Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Treatment Plant Operator III (#20006623)

General Statement

Under general supervision, has responsibility for the control of the routine wastewater treatment process and the coordination of sewage pumping and disposal operations associated with this process at a wastewater treatment plant.

Essential Job Functions

Essential job functions are fundamental, core functions common to positions in a classification.  They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class.  Since class specifications are designed to be descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents may complete one or all of the job duties listed or tasks of similar kind not specifically listed here.

  • Using independent judgment, assigns, supervises and reviews work related to wastewater treatment.  Supervises, disciplines, directs, or adjusts grievances of subordinate employees or effectively recommends their transfer, suspension, promotion or discharge. Can serve as shift or section supervisor depending on plant location.
  • Supervises shift operators controlling the routine wastewater treatment process, including training, and the coordination of wastewater pumping and treatment plus solids processing operations associated with the overall treatment process, including inspection of operating equipment. Directs daily plant operations for optimal energy efficiency especially during rain events.  May supervise shift laborers. 
  • Directs or coordinates the wastewater process seeing that proper adjustments are made to maintain quality of effluent and to ensure continuous operation of the plant.  Must understand safety procedures and policies.
  • Directs the collection of process samples and may coordinate their transport. Determines or recommends process changes due to current conditions and/or trends to ensure an efficient and effective treatment process based on applicable effluent regulations and standards as well as treatment processes utilized at the District. 
  • Coordinates or assists in the coordination of plant maintenance and construction project schedules to minimize process outages and to ensure the safety of all employees.
  • Completes written assignments including record keeping, description of malfunctioning equipment, performance appraisals, and daily operational and administrative records in a timely and proper manner.
  • Reacts in timely and efficient manner to treatment plant upsets and/or emergency conditions.  Determines cost-effective modes of treatment.

Other Job Functions

  • Conducts special sampling and treatment evaluation programs as needed.
  • May be contacted during non-working hours for operational decisions and emergencies.
  • Performs trend analysis and other tasks in the Distributed Control System (DCS).
  • Conducts tours.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Environmental Conditions

May involve exposure to a variety of operating mechanical equipment and loud noise and/or noxious odors.  May include working in all types of weather conditions throughout the plant facility and collection system.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Thorough knowledge of routine wastewater treatment processes and equipment in a computerized environment.
  • Thorough knowledge of wastewater treatment standards according to EPA and NPDES guidelines.
  • Thorough knowledge of the operation and adjustment of mechanical pumps.
  • Thorough knowledge of laboratory measuring devices, instruments and sampling equipment.
  • Thorough knowledge of safety practices and procedures.
  • Considerable knowledge of the principles, procedures and processes of nutrient removal.
  • Skill in making decisions based on DCS trends, operational parameters, sample results and flow and weather conditions.
  • Ability to prepare and submit detailed operating reports of the wastewater treatment process.
  • Ability to plan and supervise the work of others in a manner conducive to full performance and high morale.
  • Ability to use gas meters and other safety equipment to identify noxious gases and oxygen deficiency.
  • Ability to make routine mathematical computations as specified by instructions.

Absolute Requirements

Certification by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency as a Class 1 wastewater treatment facility operator.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from a standard senior high school or the equivalent and six years of experience in wastewater treatment plant operations at a facility with a Group 1 designation by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.


The following may be substituted for the required experience to a combined maximum of two years:

  • Full-time study at an accredited college or university majoring in engineering or science may be substituted for the required experience on a year-for-year basis.
  • Completion of the one-year full-time certificate program for wastewater treatment system operators such as that offered by the Environmental Resources Training Center (ERTC) may be substituted for one year of the required experience.
  • Completion of comprehensive wastewater treatment plant operations courses as defined in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency wastewater operator certification guide may be substituted for three months of the required experience for each course taken to a maximum of one year. 
  • Full time laboratory or maintenance experience at a wastewater treatment facility may be substituted for the required experience on a year-for-year basis to a maximum of one year.

Promotional Requirement

  • Two years of service with the District as a Treatment Plant Operator II.
  • Civil service status as a Treatment Plant Operator II.

CLASS: 20006623; EST: 1/1/1900; REV: 6/30/2023;