Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Technicians


Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Technicians


Wastewater treatment plant operators control, monitor, and maintain the equipment and treatment processes in wastewater (sewage) treatment plants. They remove or neutralize the chemicals, solid materials, and organisms in wastewater so that the water is not polluted when it is returned to the environment. There are approximately 126,400 water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators currently working in the United States.

Wastewater treatment plant technicians work under the supervision of wastewater treat...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Internship or part-time experience





Personality Traits

Hands On


Salaries of wastewater treatment plant operators and technicians vary depending on factors such as the size of the plant, the workers' job responsibilities, and their level of certification. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, water and wastewater treatment plant operators earned median annual salaries of $47,760 in May 2019. The lowest paid 10 percent earned $28,850 or less, while the h...

Work Environment

Plant operators in small towns may only work part time or may handle other duties as well as wastewater treatment. The size and type of plant also determine the range of duties. In larger plants with many employees, operators and technicians usually perform more specialized functions. In some cases, they may be responsible for monitoring only a single process. In smaller plants, workers likely ...


Employment in this field is expected to decline by 4 percent through 2029, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The drop in jobs is due to water and wastewater treatment plants having more advanced, automated systems to manage treatment processes. Workers will still be needed, however, to operate and maintain the complex controls and systems. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic affect...