Apprenticeship role

Carry out operations in a clean water or waste water treatment facility to ensure water safety and interpret water samples to ensure treatment processes are working effectively.

Level: 2

Duration: 15 to 18 months

Maximum funding: £9,000

Review: this apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

This occupation is found in the water industry, in clean water and waste water treatment. Water treatment operatives work for clean water and/or waste water treatment companies regulated by OFWAT – Office of Water Services (UK government), all of which are large organisations. Operatives typically work in only one type of water treatment.

This is a core and options apprenticeship standard. Apprentices will complete the core requirements, plus one option:

  • Clean Water Process Operative.
  • Waste Water Process Operative.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to carry out operations in a clean water or waste water treatment facility to ensure water safety. In both environments they operate treatment work assets and take, monitor, record and interpret water samples to ensure treatment processes are working effectively. To support treatment processes, they receive and store chemical deliveries, assess and optimise energy on site and carry out site checks for safety, security and productivity purposes, reporting any faults, issues and concerns that need escalation. In waste water they are focused on safe effluent discharge and in clean water for maintaining water quality and hygiene standards.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with colleagues such as managers, water process technicians, engineers, maintenance engineer’s, delivery drivers, contractors, other treatment operatives and customers (internal/external). They may work as part of a small or large team, depending on the scale of the treatment facility. They will typically work under the supervision of a treatment works manager or senior water process technician. They will typically spend their time in a clean water or waste water treatment works.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for completing work to the required standard, following procedures and ensuring health and safety, and regulatory compliance, for example DWI (Drinking Water Inspectorate) and EA (Environment Agency); failure to do so could have serious consequences for self, public health and the environment. Ensuring optimisation of the treatment processes, balancing water quality against cost (energy and chemical usage).

Recording daily activities and work completed for example, completion of the daily plant log. They are responsible for the safety and well-being of themselves, reporting site security and safety concerns in line with company procedures and demonstrating the expected behaviours of their organisation.

Water treatment operatives must have a valid National Water Hygiene (Blue) card.

  1. Carry out visual routine treatment works site (clean or waste) checks including security, safety and housekeeping; report hazards and/or take appropriate action to resolve.
  2. Monitor water processes using process control equipment for example, SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition system), to identify issues and trends.
  3. Respond to process alarms generated via telemetry (problem notification); identify the issue remotely or on site, rectify issue or escalate.
  4. Identify and report asset faults; use the escalation process to report any issues and concerns.
  5. Monitor trends and respond with remedial action; use the escalation process to report any issues and concerns.
  6. Receive deliveries and appropriately store and manage treatment chemicals.
  7. Carry out first line operational maintenance on assets for example, topping up oil, washing down, brushing down, greasing and de-rag.
  8. Engage with internal and external customers for example, contractors, regulators, colleagues visiting the site.
  1. Take, monitor and record water samples, checking and recording compliance levels.
  2. Apply hygiene procedures and Energy and Utilities Skills Register (EUSR) standards to clean water operations.
  3. Conduct disinfection of plant, tools and equipment.
  4. Operate clean water treatment processes for example, chemical dosing, filtration, disinfection, coagulation, clarification and waste stream treatment.
  5. Control the supply of water to meet the diurnal (daily) demand.
  1. Take, monitor, record and record samples for example, carry out final effluent tests, checking and recording compliance levels including final effluent.
  2. Monitor and record sewage flow into the waste water treatment works (measure flow into the works in consent) in line with the relevant criteria, such as DWF (Dry Weather Flow) and FFT (Flow to Full Treatment).
  3. Operate assets to deliver waste water treatment processes for example, preliminary, primary, secondary, tertiary and sludge treatment processes optimising service, including start up and shut down – minimising energy and chemical usage, and increasing sludge dry solids.
  4. Monitor capacity of sludge storage, to ensure optimisation of sludge dry solids.
  1. The water industry: the water cycle and key stakeholders: Regulators (Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), Water Services Regulation Authority (OFWAT), Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE), customers; Customer Experience Measure (CMEX).
  2. Water process operative role; position in structure, limits of authority; escalation procedures.
  3. Policy and procedures: operating manual, safety, emergencies, security, isolation – their purpose.
  4. Health and safety legislation/regulations: Health & Safety at Work, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), manual handling, working in confined spaces, working at height, lone worker.
  5. Dynamic risk assessments.
  6. Health and safety equipment: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Harnesses, gas detectors and breathing apparatus. Their purpose, checking and storage requirements.
  7. Environmental legislation and practice. Environmental Protection Act – safe disposal of waste.
  8. First line operational maintenance: different types – cleaning, greasing, and washing, removing debris and clearing blockages.
  9. Maintenance tools and equipment: rakes, spades, pressure washers, brushes, spanners.
  10. Telemetry and monitoring processes; monitoring variables including flow, quality, turbidity (particles), chemical usage. Limits, consequences of being outside limits.
  11. Water process fault finding techniques – visual, flow, odour, listening.
  12. Chemicals: delivery and storage requirements – permits, limits.
  13. Calculations: dilutions/concentrations, flows, conversions.
  14. Clean water. Different clean water treatment processes and purpose.
  15. Clean water. Clean water operating parameters, consequences of failure, impact of weather conditions on treatment processes.
  16. Clean water. Clean water treatment work assets and equipment: pumps, pressure vessels, reservoirs, tanks, valves.
  17. Clean water. Consequence of asset failure on clean water process.
  18. Clean water. Different types of water sources.
  19. Clean water. Water usage diurnal (daily) profile and impact of bursts; water cycle, flooding, drought, industries.
  20. Clean water. Clean water sampling requirements: different types of samples, sample points, storage, labelling, safe disposal, recording results, permits and consent parameters.
  21. Clean water. Chemicals used in clean water process: chlorine, coagulants, disinfectant chemicals, pH correction, orthophosphoric acid, hexafluorisilic acid polymers and ozone; their use, dosage and health and safety risks.
  22. Clean water. Water as a food source – importance of wholesomeness, why it is treated.
  23. Clean water. Clean water principles/procedures; Water Hygiene – Blue Card, Leptospirosis Card (Weil’s disease).
  24. Clean water. Clean water equipment: testing, cleaning, segregation, disinfection process and hygienic storage requirements.
  25. Waste water. Different waste water treatment processes and purpose. Primary, secondary, tertiary, preliminary, sludge.
  26. Waste water. Waste water operating parameters, consequences of failure, impact of weather conditions on treatment processes.
  27. Waste water. Waste water treatment work assets and equipment: primary settlement tanks, biological filters, activated sludge plants, final settlement tank, digesters. Flow meters, pumps, screens.
  28. Waste water. Consequence of waste water asset failure.
  29. Waste water. Different types waste: domestic, tanker, trade.
  30. Waste water. Flow: volumes, permits, catchment area consent and impact of weather conditions.
  31. Waste water. Waste water sampling requirements: different types of samples, sample points, storage, labelling, safe disposal, recording results, permits and consent parameters.
  32. Waste water. Chemicals used in clean water process: Nutriox, Ferric, Chloride, Sulphate, Ferris Chloride, Polyelectrolytes, Aluminium Sulphate.
  33. Waste water. Impact of operational performance on customer and environment – smell, pollution.
  34. Waste water. Commercial value of sludge.
  35. Waste water. Sludge tank monitoring requirements and dry solids.
  36. Waste water. Health hazards from working with waste water.
  1. Organise and prioritise work.
  2. Identify risks and control measures.
  3. Follow health and safety and environmental legislation, regulations and practice. For example, apply control measures, wear PPE, harness, gas detector and breathing apparatus required for the task.
  4. Read and interpret information/data.
  5. Identify trends.
  6. Undertake sensory analysis.
  7. Use measuring equipment.
  8. Apply fault finding techniques.
  9. Determine action and follow procedure.
  10. Undertake first line operational maintenance of assets.
  11. Select and use tools and equipment; check/calibrate equipment.
  12. Undertake first line maintenance of tools and equipment, for example cleaning.
  13. Store tools and equipment.
  14. Maintain housekeeping: tidy, segregate and dispose of waste.
  15. Prepare and use chemicals.
  16. Audit and request chemical and or consumables stock.
  17. Check chemical deliveries – quality/content.
  18. Communicate – verbal.
  19. Use technology.
  20. Record information/complete documentation.
  21. Clean water process operative. Take clean water sample; process.
  22. Clean water process operative. Operate clean water treatment work assets.
  23. Clean water process operative. Apply clean water treatment processes.
  24. Waste water process operative. Take waste water sample; process.
  25. Waste water process operative. Operate waste water treatment work assets.
  26. Waste water process operative. Apply waste water treatment processes.
  1. Prioritises on health, safety and environment for example, challenges unsafe practice, says ‘no’ where action could have negative impact.
  2. Takes responsibility for work for example, completes allocated work, takes proactive approach, knows own limitations and asks for help where required.
  3. Professional for example, ethical – does the right thing, trust-worthy; presents positive image of self and company – work attire worn, polite and respectful.
  4. Team player for example, keeps other informed.
  5. Customer focus for example, polite, courteous.

Professional accreditations

NICEIC approped assessment centre
CABWI Awarding Body
City & Guilds
Energy & Utility Skills
ILM Approved Centre
Lloyds ISO 9001:2015
Achilles UVDB
Water Jetting Association