Water System Operator

  • Sacramento County, CA
  • Sacramento, California
  • May 01, 2024
Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • Salary: $76,566.96 - $93,041.28 Annually USD

Job Description

The Position

Come join one of Forbes Magazine's Best Employers !

This is a continuous filing exam. The next filing cut-offs are at 5:00 pm on:

12/6/23, 3/6/24, 6/6/24, 9/6/24, 12/6/24
Water System Operator is the journey level class for both the Water Distribution series and the Water Treatment series. Under direction, Water System Operators perform work in connection with the operation, maintenance, construction, and repair of water distribution systems, water treatment facilities, water wells, water booster pumping stations, water storage facilities, and storm water pumping stations. The positions in this class also operate, maintain and repair chemical handling systems, hydraulic power systems and hydro-pneumatic systems, and operate diesel driven electrical generation systems. Incumbents may be required to perform routine tasks independently when they work alone in the field.

Examples of Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of
  • The California Safe Drinking Water Act
  • EPA standards, rules and regulations ensuring safe drinking water and protecting ground water
  • The tools, materials, equipment and methods used in the maintenance, repair and operation of complex mechanical equipment such as: pumps, motors, various valve and gate operators, hydraulic drives, chain and socket assemblies, air compressors, electric and pneumatic controls, chlorination, and pneumatically and hydraulically controlled valves, and associated equipment
  • The tools, materials, equipment and methods used in the treatment of surface and ground water and in the construction of underground pipelines
  • Basic safety precautions and practices required when working in a variety of working conditions using hand tools, light equipment, and vehicles
  • The basic tests used in water treatment process control
  • Computer software such as Computer Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
Ability to
  • Understand and follow oral and written instructions
  • Perform strenuous physical labor
  • Use a variety of hand, precision, and power tools
  • Drive a variety of mobile equipment such as dump trucks, water trucks, backhoes, tractors, vacuum vehicles, utility trucks, step vans, and forklifts on paved and/or uneven terrain such as hills, slopes, rocky or wet ground
  • Use laboratory chemicals and equipment to analyze domestic and reclaimed water
  • Read, interpret and utilize manufacturer's specifications, operations manuals, piping schematics, etc.
  • Maintain courteous and effective relationships with County employees and the general public
  • Read, write, and speak English at a level necessary for satisfactory job performance
  • Use computer equipment and related peripheral equipment to enter and extract information

Employment Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications

Either: 1. One year of full-time experience performing duties which have included the repair, maintenance, or construction of one or more of the following systems: underground pipeline, wastewater collection, storm water collection, or underground water distribution.

Or: 2. One year of full-time experience in maintenance, construction, operation, or repair of mechanical components of equipment in one or more of the following facilities: wastewater treatment plants, potable water pump stations, water treatment plants, lift stations, storm drain pumping stations, or other mechanical facilities with similar systems and equipment.

Or: 3. A certificate of completion from a two-year mechanical-electrical technology program.

Or: 4. Completion of two-years of a stationary engineer, plumbing, or similar trade apprenticeship program.

Note: The word "experience" referenced in the minimum qualifications means full-time paid experience unless the job announcement states that volunteer experience is acceptable. Part-time paid experience may be accumulated and pro-rated to meet the total experience requirements.

Note: If the minimum qualifications include an educational or certificate/license requirement, applicants must submit proof of requirements with the application. Failure to submit proof of requirements may result in disqualification from the examination. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable. For guidelines on submitting acceptable proof of educational requirements, please click here or speak to someone in our office before the cut-off date listed in this notice.

General Qualifications

Age Requirement: Candidates must be 18 years of age prior to appointment because of the hazards of the job, as defined in the Fair Labor Standard Act.

Driver's License:
  • A valid California Driver License, Class C or higher is required prior to appointment to this class. Individuals who do not meet this requirement due to physical disability will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • A valid California Driver License, Class A, and/or special endorsements including but not limited to the Hazardous Materials Endorsement is required for some positions.
Note: Failure to maintain the appropriate California Driver's License and/or endorsement(s) constitutes cause for personnel action in accordance with Civil Service Rules or applicable bargaining unit agreements.

  • Water Distribution Grade 1 (D1) certificate: All incumbents must possess and maintain a valid Water Distribution Operator Grade 1 (D1) certificate issued by the State of California, Department of Health Services (DHS) within one year after the date of appointment to this class or within two consecutive DHS exam cycles after the date of appointment to this class, whichever is greater.
  • Water Treatment Grade 1 (T1) certificate: All incumbents must possess and maintain a valid Water Treatment Operator Grade 1 (T1) certificate issued by the State of California, Department of Health Services (DHS) within two years after the date of appointment to this class or within four consecutive DHS exam cycles after the date of appointment to this class, whichever is greater.
Note: Failure to obtain and maintain the appropriate certificates may constitute a cause for termination from this class in accordance with Civil Service Rules or applicable bargaining unit agreement. The appropriate amount of continuing education hours must be completed as required by the State of California to maintain the required certifications.

Criminal History Check: The County may access criminal history information on all candidates who have accepted a conditional offer of appointment for this class consistent with the provisions of Board of Supervisors Resolution No. 82-602, Personnel Policies and Procedure and applicable Federal and State law. The County shall not consider for employment any candidate who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor that relates to or impacts the candidate's ability to perform the job duties of this class unless it is determined that mitigating circumstances exist. For purposes of accessing criminal history information, the candidate will be fingerprinted. A subsequent arrest notification may be obtained.

Physical Abilities:
  • Perform strenuous manual labor
  • Perform tasks requiring manual dexterity
  • While carrying equipment which may weigh up to 25 pounds, safely climb and work on ladders with a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Stand on a ladder while performing tasks with both hands
  • Lift and carry heavy equipment and tools weighing up to 50 pounds without assistance; lift heavier items with assistance
  • Frequently bend, stoop, squat, kneel, crouch and reach above the shoulder
  • Work for extended periods of time in a bent, stooped, kneeling or prone position
  • Work in areas with unsteady footing
  • Enter and exit through restricted entrances of 24 and 36 inches in diameter
  • Some positions will be required to wear respiratory protection
  • Demonstrate color vision sufficient to distinguish the colors on a computer screen that indicate equipment status and conditions
Note: Some employees will be required to operate a jackhammer weighing up to 90 pounds.

Note: Individuals who do not meet these physical requirements due to disability will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Working Conditions:
  • Work in enclosed areas where the temperature may exceed 100 degrees F
  • Enter, exit, and work in enclosed and confined spaces
  • Work in trenches up to 23 feet in depth
  • Work outside in all types of climatic conditions including inclement or very hot weather
  • Work around dust, dirt, noise, and odors
  • Work on uneven terrain
  • Work in hip boots during muddy conditions.
  • Work often at heights of 40 feet and may work occasionally at greater heights up to 100 feet
Shift, Weekend and Holiday Work: Water distribution and water treatment functions are a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, operation. All employees in this class will be subject to working shifts, weekends, holidays, overtime and standby.

Probationary Period

The probationary period for this classification is six (6) months.

Application and Testing Information


Qualified applicants are encouraged to apply immediately. All applicants must complete and submit an online County of Sacramento employment application by 5:00 PM on the posted cut-off date. Click here to apply.

County of Sacramento
Department of Personnel Services
Employment Services Division
700 H Street, Room 4667
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone (916) 874-5593; 7-1-1 California Relay Service

Email EmployOffice@Saccounty.net
Inter-Office Mail Code: 09-4667

  • Employment applications and all documentation requested in this announcement must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • Employment Services is not responsible for any issues or delays caused by an applicant's computer or web browser. Applicants will be automatically logged out if they have not submitted their applications and all documentation prior to 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • Your application should highlight all relevant education, training, and experience, and clearly indicate how you meet the minimum qualifications for the position as of the cut-off date.
  • Application information must be current, concise and related to the requirements in this job announcement. You may only apply for this recruitment once. Duplicate and incomplete applications will be disqualified.
  • A resume may be included with your application, however it will not substitute for the information requested on the application.


Applicants are required to provide a full and complete response to each supplemental question. The Supplemental Questionnaire is located in the tab marked "Supplemental Questions". Please be descriptive in your response.

Note: Responses of "See Resume" or "See Application", or copy and paste of work experience are not qualifying responses and will not be considered.
  • Supplemental Questionnaires must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date. Employment Services is not responsible for any issues or delays caused by an applicant's computer or web browser. Applicants will be automatically logged out if they have not submitted their applications and all documentation prior to 5:00 p.m. on the cut-off date.
  • The supplemental questions are designed to elicit specific information regarding a candidate's experience, education, and training. Responses should be consistent with the information on your application and are subject to verification.
  • Please provide place of employment, pertinent dates, and concise, descriptive and detailed information for each question.
  • If a job included responsibilities applicable to several questions, separate the different functions of the job to answer all the questions completely.
  • Resumes or referral to the application or other questionnaire responses will not be accepted in lieu of completing each question.
  • If you have no experience, write "no experience" for the appropriate question.
  • For many individuals, it is more efficient to develop responses to the supplemental questions in a word processing document and then paste them into the final document to be submitted. Changes or corrections to your Supplemental Questionnaire cannot be made once your application packet has been submitted.
  • If the Supplemental Questionnaire is used in the Formula Rate exam, failure to complete all of the questions or incomplete responses will result in a lower score. While scoring the Supplemental Questionnaire, the candidate's application and/or attachments will not be reviewed , therefore, a candidate's responses to the questions should be accurate, thorough, detailed, and complete.


All candidates meeting the minimum qualifications by the cut-off date will have their Supplemental Questionnaire scored in the Formula Rate Examination.

This examination will evaluate the relevance, level, recency, progression and quality of candidate's education, training and experience. The candidate's application or other materials will not be included in this examination. Therefore, the candidate's responses to the supplemental questionnaire should be thorough, detailed and complete. The score from the Formula Rate Examination will determine the ranking on the eligible/employment list for this job.

All candidates competing in the testing process will receive written notice of their examination results by email. Notices can also be accessed in their governmentjobs.com inbox. Applicants achieving a passing score will be placed on the eligible list in rank order. The rank is determined by the test score attained from the examination.


Click here for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

For information regarding County jobs:
  • www.saccountyjobs.net

Sacramento County is about enriching communities to thrive. We strive to create inclusive workplaces that reflect the communities we serve. We value and celebrate the unique perspectives, backgrounds, abilities, and diverse dimensions of our employees and residents. Through transparency, courage, innovation, and trust we are committed to advance equity and transformational change.

We are a proud equal opportunity employer. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability for any phase of the hiring process, please contact our Disability Compliance Office at dco@saccounty.gov or 916-874-7642, CA Relay 711


As an employee of the County of Sacramento, there will be a variety of benefits available to you. These benefits currently include: health, dental and life insurance; flexible spending account options for dependent care and unreimbursed dental and/or medical cost; and an employee assistance program (EAP).

Most employee benefits are similar to the following for all County employees. However, some benefits differ, depending on the employee representation unit to which the employee's job classification is assigned. Information about the exact benefits applicable to a particular job classification may be obtained from the Sacramento County Department of Benefits or by visiting www.saccountyjobs.net.

Most benefits do not apply to temporary positions. The explanations of benefits applies to employees in regular positions.

The beginning salary and the top of the salary range are usually shown on the job announcement. Upon satisfactory service, salary increases of approximately 5% are given annually until the top of the salary range has been attained.

All employees are paid bi-weekly via direct deposit into the employee's bank account. The pay period covers fourteen (14) calendar days, starting on a Sunday and ending on the second Saturday thereafter. Salaries are generally paid on the Friday following the end of the pay period. Employees can set up their direct deposit and access their pay information via Employee Self Service in MySacCounty.

Generally, vacation with pay begins at 10 days annually. With increase over a period of years, the maximum annual vacation with pay is 25 days.

14.5 holidays per year as recognized.

Equivalent to 15 days annually, unlimited accumulation. Upon retirement, unused sick leave is converted to retirement service credit.

Entitles a regular County employee, with at least one year of continuous employment, to schedule a paid parental leave of up to 160 hours upon the birth or during the process of an adoption of a minor child. Parental leave shall be approved by the employee's appointing authority, except where the granting of the parental leave request would unduly interfere with or cause severe hardship upon department operations.

Dependent upon union agreements, regular County employees may be eligible to receive Tuition Reimbursement. The costs for course tuition/registration fees and required books/supplies are eligible for reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement amounts may vary depending upon union agreement.

Social Security and Sacramento County Employees' Retirement System coverage.

The County offers a variety of health plan design options to fit individual needs.

The County provides a comprehensive dental benefit program for regular full-time and part-time employees and their eligible dependents. This plan pays on a set fee schedule that varies by procedure. Any amount over the fee schedule is the employee's responsibility. The yearly maximum is $2,000 per person, not including orthodontia. The orthodontic benefit is 50% of covered charges with a lifetime maximum of $1,000 per person.

The County of Sacramento provides a basic life insurance benefit of $15,000 to all eligible employees at no cost. Additional coverage may be purchased through payroll deduction.

The County offers a Deferred Compensation Program which enables employees to save in a systematic way without paying income tax on either the payroll deduction or the earned interest, prior to withdrawal.

The County of Sacramento provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for employees and their eligible dependents. The EAP offers confidential, professional counseling services in areas such as:
  • Legal Advice/Difficult Decisions
  • Marriage or Family Relationships
  • Financial or Credit Worries/Elder Care
  • Alcohol and Drug Abuse

The County will recognize and award time off to eligible employees who maintain an excellent attendance record.

The County offers regular employees two separate Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA's). These accounts allow employees to set money aside, on a pre-tax basis via payroll deduction, to pay for medical, dental or dependent care expenses.

    Employees may set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified childcare or dependent care expenses that are necessary for the employee and/or spouse to continue working.

    The Medical Reimbursement Account allows pre-tax dollars to be set aside to pay for out-of-pocket expenses that are not paid by insurance or reimbursed by any other benefit plan.

In case of injury while on the job, each employee is protected under the Workers' Compensation laws of California.

The credit union offers loan facilities and systematic saving plans through payroll deduction.


Sacramento County encourages applications from all persons regardless of race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, gender, disability, political affiliation, or age.

Certain age limits may be required by law, ordinance, or Civil Service direction for specific classifications such as those identified with hazardous occupations.

Please read carefully the "Minimum Qualifications" section of your announcement. You must meet those qualifications by the application deadline date unless otherwise specified. Your application must clearly show you meet the minimum qualifications by the application deadline date, or it will not be accepted. All statements are subject to verification.

"Experience" means full-time paid experience unless the announcement states that volunteer experience is acceptable. Part-time paid experience may be accumulated and pro-rated to meet the total experience requirements.

If the announcement indicates the examination is given on a promotional basis, candidates must hold permanent status in Sacramento County Civil Service by the application deadline date and must meet the minimum qualifications.

Any person who meets the minimum qualifications may apply.

Applicants are eligible to reapply to and retake a continuous filing exam after 6 months from the date the previous exam results was received.

Names of qualified persons who made a passing score on an examination are entered, in order of their final grades, on an eligible list. To fill each vacancy, the hiring department will make a selection from among the top three ranks on the employment lists.

Unless otherwise stated on the announcement: To be successful, candidates must obtain a rating of at least 70% on each part of the examination. This may be an adjusted score or an arithmetic 70% of the total possible score as determined by the Director.

Persons who believe their applications have been improperly rejected may request the Employment Services Division to review its decision to reject the application. If the applicant desires to submit additional proof of qualifications, such proof must be received by Personnel Services not less than two (2) calendar days prior to the scheduled date for the examination.

Persons who are disqualified in any phase of the examination may appeal such adverse action, in writing, to the Civil Service Commission, 700 H Street, Room 2640, Sacramento, CA 95814, telephone: (916) 874-5586. Such appeals must be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after notice of the adverse action was mailed to the candidate.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE VISIT OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): https://personnel.saccounty.net/Pages/EmploymentServicesFAQs.aspx


Military veterans who have served during wartime shall be given preference in initial appointment to County service. Such preference shall apply, provided the veteran has first achieved a minimum passing score in the examination. The passing score of a veteran shall be annotated to indicate the veteran's score shall be regarded as 5 points or higher, OR 10 points higher for disabled veterans, only for the purpose of determining the three ranks along with which the veteran's name shall be certified. No score shall actually be changed and no new rank shall be created as a result of application of veteran's preference for certification purposes.

"Disabled Veteran" means any veteran who has served during wartime and, who, as of the final filing date for an examination is declared by the United States Veterans Administration or military service department to be 10% or more disabled as a result of his/her military service. Persons claiming eligibility for disabled veteran's preference must submit to the employment office, on or before the application deadline date, a certification from the United States Veterans Administration or a military service department, dated within 1 year, which certifies the present existence of a service related disability of 10% or more, or other acceptable proof of such disability as a result of his/her military service.
Persons claiming eligibility for veterans preference must submit a copy of Form DD 214 or other acceptable proof of veteran's status on or before the final filing date for the examination. For purpose of this rule "reserve" status does not constitute active duty.

As required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act, all County employees must be United States citizens or aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Proof of citizenship or authorized status will be required prior to appointment.

Some County Civil Service positions are covered by financial disclosure requirements intended to identify potential conflicts of interest.

No employee may concurrently occupy more than one County position.

Persons who have special skills required by some (but not all) positions in a class may be certified ahead of others provided that:

Such special skills are based on the duties and requirements of the positions and are in conformance with merit system and equal opportunity principles, and
The certification of eligibles who possess special skills have been approved by the Civil Service Commission.

The County of Sacramento is committed to maintaining a drug and alcohol free workplace. All persons selected for appointment to positions must pass a medical examination and a drug test, administered by the County at no cost to the applicant.

Possession of a valid California Driver License may be required for some positions.

Regular positions are subject to a probationary period which is an extension of the selection process. Unless otherwise indicated on the announcement, the probationary period is six (6) months.

Some positions require, as a condition of continued employment, that the person either:
1. Become a union member;
2. Pay a fair share fee to the union; or,
3. Meet specific requirements under which an equivalent amount must be paid to a charity.

Fingerprinting and criminal record checks are required for some positions.

Closing Date/Time: Continuous

Job Address

Sacramento, California United States View Map