Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Tomas Flanagan from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Tomas Flanagan

Occupational Therapist

St. Michael's House

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  Tomas Flanagan

I would advise anyone interested in Occupational Therapy to read up on the profession or else try to meet a qualified Occupational Therapist and talk to them about their work.

The internet can be a great resource in getting information. Also information from the universities might indicate if this is a course that is suited to you. A lot of the course work relies on you being a self-directed learner. This makes the course different to other more mainstream/academic courses as the onus is on the student to complete a lot of work independently.

As this is a caring profession an interest in working with people is a must. You also need to be a good communicator as you will be working closely with clients, families and other staff on an ongoing basis.

Organisational skills are essential to enable you to manage a caseload.


Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their best operating under supervisors who give clear guidelines, and performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.

They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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Occupation Details

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Water Treatment Plant Operator

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€18k > 26 
Waste Water Process Plant Operator
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€18 - 26 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2013

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Operates machinery through the various stages of water treatment, and performs chemical tests on sewage or industrial waste water to ensure compliance with regulations.

The Work header image

Waste water process plant operators work at treatment plants that deal with waste water and sewage. Modern plants contain automatic equipment so a lot of the operator's work takes place in control rooms. They monitor the progress of waste water by looking at information on computer screens, including warning messages when conditions are not right.  
Waste water undergoes a gradual cleaning process. As waste water comes into the plant, operators make visual checks, for example of colour, to make sure that there are no chemicals in it. Operators visit different areas of the plant to check the treatment process and that pumps and other equipment work correctly. They monitor oxygen levels and may make adjustments to equipment. They identify and report problems they cannot deal with to technicians and managers.  
They check equipment such as drive belts on motors, they grease pump bearings and turn hand wheels to move barriers and open valves. They clean and reset equipment that sends information to control room computers. They also take samples for analysis, carry out basic laboratory tests and operate controls to add chemicals.  
In some industrial areas, the metal content of sludge makes it unsuitable for recycling to agricultural land. In this case, operators are responsible for running and monitoring incinerators. They also supervise the filling of trucks with ash and operate the loading machinery. 

Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Add chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, or lime to disinfect and deodorize water and other liquids.


Inspect equipment or monitor operating conditions, meters, and gauges to determine load requirements and detect malfunctions.


Collect and test water and sewage samples, using test equipment and color analysis standards.


Record operational data, personnel attendance, or meter and gauge readings on specified forms.


Operate and adjust controls on equipment to purify and clarify water, process or dispose of sewage, and generate power.


Maintain, repair, and lubricate equipment, using hand tools and power tools.


Clean and maintain tanks, filter beds, and other work areas using hand tools and power tools.


Direct and coordinate plant workers engaged in routine operations and maintenance activities.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates:  Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.


Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards:  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Handling and Moving Objects:  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.


Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others:  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.


Performing General Physical Activities:  Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Mechanical:  Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


Public Safety and Security:  Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.


Chemistry:  Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Physics:  Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Operation Monitoring:   Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Operation and Control:   Controlling operations of equipment or systems.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Quality Control Analysis:   Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.


Repairing:   Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.


Equipment Maintenance:   Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.


Troubleshooting:   Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.


Systems Evaluation:   Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a waste water process plant operator you need to be responsible and pay attention to health and safety. You also need to keep your concentration while monitoring the plant. You must be able to work without close supervision and as part of a team.  
You also need to be able to work out the size of a problem and decide what action is needed. You may need to react quickly so that problems can be safely controlled.  
An interest in science, especially biology and chemistry, is useful for understanding the treatment process and for carrying out basic laboratory tests. You also need to be able to work with numbers and computers. Accuracy in taking readings is essential.  
You need to be physically fit and active. Practical skills are needed for manual duties such as operating machinery and routine maintenance tasks.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator - from:  YouTube [Video]
Go..Water Network Operative - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Water Treatment Worker - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (IWAI)
  Tel: 1890 924 991
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

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