Water Treatment Engineer

Design and supervise new water treatment facilities and machinery.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$49,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Water Treatment Engineers do?

A Water Treatment Engineer specializes in the processes required to clean up drinking water, or filter contaminated water for re-entry into the environment. Most Water Treatment Engineers work in treatment plants, but some work with governments, universities, or environmental groups.

As a bit of background, here’s water systems 101: Water from springs, wells, rivers and lakes is pumped into treatment plants. From there it is propelled through filters and other processes that remove contaminates before it is then piped off to recreational areas, houses, and businesses. Once the water has been used (showers, toilets, carwashes etc.) it is drained off to other types of treatment plants in the form of industrial waste or sewage. These plants remove harmful chemicals and other pollutants so that the water can safely be sent back into streams, irrigation fields, or lakes.

Your role in this process as a Water Treatment Engineer is to design machines and processes that do the jobs above more efficiently, or effectively. You create different types of filters, skimmers, and chemical treatments. Sometimes you evaluate current plants and make recommendations to replace equipment, alter a design, or suggest a layout change. After the changes are approved, you supervise the construction and installation of the new design. You answer questions and update plans as changes occur.

In addition to designing systems, you also monitor water quality through field and lab tests. If the water is found to contain unacceptable levels of pollutants, you decide whether to close down the facility, replace equipment, or enforce different procedures. Through your diligent attention to quality, knowledge of science, and passion for the environment, your contributions improve water quality for all.

Should I be a Water Treatment Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • Also known as: Noise-Abatement Engineer, Wastewater Treatment Engineer, Water Treatment Plant Engineer

    How to become a Water Treatment Engineer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Water Treatment Engineer-related education!
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