Water Industry Overview and Careers

Careers in the water industry offer family-sustaining wages and the chance to give back to the community. From plant operators to wastewater engineers, water industry professionals play an important role in protecting and delivering our most important natural resource; these professionals are essential to the public health and wellbeing of every community.

Overview of the water industry

The water industry is a field in which professionals use their expertise to ensure the public has a reliable and sustainable supply of clean drinking water. Operators, technicians, and engineers can work in industrial, residential, and commercial sectors of water and waste management, and play a crucial role in monitoring the distribution system for freshwater.

Water industry professionals are dedicated to finding new and innovative ways to recover and recycle water for beneficial purposes such as agriculture and irrigation, potable water supplies, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes, and environmental restoration. According to The American Water Works Association’s State of The Water Industry 2023 report, “As stewards of public health and the environment, water professionals understand the importance of protecting water supplies, securing physical and cyber systems, and planning for routine and extreme events.”

Water industry jobs and salaries (from Indeed.com)

  • Wastewater operators monitor the chemical levels in wastewater and ensure safe transportation of used water resources. They oversee the process or filtering and processing water for reuse. They often work in water and wastewater facilities.
    National average salary: $46,734 per year.

  • Water maintenance technicians repair and maintain the machinery responsible for transporting and filtering water. They adjust the machines that test chemical levels in the water. They can also perform basic engineering and maintenance tasks for mechanical and electrical systems.
    National average salary: $50,521 per year.

  • Water plant operators test the water within the water treatment system to see what the levels of chemicals are in the water. They monitor the distribution system for freshwater and ensure that water is safe for drinking. The water plant operator can also clean screens and filters involved in keeping water fresh and drinkable.
    National average salary: $51,997 per year.

  • Senior water operators are leaders within water management organizations. They provide leadership and guidance to other water treatment and operators within the plant. The senior water operator may prepare reports about the plant’s efficiency and the water’s drinkability.
    National average salary: $57,216 per year.

  • Water laboratory technicians collect water samples from various sources for tests. They use chemicals and equipment to test the samples and learn more information about what’s in them. They may collect samples from sources like wastewater sites, water treatment facilities, wells and drinking fountains.
    National average salary: $59,055 per year.

  • Environmental compliance specialists ensure that companies and organizations adhere to regulations regarding waste disposal. They also ensure organizations properly use of chemicals and permits. An environmental compliance specialist who specializes in the water industry may ensure water treatment facilities create drinkable water and dispose of their waste in a way that doesn’t harm the environment or communities.
    National average salary: $59,501 per year.

  • Water resources engineers plan routes and transportation methods for distributing water throughout a community. They determine the best methods for keeping water clean and delivering it to those who need it. For example, they may assess a community’s water needs and install the pipelines and pumps necessary to sustain the water demand. They can also work with wastewater, supply systems and treatment plants.
    National average salary: $66,409 per year.

  • Water project managers monitor and assess the necessary time, budget and resources necessary for completing various water-related projects. They gather information and keep teams organized during projects like pipeline installation, distribution system design and water supply analysis. Skilled water project managers delegate tasks and ensure each member of a team understands their assignment.
    National average salary: $73,845 per year.

  • Inspection managers in the water industry ensure organizations and treatment locations within the field adhere to regulations and pay necessary dues. They thoroughly understand federal and state standards and compliance measures and create reports detailing how different departments and organizations adhere to them. An inspection manager may write reports about facilities and their operations.
    National average salary: $74,006 per year.

  • Wastewater engineers specialize in the handling and management of water after people use it. This includes sewage gray or wastewater. A wastewater engineer may help design systems for removing waste.
    National average salary: $91,020 per year.

Whether you are a current water industry professional or someone seeking to start a rewarding career path, WaterWorkforce has the recruitment and training services that can help you in the development of your professional life.

We are experts in recruiting for the following positions:

  • Water Distribution Operators
  • Water Treatment Operators
  • Wastewater Operators
  • Collections staff
  • Water Quality and Laboratory staff
  • Electrical / Mechanical staff
  • Administrative Staff
  • Supervisors
  • Plant Management

Learn more about our services.

For more information on our recruitment services, please contact:

Rebecca Kadel
Senior Business Development and Recruitment Specialist
Email: beccak@waterworkforce.com

For information on our new water industry apprenticeship program, please contact:

Myranda Kelly
Administrative Coordinator
Email: myrandak@waterworkforce.com