Careers in Decentralized Wastewater | Onsite Overview #1

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The decentralized wastewater sector has thousands of well-paying jobs to offer, so why is the field experiencing a shortage of qualified workers? According to the U.S. EPA, “there are many reasons for this shortage, including the high number of existing systems that require routine maintenance, an increase in the number of systems installed annually, and an aging decentralized workforce that is expected to retire in high numbers over the next several years.” Due to these factors, the need to recruit and train new decentralized wastewater professionals is more critical than ever. We have compiled a list of resources to get you started if you are interested in starting a career in the field of decentralized wastewater or just interested in learning more.

Our best resources on this topic:
Career Perspectives in Decentralized Wastewater Management | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This 2-hour webinar recording highlights the careers and perspectives of three decentralized wastewater professionals - each bringing more than 40 years of experience to the industry. During this webinar, our speakers shared their experiences spanning decades of work in the decentralized field, including how they started, why they got into this field, how the industry has changed over the years, and what their thoughts are on the future of the industry.

Education and Training Landscape: Providing a Supply of Talent for Decentralized/Onsite Wastewater Occupations | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This 27-page report focuses on understanding the demand and supply of labor for the decentralized industry. It builds off the report, Pipeline to a Sustainable Workforce: A Report on Decentralized/Onsite Wastewater Occupations, through identification of education and training programs aligned with five key decentralized job functions necessary to be successful in decentralized career pathways and occupations. It provides the decentralized industry and educational institutions with an understanding of the skills and training aligned to these job functions and high growth decentralized occupations.

Decentralized Wastewater Systems - Problems and Solutions from the Field | Rural Community Assistance Partnership
This 90-minute webinar recording includes a discussion of experiences RCAP Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs) have encountered in the field. It covers the following topics: Training & Technical Assistance Examples, Operation & Maintenance Issues Discovered, and Resources & Tools that are available to provide guidance. The webinar is targeted at individuals who operate, manage, or own a decentralized system, as well as TA providers and regulators who deal with these systems in their professional role.

Pipeline to a Sustainable Workforce: A Report on Decentralized/Onsite Wastewater Occupations | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This 34-page report provides a foundational understanding of the career pathways and job clusters in the decentralized industry. It further expands upon occupational characteristics, including growth projections, as well as basic education and training requirements aligned with occupations in the industry, outlining challenges that have led to shortage in the supply of decentralized workers. This report is intended to be used by decentralized professionals looking to better understand the demand for and variety of decentralized occupations.

Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Can Be Cost Effective and Economical | National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association
This 2-page fact sheet explains how to avoid large capital costs and maintenance costs for decentralized systems. Decentralized wastewater treatment can provide a long-term and cost-effective solution for communities by avoiding large capital cost, reducing operation and maintenance costs, and promoting business and job opportunities. Two examples of where it worked are also discussed.

How to find more resources on this topic on our website?
If you are interested in looking through our database for other resources on this topic follow the instructions below:

  1. Select "CATEGORY" in the dropdown then choose "Decentralized WW Systems." 
  2. Once you make that selection, a second dropdown will appear where you can choose "TYPE" if you are looking for a specific kind of resource (videos, factsheets, etc.)
  3. Optional: In the Keyword Filter, you can type a specific word or phrase to target the search even further.
  4. The last step is to click the "Retrieve Documents" button to see your results.

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