Liquid waste treatment plant operator

Liquid waste treatment plant operator article illustration


Liquid waste treatment technicians remove hazardous chemicals and pollutants from liquid waste, such as oil, to be safely used for new applications. They operate and maintain liquid waste treatment equipment, monitor operations, and test samples to ensure the safety standards are met.

The duties of a liquid waste treatment plant operator typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Operating and maintaining liquid waste treatment systems to ensure that the treated water meets environmental and regulatory standards
  • Conducting regular tests on the treated water to ensure that it is safe for discharge or reuse
  • Troubleshooting and repairing any issues with the liquid waste treatment systems
  • Monitoring the levels of chemicals used in the treatment process
  • Maintaining accurate records of all maintenance and repairs performed on the liquid waste treatment systems
  • Ensuring the safe disposal of any hazardous materials used in the treatment process
  • Coordinating with other staff members to ensure the proper functioning of the liquid waste treatment plant

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to liquid waste treatment plant operator:

liquid waster remediation worker
liquid waste treatment plant operator
contaminated water remediation worker
liquid waste monitor
liquid waste treatment plant operative
waste oil remediation worker
liquid waste tester
liquid waste plant monitoring operator
liquid waste treatment plant worker

Working conditions

Liquid waste treatment plant operators often work in industrial settings such as wastewater treatment plants or utilities. The job may require working in confined spaces or around hazardous chemicals, so following strict safety protocols is crucial. Liquid waste treatment plant operators may also need to work in shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required to become a liquid waste treatment plant operator. Many employers also require an associate degree in a related field, such as environmental science or chemistry. In addition to formal education, on-the-job training is also essential to become proficient in the job duties of a liquid waste treatment plant operator.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Liquid waste treatment plant operator is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Liquid waste treatment plant operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to liquid waste treatment plant operator.

incinerator operator
solid waste operator
landfill supervisor
hazardous waste technician
hazardous waste inspector

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of liquid waste treatment plant operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of liquid waste treatment plant operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

waste management officer
waste treatment engineer
water quality analyst
analytical chemist
mud logger

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of liquid waste treatment plant operator.

  • Hazardous waste treatment: The methods applied in the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste such as asbestos, dangerous chemicals, and various contaminants, as well as the surrounding environmental regulations and legislation.
  • Hazardous waste types: The different types of waste which pose risks to the environment or public health and safety, such as radioactive waste, chemicals and solvents, electronics, and mercury-containing waste.
  • Chemical processes: The relevant chemical processes used in manufacturing, such as purification, separation, emulgation and dispergation processing.
  • Waste and scrap products: The offered waste and scrap products, their functionalities, properties and legal and regulatory requirements.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of liquid waste treatment plant operator.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environmental regulations and best practices.
  • Measure density of liquids: Measure the density of liquids, including oils, using instruments such as hygrometers or oscillating tubes.
  • Perform laboratory tests: Carry out tests in a laboratory to produce reliable and precise data to support scientific research and product testing.
  • Handle chemicals: Safely handle industrial chemicals; use them efficiently and ensure no environmental harm.
  • Perform water treatments: Perform regular water testing, ensuring that water management and filtration processes follow reasonable management practices, industry standards, or commonly accepted farming practices. Record previous water contaminations, the source of contamination, and the contamination remedied. Take mitigation measures to guard against further contamination.
  • Drain hazardous liquids: Drain substances that pose health and safety risks from equipment, appliances, or installations to store the liquids according to safety guidelines and dispose or treat them as required.
  • Document analysis results: Document on paper or on electronic devices the process and the results of the sample analysis performed.
  • Analyse experimental laboratory data: Analyse experimental data and interpret results to write reports and summaries of findings
  • Test chemical samples: Perform the testing procedures on the already prepared chemical samples by using the necessary equipment and materials. Chemical sample testing involves operations such as pipetting or diluting schemes.
  • Handle waste: Handle and dispose of bio and chemical wastes in accordance with regulations.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of liquid waste treatment plant operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Pollution legislation: Be familiar with European and National legislation regarding the risk of pollution.
  • Pollution prevention: The processes used to prevent pollution: precautions to pollution of the environment, procedures to counter pollution and associated equipment, and possible measures to protect the environment.
  • Hazardous waste storage: The regulations and procedures surrounding the safekeeping of materials and substances which pose health and safety risks.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of liquid waste treatment plant operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Communicate with waste collectors: Communicate with workers who collect waste from various places and transport it to the waste treatment facilities to ensure optimal cooperation and efficient operation of waste treatment and disposal procedures.
  • Assess waste type: Identify waste materials during collection and sorting operations that can either be recycled, disposed of, or otherwise treated to assess how they need to be treated and sorted.
  • Supervise waste disposal: Supervise biological and chemical waste disposal according to regulations.
  • Maintain water treatment equipment: Perform repairs and routine maintenance tasks on equipment used in water and waste water purification and treatment processes.
  • Advise on soil and water protection: Advice on the effects of soil and water management practices in controlling pollutant loss, nitrate leaching, and reducing soil erosion.
  • Dispose of hazardous waste: Dispose of dangerous materials such as chemical or radioactive substances according to environmental and to health and safety regulations.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, and safety gloves.
  • Educate on hazardous waste: Educate the public or specific organisations on the importance of correct handling of hazardous waste in order to promote public safety, ensure compliance with legislation, and raise awareness of the different types of hazardous waste and their threats to public health and safety as well as the environment.
  • Test samples for pollutants: Measure concentrations of pollutants within samples. Calculate air pollution or gas flow in industrial processes. Identify potential safety or health risks such as radiation.
  • Test oil samples: Analyse oil samples to determine characteristics such as consistency, texture, viscosity, or concentration. Operate measuring instruments such as pH meters, hydrometers, and viscometers.
  • Pump products: Operate pumping machines according to specific procedures and depending on the kind of product. Ensure correct quantities and adequate feeding for the process.
  • Advise on waste management procedures: Advise organisations on the implementation of waste regulations and on improvement strategies for waste management and waste minimisation, to increase environmentally sustainable practices and environmental awareness.
  • Supervise waste water treatments: Supervise waste water treatment according to environmental regulations.

ISCO group and title

3132 – Incinerator and water treatment plant operators

  1. Liquid waste treatment plant operator – ESCO
  2. Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. What does a water treatment plant operator do? – CareerExplorer
  4. Featured image: By kst_pug – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on April 18, 2023