How to Get a Career in Water Hygiene & Treatment

So you are considering a career in the field of water treatment and hygiene? This industry is very important to the health of the nation and there are a lot of great jobs available. It is a challenging and interesting industry with many opportunities to build on your skills.

Let’s take a look at the water hygiene and treatment career, so that you can learn more about what to expect.

Which Type of Water Treatment?

There are two different types of water treatment plants that you could potentially work in within your career. The first is a water treatment plant that collects water from the environment (such as from rivers, lakes and underground sources) and treats it so that it is safe for humans to drink. The clean drinking water is then pumped through to customers.

The other type is a wastewater treatment plant, which will receive storm water and wastewater from the community. This plant treats the water to remove the harmful substances within it, so that it can be safe to return to the seas or the rivers. The plant also disposes of the residual waste materials in a number of ways, including burial, incineration, natural breakdown or agricultural land application.

What Would The Job Include?

If you are working within the water treatment industry, perhaps as a water treatment plant operator, there are many tasks that you may be responsible for. These include:

  • Interpreting the results of sample analysis and using this information to make adjustments to equipment.
  • Co-ordinating with engineers for complex repair work.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting filters and screens.
  • Monitoring and operating the range of plant equipment that is used within the treatment process.
  • Adding chemicals to the water in the correct ratio.
  • Assessing the risks and hazardous conditions of the working environment.
  • And much more!

The job has changed in recent years because the average plant has become much more computer operated. However, this doesn’t mean that the job is not physically demanding. In a small plant the operator might be responsible for a huge range of processes.

What Are the Job Conditions Like?

If you work in the water treatment and hygiene industry, you will likely work around 37 hours per week. These hours tend to be part of a shift pattern, which might include nights and weekends. Also, you might find yourself working overtime if you choose.

It is likely that you will be working in a control room or in a water treatment area, either indoors or outdoors. This job is very physically demanding and it can involve working in confined spaces or working nights.

It is also possible that you will be working in smelly, dirty and wet conditions. However, you will be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and clothing.

What is Your Potential Income?

The income that you earn from this job will depend of course on where you are working and which company you are working for. However, generally an apprentice can earn around £12,000 per year. After you become qualified, you can expect to earn from £18,000 and £25,000 per year. When you have a lot of experience under your belt, you can later expect to earn around £25,000 to £32,000 per year. Of course if you are working overtime this can increase your income even more!

What Qualifications Do You Need?

It is possible to get into this type of work via an apprenticeship. This will give you the opportunity to train for the role. Also, it is generally important to achieve well at school. Employers will be looking for applicants who have at 3-5 GSCEs, especially maths, science subjects and English. If you have higher grades, you are more likely to be successful.

Health and Safety Training

In order to work in the field of water hygiene and treatment, it is essential to make sure that you have the right qualifications. With the correct health and safety training, you can ensure that you are following the appropriate procedures within your workplace. So what is the appropriate health and safety training program for this industry?

The appropriate training for this career is the EUSR National Water Hygiene card. This is a program that has been developed at the request of Water UK, which is the body that represents the water supply companies in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

What is the EUSR National Water Hygiene Card?

This card was created in 2006 as a way to integrate all water company hygiene schemes, removing the need for employees to take different health screening, separate testing and other aspects. Instead, all aspects of water industry health and safety are included together in one training scheme.

It is required for anyone who works on a restricted site such as pumping stations, service reservoirs, treatment works, boreholes and springs, to be in possession of the National Water Hygiene Card. The exact same package is delivered to employees of water companies, as well as all contractors that work anywhere on restricted operations sites.

The card also includes a health screening, which ensures that you are not a carrier of a waterborne disease. When you work in the water industry you are responsible for the potable water supply, so it is very important that you keep your health a high priority. You will be responsible for informing your line manager if you come into contact with any disease that has the potential to cause harm.

Once you have received your National Water Hygiene card, it will be valid for three years. The training session for the card takes approximately half the working day to complete and it includes a health screening and a multiple choice test.

If you are considering a career in the field of water hygiene and treatment, these are just a few important things that you need to know. This can be a very exciting and rewarding career, so achieve the qualifications you need and work hard improving your skills and knowledge. Good luck!

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