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​Why become a Plant Operator?

A Wastewater Treatment Operator maintains a variety of plant equipment in connection with the operation of a large wastewater treatment plant. The Wastewater Treatment Operator is in charge of making sure the contamination in wastewater is breaking down effectively during the cleaning process. This is controlled through a series of processes, such as testing samples, cleaning tanks, other machinery and making sure the treatment process is up-to-date with government safety guidelines.

Wastewater is water that has previously been used and may contain oils, chemicals, food or sewage. Wastewater treatment facilities collect contaminated water in a central location to prevent massive pollution into rivers, lakes and the environment. A Wastewater Treatment Operator has a very important role and rewarding job.  

What does an Operator do?
Working as part of a dedicated team Wastewater Treatment Operators support the successful operation and maintenance of the wastewater treatment plant and reuse facilities to deliver on business objectives and regulatory performance standards. Wastewater Treatment Operators must have a working knowledge of the operation, maintenance and cleaning of primary and secondary wastewater treatment equipment and facilities, wastewater treatment principles, safety rules, first aid, chemical handling, wastewater sampling and process control tests.  To learn more about what an Operator does, click on these videos below: 

Video: Career as a Water and Wastewater Operator 

Where do I begin? 
To become an Operator you must hold a valid license as determined by the rules and regulations of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). ​ 

  1. You will need a HS diploma or FDEP approved GED

  2. You will need to complete a FDEP approved course in Water (DW) or Wastewater (WW) treatment. See page 16 of the Operator Certification Program Handbook for approved courses.

  3. Once you complete the approved course with a passing grade, you will be qualified to sit for the State exam.

  4. To obtain your actual Certified Operators License, you will need to:
  • Work at a treatment plant and document 2,080 hours of experience. This equates to one year (40 hours/week, 52 weeks/year). Your employer verifies this time. This type of position is considered a trainee position. 

  • Once the work experience requirement has been completed, you can apply to FDEP for your Class C Water or Wastewater Operators License.

The following links will direct you to two separate FDEP Handbooks which provide a description of the process to attain these licenses. The position of Operator Trainee at Toho Water Authority is an entry level position that does not require a license at the time of hire. Achieving the license within the first two years of employment is a condition of employment for the Operator Trainee position.