Access to reliable, safe water is essential to everyday life. The certified water and wastewater operators who operate and manage our treatment plants and transmission/conveyance systems are a critical part of protecting public health. For these dedicated men and women, their responsibility to ensure we meet and surpass regulatory guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) is more than job – it’s personal. The water they treat is the same water our family and friends rely on each day.
The path to becoming a certified, licensed water professional is strenuous yet rewarding. At NTMWD, we are proud to have a high percentage of Class A operators (the highest level of certification) in our state. We currently have 15 Class A Water Operators and 41 Class A Wastewater Operators working in our treatment plants and transmission/conveyance systems. In fact, this is the highest number of Class A operators employed in our 60+ year history. That number goes up if you include those operators who have moved into a different area of service for the District but maintain their certification.
There are several key skills needed to become a certified operator. In addition to strong mathematical, mechanical and science backgrounds, a steadfast commitment to plant safety activities, practices and standards is essential. Not only do we want to make sure our end-product is safe, the safety of our personnel is paramount. The ability to communicate, record and engage others in all aspects of operations – from best practices to standards to troubleshooting – is important for success.
Another trait necessary for water and wastewater operators is a willingness to work nights, weekends and holiday shifts. All water and wastewater operations run 24/7, 365 days a year. Water needs to be available any time of day or night for personal use and emergency needs such as to extinguish a fire. Similarly, wastewater flows from homes and businesses around-the-clock. And, while some of the processes and techniques we use are automated, having a licensed professional available at all times is vital for everyone’s safety and to maintain reliability.
A career in water and wastewater operations is a long and rewarding one. The thousands of professionals in the water and wastewater sectors who are due to retire in the coming decade will attest to that. The industry as a whole is already in need of the next generation of certified operators to take over for these retirees. According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 7,000 certified operators will be needed across the country in less than ten years.
We have several positions open at the District and are in the process of partnering with local educational institutions on developing the next wave of operators needed to keep operations flowing safely and reliably. As the AWWA reminds us – #NoOperatorNoWater.
Learn more about working with us at NTMWD.com/Careers.
To find out more about the water and wastewater industries, we recommend these resources: