People rely on ample supplies of clean water for survival, and on the proper treatment of wastewater to keep cities healthy and water sources unpolluted. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators manage the vital systems that treat water and wastewater. Water treatment plant and system operators oversee the treatment and distribution of fresh water, as it is pumped from wells, rivers, or reservoirs to water treatment plants. They monitor and maintain the equipment and control the processes that treat water to make it safe to drink. Wastewater treatment plant and system operators run systems that remove pollutants from domestic and industrial waste… from sewer pipe to treatment plant… until it is returned to streams and oceans… or is used for irrigation. Most operators work for local governments, while some work for utilities. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators work in conditions that are at times noisy and odorous. Slippery walkways, dangerous gases, and the potential of equipment to malfunction present significant hazards. They must prepare for emergencies and are well versed in the use of safety practices and equipment. Most work full time, and may be on call or work shifts around the clock to maintain operations, especially during emergencies. High school education and licenses are required; related coursework or an associate’s degree may be helpful. Long-term on the job training is typical.