Water and Wastewater Technology

Click here for a list of Fall 2014 course offerings

Water and Wastewater Technology Education Programs

The Water and Wastewater Technology Education Programs at Palomar College provide pre-employment training as well as advanced courses in water and wastewater technology for those wishing to become certified for career advancement.

Courses prepare students for certification examinations administered by the State of California Department of Public Health as well as those administered by professional associations within the water and wastewater industry.

Current instructors are experienced water and wastewater professionals, experts in the industry practices of their field of study. Classes are built around practical examples of real-world scenarios, demonstrations, and field trips whenever possible to maximize understanding of subject matter.

While many Americans take our water for granted, it requires a lot of work to get it from various natural sources and into our taps. Similarly, it is a complicated process to convert the wastewater in our drains and sewers into a form that is safe for environmental release. Water and Liquid Waste Treatment Plant and System Operators run the equipment, control the processes, and monitor the plants that are responsible for such work.

Fresh water is pumped from wells, rivers, streams, and reservoirs to water treatment plants, where it is treated and distributed to customers. Wastewater travels through sewage pipes to treatment plants where it is treated and either returned to streams, rivers, and oceans, or reused for irrigation. Operators in both types of plants control equipment and monitor processes that remove or destroy harmful materials, chemicals, and microorganisms from the water. They also run tests to make sure that the processes are working correctly and keep records of water quality and other indicators.

Operators operate and maintain the pumps and motors that move water and wastewater through physical, mechanical, biological, and chemical treatment systems. They monitor the indicators, read meters and gauges, and make adjustments as necessary to make sure that plant equipment is working properly. They take samples and run tests to determine the quality of the water being produced. Water and wastewater treatments are similar; however, many tasks are specific to one or the other. Therefore, one should have specific training for the area he or she is entering.

The specific duties of Plant Operators depend on the type and size of the plant. In a small plant, one Operator may be responsible for maintaining all of the systems. This Operator would most likely work during the day and be on call during nights and weekends. In medium-size plants, Operators may work in shifts to monitor the plant at all hours of the day. In large plants, multiple Operators work the same shifts and are more specialized in their duties, often relying on computerized systems to help monitor plant processes.

Occasionally, Operators must work during emergencies. Weather conditions may cause large amounts of storm water and wastewater to flow into sewers, exceeding a plant’s capacity. Emergencies also may be caused by malfunctions within a plant, such as chemical leaks or oxygen deficiencies. Operators are trained in emergency management procedures and use safety equipment to protect their health as well as that of the public.

Both tap water and wastewater are highly regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other State and local agencies. Plant Operators must be familiar and comply with these regulations. Keeping proper records of compliance and documentation is another responsibility of Operators.

Wastewater Treatment Operators use various filtration equipment such as micro-strainers and backwash filters as well as dechlorination equipment, disinfection chlorinators, ion exchangers, agitators, and aerators. Operators also use various computer and software programs, such as material safety data sheet (MSDS), human machine interface (HMI), and word processing and spreadsheet software.

Drinking Water Treatment and Distribution Operators work with equipment and processes used to clarify, purify, and disinfect surface or ground water for human consumption.

Distribution Qualifications for Exams

Treatment Qualifications for Exams

CAREER PATHWAYS – Careers in Water and Wastewater Technology and wages

Click on the following links for Gainful Employment Information:

◊  Water Technology Education         ◊  Wastewater Technology Education

Click here for Labor Market information

Faculty names, work affiliation, contact information

WTE/WWT 50 Waterworks Mathematics

WTE 52 Waterworks Distribution

WWT 52 Treatment Plant Operations
WWT 64 Treatment Process Control

WTE 54 Water Treatment Plant Operation I

WWT 54 Collection Systems Operator

WTE/WWT 56 Instrumentation & Controls

  • Glenn Thorpe
    San Diego County Water Authority
    (760) 744-1150 ext. 5054
    gthorpe@sdcwa.org

WTE/WWT 58 Backflow Prevention

WTE/WWT 60 Supervision

WTE/WWT 62 Cross Connection Specialist

WTE 64 Water Quality Monitoring

WTE/WWT 66 Motors/Pumps/Operations& Maintenance

WTE 72 Waterworks Distribution II

WTE 74 Water Treatment Operation II

Career Pathways for Water and Wastewater Technology

Certification Information

Students can become certified at various levels and in different fields depending on the classes taken and their work experience. The links below provide information on certification for water and wastewater operators and other areas of the water/wastewater industry.

 Links to Other Professional Organizations

Links to Palomar Sites

Forms