A water or waste water treatment operative runs the systems which provide fresh water supplies and treat sewage and other waste water.
As a water treatment operative you could be:
- working the pumps to adjust the level of water flowing through the pipes
- checking the level of acid and bacteria on a computer screen
- cleaning and carrying out maintenance on tanks and filters
- taking samples and checking water and gas levels
- adding chemicals to treat water
- inspecting the reservoirs and outlets to check, for example, if the level of rainfall has affected them
- reporting any major faults to the engineers
- keeping accurate records of water quality
- carrying out general grounds maintenance and repair work.
As a waste water treatment operative you could be:
- using electric scrapers to separate sludge (solid material) from effluent water
- working machinery to thicken the sludge and to produce gas to generate electricity to run the works
- encouraging bacterial processes which convert sewage into clean water.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Trainee operatives with Scottish Water start on £14,200 rising to between £17,005 and £25,550 once qualified. They may earn extra through overtime.
In other companies operatives can earn around £20,000 and go up to £38,000 for operatives with several years' experience.
- At the water or sewage treatment plant it may be wet, smelly or dirty.
- You will probably work shifts, including weekends and evenings, and be on a rota for out of hours service.
- You might have to lift heavy equipment.
- You will have to bend, climb ladders and work in confined spaces.
- You will wear protective clothing and occasionally breathing equipment.
- You might sometimes be outdoors as well as indoors.
- There is a risk of exposure to chemicals and skin irritants.
Workforce Employment Status
LMI data powered by LMI for All
- You do not need any formal qualifications, but a good general education is useful.
- You might enter through a Scottish Water Technical: Water Industry Modern Apprenticeship
- For entry to the Scottish Water four year Technical Apprenticeship you usually need at least five subjects at National 4 or 5, preferably including English, Maths and science subject. Two Highers or relevant technical qualifications or experience are an advantage.
- You may need a driving licence or be working towards one.
- There is no age restriction for entry, but if you have to operate machinery you must be over 18.
Apply for jobs with Scottish Water.
Workforce Education Levels (UK)
LMI data powered by EMSI UK
Job Outlook Scotland
Job Outlook Scotland and UK
LMI data powered by EMSI UK
What Does it Take?
- the confidence to work alone
- strong problem solving skills
- good communication skills
- the ability to organise and prioritise your work
- health and safety awareness
- the ability to follow strict procedures
- accuracy and good observation skills
- IT skills
- a strong stomach.
- Training is mainly on the job.
- The Scottish Water Modern Apprenticeship leads to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at SCQF Level 6, a National Progression Award (NPA) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Water Operations.
- You could train on the job and attend college on a day release basis.
- There are good opportunities later for progress into technician or incorporated engineer level work, or into promoted posts as a supervisor, a water inspector, an area superintendent or controller or a trainer for new staff.
- The Open University (OU) gives credit for the HNC in Water Operations into their BA/BSc Open Honours degree. The OU and Heriot-Watt University have worked together to identify pathways through the degree that are relevant to the industry and suitable preparation for the MSc in Water and Environmental Management.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Energy and Utility Skills
Tel: 0845 077 9922
Energy and Utility Skills is the Sector Skills Council for the electricity, gas, waste management and water sectors. Their website has a section aimed at 14 to 19 year olds on careers in these sectors.
Was this article useful?
Please help us improve Planit by rating this article.