What is a Water Quality Technician?

Water quality technicians analyze and report on the conditions and characteristics of various water sources and samples. These scientific professionals may work in very different work settings and focus on very different tasks, but their ultimate goals are public safety, data integrity and environmental sustainability.

Public Safety Advocate

All water and wastewater utility companies employ water quality technicians to help manage regulated and market-based drinking water services. They are responsible for collecting regular samples from treatment plants and compliance samples from the distribution systems. They perform the needed analyses and recommend appropriate chemical dosage changes. These water quality technicians maintain lab equipment, so they will manage log sheets, weekly reports and quality control records. Water quality technicians operate and maintain equipment for bacteriological and microbiological analysis. They ensure environmental compliance by checking continuous process control monitors. Water quality technicians’ collection and analyses activities of field samples must follow approved methodology and regulatory rules.

Facility Maintenance Professional

Some water quality technicians work for organizations that operate pool facilities. This includes public and private school, college and community pools. They may work for hotels, resorts and waterpark amusement attractions. These water quality technicians are tasked with ensuring the safe operation, inspection and maintenance of pool facilities. They ensure that swimming pools are chemically balanced for operations according to codes and standards set by the county and state health department. They must repair, inspect and troubleshoot equipment and facilities to validate their safe and efficient operation. This is accomplished by maintaining accurate repair logs and inspection records. These water quality technicians will have strong safety and maintenance backgrounds.

Scientific Researcher

Water quality technicians work under the direct supervision of graduate-level scientists who perform technical and professional research involving the collection, preparation and analysis of water and wastewater samples. Every activity involves the identification and specification of agents, contaminants and substances. They ensure the proper handling and disposal of toxins, bio-hazards and pathogenic substances according to established practices and procedures. Their work is further controlled by adherence to established laboratory protocols. They observe, interpret and record analysis results in data sheets, regulatory reports and laboratory logs. These water quality technicians will be expected to have a Bachelor of Science in biology, chemistry or bacteriology.

Government Inspector

Almost all State Departments of Health employ water quality technicians to conduct chemical, biological and physical investigations of water, sludge, wastewater and soil sediment for organic, inorganic and toxins and contaminants. They perform a variety of standard laboratory analyses, including acidity, turbidity, alkalinity, fluoride, chlorophyll, conductivity, temperature, pH level and residual chlorine tests. They may carry out routine monitoring activities for both regulatory functions and non-regulatory purposes. The equipment they use may include pH/DO meters, microscopes, gas detectors and spectrophotometers. While they are inspecting in the field, they may use handheld meters, flow meters and other monitoring equipment.

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Water quality technicians are expected to have professionals certifications, such as the Association of Water Technologies’ Certified Water Technologist (CWT) credential or the Water Quality Association’s Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) credentials.