Today, drinking water and wastewater operators use computerized systems to monitor plant processes, operate equipment to purify water, and process and dispose of wastewater. The American Water Works Association projects that almost 50 percent of today’s drinking water and wastewater operators will retire within the next five to 10 years. In Oregon, replacements make up 83 percent of the total annual openings due to the aging labor force and retirements. As retiring operators empty the ranks of the profession, there are great opportunities for workers seeking career advancement, higher wages, benefits, flexible work schedules, choice of employment location, and employer-supported trainings.
“This occupation could be a great fit for veterans that are coming from the military with a lot of transferable skills in mechanics, equipment operation and engineering,” says Mark Ingman, program coordinator at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Wastewater System Operator Certification Program.
To learn about work opportunities for drinking water and wastewater operators, read Economist Felicia Bechtoldt's full article "Drinking Water and Wastewater Operators, the Work Behind our Water".