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Naturalist

Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.

Salary Range
€18k - €26k
Career Zone

In Brief...

Operates machinery through the various stages of water treatment, and performs chemical tests on sewage or industrial waste water to ensure compliance with regulations.

Knowledge

  • Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

In Summary - Water Treatment Plant Operator

Career Sectors

Water Treatment Plant Operators typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Chemical Science
Biological, Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science

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Further Information

The Work - Water Treatment Plant Operator

Waste water process plant operators work at treatment plants that deal with waste water and sewage. Modern plants contain automatic equipment so a lot of the operator's work takes place in control rooms. They monitor the progress of waste water by looking at information on computer screens, including warning messages when conditions are not right.  
 
Waste water undergoes a gradual cleaning process. As waste water comes into the plant, operators make visual checks, for example of colour, to make sure that there are no chemicals in it. Operators visit different areas of the plant to check the treatment process and that pumps and other equipment work correctly. They monitor oxygen levels and may make adjustments to equipment. They identify and report problems they cannot deal with to technicians and managers.  
 
They check equipment such as drive belts on motors, they grease pump bearings and turn hand wheels to move barriers and open valves. They clean and reset equipment that sends information to control room computers. They also take samples for analysis, carry out basic laboratory tests and operate controls to add chemicals.  
 
In some industrial areas, the metal content of sludge makes it unsuitable for recycling to agricultural land. In this case, operators are responsible for running and monitoring incinerators. They also supervise the filling of trucks with ash and operate the loading machinery.

Most commonly reported Work Tasks

  • Add chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, or lime to disinfect and deodorize water and other liquids.
  • Inspect equipment or monitor operating conditions, meters, and gauges to determine load requirements and detect malfunctions.
  • Collect and test water and sewage samples, using test equipment and color analysis standards.
  • Record operational data, personnel attendance, or meter and gauge readings on specified forms.
  • Operate and adjust controls on equipment to purify and clarify water, process or dispose of sewage, and generate power.
  • Maintain, repair, and lubricate equipment, using hand tools and power tools.
  • Clean and maintain tanks, filter beds, and other work areas using hand tools and power tools.
  • Direct and coordinate plant workers engaged in routine operations and maintenance activities.

Most commonly reported Work Activities

  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interests - Water Treatment Plant Operator

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:

Realist

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Administrative

Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.

Qualities

As a waste water process plant operator you need to be responsible and pay attention to health and safety. You also need to keep your concentration while monitoring the plant. You must be able to work without close supervision and as part of a team.  
 
You also need to be able to work out the size of a problem and decide what action is needed. You may need to react quickly so that problems can be safely controlled.  
 
An interest in science, especially biology and chemistry, is useful for understanding the treatment process and for carrying out basic laboratory tests. You also need to be able to work with numbers and computers. Accuracy in taking readings is essential.  
 
You need to be physically fit and active. Practical skills are needed for manual duties such as operating machinery and routine maintenance tasks.

Entry Requirements - Water Treatment Plant Operator

Pay & Salary - Water Treatment Plant Operator

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €18k - €26k

Data Source(s):
CareersPortal

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Water Treatment Plant Operator

Useful Contacts - Water Treatment Plant Operator

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