Water Distribution Operator

Under general supervision, monitors and controls water system facilities and equipment manually and/or using information technology to regulate raw water supply and treated water distribution, control hydroelectric power generation and monitor and control water quality; and performs related work as required.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Working knowledge of: The operation and maintenance of water distribution systems including major components of pumping plants, reservoirs and rate control valves; principles, methods and practices of water distribution and energy management within a multiple, complex cascade system; related equipment servicing and repair; mechanical, electrical and hydraulic principles; safety rules, codes, and regulations including confined space procedures.

General knowledge of: Uses and principles of computerized electronic equipment in the collection, storage and interpretation of operational data related to monitoring and control of raw water and treated water distribution facilities and equipment; routine operating report generation; principles and practices of servicing, repairing and calibrating water distribution system equipment; current technological developments in water distribution and water quality.

Skill in: Operating water distribution system equipment including automatic control devices and distribution system equipment using advanced SCADA systems techniques and complex analyses or water distribution system requirements; maintaining safe and reliable water supply to customers; servicing, repairing and calibrating plant equipment; actively participates in multi person operation by giving feedback and offering constructive recommendations for operational problems; operating without immediate or detailed supervision.

Ability to: Recognize unusual, inefficient, or dangerous operating conditions and take appropriate action, compile, evaluate and analyze operational data and information and take appropriate actions; work effectively with others.

Education and Training

Requirements for operator certification are specified by the state. Each state has the authority to develop their own requirements for operator certification. The guidelines required that states must require the following for an operator to become certified:

  • Take and pass an exam that demonstrates that the operator has the necessary skills, knowledge, ability, and judgement as appropriate for the classification.
  • Have a high school diploma or a general equivalency diploma (GED). States may allow experience and/or relevant training to be substituted for a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have the defined minimum amount of on-the-job experience for each appropriate level of certification. The amount of experience required increases with each classification level. Post high school education may be substituted for experience. Credit may be given for experience in a related field (e.g., wastewater).
  • The state must establish training requirements for renewal based on the level of certification held by the operator. States must require all operators including grandparented operators to acquire necessary amounts and types of state approved training. States may determine other requirements as deemed necessary. States must have a fixed cycle of renewal not to exceed three years.

Adapted from Baywork.org and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and training vary by state, please check the Get Started Map.

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We understand that finding the perfect career can be both exciting and overwhelming. With many different paths to choose from and education, training, and certification requirements that vary by region, it’s hard to know where to start. Work for Water is here to help! Visit our Get Started map to learn the specifics to finding a job in your region, links to your local certification agency, training opportunities, scholarships, and other local resources to help you launch your career in water.

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