When you train as a water or wastewater operator, you open the door to more than just a job. You have the opportunity to develop a career that will be satisfying, provide decent pay, and opportunity for advancement. In order to maintain your license, ongoing updating of your training is necessary. This allows you to expand your knowledge background and keep up with new developments in the industry.
Water Operators work to provide safe drinking water to water systems from large municipalities to small trailer parks. Wastewater Operators are responsible to see that water disposed into the environment is clean and safe.
The employment outlook in the water and wastewater fields is positive. The federal government projects that job openings in these fields are likely to be plentiful as older workers retire and new plants come on line. In addition, water occupations are recession proof – regardless of the state of the economy, people need clean water to drink, and safe ways to dispose of used water.
According to the NY Department of Labor, there is always a need for personnel who have knowledge of both the specialized equipment and the demanding federal and state regulatory requirements. These needs can only be met by trained operators. The SUNY Ulster water and wastewater courses provide NYS DOH and NYS DEC approved training.
Water Operator Certification
To become certified as a water operator, one must satisfy minimum qualifications as determined by the NY Department of Health:
Water certification is divided into four Grades: IA, IIA, IB, IIB, C, and D based on the plant type and the complexity of the system. The courses are as follows:
Grade A Water Operator
Topics to be covered in this course include operator qualifications and responsibilities, water quality control, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, pH and alkalinity adjustment, iron and manganese removal, water softening and chlorination, bacteriological laboratory techniques, emergency planning, safety, hydraulics and pumps, process calculations and distribution system operation and maintenance.
Grade B Water Operator
This course is designed for operators of plants providing treatment for disinfection by chlorination, iron and manganese removal, corrosion control, emergency planning, safety, hydraulics and pumps, and includes process calculations.
Grade C Water Operator
This course is designed to provide the student with a basic background in the principles and practices of water treatment. It includes discussion of water sources, system layout, basic chemistry and math, hydraulics, water quality monitoring, hands on laboratory, operations and maintenance, distribution systems and other topics.
Grade D Water Operator
This course of study is designed for operators of distribution systems serving greater than 1000 people. Topics include pressure zones, booster stations, storage tanks, fire protection and disinfection.
Wastewater Operator Certification
To become certified as a wastewater operator (all grades) one must satisfy minimum qualifications as determined by the NY Department of Environmental Conservation:
The wastewater certification grades are divided into four levels: grades 1, 2, 3, and 4, with 1 being the lowest and 4 the highest grade. All activated sludge wastewater treatment plant certifications will further be designated with the letter "A" (1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A). The courses are as follows:
Basic Wastewater Lecture
This course provides the knowledge base to keep a wastewater treatment plant operating efficiently. The characteristics of each individual process and how they work together are studied.
Basic Wastewater Laboratory
This laboratory course is designed to enable the wastewater operator to perform laboratory procedures necessary to determine control strategies for efficient operation of a wastewater treatment plant.
Activated Sludge Course
This course is required for candidates applying for certification for an activated sludge or “A” facility. The course instructs how to efficiently operate the activated sludge portion of a wastewater treatment plant. Control strategies and application of laboratory data are presented. Safety and regulatory record keeping are emphasized.