Apply as a Transfer/Demotion applicant

$34.60-$43.80 hourly / $5,997.00-$7,592.00 monthly / $71,968.00-$91,104.00 yearly


Under general supervision, to perform difficult and complex operations and maintenance functions for the County's wastewater and water treatment plants; to function as a lead worker to trainee operators; may act as chief plant operator for a class II or I wastewater treatment plant; and to perform other duties as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is the journey level in the Treatment Plant Operator series. A Treatment Plant Operator is responsible for performing difficult and complex operations and maintenance functions of the County's wastewater and water treatment plants and acts as a lead worker to trainee level treatment plant operators. A Treatment Plant Operator may act as Chief Plant Operator for a class II or I wastewater treatment plant.

This class is distinguished from the lower level class of Treatment Plant Operator in Training which is the trainee and first working level in the series and works under the supervision of Operators while working toward acquiring a grade I wastewater treatment plant operator certificate. This class is distinguished from the higher class of Senior Treatment Plant Operator which is the lead and advanced journey level and may act as Chief Plant Operator for any wastewater treatment plant.

Typical Tasks

Maintains a wastewater and water treatment plant in compliance with the permit requirements of the Regional Water Quality Control Board; maintains the collection system and pumping appurtenances associated with the collection and disposal system, bar screens, comminuters, valves, grinders, filters, aerators, air lifts, and injectors; records and interprets data from flow meters, strip chart recorders and data loggers; calculates dosages and meters chemicals to be injected; collects samples and performs laboratory analysis and mathematical calculations of the unit processes in the plant; evaluates and adjusts the operational parameters of the plant to optimize efficiency; maintains the plant and grounds, pumps, compressors, blowers and containment vessels; maintains an adequate inventory of supplies and materials; prepares reports to the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Environmental Health, EPA and other agencies as required. Leads, directs and trains plant operators on an assigned shift in the safe and efficient performance of their duties; learns and implements hazardous material regulations, safety rules and regulations; holds tailgate safety meetings for assigned shift; completes and maintains records of shift activities; maintains effective work procedures and effectively resolves on-the-job problems as they occur; responsible for maintenance of buildings and grounds; may perform all duties of the plant operator classes; performs other related duties as assigned.

Employment Standards

Knowledge of:

Working knowledge of:

  • Regulations related to confined space entry requirements.
  • The methods, materials and tools used to operate maintain, monitor and repair water and wastewater treatment plants.
  • Safety practices required in water and wastewater treatment operations.
  • Regulations related to the treatment, transmission and disposal of water and wastewater.

Some knowledge of:

  • The application of data processing to sanitation operations.

Ability to:

  • Operate a microscope and recognize the organisms pertinent to an activated sludge plant.
  • Perform appropriate analytical tests as required to operate a plant and collection system.
  • Maintain and operate a standby generator.
  • Diagnose malfunctions in wastewater and water treatment plants and determine appropriate corrective action.
  • Read, understand, interpret and apply regulations relating to water and wastewater treatment standards.
  • Operate a computer to input, access, and analyze data.
  • Assist in estimating equipment, material and labor needs.
  • Maintain records and prepare reports and correspondence.
  • Establish effective working relationships.
  • Lift items weighing up to 75 pounds.
  • Perform tasks requiring strength, such as lifting equipment onto trucks, climbing over rough terrain and pulling hoses up embankments.
  • Drive and operate vehicles and equipment necessary for operating a treatment plant.
  • Distinguish colors, such as color-coded wires or chemical test.

Education and Experience:

Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledges and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain these knowledges and abilities would be:

Two years of experience comparable to a Treatment Plant Operator in Training in Santa Cruz County. One year as a Sanitation Maintenance Worker II may be substituted for one year of experience as a Treatment Plant Operator in Training.

Special Requirements/Conditions:

  • License Requirement: Possession upon hire, of a valid California Class C drivers license and a Grade I or higher Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification issued by the California State Water Resources Control Board. Within two years, possession of a Grade II Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certificate.
  • Special Working Conditions: Exposure to: variable temperatures and weather conditions; confined work spaces; heights, such as on ladders; high levels of noise; strong, unpleasant odors; infections which might cause chronic disease or death; electrical hazards; raw sewage; dust; and the possibility of experiencing burns, bodily injury or contact with toxic substances or chemical irritants.
  • Other Special Requirements: Availability to work irregular hours, including weekends and holidays, as well as responding to 24-hour emergency calls.


Bargaining Unit: General
EEOC Category: 07
Occupational Grouping: 39
Workers Comp Code: 1160
Revised Dates: 4/00; 6/02; 10/11

CLASS: MT3; EST: 3/1/1997; REV: 10/1/2011;