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Career Area: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Program Number: 50-527-0
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Technician testing water quality

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprenticeship Careers

Begin a dynamic career where no two days are alike by becoming a wastewater treatment plant operator (WWTPO). In this career field, you’ll monitor, operate and adjust a wide variety of systems used in the treatment of wastewater.

You’ll ensure your plant operates efficiently by monitoring lab data, charts and computer control systems. 
Earn up to $24 an hour as an established waste water treatment plant operator. 
Train for just two years with combined work on-the-job and in the classroom, totaling over 6,000 hours. 
Begin a rewarding career with no student debt--in fact, you’ll get paid to attend classes!



Wastewater treatment plant operators monitor, maintain, and adjust a wide variety of systems used in the treatment of wastewater. They control plant processes to ensure the plant operates effectively. Operators monitor laboratory data, charts, and computer control systems, which indicate performance status of a wide variety of biological nutrient and chemical removal. These workers operate various systems and processes, including activated sludge wastewater treatment systems; biological nutrient removal systems, digester gas system pressures and gas compressor operations; digester operating temperatures; heat exchangers; digester circulation pumps, pressures, and flows; boilers and engine generators; influent rate and pumps; sludge and primary sedimentation levels and pumps; and sewage de-gritting systems.

Personnel employed in these positions monitor and adjust sludge thickness on flotation thickeners; and monitor and adjust the quantity of sludge in the thickener hopper and rate of pumping to digesters. Operators will back flush, clear, and purge pumps, and monitor and adjust flow rates. Plant operators operate and control sludge dewatering centrifuge and all associated systems. Operators also collect various samples and plant information, including composite samples; disinfection system samples; effluent samples, bay samples; and daily major industrial user samples. Personnel collect, record and maintain records as necessary for state and federal regulations. Advanced certifications exist in the industry.

Details and Requirements

The Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Apprenticeship consists of approximately three years, including approximately 5,568 hours of on-the-job learning and 432 hours of paid related instruction.

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