Complete Water Treatment Operators Online Study Guide

Preparing for the water treatment operator’s exam can seem overwhelming. Study material is scattered throughout various publications. The goal of this website is to compile a complete and comprehensive resource to help those preparing to take the water treatment operator exam and to serve as a reference guide for others in the water treatment industry. If you would like to contribute to the list of resources below feel free to contact me.

Source Water

Wells and Groundwater

Characteristics of Aquifers Chemical components of groundwater Potential contamination in groundwater Knowledge of well sampling techniques Knowledge of groundwater characteristics Ability to analyze water quality characteristics Ability to calculate well drawdown Ability to recognize hydrological changes Ability to calculate a disinfectant dosage in a well Ability to recognize the influence of surface water on a groundwater source Ability to calculate well specific capacity Knowledge of the source water assessment process Ability to recognize abnormal chemical characteristics of water Ability to calculate wellhead pressure

Surface Water/Reservoirs

Knowledge of microbial contamination Knowledge of flow measurement devices Ability to recognize potential sources of contamination in surface water Ability to calculate flow rates Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal conditions Ability to collect a water sample from a surface water source Ability to calculate the volume of water contained in a storage facility Ability to recognize abnormal odors or colors Knowledge of the characteristics of surface waters Knowledge of the chemical characteristics of surface water Knowledge of the physical characteristics of surface water Knowledge of reservoir stratification Knowledge of the effects of seasonal changes Knowledge of proper surface water sampling procedures Ability to interpret water quality reports

Raw Water Storage

Knowledge of water quality characteristics Knowledge of bacterial contaminants Knowledge of potential contamination sources Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal conditions Ability to calculate a chemical dosage Ability to collect a water sample Knowledge of proper sampling procedures Ability to measure temperature Ability to determine water level Ability to measure turbidity Ability to calculate detention time

Clearwell Storage

Knowledge of water quality characteristics Knowledge of bacterial contaminants Knowledge of proper sampling procedures Ability to calculate a chemical dosage Ability to measure temperature Ability to measure pH Ability to determine water level Ability to measure turbidity Knowledge of potential contamination sources Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal conditions Ability to calculate a CT value

Water Treatment Processes

Coagulation/Flocculation/Sedimentation

Knowledge of safe chemical handling Knowledge of chemical compatibilities Knowledge of maximum dose levels Ability to calculate chemical solution concentration Ability to analyze a water sample for turbidity Ability to analyze a water sample for pH Water Treatment Processes Coagulation/Flocculation/Sedimentation (continued) Ability to analyze a water sample for temperature Ability to measure sludge depth Knowledge of the coagulation/flocculation process Knowledge of chemical coagulants and coagulant aids Knowledge of coagulation/flocculation start-up/shut-down procedures Knowledge of coagulation/flocculation adjustment procedures Knowledge of chemical feeder calibration and adjustment Knowledge of the mixing process Knowledge of zeta potential Knowledge of TOC/disinfection by-product correlation Knowledge of enhanced coagulation Ability to recognize normal and abnormal floc formation Ability to measure turbidity Ability to analyze a water sample for alkalinity Knowledge of the sedimentation process Knowledge of sedimentation basins Ability to recognize and correct abnormal conditions in the sedimentation basin Ability to operate a sedimentation basin Ability to calculate the correct coagulant dosage Ability to perform a jar test Ability to determine sludge-depth in solids-contact unit Ability to operate a solids-contact unit Ability to operate an upflow clarifier

Filtration

Ability to interpret turbidity information Knowledge of turbidity causing matter Knowledge of filtration mechanisms (absorption, adsorption) Knowledge of head-loss effects on filters Ability to calculate filter-aid dosage Ability to calculate filtration rate ratio Ability to calculate filter backwash rate Knowledge of filter porosity Knowledge of filter media types and uses Ability to recognize and correct problems in gravity filters Knowledge of the diatomaceous earth process Knowledge of filtration rates Ability to recognize and correct problems in granular activated carbon filters Ability to recognize and correct problems in multimedia filters Ability to calculate filter media volume and capacity Ability to calculate a filtration rate Ability to calculate daily filter production Ability to measure turbidity Knowledge of filter media replacement considerations, requirements, and techniques

Disinfection

Knowledge of chlorine chemistry Knowledge of breakpoint chlorination chemistry Knowledge of proper sampling techniques Knowledge of safe chemical handling practices Knowledge of chlorine analysis procedures Ability to calculate flow rates, volumes, dilution factors, feed rates, and chemical concentrations Ability to calculate a de-chlorination dosage Ability to analyze a water sample for free and total chlorine Knowledge of de-chlorination practices Knowledge of chloramines chemistry Knowledge of ammonia feed systems Ability to calibrate and adjust a chemical feeder pump Ability to calculate a disinfectant dosage Ability to calculate an ammonia/chlorine ratio Knowledge of disinfectant properties and uses (chlorine, chlorine dioxide, chlorine gas, chloramines, ozone) Knowledge of ozonator system operation Ability to choose an appropriate disinfectant for a particular bacterial problem Ability to calculate a CT value

Demineralization

Knowledge of dissolved minerals in water Ability to analyze a sample for specific conductance Knowledge of ion exchange processes Ability to re-generate ion exchange system Knowledge of specific conductance/TDS ratio Ability to calculate a TDS value from a specific conductance reading

Corrosion Control

Knowledge of health effects of Pb and Cu Knowledge of pH adjustment Knowledge of corrosion causes Knowledge of C-factor Ability to recognize corrosion problems Ability to calculate a chemical feed rate (dose) Ability to set the proper chemical feed rate Knowledge of corrosion control inhibitors Knowledge of corrosion control chemical reactions Knowledge of the cathodic protection process Ability to calculate chemical solution concentration Ability to analyze a water sample for pH Ability to choose the proper corrosion control chemical for a specific problem

Iron and Manganese

Knowledge of iron and manganese removal processes Knowledge of proper sampling and preservation techniques Ability to recognize an iron and manganese problem Ability to calculate a chemical dosage Knowledge of iron and manganese oxidation chemistry Knowledge of oxidation techniques Ability to calculate chemical solution concentration Knowledge of ion exchange chemistry

Fluoridation

Knowledge of the health effects of fluoride Knowledge of back siphoning prevention measures Knowledge of incompatible chemicals Ability to calculate a chemical dosage Knowledge of fluoridation chemicals Ability to calculate chemical solution concentration Ability to operate a chemical feeder system Knowledge of fluoride chemistry

Water Softening

Knowledge of hard water causing chemicals Knowledge of the water softening processes Knowledge of acceptable water hardness range Ability to convert units Ability to calculate a chemical dosage Knowledge of hardness removal chemicals Ability to analyze a sample for water hardness Ability to calculate blended water concentrations Ability to calculate the hardness removal capacity of resin

Best Available Technology

Knowledge of waterborne pathogens Knowledge of BAT for each contaminant Knowledge of effective removal techniques other than BAT Knowledge of adverse health effects caused by contaminants Knowledge of contaminant source or formation chemistry Knowledge of pharmaceutical contaminants

Chemical Feeders

Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation Knowledge of the operation of chemical feeder system Knowledge of the components of a chemical feeder system Knowledge of back-pressure retention valves Ability to calculate a dosage Ability to replace components of a chemical feeder system Ability to set speed and stroke

Pumps and Motors

Knowledge of the operation of a water pump Knowledge of the components of a water pump Knowledge of pump types Ability to calculate a flow rate Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation

Blowers and Compressors

Knowledge of the operation of blowers and compressors Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation Knowledge of the components of blowers and compressors

Water Meters

Knowledge of the operation of water meters Knowledge of water meter types Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation Knowledge of the components of water meters

Pressure Gauges

Knowledge of the operation of pressure gauges Knowledge of head pressure Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation Ability to replace pressure gauges

Electrical Generators

Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation Knowledge of the operation of an electrical generator

Instrumentation

Knowledge of basic SCADA system components Knowledge of SCADA system capabilities Ability to determine normal operation of a SCADA system Knowledge of the operation of on-line analyzers Knowledge of the components of on-line analyzers Ability to discriminate between normal and abnormal operation of on-line analyzers Ability to repair or replace expendable parts of on-line analyzers Knowledge of the various types of water flow meters Knowledge of required reagents for free or total chlorine analysis, and preparation of KI solution Knowledge of flow rates for low range and high range turbidimeters Knowledge of cleaning and adjusting the flow (i.e., 100 mL/min) for a particle counter Ability to prepare and calibrate turbidimeters with Primary standard (Formazin) Ability to adjust streaming current detector to “zero” using gain knob and knowledge of what this “zero” represents Ability to prepare and calibrate turbidimeters with Primary standard (Formazin) Knowledge of what a streaming current detector reading dropping below or above “zero” represents with regard to coagulation dosage and raw water condition Ability to standardize a dissolved ozone residual analyzer Transfer efficiency derived from the relationship between gas phase ozone product gas and off gas analyzers Ability to calculate UV dosages

Laboratory Procedures

Sampling

Knowledge of proper sampling and preservation techniques Knowledge of appropriate sample containers and required sample sizes Ability to follow chain-of-custody Knowledge of maximum holding times Ability to determine a proper sampling site Knowledge of giardia and cryptosporidia sampling techniques Ability to write a sampling plan

General Laboratory Practices

Knowledge of proper chemical handling techniques Knowledge of quality control procedures Knowledge of approved analytical procedures Ability to follow chain-of-custody Ability to perform dilutions Ability to calculate a dilution factor

Disinfectant Analysis

Knowledge of abnormal chlorine levels Knowledge of chlorine analysis techniques (DPD, amperometric) Knowledge of chlorine chemistry Knowledge of ozone chemistry Knowledge of de-chlorination chemistry

Alkalinity Analysis

Knowledge of chemicals that contribute alkalinity to water Ability to read a pH meter Knowledge of abnormal alkalinity levels Ability to use a titrator Ability to recognize a titration end-point

pH

Knowledge of the pH scale Knowledge of acids and bases Ability to read a pH meter Knowledge of temperature effects on pH Ability to calibrate a turbidimeter Specific Conductance Knowledge of EC/TDS Ability to read a specific conductance meter

Hardness

Knowledge of chemicals that contribute hardness to water Knowledge of abnormal hardness levels Ability to use a titrator Ability to read a pH meter Ability to recognize a titration end-point

Fluoride

Knowledge of abnormal levels of fluoride Knowledge of optimal fluoride level control range

Color Analysis

Knowledge of color analysis scale Knowledge of abnormal color levels Knowledge of true and apparent color Ability to determine small variations in color

Taste and Odor

Knowledge of chemicals that contribute taste and odor Knowledge of abnormal taste and odors Knowledge of odor analysis protocol Ability to identify an objectionable taste or odor

Dissolved Oxygen

Knowledge of normal and abnormal dissolved oxygen levels Knowledge of the adverse effects of abnormal dissolved oxygen levels Knowledge of dissolved oxygen measuring devices

Algae Count

Knowledge of algae treatment techniques Ability to identify algal organisms that impact the water treatment process (filter clogging, taste, and odor)

Bacteriological Analysis

Knowledge of bacteriological analysis methods Knowledge of the presence/absence test method Knowledge of the multiple tube fermentation method Knowledge of Heterotropic Plate Count (HPC) Knowledge of the membrane filtration method Knowledge of bacteriological testing controls Ability to distinguish between presumptive and confirmed results

Safety

Knowledge of safe working practices Knowledge of the use of safety equipment Knowledge of compressed gas safety procedures Knowledge of hazardous chemical handling Knowledge of personal protective equipment (PPE) Knowledge of lock-out/tag-out procedures Ability to demonstrate safe work habits Ability to recognize unsafe working conditions Knowledge of electrical safety Ability to select and operate safety equipment Knowledge of HAZWOPER guidelines Ability to administer first aid Ability to administer CPR

Administrative Duties

Knowledge of drinking water regulations Ability to communicate verbally and in writing Ability to demonstrate safe work habits Ability to identify potential safety hazards Ability to organize information and follow written procedures Ability to recognize unsafe work conditions Knowledge of facility operation and maintenance Knowledge of monitoring and reporting requirements Ability to determine what information needs to be recorded Ability to interpret and transcribe data Knowledge of record keeping requirements Knowledge of NSF Standards Ability to evaluate facility performance Ability to review reports Ability to translate technical language into common terminology Ability to calculate the cost of operations Knowledge of management principles Knowledge of public relations principles Knowledge of principles of supervision

Regulations

Knowledge of sampling requirements Knowledge of turbidity level requirements Knowledge of disinfection residual requirements Knowledge of MCLs and MRDLs of disinfectants Ability to research and interpret MCLs Knowledge of notification protocol and procedures Knowledge of public notification procedures Knowledge of recordkeeping requirements Knowledge of corrective actions to take when regulations are violated Knowledge of reporting procedures Knowledge of the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) Knowledge of regulatory primacy issues Knowledge of performance standards and removal requirements for the SWTR and IESWTR Knowledge of the sanitary survey process Knowledge of the watershed survey process Knowledge of pending regulations Knowledge of cryptosporidia action plan Ability to develop an operations plan Ability to develop an operational site sampling plan Ability to conduct a Sanitary Survey Ability to conduct a Watershed Survey Ability to perform a filter profile analysis Ability to perform a filter assessment surveillance program Ability to conduct a comprehensive performance evaluation

Math

Ability to calculate well drawdown Ability to calculate flow rates, water velocity Ability to calculate the volume of water contained in a storage facility Ability to calculate a chemical disinfectant dosage Ability to determine water level Ability to calculate volumes, dilution factors, feed rates, and chemical concentrations Ability to calculate a de-chlorination dosage Ability to calculate chlorine residual Ability to convert a head pressure to water elevation Ability to calculate well specific capacity Ability to calculate detention time Ability to calculate chemical solution concentration Ability to calculate filter-aid dosage Ability to calculate filter backwash rate Ability to calculate an ammonia/chlorine ratio Ability to calculate a chemical feed rate (dose) for corrosion control Ability to calculate a chemical dosage for Fe/Mn removal, fluoridation Ability to calculate a dosage on a chemical feeder Ability to calculate wellhead pressure Ability to calculate a coagulant dosage Ability to perform a jar test Ability to calculate filter media volume and capacity Ability to calculate a filtration rate Ability to calculate filter loading rate Ability to calculate daily filter production Ability to calculate a chemical solution concentration for Fe/Mn, fluoridation Ability to calculate blended water chemical concentrations Ability to calculate percentage of removal of chemical contaminants Ability to calculate a CT value Ability to calculate a TDS value from a specific conductance reading Ability to calculate the hardness removal capacity of resin Ability to calculate the cost of operations
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4 comments on “Complete Water Treatment Operators Online Study Guide
  1. Chad A. Kirk says:

    I’m just starting out and need study material. Ireally dont even know where to start looking. I know nothing about this its all NEW to me and need some material ASAP if you can help me I thank you and can’t wait to hear from you.

  2. E.G. Pena says:

    I see this Montana training material a few times but is it good for taking the California exam ?

    • admin says:

      The Montana material is very in depth and gives you a good understanding of water treatment in general. This is the best material I have come across. If anyone knows of anything better please let me know.

      However, You will need to pay special attention to California’s state regulations for MCL’s when studying for the exam.

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Ball Valve - A valve with a ball resting in a cylindrical seat. A hole is bored through the ball to allow water to flow when the valve is open. When the ball is rotated 90 degrees, the valve is closed.

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