Water/Wastewater Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Designs or oversees projects involving provision of potable water, disposal of wastewater and sewage, or prevention of flood-related damage. Prepares environmental documentation for water resources, regulatory program compliance, data management and analysis, and field work. Performs hydraulic modeling and pipeline design.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Environmental Service Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Conducts feasibility studies for the construction of facilities, such as water supply systems, run-off collection networks, water and wastewater treatment plants, or wastewater collection systems.
  • Provides technical direction or supervision to junior engineers, engineering or computer-aided design (CAD) technicians, or other technical personnel.
  • Designs pumping systems, pumping stations, pipelines, force mains, or sewers for the collection of wastewater.
  • Designs domestic or industrial water or wastewater treatment plants, including advanced facilities with sequencing batch reactors (SBR), membranes, lift stations, headworks, surge overflow basins, ultraviolet disinfection systems, aerobic digesters, sludge lagoons, or control buildings.
  • Analyzes storm water or floodplain drainage systems to control erosion, stabilize river banks, repair channel streams, or design bridges.
  • Designs water distribution systems for potable or nonpotable water.
  • Designs or selects equipment for use in wastewater processing to ensure compliance with government standards.
  • Identifies design alternatives for the development of new water resources.
  • Performs hydraulic analyses of water supply systems or water distribution networks to model flow characteristics, test for pressure losses, or to identify opportunities to mitigate risks and improve operational efficiency.
  • Designs water or wastewater lift stations, including water wells.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Acting Section Chief --
  • Assistant County Engineer --
  • Director Water and Waste Services --
  • Surface Water Manager --
  • Water Reuse Program Manager --