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June 3, 2024 - A Day in the Life of a Wastewater Worker

Workers at a water treatment facility, performing maintenance and inspections.

In honor of Wastewater Worker Recognition Week earlier this year, we’d like to acknowledge and explore the various important roles our team plays in treating the area’s wastewater and protecting public health and the environment.

Some people may be surprised to learn there’s more than filtration and chemistry happening at our facilities. From financial management to development coordination and everything in between, Boxelder Sanitation District relies on many different departments to keep our operations efficient and effective. These include:

  • Collections
  • Pre-treatment
  • Treatment
  • Administration
  • Engineering


Boxelder’s collections department features two collections operators and an operations manager. They’re mainly tasked with looking after the sewer and lift stations and equipment that keeps water flowing in and out of our sanitation facilities, including:

  • 104 miles of gravity-fed lines
  • 2,294 manholes
  • Five main interceptors
  • Six lift stations

To ensure everything remains in working order, the collections team compartmentalizes their different responsibilities into six distinct programs:

  • Sewer jetting and cleaning – The use of high-pressure water to scrub the area’s sewers.
  • Sewer CCTV – A remote-control camera inspects sewer conditions and notes any deficiencies.
  • Lift station maintenance – Preventative maintenance at all stations—including cleaning, operating pumps, changing fluids, tracking measurements and repairing or replacing equipment.
  • Manhole inspections – Checking manholes for corrosion, groundwater infiltration, roots and blockages or other potential issues that could hamper their efficacy and structural integrity.
  • Root control – Identifying and assessing problematic tree roots and removing them by jetting or with a modified saw.
  • Manhole repair – Repairing manholes by raising them to the right grade, replacing broken components like concrete collars and grade rings or swapping them out altogether if they’ve succumbed to erosion.

Put simply, the collections team is responsible for making sure our system operates correctly. Without their work removing blockages, repairing lines and fixing other infrastructure issues, wastewater would never make it to our plant to be treated.


Pre-treatment consists of a singular pre-treatment technician who’s responsible for mitigating the pollutants and hazardous chemicals that can make their way into our plant. Some of the main duties this critical team member fulfills include:

  • Taking samples throughout our service area and within select industries to assess pollutant concentrations.
  • Inspecting different organizations to determine their environmental responsibilities and issue discharge permits.
  • Conducting research on a variety of topics such as emerging pollutants like Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
  • Reviewing all the service area’s buildings to specify and approve treatment devices.
  • Managing our Fats, Oils and Grease Program.

Our pre-treatment technician keeps our service area’s pollutant levels in check and ensures we’re meeting all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. They also make treatment easier and more effective by limiting the amount of pollutants that reach our treatment plant. Without the pre-treatment department, our next group of specialists, the treatment department, would have a lot more work on their hands.


Two staff members run our treatment department: the treatment plant operator and the treatment plant manager. Their job is to ensure our plant is operational and compliant with safety and environmental standards. Some of the key tasks they’re entrusted with include:

  • Checking equipment and performing maintenance.
  • Reviewing data from the plant’s instruments, auditing our treatment process and implementing any changes necessary to make our operations safer and more efficient.
  • Performing laboratory tests and communicating the results to key agencies, such as the State of Colorado and the EPA.

Through this work, the treatment crew verifies that our water is clean enough to discharge into Boxelder Creek, and ultimately the Poudre River.


At five strong, our admin department is the largest team at Boxelder Sanitation District, and each member has a distinct role:

  • General Manager
  • HR Manager
  • Finance Manager
  • Utilities Accounting Specialist
  • Customer Service Specialist

This team fulfills many of the unseen, but necessary tasks that allow Boxelder to function, such as:

  • Supporting employees
  • Balancing books, managing finances and drafting budgets.
  • Processing payments.
  • Providing excellent customer service.
  • Plotting new infrastructure via capital planning.

No business, organization or other entity can work without administration as this crucial department handles the functional responsibilities that keep operations running smoothly.


Our district engineer and engineering technician make up our engineering department. Their work generally revolves around planning and developing capital projects, with tasks such as:

  • Auditing plans and approving new projects.
  •  Implementing and coordinating construction.
  • Collaborating with local developers.
  • Inspecting new projects, builds and developments.

Our engineers are key to our success at Boxelder Sanitation District. They make sure projects finish on time and within budget, and they empower long-term planning by assessing how current projects align with future goals.    

Learn More About Water Reclamation and Begin Your Career in the Field

If any or all of these professions entice you, consider a career in wastewater. Most jobs in the industry don’t require much more than a high school diploma—although a degree in biology or chemistry can be beneficial for certain roles.

However, the majority of wastewater workers learn on the job as they earn certifications. To discover more about getting started in the field, you can visit our website, the Rocky Mountain Water Environment Association (RMWEA), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) or the EPA.

You may also find us at local career fairs. Most recently, we were at the Poudre School District Career Fair for Graduating Seniors and the Water Workforce Career and Education Fair at the new CSU Spur Hydro Center in Denver. At events like these, we hand out fun giveaways and discuss the relatively unknown world of water reclamation careers with intrigued young minds.

Ultimately, choosing a career in water reclamation can be a rewarding way to learn about nature's most precious resource while serving your community. Thank you to all our staff members who’ve made the choice to join us in this industry—we couldn’t do such important work without you.