Water Treatment Plant Operator

Water treatment plant operators manage the process of water purification by removing harmful household and industrial substances from the water. Waste water is transported by drainpipes from houses and industries to water purification works.

At purification works, water treatment plant operators manipulate pumps, valves and other equipment to extract impurities from the water. They interpret readings on the meters to ensure a smooth running process and control the addition of chemicals to purify the water. They take samples of the water to be analysed in the laboratory. They repair pumps and valves if necessary.

They supervise workers responsible for maintaining the plant and cleaning the tanks and canals and perform basic administrative tasks.

Water treatment plant operators assist water service works technicians. The work generally takes place indoors at the water purification plant where they are exposed to the noise of machines and unpleasant odours.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Grade 10 Certificate. A Senior Certificate is required for studies at a university of technology for people who want to become a water service works technician.

What to Study

In-service training: All water service operator and technician trainees start their training under the supervision of skilled operators or technicians. They start with routine tasks, such as the cleaning of the purification works and the upkeep of equipment.

Diploma: Prospective water service works technicians can follow a N.Dip. Water Care - TUT

FET Colleges: Some technical colleges offer a course in Water Purification for water works operators who are in full-time service of water purification works. This includes practical and theoretical training.


Water purification plants

Further Information

Institute for Water Quality Studies
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
Private Bag X313
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 808-0374

Getting Started

  • read up as much as possible about water and water pollution
  • arrange to speak to water treatment plant operators about this type of career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

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