MWRA 2009-2010 Writing Contest Winners

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Stephen Q. Rodenhiser
Grade 10, Wilmington High School, Wilmington


More than People Might Think

It is a rare occurrence to hear a high school student express interest in pursuing a career in the field of water or waste water. Granted, it seems like a fairly unappealing career path, but beneath the unimpressive title lay a multitude of opportunities for a promising future. Within the water and waste water industry, there is a place for almost everyone, from the plumber, to the legal Attorney. A career in the water industry does not necessarily mean that you will end up fixing leaking pipes, or skulking around in sewers. Depending on what part of the industry you wish to be associated with, the career path you choose will lead you to a different place than the others who work with water.

For those who would prefer to work with their hands, the water industry has several positions to consider. These include, but are not limited to, heavy equipment operator, water treatment plant operator, building and grounds keeper, welder, plumber, vehicle maintenance technician, and instrument technician. All of these careers are suited to those who specialize in technical fields. True, some jobs, like grounds keeper, may not seem appealing to some people, or may even appear to be trivial, but each are important to the industry. If there were no welders or metal workers, there would be no pipes for the plumbers to work with. Without plumbers, water would be much more difficult to transport, making the water industry relatively small, requiring it to be broken up and distributed more densely in many regions where water may be scarcer. It is the technical positions that form the foundation of the water industry, and without them it would essentially collapse. Also, some careers, like those previously mentioned, can be very lucrative. There is no secret that workers like plumbers and mechanics make pretty good money, which could be appealing to some people.

Some people would prefer to be involved with the water industry in terms of business. These people could find work as unit supervisors, network administrators, office managers, or financial planners. The skills of these people could be used to coordinate the rest of the industry. Unit supervisors would oversee specific groups and make sure that their job was being done in the best way possible. Financial planners would concern themselves with keeping the industry as far out of the red and into the black as possible. If any industry is to survive, it must have financial stability, and the water industry is no exception. Those who choose this career path would guide the industry, much like pipes guide the water, making it flow in the right direction, as efficiently as possible.

Still, others may be drawn in by the scientific aspect of the water industry. Biologists could find a place in the water industry easily. They may be called upon if some bacteria appears in the water, and must be dealt with. They could also be involved with surveying the area on which a new water plant is to be built to assure that there would be a minimal affect on local organisms. Chemists also have a place in the water industry. If some substance contaminated a water source, a chemist might be called upon to identify, and eliminate the contaminant. A chemist may also be involved with the development of additives that could be put in the water as it is processed.

The water industry really is not done justice by its name. There is much more to it than people might think. The broad range of careers available within this one industry offers a place to almost anyone seeking employment. The water industry welcomes the ingenious plumber, to the brilliant chemist, and everyone in between, and that sheer diversity is a great reason to consider a career in the water or wastewater industry.

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