Water Tester Job Description


Water testers safeguard the quality of ground, surface and drinking water. They conduct scientific experiments on samples of water from various sources to establish whether it meets the minimum water quality standards. These professionals can work for government agencies, independent testing laboratories, water operation companies and manufacturing plants.

Using the Skills

  • Water testers require a combination of strong analytical, practical and detail-oriented skills to thrive in the job. When examining water samples, they use these skills to set up and operate testing equipment, analyze the results and draw accurate conclusions. Good writing and communication skills are also important, as water testers need to write clear and concise compliance reports and advise water operators on various quality management issues. Customer-service and organizational skills are useful in this job.

Ensuring Compliance

  • Water testers enforce water quality laws and regulations. A tester who works for the Environmental Protection Agency, for example, ensures water supply companies comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. He collects and tests samples of water supplied by the company to determine the types and level of contaminants in it. If the water doesn’t meet the minimum standards, he provides recommendations on how to improve the quality. Testers working in manufacturing plants ensure waste water meets EPA’s industrial effluent regulations before being discharged to the natural environment.

Investigating Complaints

  • When a water supply company receives quality complaints from customers -- maybe the water has sand particles -- the water tester's responsibility is to identify the source of the problem. After the issue is fixed, the tester examines the water to ascertain it meets the minimum quality standards. Water quality testers monitor the levels of groundwater, maintain water testing tools and equipment, and submit periodic compliance reports to senior managers. They also may participate in the development of water management programs.

Getting There

  • Aspiring water testers need at least an associate’s degree in water resource management, water treatment or a closely related field. Many employers also prefer individuals with some water production and treatment experience and a valid driver’s license. The Water Quality Association offers the Certified Water Quality Specialist certification, which water testers can obtain to increase their chances of finding work. Testers who gain vast work experience and complete a bachelor’s degree in water resource management can become utility systems managers.

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