Writing Contest Winners 2014-2015

Honorable Mention, Grades 3-5

Demi Kroumpouzos
Grade 5, St. Mary of the Hills School, Milton
Mrs. Etienne, Teacher

Water or Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator

Do you ever think about the people who don't have clean water? Have you ever wondered if the water you are about to drink is safe? This essay describes the job of a Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator. The workers who make sure that our water is clean and safe enough to use. They help operate the equipment in water and wastewater treatment plants in order to purify the water and make it safe to drink or use for other purposes. Water plants remove solids, chemicals and other dangerous substances from the water, so that it is clean and safe to be used by people for drinking, bathing, cooking. Wastewater treatment plants help clean the water and then the clean water is returned to the oceans, lakes, rivers. Modern technology and science are used in both water and wastewater treatment plants to make the water safe to use, prevent disease, and protect our environment.

Water and wastewater treatment plant operators are in charge of running complex service equipment. This equipment cleans and treats the water. The operators have to monitor the machines closely and make sure they are working properly. They also perform laboratory tests of the water and keep precise records. It is the important responsibility of the operator to ensure that the water has been purified and meets safety standards. If it doesn't, then they take specific steps to make sure that the water becomes safe to use a quickly as possible. In small plants, one operator may be in charge of all the above tasks. In large treatment plants, there may be many operators at several levels performing different duties and also a supervisor.

It is often necessary for water and wastewater treatment operators to be available to work during emergencies. For example, during heavy rains, the plants may not be able to handle to enormous amounts of water or waste. Therefore, the operators must be at the plant until the situation is managed. Other emergency situations include a chlorine gas leak at the plant or breakdown of equipment. All operators are well trained to handle emergency situations. They need to follow the guidelines of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. Also, they must use safety equipment and follow strict safety procedures in order to protect the people, wildlife, and the environment. If the water is not safe to drink, the public must be notified immediately.

Water and wastewater treatment plant operators must be detail oriented and have good math, mechanical, and scientific skills. They need to work well with the team and be able to manage different tasks at the same time. In some states, operators must take special courses to qualify for the position. In all 50 states, certification exams are necessary. Having a college degree in environmental protection is a big advantage for those interested in a career as higher level water plant operators or supervisors. Usually operators train on the job for months. In the beginning, they are responsible for minor tasks like recording data and collecting water samples for the lab. After years of experience, they may be in charge of monitoring the equipment and supervising other employees.

As we can see, water and wastewater treatment plant operators hold a very important job. Everyday, by doing their job correctly, they make sure that our water is safe to use. They also help protect fish in the oceans, wild life, and our environment. Clean water is essential not only for humans, but animals and the environment. Imagine life without clean water… People would get sick and die, as it happens often in Third World countries that don't have clean water. We are very fortunate to have a system that protects our water. We should be thankful to the water treatment plant operators who do their job well and ensure public safety.

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