Orange County Sanitation District

Chief Plant Operator

Onsite - Fountain Valley, CA
$150K - $175K Annually
Application Deadline: 7/8/24


What do you value in your next job?

At the Orange County Sanitation District our Core Values form the framework of our organization and reinforce our professional work ethic. If the following values ring true with you, we’d love to invite you to explore our career opportunities further.

Integrity, Inclusion, Honesty, and Respect

We aspire to the highest degree of integrity, inclusion, honesty, and respect in our interaction with each other, our suppliers, our customers, and our community. We strive to demonstrate these values in our actions, commitments, and service.

Leadership, Teamwork, and Problem Solving

We lead by example, acknowledging the value of our resources and using them wisely to achieve our mission. We strive to reach OC San goals through cooperative efforts and collaboration with each other and our constituencies. We work to solve problems in a creative, cost-effective, and safe manner, and we acknowledge team and individual efforts.

Customer Service, Transparency, and Accountability

We are committed to acting in a timely, accurate, accessible, and transparent manner through excellent customer service. We are committed to act in the best interest of our internal and external stakeholders.

Resiliency, Innovation, and Learning

We continuously develop ourselves, enhancing our talents, skills, and abilities. We recognize that only through personal growth and development will we progress as an agency and as individuals.


We are committed to providing a safe work environment. We will demonstrate leadership, promote individual accountability, and participate actively in the advancement of our health and safety practices.

OC San is currently looking to fill the role of a Chief Plant Operator.

  • Under general direction, assumes leadership and responsibility for assigned operations staff and the activities of Plant No. 1 and/or Plant No. 2 ensuring a safe, compliant, and efficient operations 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
  • Supervises and coordinates multiple program activities and operations within the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Department.
  • Monitors and performs frequent sight and sound inspections of plant process units, power generation units, wastewater flow, equipment, and facilities to ensure safe, effective, and efficient operation of wastewater treatment facility or generation of electrical power; performs inspections of equipment and tools; evaluates process lab data and coordinates the optimization of all process units; ensures compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations and permit requirements; reports compliance to management; takes corrective action as required.
  • Assists with the Interplant Digester Gas Pipeline as defined by Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA).
  • Accomplishes work objectives through lower level supervisory staff; coordinates assigned activities with other divisions, outside agencies, and the general public; and provides highly responsible and complex staff assistance to the Operations Manager.
  • Responsible for assisting management in determining technical objectives for the division, determining work schedules, scheduling training activities, evaluating staff goals and performance, ensuring staff safety, and assisting in preparation of policies and procedures concerning the operation of the treatment plants.
  • Provides operational oversight of construction and maintenance related process/equipment shutdowns, ensuring safety.
  • Provides review and feedback at all stages for capital improvement projects. 
  • Assist with the development of departmental policies and procedures, and provides feedback for agency policies, plans, and procedures. 
  • Delivers presentations, leads, and facilitates meetings. 
  • Oversees the compilation and completion of the MSOs, TPODs, and other necessary treatment facility reports and documents.
  • Ensure that facilities meet effluent, solids land application, and air quality standards, and ensures facilities provide spec water to Orange County Water District (OCWD).
  • Ensures treatment plant operations are optimized and efficient, including but not limited to chemical usages and dewatering cake percent total solids. 
  • Develops and manages budgets.
  • Conducts and develops training, provides coaching, staff development, succession planning, and mentoring of staff.
  • Leads by example and holds staff accountable for program, policy, and procedural non-compliance as well as recognizing their achievements.

Key Performance Objectives:

  • Ensures compliance with NPDES, AQMD, and land applications standards.
  • Ensures spec water is consistently and reliably produced for OCWD.
  • Ensures that the operation of facilities is done efficiently and within budget constraints.
  • Ensures that field support is provided for maintenance and construction activities.
  • Ensures that staff attend all required safety, technical, and general training.
  • Ensures that District safety standards are met by all Operations staff.
  • Ensures that District policies, procedures, and values are adhered to by all Operations staff. 

Qualifications & Requirements

  1. Bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, with major coursework in wastewater treatment plant operations, engineering, construction management, or a related field.
  2. Six (6) years of progressively responsible experience in wastewater treatment plant operations, which may include two (2) years of supervisory experience.
  3. Valid California Class C Driver’s License.
  4. Valid Grade V California Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certificate.


  • Detail-oriented, well organized, computer proficient, and previous experience using Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel Outlook, and Teams. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. 
  • Advanced knowledge of wastewater treatment principles, methods, chemicals, tools, equipment, and regulatory requirements.

Recruitment & Selection Process

Vacancies: 1

(an eligible list may be established for future vacancies) 

Apply online at:

APPLICATION FILING DEADLINE: Monday, July 8, 2024 by 5:00 P.M.

(or until a sufficient number of qualified applications have been received) 

Hiring Salary Range: $152,859.20 – $168,500.80/Year

(starting salary will be within this range based upon qualifications)

*Hiring Salary Range (effective July 12, 2024): $158,204.80 – $174,408.00/Year

(starting salary will be within this range based upon qualifications)

Supplemental Information

Physical Demands 

  • Mobility to work in an office and in the plant; to sit, stand, and walk on level, uneven, or slippery surfaces; frequently reach, twist, turn, kneel, bend, stoop, squat, crouch, grasp, and make repetitive hand movement in the performance of daily duties; to climb and descend ladders, to operate varied hand and power tools and equipment, and to operate a motor vehicle and visit various OC San sites, projects, and/or meetings.
  • Perform moderate physical work; to life, carry, push, and pull materials and objects up to 51 pounds with the use of proper equipment and/or assistance from other staff.
  • Work requires entry into confined spaces and the use of confined entry equipment and protective safety equipment.
  • Vision to read printed materials, recording devices, and related monitors and to inspect and operate equipment; color vision to read gauges and identify appurtenances.
  • Field work requiring frequent walking in operational areas to identify problems or hazards.
  • Finger dexterity to access, enter, and retrieve data using a computer keyboard or calculator and operate tools and equipment.

Environmental Elements 

  • Office environment with moderate noise levels, controlled temperature conditions, and no direct exposure to hazardous physical substances.
  • Field work with occasional exposure to loud noise levels, cold and hot temperatures, inclement weather conditions, road hazards, vibration, confining workspace, heights, chemicals, mechanical and/or electrical hazards, hazardous physical substances and fumes, dust and air contaminants.
  • Employees may interact with upset staff and/or public and private representatives in interpreting and enforcing departmental policies and procedures.

Disaster Service Workers

All OC San employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the OC San requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.

Other Requirements

  • May be required to work extended hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays when necessary.
  • Probationary Period: All OC San employees, except classifications considered “at-will”, are subject to the probationary period provisions as specified in the applicable Memorandum of Understanding, policies, and/or resolutions. Employees who have not yet successfully completed their initial probationary period serve “at-will” and may be released from employment without cause or recourse to any appeal or grievance procedures.

Other Information

For the full range of duties, responsibilities, and essential job functions please review the Classification Specification for this position found on our website.

Applicants must clearly demonstrate, through their application materials, that they meet the minimum requirements as outlined in the job announcement and class specification to receive further consideration. However, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview. All properly completed applications will be reviewed, and the most appropriately qualified individuals will be invited to continue in the selection process.

False statements may be cause for disqualification, removal from the eligible list, or discharge from employment. All statements made on applications are subject to investigation and verification.

To ensure your application is accurate and complete, please review the Job Application Guide.

Employment is contingent upon successful completion of OC San’s pre-employment process, which includes a background investigation and a physical examination. For some positions, this may include a drug screen. False statements may be cause for disqualification, removal from the eligible list, or discharge from employment. All statements made on applications are subject to investigation and verification.

Reference Checks will be conducted by OC San to verify employment related information for all potential employees once a contingent job offer is made during the background investigation process. This is done to ensure that individuals who join OC San are well qualified and have a strong potential to be successful in their employment. The extent of the inquiry will depend on the position being applied for, but will at least include:

  • Verification/Reference from current and past employers
  • Confirmation of necessary licenses, certificates, and degrees. 

Please have all necessary documentation ready. Additional inquiries may be necessary depending on the position for which you are applying. Human Resources will also schedule a post-offer physical examination once a job offer has been made.

OC San only accepts applications submitted via our online application system. Applications submitted via mail, fax or email will not be accepted.

 The provisions of this announcement do not constitute an expressed or implied contract. Any provision contained in this announcement may be modified or revoked without notice.