Water Treatment Operative

Job Description:

Water treatment workers treat and process clean water and waste water.

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

As a water treatment worker, you could:

  • Operate equipment to treat sewage
  • Clean and maintain tanks and filters
  • Treat water with chemicals and microbes, take readings and keep records
  • Check drinking water samples for quality
  • Make sure the site is safe and secure


You’ll need:

  • Knowledge of public safety and security
  • The ability to operate and control equipment
  • The ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • To be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • The ability to analyse quality or performance
  • Observation and recording skills (organisational skills)
  • To be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • The ability to work on your own (drive)
  • Analytical thinking skills


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

School Subjects

While specific GCSE subjects might not be universally mandated for this career, certain subjects can provide a strong foundation and enhance your qualifications for pursuing a career in water treatment. Here are some subjects that could be beneficial:

  1. Science (Chemistry and Biology): A strong understanding of chemistry and biology is crucial for comprehending water treatment processes, chemical reactions, and microbiological aspects of water quality.
  2. Mathematics: Basic mathematical skills are important for measurements, calculations, and understanding data related to water treatment processes.
  3. Geography or Environmental Science: These subjects can provide insights into the natural environment, water sources, and ecological aspects of water management.
  4. English: Strong communication skills, including reading, writing, and interpreting technical documentation, are important for water treatment operatives, especially when documenting processes and communicating with colleagues.
  5. IT/Computing: Basic computer skills can be helpful for managing data, using software tools, and recording information.
  6. Design and Technology/Engineering: While not mandatory, these subjects can provide a foundation for understanding equipment, machinery, and technical aspects of water treatment systems.

It’s worth noting that while GCSE subjects provide a foundation, becoming a Water Treatment Operative often involves further vocational training, apprenticeships, or formal education programs related to water treatment and environmental management.

You can get into this job through:

  • A college course
  • An apprenticeship
  • Applying directly

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you’ll need in this job.

In the UK for example, courses include:

  • Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Water Engineering.

An the UK an apprenticeship could involve:

  • Water Process Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Water Industry Treatment Process Technician Level
  • 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Water Treatment Technician Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

These can take between 18 months and 3 years to complete.

Direct Application

You could apply directly to work as a water treatment worker.

It might also be useful if you have experience of working in industrial plant maintenance.

Additional Advice

To gain more specific guidance, it’s recommended to research the educational pathways and training opportunities available in water treatment operations in your country. Additionally, consider reaching out to water treatment facilities, environmental agencies, and professionals in the water treatment industry for advice and insights tailored to your region.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 42-44 hours of work. You could be required to work on evenings/weekends/bank holidays.

You could work in a control room.

Your working environment may be dirty, physically demanding, cramped, at height and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a team leader.

With further training, you could become an engineering technician or a water engineer.