CAREER PATHS

Electrical Instrumentation Technologist

Within the water and wastewater industry, Electronic Maintenance Technicians, also called Instrument Technicians, are responsible for installing and maintaining various electronic monitoring and communication equipment, including pressure and level recorders, programmable logic controllers, relays and computers. They are responsible for communications systems at treatment plants, pump stations, power generating facilities, electrical substations, and remote locations.

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Electrician

Electricians install, repair, operate, and maintain the electrical and power systems for homes, businesses, factories, and infrastructure within the water and wastewater industry. They are responsible for the wiring and control equipment through which electricity flows and the electrical equipment that it powers.

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Engineer

Engineering is an exciting profession that makes a difference in our world. Engineers play a critical role in providing clean, safe water to sustain life and support our economy. This includes planning, design and construction of new facilities as well as maintenance of existing ones. Engineering jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide the opportunity to earn a good living for yourself and your family while serving your community and protecting the environment.

“There are two things that make my job enjoyable. The first is the satisfaction of knowing that I am building infrastructure that keeps the environment safe from wastewater and pollution. The second is that even though this is a position in civil engineering, I am exposed to all of the other engineering disciplines…. This keeps the job interesting and allows me to learn about things that I might not otherwise be exposed to.” Chris Pachmayer, Union Sanitary District.

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Environmental Compliance Inspector

An Environmental Compliance Inspector (ECI) inspects industrial, commercial and municipal activities to ensure compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), State Water Board, Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB,) and local regulations and ordinances.

The EPA established and maintains pretreatment regulations for all publicly operated treatment works (POTW) as part of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. ECIs work with local commercial and industrial dischargers to ensure the POTW can maintain its treatment levels and meet permit requirements. Environmental Compliance Inspectors are sometimes known as Pretreatment Inspectors.

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Mechanic

Under general direction, the Mechanic/Machinist performs preventive, routine and emergency maintenance and repair of a variety of heavy and light equipment, related systems and components.

Knowledge of: basic techniques of shop theory and bench work such as chipping, sawing, filing, drilling, welding (MIG and ARC), soldering, gearing, threading, grinding and heat treatment; maintenance and repair of a variety of equipment including hydraulically and pneumatically operated machinery; arithmetic functions needed for precise measurements in performing machining duties; safety rules and regulations in the workplace, field, and while operating equipment; and familiarity with basic composition, characteristics, and uses of commonly used machine shop metals and materials.

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Wastewater Collections Operator

Wastewater Collections Operators are responsible for skilled tasks in the construction, maintenance, and repair of wastewater system facilities; operating a variety of light and moderately heavy power driven equipment; and ensuring public health and safety by preventing and/or responding to sewage overflows and blockages.

Wastewater Collections Operators are responsible for skilled tasks in the construction, maintenance, and repair of wastewater system facilities; operating a variety of light and moderately heavy power driven equipment; and ensuring public health and safety by preventing and/or responding to sewage overflows and blockages. They inspect, clean, maintain, construct, and repair wastewater collection systems including sanitary sewers, storm drains, pump stations, pipes, manholes and catch basins.

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Wastewater Treatment Operator

Under general supervision, operates, inspects, and maintains a variety of plant equipment in connection with the continuous operation of a large metropolitan wastewater treatment plant; directs lower level operators; and performs related work as required.

The operation, maintenance and cleaning of primary and secondary wastewater treatment equipment and facilities; wastewater treatment principles, methods, and practices; arithmetic; safety rules, codes, and regulations pertaining to the work; basic first aid; the methods and precautions in storing and handling chlorine and other hazardous gases and chemicals; wastewater sampling and routine process control tests.

CAREER PATH CERTIFICATION INFO JOB OPENINGS

According to a workforce report by the Brookings Institute:

  • There are 212 different occupations in the water sector
  • In the US nearly 1.7 million workers fill jobs across the water sector
  • The water sector pays above average according to Brookings, up to 50 percent more for water workers in entry level jobs
  • California hires over 6,000 new water and wastewater professionals per year *

Read the Brookings report. * CA statistics calculated by CWEA based a Cuyamaca College water workforce study.

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CAREER ADVICE

Career advice stories are sponsored by WaterTALENT

2022 Water Week: California Water Career Fairs
Join one of our virtual, regional water career fairs coming up on October 3-6. California’s water and wastewater agencies are hiring right now for a variety of exciting and interesting roles. A career in water offers numerous benefits, including: family sustaining wages and benefits; opportunity to work on a great team; and serving your community...
2022 Water Week: Path to Power Panel Discussion, Oct. 4th
We are pleased to welcome these impressive women in water for an insightful conversation about their professional journeys. Join us as we hear how they navigate challenges and balance their professional and personal priorities, share their best advice, and answer audience questions. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4TH 11:00 to Noon FREE for everyone REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR...
Emerging Leader: Jamie Johnson, State Water Resources Control Board
For several years in a row, Jamie Johnson ran for chair of the San Francisco Bay Section’s (SFBS) Students and Young Professionals (SYP) committee with little success. It was a position she thought would be exciting and inspiring, but she never thought she would take on that role amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges...

INSPIRING CAREER STORIES

CWEA Member Dr. Ramzi Mahmood Receives Excellence in Workforce Development Award
Congratulations to Dr. Mahmood on receiving the Dr. Kenneth D. Kerri Excellence in Workforce Development Award at this year’s Innovation in Certification conference presented by Water Professionals International. The Kenneth D. Kerri Excellence in Workforce Development Award is presented to an individual or group who has gone beyond the call of duty to advance the...
CWEA Member Richard Pallante Appointed as General Manager
Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency (T-TSA) announced the appointment of General Manager, Richard Pallante, effective December 1, 2022. Richard began his career in public service at City of San Bernadino, CA in 1988 as a Maintenance Plumber, and later transferred at the City of San Bernadino Water Department as a Wastewater Maintenance Mechanic, before being promoted to...
Monterey Bay Section Hosts Nozzle and Jetter Training Workshop
The CWEA Monterey Bay Section held its full day Nozzle and Jetter Training on October 27th at the beautiful Watsonville Water Resources Center. It was attended at capacity by 60 participants representing many agencies within the Monterey Bay Section. With opening remarks by the Collection System Co-Chair Jesse Huddleson, presentations were made by Owen Equipment,...

WOMEN IN WATER

Brown and Caldwell Appoints Stigers as Design Chief Engineer
Brown and Caldwell announced the appointment of its first female design chief engineer, Tracy Stigers. Since joining the company in 1980, Vice President Tracy Stigers has progressed from junior engineer to one of its top technical and delivery experts. She has vast experience in designing and constructing large-scale wastewater conveyance, treatment, and reuse facilities, including...
Student Success Story: One Water Career Journey
In 2020, Whittier College graduate Claudia A. Alvarez attended one of the WRD and West Basin career webinars and became interested in our sector. Claudia recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a  Master’s in Geographic Information Science. Now a proud member of the CWEA, she answered some questions for us: How did you...
Recruiting Water’s Next Gen: Encourage Curiosity and Reflect the Community
As the exodus of water workers continues due to retirements, agencies are discovering a painful truth – the pipeline of incoming talent is running dry. Adding to recruitment struggles, most Californians don’t know water careers exist. For two water districts in southern Los Angeles County, the growing number of job openings and lack of public...

VETERANS IN WATER

Veterans in Water, Austin Perkins, IEUA
First and last name: Austin Perkins Title: GIS Specialist Branch and years of service:  U.S Marine Corps 2014 – 2020 What is your role? As a GIS Specialist at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, I am responsible for creating, updating, and maintaining the Agency’s geospatial data, maps, and applications. What / who inspired you to work...
Veterans in Water: Robert Delgado, Inland Empire Utilities Agency
Robert Delgado Manager of Maintenance, Inland Empire Utilities Agency Certifications held: Mechanical Technologist, Grade 4. Other non-CWEA Certs: Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP), Certified Reliability Leader (CRL), and Certified Asset Reliability Practitioner. Education: Bachelors in Business Administration Branch and years of service: U.S. NAVY – 4 years CWEA Volunteer – 5 Years What is...
Veterans in Water, Manuel Moreno, IEUA
First and last name: Manuel Moreno  Title: Operations Supervisor Tenure and certifications held: Wastewater Treatment V, Potable Treatment II, Advanced Water Treatment III, Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) Branch and years of service:  Air Force 4 years active duty What is your role? As an Operations Supervisor at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, I’m responsible for...

CALIFORNIA WATER & WASTEWATER WORKFORCE

CWEA Membership Demographics Report for 2022
CWEA and WEF are undertaking large, strategic initiatives to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion within the water and wastewater profession. WEF is rolling out new initiatives, and CWEA has developed JEDI-Openers – stories about diversity that can help leaders start meetings with a short diversity moment. We recently pulled our membership demographic data and found...
2022 Water Week: California Water Career Fairs
Join one of our virtual, regional water career fairs coming up on October 3-6. California’s water and wastewater agencies are hiring right now for a variety of exciting and interesting roles. A career in water offers numerous benefits, including: family sustaining wages and benefits; opportunity to work on a great team; and serving your community...
2022 Water Week: Path to Power Panel Discussion, Oct. 4th
We are pleased to welcome these impressive women in water for an insightful conversation about their professional journeys. Join us as we hear how they navigate challenges and balance their professional and personal priorities, share their best advice, and answer audience questions. TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4TH 11:00 to Noon FREE for everyone REGISTER FOR THE WEBINAR...

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