meters, pressure gauges, power usage and wastewater quality
  • take samples and carry out routine analyses
  • prepare reports and log details of plant operations
  • perform routine servicing and cleaning of water storage facilities, plants and pipes, and repair faults in water supply and storage systems
  • service the distribution system leading from the treatment plant
  • operate and maintain plant facilities, reservoirs and dams
  • supervise staff and assist with training of new operators
  • receive, monitor and respond to remote alarms
  • operate waste disposal or water purification equipment
  • operate locks and adjust the water level in weirs
  • control and monitor the biological treatment plant process


  • enjoy technical and engineering activities
  • commitment to occupational health and safety
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job

Interest Area

Manual/Practical Outdoor


Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

To become a water and wastewater plant operator you usually have to complete a traineeship in Water Operations.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Water Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


In addition to municipal water treatment plants and local regional water boards, many tourist facilities, beverage manufacturers, mining companies in remote locations and processing industries also require operational personnel. Many positions are in country areas.

New technology has reduced the demand for unskilled operators, and operators are now required to acquire higher-level skills in process monitoring and control.

With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to become a leading hand, supervisor or manager.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Water and Wastewater Plant Operator Australian Water Association Office of Water, Department of Primary Industries (NSW)

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