*Water And* Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator /Trainee

Modified: July 19, 2021 8:39am

invites applications for the position of:

*Water And* Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator /Trainee

#42-267 - Open Competitive (open to the public)

Salary: Salaries Vary
Opening Date: July 2, 2021
Closing Date: August 11, 2021
Application fee: $20.00

Erie County is an Equal Opportunity Employer and committed to workplace diversity.


*************Amendment Issued 7-19-2021******************

The Closing Date has been extended to August 11th 2021.  Also see changes under Residence Requirements, Examples of Duties and Special Requirements. 

Residence Requirements:

CANDIDATES MUST HAVE BEEN LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY FOR AT LEAST ONE MONTH IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE DATE OF THE WRITTEN TEST AND MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENTS OF ERIE COUNTY AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT. The eligible list resulting from this examination will be used to fill vacancies in the titles Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator I and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Trainee in Erie County Departments, and Towns and Villages. ***ADD: The eligible list resulting from this examination will also be used to fill vacancies in the titles Water Treatment Plant Operator and Water Treatment Plant Operator Trainee at Erie County Towns and Villages.***When certification is made to towns and villages it may be limited to residents of that municipality. 

A single eligible list will be established as a result of this examination and will be used to fill vacancies as they occur. Qualifying candidates with the proper grade certificate issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ***ADD:  (Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator) or NYS Department of Health (Water Treatment Plant Operator)*** will be certified for appointment at the Operator level. Other eligibles will be certified at the Trainee level and will be advanced to the journey level without further examination upon satisfactory completion of the certificate requirement. Information on Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator certificate procedures is available from: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Water Compliance Programs 625 Broadway, 4th Floor Albany, New York 12233-3506 (518) 402-8177. 

***ADD:  Further information on Water Treatment Plant Operator certificate procedures is available from:

NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection, 547 River Street, Flanigan Square, Room 400, Troy, NY 12180-2216; telephone (518) 402-7650 or http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/operate/operate.htm.

There are three (3) vacancies for Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee at the Town of Amherst.

There are anticipated vacancies for Water Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee at the Town of Tonawanda. ***

Examples of Duties:

 ***ADD: Water or*** Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee undergoes on-the-job training to become qualified as an operator of a water or sewage treatment plant; 

Performs study and reading assignments, observes demonstrations and otherwise learns the techniques of operation ***ADD: , maintenance ***and adjustment of pumps, valves, screens, and related mechanical equipment ***ADD:of a water treatment or sewage treatment plant***;

Learns and assists in the inspection, maintenance and repair of pumps, valves, screens, and related mechanical equipment;

Learns and assists in making tests to determine chlorine residual;

Cleans channels, screens, tanks, and other equipment;


Learns and assists in the making of physical tests of water for color, odor and taste;

Learns and assists in the making of chemical tests of water for alkalinity and residual chlorine;

Learns and assists in regulating and adjusting chlorinators and other chemical feeders, washing filters and settling basins;***

Learns and assists in the preparation and maintenance of activity records arid reports;

Performs increasingly responsible duties as assigned in the operation and maintenance of a ***ADD:of water treatment plant or*** sewage treatment plant.

**Delete: A Sewage Treatment Plant Operator performs all of the above duties.**


MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS:  Candidates must meet the following requirements on or before the date of the written test:

 Graduation from high school, or vocational school or possession of a high school equivalency diploma.


 1.) Possession of a valid Class D Driver's License issued by the State of New York at time of appointment; and

 2.) Possession of proper grade ***ADD: Water or *** Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator certificate at time of appointment by Town or Village.  (*see Note for trainee requirement.)  




1. If you have a current certificate as a ***ADD: Water or ***Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, attach a copy to your application. If you attain a certificate after the exam and while the eligible list is active, send a copy with a cover letter.


2. For trainee positions in the competitive class, candidates are selected on the basis of general intelligence, basic knowledge of elementary chemistry and general science and mechanical aptitude. *Term of trainee appointment is limited to one year, during which time Town and Village employees should complete the proper grade Water Treatment Plant Operator certificate appropriate for their community water system. ***

3. Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience will be pro-rated toward meeting the experience requirements.


A medical examination may be required before appointment.



Examination date:

September 18, 2021

Applications Must Be Postmarked or Hand Delivered By:

August 11, 2021

The New York State Department of Civil Service is making a copy of A Guide to the Written Test for the Water & Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator/Trainee Series available on its web site at www.cs.state.ny.us/testing/localtestguides.cfm.  In addition, a copy of this test guide can also be obtained at our local civil service office.  You may obtain a copy by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope (size required to accommodate the guide – manila 10" x 13") to the Erie CountyPersonnel Department,95 Franklin Street,Buffalo,NY 14202 or by picking one up in person at Room 604.

Subjects of Examination:

SUBJECTS OF EXAMINATION:  The written test is designed to test for knowledge, skills, and/or abilities in such areas as:

  1. MECHANICAL APTITUDE: These questions test for the ability to identify and understand how basic mechanical instruments, such as motors and gears, work.
  2. SAFETY PRACTICES: These questions test for knowledge of basic safety practices.
  3. TOOLS AND READING OF SCALES & GAUGES: These questions test for the ability to recognize or identify basic tools and their common uses, and for the ability to accurately read various types of dials, scales, and gauges.
  4. ELEMENTARY CHEMISTRY & GENERAL SCIENCE: These questions test for knowledge of basic processes and concepts in chemistry and general science.
  5. UNDERSTANDING & INTERPRETING WRITTEN MATERIAL: These questions test for the ability to read, understand, and interpret written material.
  6. BASIC MATHEMATICS: These questions test for the ability to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to solve basic arithmetic problems that might be encountered in water and wastewater treatment plant operations. Questions may also involve the use of fractions, decimals, averages, and percents.

NOTICE TO CANDIDATES:  It is recommended that candidates use a quiet, hand held, solar or battery powered calculator.  Devices with typewriter keyboards, "Spell Checkers", "Personal Digital Assistants", "Address Books", "Language Translators", "Dictionaries", or any similar devices are prohibited.  You may not bring books or other reference materials.


APPLICATION FORMS: You may obtain these forms in person at the Erie County Personnel Department, Rath County Office Building, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo. Forms are also available in the libraries and at Town, Village and School District administrative offices.

Mail your application form when completed to the Erie County Department of Personnel, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo, NY 14202.

Candidates who submit incomplete applications and documentation may be disqualified. The Erie County Department of Personnel reserves the right to reject for lateness or to accept applications filed after the advertised filing period.

MILITARY STATUS: Active duty military personnel may file an application for this exam. A special military make-up examination will be conducted for any member of the armed forces of the United States who has duly filed a timely application but who was deprived of the opportunity to compete in the scheduled exam due to active military duty. Special conditions apply to these requests and may be reviewed at the Erie County Department of Personnel.

VETERANS: Disabled and non-disabled veterans as defined in Section 85, New York State Civil Service Law, will have 10 and 5 points, respectively added to their earned scores if successful in the OPEN examination. You must claim these credits when you file application but you have an option to waive them any time prior to appointment. If you have already used these credits for a permanent position in NYS, you may not claim them again.

In conformance with section 85-a of the Civil Service Law, CHILDREN OF FIREFIGHTERS AND POLICE OFFICERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY shall be entitled to receive an additional ten points in a competitive examination for original appointment in the same municipality in which his or her parent has served. If you are qualified to participate in this examination and are a child of a firefighter or police officer killed in the line of duty in this municipality, please inform this office of this matter when you submit your application for examination. A candidate claiming such credit has a minimum of two months from the application deadline to provide the necessary documentation to verify additional credit eligibility. However, no credit may be added after the eligible list has been established.

SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS: Applicants whose religious beliefs prevent their taking examinations before sundown on Saturday and physically handicapped candidates who require special examination facilities should so inform the Erie County Department of Personnel, by a separately mailed letter at the earliest possible date before the test.

MORE THAN ONE EXAM ON THE SAME DAY: If you have applied for more than one exam on the same day you MUST make arrangements to take ALL of the examinations at ONE examination test site. If you have applied for both STATE and LOCAL government examinations taking place on the same day, you must take all of your examinations at the STATE examination center. If you have applied for both COUNTY and CITY government examinations taking place on the same day, you must take all of your examinations at the COUNTY examination center. You are responsible to notify EACH Civil Service Agency no later than TWO WEEKS before the examination date on which you are taking multiple examinations by submitting a Cross-Filer form; EACH Civil Service Agency has their own Cross-Filer form. The Erie County Cross-Filer form can be found at http://www2.erie.gov/employment/sites/www2.erie.gov.employment/files/uploads/EC%20Personnel%20Form_Exams%20Cross-Filer%202015.pdf. If you are taking multiple exams on the same date with Erie County only, you do not have to file a Cross-Filer form.

Candidates taking more than one exam in DIFFERENT exam series will be allowed the specified length of time for each exam, up to a maximum of eight hours. Example: If you are taking one exam which allows six hours and another exam in a different series which allows four hours, you must complete both tests in eight hours, but no more time can be spent on each exam than the time allotted for that exam. Candidates taking more than one exam in the SAME exam series will be allowed up to the specified length of time for each exam. Example: If you are taking two exams in the same series with a maximum time of five hours for each exam, you can spend no more than five hours to complete both exams.

ADMISSION TO EXAMINATION: Notice to appear for the test will be conditional as review of application for minimum requirements may not be made until after the written test. Call or write this Department if you have not received your notice 3 days before the date of the test. You may not be admitted to the examination room without official notice.

RATINGS REQUIRED: Tests are rated on a scale of 100 with a passing mark at 70. Unless the announcement states otherwise, you must pass the written test and the oral test, if any. Test instructions may further divide the tests into parts and set minimum standards for each part.

TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE: If a subject of the examination, training and experience may not be rated if all passing candidates are expected to be immediately reachable for appointment. If rated, training and experience will be based on the statements in your application subject to verification. If this examination includes a qualifying written test, candidates admitted to the test will have conditional approval only. Final decision regarding the qualifications of candidates rests with the New York State Department of Civil Service.

MEDICAL EXAMINATION: You may be required to take a medical examination to determine if you are medically and physically capable of performing the duties of the position. In accordance with State Law, Governor’s Executive Order 6, and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended the County of Erie does not discriminate against handicapped persons in access to employment, during employment, or in any of its programs and activities.

VERIFICATION OF QUALIFICATIONS: Candidates may be investigated or called for an interview to verify information contained on the application. Verifiable part-time and/or volunteer experience may be pro-rated toward meeting full-time experience requirements.

ELIGIBLE LIST: The eligible list resulting from an examination may also be used for appointment to the same title or to any other title deemed to be similar and appropriate. Eligible lists are active for a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years from the date established.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION (*including psychological evaluation when required by position): Candidates may be subject to a thorough background investigation or psychological evaluation when required to determine eligibility for appointment. Applicants may be required to authorize access to educational, employment, criminal history and other records check as part of such investigation or participate in related tests or interviews. Criminal convictions or other offense are subject to evaluation and may result in disqualification pursuant to Section 50 of the New York State Civil Service Law. Applicant will be required to submit the necessary fees for the fingerprint processing, where required. (*If a psychological evaluation is required, it shall be specified in the minimum qualifications or special requirements for the position.)


A $20.00 filing fee is required for this exam. The required fee must accompany your application. Send or bring check or money order made payable to Erie County Personnel Department and write the examination number(s) on your check or money order. Do not send or bring cash, as the County cannot be responsible for cash payment. As no refund will be made, you are urged to compare your qualifications carefully with the requirements for admission and file only for those examinations for which you are clearly qualified.

APPLICATION FEE WAIVER: A waiver of application fee will be allowed if you are unemployed and primarily responsible for the support of a household. In addition, a waiver of application fee will be allowed if you are determined eligible for Medicaid, or receiving Supplemental Security Income payments, or Public Assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families/Family Assistance or Safety Net Assistance) or are certified Job Training Partnership Act/Workforce Investment Act eligible through a State or local social service agency.

All claims for application fee waiver are subject to verification. If you can verify eligibility for application fee waiver, complete a “Request for Application Fee Waiver and Certification: form and submit it with your application by the close of business on the Application Deadline as listed on the Examination Announcement. The form is available at the Erie County Personnel Department, 95 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY (Room 604) or can be downloaded from the County’s website at www.erie.gov. Click on “County Departments and Agencies”, then “Erie County Civil Service.”

This examination is prepared and rated by the New York State Department of Civil Service,
and held in compliance with the New York State Civil Service Law
and the rules and regulations of the New York State Department of Civil Service.

Frequently Requested Information


Phone: (716) 858-8484
Erie County Civil Service Exam Line: (716) 858-8729

Edward A. Rath County Office Building
95 Franklin Street, 6th Floor
Buffalo, New York 14202