Work for Water

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Heavy Equipment Operator

Average Salary: $33,300 - $47,800

Water sector agencies use heavy equipment for many day-to-day operations. This equipment includes forklifts, backhoes, cranes, drills, shovels, augurs (for drilling), lifts, pumps, and more. Every piece of equipment needs a specially trained operator. Heavy-equipment operators job description:

  • Under supervision, performs semi-skilled operations of light to heavy construction equipment and heavy automotive equipment
  • Loads, unloads and stores various materials (pipe, cement, lumber) and other manual labor duties
  • Dig holes for pipes and water mains;
  • Drill wells to test underground water or to pump it out;
  • Remove dirt when building a reservoir;
  • Dig up tree roots and boulders when laying a pipeline;
  • Carry sections of water mains, motors, and propellers.

Education: High school diploma and/or on-the-job training
Certificates, licenses: Operator’s license; commercial driver’s license
Entry-level opportunities: Yes
Desirable traits and skills:

  • Skilled in operation and maintenance of all types of light and heavy equipment, such as cranes, backhoes and earth-moving equipment
  • Knowledge of city and state traffic laws
  • Ability to follow instructions and interpret plans showing location of facilities
  • Mechanical aptitude and coordination
  • Capable of physically demanding work in inclement weather and subject to emergency call-outs at any time
  • Enjoy working outdoors; good driver; attention to detail and safety

Where Jobs Are Available

  • Mid-to Large Utilities (helps lay water lines)
  • Consulting Firms (helps lay water lines and create reservoirs and dams)