Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Principal Engineer (#20006641)

General Statement

Under general supervision, is responsible for the supervision and coordination necessary to maintain plant operations, in accordance with plant operating policies, programs, procedures and schedules.

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.

  • Supervises the operation of the sewage treatment process including coordination of wastewater collection and pumping and sludge treatment and disposal operations, and the maintenance and operation of the collection system including large intercepting sewers and TARP control structures.
  • Coordinates the maintenance, repair and preventive maintenance of plant equipment, process facilities, collection system, buildings, and grounds; checks and approves work in progress and upon completion; approves progress payments.
  • Supervises the operation of the canal and river control system; ensures adherence to federal regulations concerning navigational water levels; oversees the maintenance of waterway facilities.
  • Coordinates and directs drying site and lagoon operations; participates in the strategic planning of maintenance and operations activities including the analysis of existing operations, the forecasting of budgetary needs and the evaluation of new technologies; administers equipment maintenance systems.
  • Coordinates the preparation and review of maintenance and operations contract documents; supervises the preparation of correspondence related to contracts; supervises the preparation of technical specifications, drawings and cost estimates for contracts; provides technical guidance on the contract process, legal requirements or other contracting issues.
  • Reviews and approves operating and/or maintenance records and reports and directs changes as necessary to maintain or improve efficiency.  Collects, compiles, and correlates plant operating and/or maintenance data and prepares detailed reports. 
  • Prepares and/or approves work orders for maintenance of plant equipment, process facilities, collection system, buildings, and grounds.
  • Coordinates plant and collection system maintenance and construction with operations.  Reviews and approves completed work.
  • Inspects plant equipment, treatment units, collection system, TARP control structures, buildings, and grounds for proper operation, appearance and maintenance requirements.
  • Assists in long and short term planning for repair, rehabilitation and construction of plant and collection system facilities.  Reviews plans and specifications.
  • Coordinates the preparation of technical studies and reports to evaluate process and/or equipment feasibility and the application of alternative technology to District facilities and procedures; oversees the preparation of correspondence.
  • Assumes the duties of the plant manager in his absence at small facilities and of the immediate supervisor in large facilities.
  • Assigns, supervises and reviews work; ensures staff compliance with district policies and procedures including Personnel Rules and Administrative Procedures; completes performance reviews; addresses employee complaints and grievances; may recommend employment actions such as hiring, transfer, suspension, promotion or discharge.

Other Job Functions

  • Prepares annual budget for section and assists with preparation of the plant budget.
  • Prepares and/or approves requisitions for purchase of equipment and supplies.
  • Interacts with the general public through conducting plant tours and handling of complaints and information requests, and with outside agencies (USEPA, IEPA) during plant inspections.  
  • Assists the plant manager or immediate supervisor with various technical and administrative functions relating to the maintenance and/or operation of the treatment plant, collection system and outlying facilities. 
  • 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

  • Considerable knowledge of the principles, practices and procedures of wastewater engineering.
  • Considerable knowledge of the operating characteristics and maintenance needs of a wide variety of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and similar systems and equipment used in sewage treatment.   
  • Some knowledge of the principles and practices of effective supervision and administration.
  • Some knowledge of the principles, practices and procedures of modern office management.
  • Ability to control and coordinate technical wastewater treatment work at several locations. 
  • Ability to plan and supervise the work of others in a manner conducive to full performance and high morale.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and concisely, orally and in writing.

Absolute Requirements

Registration as a Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from a four-year accredited college or university majoring in engineering and six years of full-time professional engineering experience in the operation, maintenance, design or construction of wastewater treatment plants and collection systems.  One year of this experience must have been in the supervision of the operations or maintenance of a water reclamation plant.


Full-time graduate study in engineering may be substituted for the required non-supervisory experience on a year-for-year basis to a maximum of two years.

Promotional Requirement

  • One year of service with the District as a Senior Civil Engineer, Senior Electrical Engineer, Senior Engineer, Senior Mechanical Engineer, or Senior Structural Engineer; or possession of a bachelor’s degree in engineering and one year of service with the District as a Senior Process Control Engineer, Senior Environmental Research Scientist or Senior Environmental Specialist.
  • Civil service status in one of the foregoing classifications.

CLASS: 20006641; EST: 1/1/2014; REV: 5/1/2023;