How to Become a Water Pollution Control Inspector in the US

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Without adequate control measures in place, water pollution can have several devastating health and environmental impacts. Water pollution control inspectors are responsible for ensuring organizations adhere to relevant water pollution control acts. If you have an interest in water conservation, then this could be the job for you.

1. What Do Water Pollution Control Inspectors Do?

Their duties include:

  • Inspecting industrial facilities to determine whether they are engaging in activities that lead to water pollution
  • Collecting samples of waste water discharged into rivers and lakes, and performing tests to ensure the waste meets the set standard
  • Investigating water pollution complaints filed by members of the public
  • Preparing inspection reports and submitting them to senior officers
  • Reviewing applications for water discharge permits and recommending whether the applicants should be awarded the permits
  • Helping government agencies to develop effective water pollution control laws
  • Advising businesses and the public in general on how to prevent and control water pollution
  • Participating in the development of industrial waste water treatment programs
  • Staying abreast of changes in federal, state and local water pollution control laws, regulations and standards.

2. Work Environment

Water pollution control inspectors typically work a total of 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday.

Although these inspectors compile reports in their offices, these officers spend most of their time outdoors in all weather conditions inspecting potential sources of water pollution. When necessary, they must wear functional outdoor wear that includes jackets and boots.

3. Salary

According to Indeed, water pollution control inspectors earn an average annual salary of $53,000.

4. Entry Requirements

The first step to becoming a water pollution control inspector is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any of the following physical science fields:

Because these programs may have difference curriculums, it is important to ensure the one you pursue has coursework in water pollution and control. By the time you graduate, you should have a good understanding of the movement and distribution of water, water law and policy, measurement of water flow, and water pollution control technologies and techniques.

5. Important Qualities

To be a competent water pollution control inspector, you need:

  • Strong skills in performing technical assessments
  • Strong observation skills
  • A keen attention to detail
  • Good laboratory skills
  • Good report-writing skills
  • Good organizational skills to maintain copies of inspection reports
  • Personal integrity
  • An understanding of occupational safety practices
  • Skills in public relations
  • A good level of physical fitness as the job may involve navigating difficult terrain on foot
  • Good practical and technical skills
  • An interest in environmental protection

6. Career Advancement

With your bachelor’s degree, you may start out in a junior position such as water quality analyst. After gaining at least one year of experience, you will advance to this position.

After becoming a water pollution inspector, follow these routes to heighten your career advancement prospects:

  • Obtain a relevant certification from the Water Quality Association – The Certified Water Specialist credential will be discontinued in May 2015, and will be replaced by the Master Water Specialist credential.
  • Pursue a master’s degree in water management, such as the one offered at Texas A&M University.

7. Job Opportunities

The employers of water pollution control inspectors include:

  • Local authorities
  • State departments of water resources
  • Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency

With vast experience and advanced qualifications, you can advance to becoming the director of a local, state or federal water pollution control agency.

See also: How to Become a Water Quality Scientist in the UK

Finally, this is a government position with limited employment opportunities. A combination of a strong desire to serve the public and the right credential should, however, be enough to help you secure the job. The best part is that you can also move into the private sector, where the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an impressive 15 percent job growth for all environmental specialists through 2022. Good luck!