Plant Operator I/II


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Posted Date 11/09/2021

HELIX WATER DISTRICT in La Mesa, Calif. (located in East San Diego County) is seeking a motivated, analytical thinker with excellent communication skills who is committed to excellence to join our team as a Plant Operator I/II. This position performs a wide variety of skilled, journey-level tasks involved in the monitoring, regulation, maintenance and operation of a large, state-of-the-art water treatment plant utilizing an ozone treatment process. This position works day, evening or night shifts on a rotational basis. This position will work out of the district's Treatment Plant and is located in Lakeside, just 30 miles east of downtown San Diego.

Plant Operator I is the entry-level class and is flexibly staffed with the Plant Operator II classification. Typically, proficiency criteria are met within six to 18 months, depending on an individual's experience.

Plant Operator I: $33.63 - $42.92/hourly (Plus 5% shift differential)
Plant Operator II: $37.07 - $47.33/hourly (Plus 5% shift differential)

Overview of Responsibilities: 

  • Operates a large, state-of-the-art water treatment facility using electronic and computer control systems (supervisory control and data acquisition); interprets gauges, meters, charts and graphs; operates pumps, valves, motors and related equipment; inspects plant equipment; performs preventive and predictive maintenance to treatment plant equipment; reports the need for major or specialized repairs to equipment, machinery and electrical and electronic systems to supervisors; assists specialized trades personnel in making major and/or specialized repairs to equipment, machinery and systems; coordinates repairs and maintenance with other department sections and contractors to ensure regular and preventive maintenance is scheduled for minimum system impact.


  • Acknowledges and responds to alarms from treatment plant and distribution system; takes corrective action as required.


  • Monitors the transmission and distribution system in conjunction with the system operators; advises system operators of potential problems and alarms; coordinates activities with system operators.


  • Performs calculations to determine proper dosage of chemicals.


  • Answers telephone inquiries from customers regarding water quality, water composition and related matters.


  • Performs water quality analysis as assigned, examples include chlorine and ozone residual, turbidity, zeta potential, alkalinity and hardness; performs jar tests; makes calculations based on data analysis.


  • Prepares bacteriological samples using Colilert or similar methods; read, record and notify analysis results as required.


  • Performs a variety of custodial and grounds-keeping duties to ensure treatment plant and associated facilities are maintained in a clean, orderly and safe condition, both inside and outside.


  • May assist with the training of new operators.


  • Gathers and interprets data from plant processes and special studies for analysis and reports.


  • Works varied shifts and takes rotation duties in both plant operation and maintenance.


  • Performs assigned duties as a HAZMAT team member.

Training and experience equivalent to graduation from high school or GED equivalent, supplemented by college-level course work in biology, chemistry and water treatment technology; and three years of progressively responsible experience in plant operations involving potable water production, treatment, storage and transmission.

Licenses; Certificates; Special Requirements:


  • A valid state of California State Water Resources Control Board Water Treatment Operator Certificate, Grade 3 (T3).


  • A valid State Water Resources Control Board Distribution Operator Certification, Grade 2 (D2) is highly desirable.


  • Possession of or ability to obtain CPR/AED and first aid certification within six months and maintain valid certification thereafter.


  • A valid Class C California driver’s license and ability to maintain insurability under the district’s vehicle insurance policy.

Growth Opportunity:
The district has a Plant Operator III ($40.88 - $52.18/hour plus 5% shift differential) job classification which is an advanced journey-level technical classification. This position requires minimum of two years of Plant Operator experience at the district.


Health Insurance


  • Medical 100% paid by the district for employee and dependent(s) enrolled in the Kaiser plan. Employees enrolled in Anthem Blue Cross plans contribute $50-$65 per month for dependent coverage for 2022.


  • Dental 100% paid by the district for employee and 50% for dependent(s).



  • CalPERS retirement formula of 2% @ 62 for PEPRA members and 2.5% @ 55 for classic members. PEPRA members pay 6.25% of salary and classic members pay 8% to CalPERS. The district is also a social security participant.


  • Employees may participate in an optional 457 plan; the district matches up to $2,500 each calendar year for PEPRA members and up to $1,000 for classic members into a 401a.

Time Off


  • Paid time off (PTO) starts at 24 days per year.


  • 12 paid holidays per year including 2 floating.

For a detailed listing of the full benefit package, visit the career section of

How to Apply:
To be considered for the Plant Operator I/II, please complete the online application and supplemental questionnaire and view a complete list of job responsibilities by visiting our career section at Resumes are not accepted in lieu of the online application.

Job Category
Local Government
Career Level
Entry Level

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