How Much Do Wastewater Treatment Operators Make?

March 14, 2024

Generally speaking, the answer to how much do wastewater operators make is that they earn an average annual salary of $45,618. However, it’s important to note that this figure is a 7% increase over the last decade. This is a sign of the increasing demand for this type of position. Those who work for larger companies are usually the highest paid, as well as those who have advanced training in their field of specialty (for example, biological or physical).

A wastewater treatment plant is designed to treat water that has been used by a manufacturing plant during the production process. This water may contain contaminants like sewage, metal particles, chemicals and other materials that are no longer needed in the finished product. Each manufacturing company has a permit that details acceptable levels of these pollutants in the effluent water that the company releases into the environment. It’s the wastewater treatment operator’s job to ensure that the company is meeting these standards.

Some of the most common responsibilities for this position include adding polymers to help the water break down, monitoring meters and pumps, recording meter readings, collecting samples and operating equipment. In addition to these tasks, the wastewater operator must understand how to maintain proper pH balances of the wastewater.

Those interested in working as a wastewater treatment plant operator should have a high school diploma or GED certificate. It’s also important to understand that on-the-job training is a crucial component of this career. Most large water treatment facilities offer operator trainee programs that combine classes with on-the-job training. Once a person has completed their training, they’re eligible to apply for a wastewater operator license with the state. This usually involves passing an exam, beginning with a trainee level and progressing through the different license levels as they gain experience in the industry.


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