Writing Contest Winners 2014-2015

Honorable Mention, Grades 6-8

Catrina M. Chinetti
Grade 6, St. Mary of the Hills School, Milton
Mrs. Etienne, Teacher

A Hands-On Job

Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator (WTPO) is a hands on job. You get down and dirty. Wastewater treatment plants are made to process hazardous materials from wastewater before the water is returned to nature. The responsibilities of a WTPO are to check the entire system to make sure everything is running smoothly. So when the system is not running smoothly, the WTPO also needs to trouble-shoot. This means he has to figure out the problem and solve it. This could be anything from a leaky pipe, a dirty filter, or broken valve.

WTPOs must be able to perform and record numerous tests. Most testing and monitoring is required to comply with federal and local agencies. Some of this is done through chemistry. Chemicals are used to cleanse and treat the water.

WTPOs use math by measuring water and chemicals to get the right mixture to conduct their tests. One form of math they use is algebra. They use formulas throughout the day. There is a formula for almost everything that they need to do.

Another tool that they use is common sense. They also use their senses of smell and sound. They use their nose to smell if anything is wrong with the treatment water. They use their ears to hear if the machines are not running smoothly, like a mechanic would listen to a car engine.

It is Friday and the boss is leaving early. I have to prepare for the long weekend in Boston. There will be more people in the city because there is a college hockey tournament final. This means that more people will be taking showers, going to the bathroom and washing their hands. It is my weekend for mandatory checks of the treatment plants. It is also my weekend to be on-call. When I am on call, I have to go into the treatment plant for any type of emergency, day or night. So if something breaks down in the treatment plant or pumping system I have to go fix it.

WTPO is a very important job. You have to have keen math skills and knowledge of chemistry and physics. There are special training courses and a certification process required to hold this job. But in the end the main goal here is to protect the planet and the people living on it.

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