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.

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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

Our Water Future: In Retirement Levi Fuller Plans to Continue Growing Pipeline of New Professionals
If you work in the Bay Area’s wastewater sector you likely know Levi Fuller. After thirty-one years on the job, most recently as the Operations Supervisor for Dublin San Ramon Services District, Levi has decided it’s time for some new adventures. He’s switching off his work cell phone for good and heading out into retirement....
Meet CWEA 2021-22 President Arvind Akela, Silicon Valley Clean Water
CWEA recently sat down with Arvind K. Akela to discuss his involvement in CWEA over the past few years and  his goals as the new president of the Association as he works to implement the organization’s updated strategic plan during his term. Akela comes to CWEA with over 15 years of experience in engineering and...
Emerging Leader: Liz Durbin, Ojai Valley Sanitary District
It’s a safe bet that Liz Dubrin will spend the rest of her career providing clean water for her community. As project manager for the Ojai Valley Sanitary District, she brims with enthusiasm  for her work and colleagues, and can’t see herself doing anything else in the future. “I love my job,” she says. She...

INSPIRING CAREER STORIES

City of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Win WEF Award for Collaboration
A long-running local program that benefits the San Luis Obispo community and Cal Poly science and engineering students received international recognition on Oct. 19. San Luis Obispo’s Sustainable Utilities Research and Education (SURE!) program, which is a partnership between City of San Luis Obispo’s Water Resource Recovery Facility and California Polytechnic State University, was awarded the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for Outstanding Water Quality Academic-Practice Collaboration at...
CWEA Member Value Report
CWEA is proud to share the accomplishments of CWEA members and the association. This member value report outlines the work CWEA is doing to support its members and empower wastewater professionals so they can protect and harness the potential of California’s most critical resource. View the new strategic plan here. FEATURED MEMBER NEWS Members Lead...
When Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG) is Fats, Rocks, Oils, and Grease “(FROG)”
The East Bay Municipal Utility District’s (EBMUD) Main Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakland, California, can operate at net-zero energy due to its anaerobic digestion of blended sludge. However, treating blending sludge comes with its challenges. Blended sludge (BSL) at EBMUD consists of high-strength and organic waste received from trucks. This organic waste generally consists of...

WOMEN IN WATER

CA Water Week: Women in Water Panel Will Discuss Benefits that Women Bring to our Industry
According to the US census bureau in 2018 women made up only 5.8% of operators in the water and wastewater industry, and less than 25% of women are in utility work overall. Join our panel of dynamic women as they share their experiences with advocacy and mentorship, and the benefits that women bring to our...
Bay Area Student Wins California Stockholm Junior Water Prize
CWEA selected Eshani Jha from Lynbrook High School as California’s first place winner of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, 2021. Jha’s project, Thiol Functionalized and Manganese Doped Biochar for the Removal of Toxic Organic and Inorganic Contaminants from the Water was selected as the first place project for California out of 21 papers submitted. Eshani,...
Cecilia Dominguez: Passing on the Passion for Clean Water
Join the Students and Young Professionals Committee Brownbag Luncheon on Mentoring with speaker Kerrie Greenfelder, Kansas City Municipal Water Division Department Manager for Burns & McDonnell and inaugural winner of the 2020 WEF Mentorship Award on June 9 at 12:00 p.m. Students can register for free. Members get a $130 discount before April 23. Cecilia...

VETERANS IN WATER

CA Water Week: Veterans in Water, Kyle Jones, IEUA
First and last name: Kyle Jones Job title: Senior Water Treatment Plant Operator, Inland Empire Utilities Agency Tenure: 13 years at IEUA, 17 years in the industry Certifications: Drinking Water Treatment T4, Drinking Water Distribution D3, Wastewater Treatment Grade V Branch and years of service: U.S. Marine Corps; 4.5 years active duty What is your...
CA Water Week: Veterans in Water, Allan D. Jones, IEUA
First and last name: Allan D. Jones Job title: Electrical & Instrument Technician III, Inland Empire Utilities Agency Certifications held: C-10 License Electrical Contracting Branch and years of service: Navy; Four years of service What is your role at the Agency? As an Electrical/Instrumentation Tech III, my daily role at the Agency is to service,...
CA Water Week: Veterans In Water, Joshua Oelrich, IEUA
First and last name: Joshua Oelrich Job title: Deputy Manager of Maintenance, Inland Empire Utilities Agency Certifications held: Vibrations Analyst: ISO Category 1; Certified Reliability Leader (CRL); Certified Level 1 Machinery Lubrication Technician Branch and years of service: Navy 2000-2006 1.     What is your role at the Agency? Deputy Manager of Maintenance – Under direction,...

CALIFORNIA WATER & WASTEWATER WORKFORCE

CA Water Week: Water Leaders Discuss Ideas for Increasing Diversity
The California water sector is rapidly hiring. How do we reflect California’s diversity at all levels of our workforce and foster a more inclusive environment with our co-workers? Watch the panel of water leaders discuss workforce development programs, new DEI efforts and what can hold back diversity efforts and the champions we need to move...
IEUA Joins IEWorks Regional Workforce Collaboration Effort
The Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) has collaborated with IEWorks to welcome three new interns in the Operations Division. The Agency’s Board of Directors executed a Charter in May 2021 to sign on as a participating agency for IEWorks, a workforce development group developed by Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) that focuses on developing qualified employees in...
CA Water Week: Veterans in Water Panel Will Discuss Increasing Recruitment of Veterans
Resources for Veterans Interested in Water Careers October 6th, 11:00 a.m.to Noon informational webinar Veterans in Water – registration link October 7th, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. California Water Career fair California Water Jobs board – sign-up for job alerts Baywork career resources for veterans California’s water utilities now hiring and veterans have the skills utilities...

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