Board and Elected Official Roles Responsibility & Policy Development Resources

The Importance of an Operator in a Community’s Water Systems

The Importance of an Operator in a Community’s Water Systems from RCAP on Vimeo.

As a member of the board of directors or other governing body of your community’s wastewater (or drinking water) system, you are ultimately responsible for its technical, managerial and financial operations. Most systems have paid staff to handle these aspects of your system’s operations. Technical operations are handled by your operator, who is probably the most important person in the overall operations of your system.

Operators provide one of the most valuable services to Americans. They work in vital jobs that we can’t do without. They keep us supplied with a necessity of life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Water keeps us alive and is delivered or treated in order to protect our health as well as the environment.

This video was produced to help leaders and decision-makers of systems understand what they need in an operator and what an operator does on a daily basis. It can help leaders understand how to support and equip operators with the skills and financial resources to do their job and help the operator keep the community’s system running well. The video includes interviews with operators who talk about the skills they use in their jobs and how they got into the field.

This video can also be shown to encourage people to enter the water operations field, including high school and college students, including those at community colleges. It helps potential workers understand what it takes to be an operator and what training/schooling is required. A shortage of certified operators is expected in the coming years because of the upcoming retirements of many current operators. Rural areas especially need young and willing operators.