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City of Tacoma WA Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Operator, Senior in Tacoma, Washington

Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Operator, Senior


$47.76 - $50.14 Hourly


Tacoma, WA

Job Type


Job Number



Environmental Services

Opening Date


Closing Date

5/28/2024 5:00 PM Pacific

  • Description

  • Benefits

  • Questions

Position Description

The City of Tacoma is seeking highly motivated people with proven leadership skills to join our team as a Senior Operator for the City's two Wastewater Treatment Plants. Senior Operators work under the direction of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Operations Supervisor, and are responsible for providing work direction to staff on an assigned shift. They are also responsible for inspecting, operating and maintaining various equipment, and operational laboratory analyses.

Our ideal candidate is a person who has an excellent work record in Wastewater Treatment, proven leadership skills, the ability to multi-task, direct the work of others, and excel in a team environment.

  • Someone who effectively conveys ideas and information orally and in writing using language that is appropriate to both the complexity of the topic and the knowledge and understanding of the listener/reader.

  • Someone who builds healthy relationships and will consistently help coworkers and partners achieve desired outcomes; gaining their trust and respect.

  • Someone who can assess process data and conditions and use this information to proactively make process decisions that achieve our process targets.

  • A teammate who genuinely values our mission, values healthy neighborhoods, a thriving Puget Sound, and the role of sound data to inform decisions.

  • Someone who can collaborate effectively with others.

  • Someone who can make sense of complex, sometimes contradictory information to effectively solve problems.

  • Someone who embraces continuous improvement, fosters innovation, ensures accuracy, manages details, takes initiative and desires to grow in their knowledge, skills and abilities.

If this sounds like you, we encourage you to apply!

The Principles that Guide Us:

Tacoma, the City of Destiny, has a workforce of dedicated, talented employees with unique skills and perspectives. We embrace innovation and strive for excellence and community engagement. The Principles that Guide Us, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Equity, speak to the values that we embody as City of Tacoma employees, and represent the core of our work in public service.

Essential Duties:

  • Perform lead duties on an assigned shift; assign work; train, instruct and provide work guidance and technical assistance to others; inspect and monitor work and operations in progress.

  • Inspect, operate, maintain and make basic repairs on wastewater treatment plant equipment; make necessary adjustments in accordance with established guidelines.

  • Oversee and perform operational duties such as starting and regulating electric motors and pumps used to control sewage and sludge flow; operate and control mechanical rakes, grit and sludge withdrawal equipment, boiler/heat exchangers, circulatory and transfer pumps and related equipment.

  • Perform routine laboratory analyses of water and wastewater treatment plant products; make calculations and prepare analysis reports as required.

  • Analyze wastewater treatment operation and recommend improved methods and practices accordingly.

  • Operate and maintain field sampling equipment; assure proper and efficient repair of various equipment as needed.

  • Maintain and prepare a variety of records, reports and logs required by management and regulatory agencies.

  • Clean and maintain equipment facilities and grounds to assure plant is in a safe, clean and orderly condition.

  • Contact various departments, sections, outside agencies and organizations to provide and receive information and services related to wastewater treatment plant activities; communicate by telephone with general public to answer inquiries.

  • Attend a variety of meetings and classes; conduct tours as required.

Physical Requirements and Working Conditions:

  • Work includes indoor and outdoor environment; subject to noise, fumes and adverse weather conditions; subject to emergency call-out as needed.

  • Position requires lifting, bending, standing and climbing.

  • An employee in this position is exposed to potentially hazardous materials.

  • Treatment plant operations are conducted and staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

City of Tacoma Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion:

Tacoma's diversity is its greatest asset. Tacoma embraces its multi-cultural and multi-ethnic character. Communities of color and immigrant communities are fundamental to Tacoma's entrepreneurial spirit, workforce, and long-term success. In Tacoma, equity and empowerment are top priorities, meaning that all Tacoma residents must have equitable opportunities to reach their full potential and share in the benefits of community progress. One of our goals is for the City of Tacoma workforce to reflect the community it serves. We actively work to eliminate racial and other disparities and welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds and/or multicultural skill sets and experiences. Our goal is for Tacoma to be an inclusive and equitable place to live, work, and play.


An equivalent combination to:

Graduation from High school including training or course work in operation of a wastewater treatment plant


Three years' increasingly responsible experience in the operation of a wastewater treatment plant.


Valid Washington Driver's License;

Maintain valid Washington State Grade III Operator's license and certification in wastewater treatment operations.

Knowledge & Skills

  • Understand and be able to operate tools and equipment used in the operation and maintenance of engines, motors, pumps and other equipment used in a wastewater treatment plant.

  • Understand and utilize standard practices and principles of wastewater treatment plant operation.

  • Methods, equipment and materials used in wastewater plant operation and maintenance.

  • Operation, care and routine maintenance of plant equipment.

  • Have a good understanding of and comply with health and safety practices and procedures, including but not limited to: utilizing safety techniques in laboratory testing, handling dangerous or hazardous materials and gases, working in confined spaces and lock out/tag out procedures.

  • Record-keeping techniques and documentation.

  • Interpersonal skills using tact, patience and courtesy.

  • Basic mathematics and biological sciences.

  • Operate computer systems in a wastewater treatment facility and interpret system data.

  • Provide leadership, work direction and training to assigned staff to assure efficient operation of wastewater treatment plant.

  • Perform a wide variety of maintenance duties using a variety of tools and machines.

  • Understand and follow oral and written directions.

  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

  • Maintain records and logs and prepare reports.

  • Establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships with others.

  • Analyze situations accurately and adopt an effective course of action.

  • Work independently with little direction.

  • Operate motor vehicles.

  • Evaluate consumable products used in the treatment of wastewater and prepare studies, audits and optimization plans for improving treatment performance.

  • Evaluate and troubleshoot wastewater treatment process and control system performance and improvement.

  • Review the work of others.

  • Use best management practices, to support facility operations, process control and permit compliance.

  • Be familiar with all permits and understand the impacts of the operations on permit compliance.

Selection Process & Supplemental Information

Our City:

With a population over 220,000, Tacoma is the second largest city in the Puget Sound region, gracing the shores of Commencement Bay. We are a diverse, progressive, international city that serves as a gateway to the Pacific Rim and the rest of the world. Named one of the most livable areas in the country by, Tacoma and the surrounding area is a playground for outdoor and maritime enthusiasts. Our businesses are vibrant, our parks are beautiful, and our schools are exceptional.

When you work for the City of Tacoma, you'll enjoy a healthy work/life balance, the potential for flexible schedules with some job classifications, continuing education programs, leadership pathways, wellness incentives and a total rewards benefits program. We welcome you to take a look at our website and discover how the City of Tacoma can make your next career move part of our combined destiny:

The City of Tacoma believes that each employee makes a significant contribution to our success. This job description is designed to outline primary duties, qualifications and job scope. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related or a logical assignment to the position.

To be considered for this challenging and rewarding career opportunity:

Please apply online through the City of Tacoma's website. Individuals must meet the minimum qualifications to progress in the examination process.

Candidates who are eligible for Veteran's Preference scoring criteria must attach a copy of their DD-214 member copy 4, (proof of military discharge form) at time of application, to be eligible for review for Veteran's Preference points, with redacted birth date and social security numbers.

Examination Process:

This is a competitive selection process. Applicants who meet the minimum qualifications will have their job application and responses to Supplemental Questions 10-14 reviewed and scored by a committee of subject matter experts, as the Experience and Training Test. It is the responsibility of the applicants to adequately describe all pertinent experience and training. Candidates who pass the test will be placed on an Eligible List for potential interview and hiring consideration. Candidates on the Eligible List will have their application materials, resume and cover letter reviewed in depth. Hiring Managers will select and invite to interview the candidates deemed to potentially best meet the Division's business needs. Candidates invited to interview may also be required to take part in a practical skills assessment.

Per City of Tacoma Personnel Management Policy #170, the City of Tacoma is a drug-free work environment. Appointment is subject to successful completion of a pre-employment background check and will include a pre-employment medical examination, physical ability test and drug and alcohol screening. Candidates will be required to possess a valid Washington State driver's license at the time of appointment, as well as a valid Washington State Grade III Operator's license and certification in wastewater treatment operations with maintenance thereafter.

New employees must successfully complete a nine-month probationary period prior to obtaining permanent status in this classification.

This position is covered by a Labor Agreement between the City of Tacoma and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local IBEW 483 Water Pollution Control Unit.

Communication from the City of Tacoma:

We primarily communicate via email during the application process. Emails from and/or must be placed on your safe domain list to ensure that you receive notifications in a timely manner. As a precaution, you may also want to check your junk email folders.

The online application system requires you to enter a substantial amount of information. Be prepared to spend at least an hour entering information. In order for your application materials to be considered, all information must be submitted by the closing date and time listed on this job announcement.

For assistance with the NEOGOV application process, or questions regarding this job announcement, call the Human Resources office at (253) 591.5400 before 4:00 pm of the closing date of the job announcement.

The City of Tacoma provides excellent medical, dental and vision plans for the whole family; paid holidays and paid leave; participation in the Tacoma Employees' Retirement System (alternate plan for Police/Fire); continuing education and advancement opportunities and a growing variety of City-sponsored health and wellness opportunities and incentives.

Medical Coverage: For eligible employees and their families, including domestic partners and dependent children age 26 or younger.

Dental Coverage: For eligible employees and their families, including domestic partners and dependent children age 26 or younger.

Vision Coverage: For eligible employees and their eligible dependents.

Paid Leave: City employees are entitled to received paid holidays, sick/vacation leave or personal time off (PTO), depending upon union affiliation and appointment type.

Insurance Plans: Employees are covered by a long-term disability plan. Short-term and expanded long-term disability insurance plans are also available to employees. The State Industrial Insurance Act also covers employees.

Deferred Compensation: Income can be set aside on a pretax basis and invested for supplementation of normal retirement income.

Retirement: All employees of the City, except members of the Police and Fire services, Tacoma Rail and certain project employees, are included in the Tacoma Employees' Retirement System. Information on the Tacoma Employees' Retirement System can be found at or by calling (253) 502-8200.

Other Employment Information

Direct Deposit: Employees are paid on a bi-weekly schedule by direct deposit.

Salary Increases: Based on satisfactory job performance, the City provides for a regular progression of salary increases for most classifications according to the salary schedule.

Union Affiliation: Many job classifications are covered by union security provisions which require union membership, dues, or payment of equivalent service fees.

Note: The provisions of this job announcement do not constitute an expressed or implied contract. Any provision contained herein may be modified and/or revoked without notice.


The City of Tacoma has a technical requirement that employees filling classified roles be residents of the City at the time of their original appointment to a classified job. However, there is a process to request a waiver of this requirement from the Civil Service Board if we identify an outstanding candidate who is a nonresident. Not residing within the City limits of Tacoma is not an automatic disqualifier and everyone is encouraged to apply.

  • I understand that the City will request a waiver for me if necessary

  • Not applicable, I'm a City of Tacoma resident


    The Supplemental Questionnaire is part of the examination process; accordingly, it should be completed carefully. It must be submitted with your application. Responses to supplemental questions must be original content created by the applicant using their own words. The use of online tools or resources to create responses, such as Artificial Intelligence (ChatGPT, etc), Google, Bing, etc., or plagiarism in any form, is considered cheating and falsification of the application. Do not indicate "see resume" or copy unrelated content from your resume when answering these questions. Answer all information requested in each question. Failure to do so may result in rejection of your application. I certify that the information provided is accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge. I understand that any falsification may cancel any terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

  • Yes

  • No


    Do you have an equivalent combination to: Graduation from high school including training or course work in the operation of a wastewater treatment plant AND Three years increasingly responsible experience in the operation of a wastewater treatment plant?

  • Yes

  • No


    Will you possess a valid Washington State DOE Group III (or higher) Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator certification at time of appointment if selected for this position?

  • Yes

  • No


    Will you have a valid Washington State Driver License by the first day of the job if you are offered this position?

  • Yes

  • No


    Please provide your Washington State Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator number. If you are an out of state candidate and are looking to obtain reciprocity or take the State of Washington exam, provide the status of possessing your relevant certification, including the number, and name of the State of issuance. If you do not have your Group III or higher certification, provide the status of your certification and approximate date of completion.


    List all other job-related certifications you currently have that relate to this position. If you do not have any pertinent certifications respond with N/A.


    Describe how you meet the minimum qualifications as outlined in the job announcement to meet the three years of increasingly responsible experience in the operations of a wastewater treatment plant.


    INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING TEST: Questions 10-14 are the experience and training test that will be used to establish the eligibility list. These questions will be scored by subject matter experts who will not have access to any of your application materials, and will provide scores based solely upon your answers to these questions. Your answers must stand on their own merit. DO NOT refer to your resume in lieu of answering these questions; this will result in a score of 0 points. Raters will not have access to your resume or application at this step in the process. Your score on the experience and training test will solely reflect your responses to questions 10-14. For questions 10-14, make sure you read the question and provide complete informative answers, including your roles in the position and key activities. Please indicate "Yes" that you have read and understand the instructions for questions 10-14.

  • Yes

  • No


    Please describe the opportunities that you've had in your current role to assign, train, instruct and provide work guidance and technical assistance to others in your work group or others in your department that interface with your day-to-day work activities.


    Please describe in detail your process control experience with activated sludge systems. Please outline your experience with activated sludge micro-biology. Please describe your working knowledge of the evaluation of the required process control parameters to indicate the health of your activated sludge system. What control system trends or laboratory test trends you would consider in your approach to such an evaluation.


    Please describe in detail your experience with PSA (pressure swing adsorption) and HPO (high purity oxygen) operation. Include your working knowledge of the conditions of and the tests required to indicate the health of both and the parameters and requirements that are monitored for process control.


    Please describe your working knowledge of your plant control system and how the use of critical instrumentations plays a role in operations of wastewater treatment.


    This position provides some direction to others, which necessitates leadership skills. In detail, please describe your experience in a previous or current leadership role. Explain your leadership style and values and why you feel they make you a strong leader. If you do not have leadership experience, please type N/A.


    Please tell us how you learned about this job opening.

  • Job Interest Card notification

  • Internet search

  • Professional organization

  • Community organization

  • Military organization

  • Union job posting

  • City of Tacoma employee

  • Online job board posting

  • Word of mouth

  • Other


    Please provide specific information regarding how you learned about this job opening. Thank you, your feedback will be used to evaluate our success reaching the public and refine our methods for future job postings.


    Did you remember to upload a cover letter and resume, AND a DDForm 214 Member Copy 4 if you are a Military Veteran who is eligible for Veteran's Preference, to this application?

  • Yes

  • No

    Required Question


City of Tacoma


Human Resources Department 747 Market Street Tacoma, Washington, 98402-3764





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