Chief Plant Operator - Water Job at St. Helena, Napa County, California

Chief Plant Operator - Water

City of St. Helena , California

Job Information 


Public Works

Senior Level


$81,765.00 - $99,387.00 Annually

Application Deadline 

Until Filled or until 300 applicants

No Application Deadline

Recruitment Type 

Open Competitive



Under direction, supervises, evaluates, plans, and participates in work relating to the production, treatment, delivery, and protection of the City's water supply; supervises, operates, and maintains water production facilities and equipment; assists in the preparation and administration of the division budget; evaluates and trains assigned staff; interfaces with and coordinates assigned functions with other City services and departments; represents plant operations with government regulatory agencies; ensures safe work practices, work quality, and accuracy; and performs related duties as assigned.

Supervision Received/Exercised: Receives direction from the Public Works Director. Exercises direct and indirect supervision over assigned staff.

Essential Functions: (include but are not limited to the following)

Accepts administrative responsibility for the activities, operations, and services of the Water Treatment Division in providing a safe and reliable water supply for the City; plans, supervises, prioritizes, monitors, and participates in the work of staff responsible for the maintenance and operation of the water treatment plant and related production/storage systems; ensures compliance with state, federal, and local   mandates for water quality; makes plant operation modifications as needed.

Supervises and performs tasks related to the maintenance, repair, and construction of water production and treatment plant facilities, wells, reservoirs, tanks, equipment, and related control systems; inspects the maintenance and repair of equipment for quality, compliance with applicable standards, and proper operation.

Oversees laboratory analysis programs for untreated and treated water samples and is responsible for operating and systems modification based on test results; implements the lead and copper program; supervises and participates in the monitoring of water quality instruments and chlorination to ensure compliance with state and federal requirements.

Prepares a variety of water quality and water use reports for regulatory agencies and internal operations; acts as the liaison to the public on water quality issues; conducts regular inspections to identify maintenance and repair needs; schedules, plans, and supervises the installation, maintenance and repair of mechanical and electrical systems.

Evaluates and recommends the best use of supplies, materials, and equipment; requisitions, inventories, and supervises the use of all materials, supplies, and equipment used in the operation and maintenance of water production facilities; collaborates with the Utilities Operations Manager on the flushing of the distribution system; supervises the taking of well soundings; utilizes automatic and manual control systems to regulate the flow of water and chemical feed rates to ensure optimum safety and efficiency; performs plant operation and maintenance assignments, as necessary.

Evaluates staffing requirements and utilization of staff; supervises, evaluates, trains, and motivates assigned staff; develops and directs staff safety training programs; oversees safety of assigned staff and monitors work in progress; schedules staff work assignments.

Assists the Public Works Director with operating and capital improvement budgets; analyzes annual operating costs and makes recommendations for budget development and improvements in operating costs; administers and monitors the approved budget; prepares project cost estimates and analysis.

Attends and participates in organizational and community meetings, as necessary; stays current on issues relative to water production and treatment technologies; responds to and resolves community and organizational inquiries and complaints related to treatment system operations; represents the City's water production functions in public relations activities and with regulatory agencies; establishes and maintains a customer service orientation within the division.

Performs standby duties for water and wastewater treatment facilities on a routinely scheduled basis. • Enforces rules, regulations, policies, and procedures relating to the operation of the water treatment system and waste discharge requirements prescribed in all applicable sections of the Clean Water Act and the California Water Code.

Establishes positive working relationships with representatives of community organizations, state/local agencies and associations, City management and staff, and the public.

Working Conditions:

Position requires sitting, standing, walking on level and slippery surfaces, reaching, twisting, turning, kneeling, bending, stooping, squatting, crouching, grasping, crawling and making repetitive hand movement in the performance of daily duties. The position also requires near and far vision when inspecting work and performing maintenance on assigned equipment. The position requires the need to lift, carry and push tools, equipment and supplies weighing 25 pounds or more. Additionally, the incumbent in this position may be exposed to biohazards and a variety of working conditions, including wet, hot and cold. The incumbent may use cleaning and lubricating chemicals, which may expose the employee to fumes, dust and air contaminants. The nature of the work also requires the incumbent to climb ladders and work in confined spaces. The incumbent may be required to respond to emergency call-outs and perform routine standby duties.

Some of these requirements may be accommodated for otherwise qualified individuals requiring and requesting such accommodations.

Knowledge, Abilities, and Skills:

Knowledge of:

Modern principles, practices, and techniques of water treatment operations, quality assurance, process controls, and systems maintenance; testing methods and procedures, including qualitative and quantitative analysis; principles and practices of water production, storage, and delivery; design, planning, and development of water production facilities; cost, time, and materials estimating; principles and practices of bacteriological and sampling techniques and mathematical analysis; methods and techniques of supervision, training, and motivation; applicable federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations, including those governing the production and distribution of potable water; methods and techniques of scheduling work assignments; standard office procedures, practices and equipment; methods and techniques for record keeping and report preparation and writing; proper English, spelling and grammar; occupational hazards and standard safety practices; office procedures, methods, and equipment including computers and applicable software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.

Ability to:

Plan, organize and supervise the operation of a water treatment plant and associated storage and distribution systems; ensure equipment is maintained appropriately; accurately supervise and perform water quality laboratory testing and analysis; ensure chemical and bacteriological laboratory tests are conducted in accordance with mandates; analyze and interpret laboratory tests and make modifications to water production system operations as required; maintain accurate and updated logs, records, and reports; prepare and submit comprehensive and mandated reports; perform plant operation and maintenance assignments; represent the City's water treatment functions with other governmental agencies and community groups; plan, organize, train, evaluate, and direct work of assigned staff; interpret, explain and apply applicable laws, codes, and regulations; read, interpret, and record data accurately; organize, prioritize, and follow-up on work assignments; work independently and as part of a team; make sound decisions within established guidelines; analyze a complex issue and develop and implement an appropriate response; follow written and oral directions; observe safety principles and work in a safe manner; communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing; establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work.

Skill to:

Operate office equipment including computers and supporting word processing, spreadsheet, and database applications; safely and effectively operate the tools and equipment used in the operation and maintenance of a water treatment system.


Education and/or Experience:

Any combination of education and experience that has provided the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for a Chief Utility Operator -Water Treatment. A typical way of obtaining the required qualifications is to possess the equivalent of four years of experience in the operation, mechanical maintenance and repair of water treatment systems, at least two of which were while in possession of a Grade III Water Treatment Plant Operator certificate, and possession of a high school diploma or equivalent with 24 continuing education credits needed to renew certification.


Possession of, or the ability to obtain, a valid class C California driver’s license.

Possession of, or ability to obtain, a valid Class C California driver's license.

Possession of a Grade IV Certification as a Water Treatment Plant Operator from the California State Department of Health Services

Possession of a Grade II Certification as a Wastewater Plant Operator from the California State Water Quality Control Board.

Job Description URL:

Job PDF: 

PDF icon 09.21.2020 Chief Plant Operator Water.pdf

Ideal Candidate

The Chief Plant Operator – Water Treatment is a supervisory level class within Public Works responsible for assigning and supervising the day-to-day operation, development, repair, and maintenance of the City’s water treatment facilities, and incumbents are expected to perform the full scope of assigned duties. This classification is distinguished from the next higher classification of Utilities Operations Manager* in that the latter is responsible for the overall management and administration of the Utilities Division.


*Utilities Operation Manager is not a currently filled position. This position reports to the Public Works Director who has overall administration of management and administration of the water and wastewater utilities divisions of Public Works.



  • CalPERS defined benefit retirement: 2% at 60 formula for current members; 2.0% at 62 for new members. The employee is responsible for payment of the employee share of the pension cost.  *City employees also participate in the Social Security system.
  • City-paid health, dental and vision insurance coverage for employee and dependents. 
  • Vacation accrues at varying rates for full-time employees.  The beginning accrual rate is generally ten working days per year, increasing with tenure.
  • Twelve holidays annually.
  • Two personal convenience days per year (increases to five day after five years).
  • Sick leave (twelve days per year).
  • Life Insurance.
  • Deferred Compensation Plan.
  • Dependent Care program.
  • Employee Assistance program.
  • Bereavement Pay - 3 days in state/5 days out of state
  • Longevity Pay and Bilingual Pay for Spanish fluency

St. Helena Miscellaneous Employees have agreed to a one-year 5% salary reduction through a 13-day unpaid furlough for Fiscal Year 2020-21, deferred compensation match has been suspended for FY 2020-21, and step increases have been suspended for FY 2020-21.

There is a no smoking policy in effect within the City offices and vehicles.  St. Helena is an equal opportunity employer.  The City of St. Helena will require documentation of the legal

Special Instructions

Application and Selection Procedure:

To apply for this position please submit the following documents and forms online at CalOpps at This is an open until filled position.

Please be sure to include the following:

  • Cover letter (uploaded) REQUIRED***
  • Detailed resume (uploaded) *REQUIRED***
  • Supplemental Questionnaire (completed online through Calopps)
  • City application (completed online through Calopps)

***Failure to include all four will be an incomplete application and will not be considered.

All resumes will be reviewed to select those applicants whose training and experience most  closely match the requirements of this position. A limited number of qualified applicants possessing the most desirable qualifications may be invited to participate in the subsequent phase of the evaluation process which may include interviews, written exercises, or simulated work problems. Note: Meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee advancement in the selection process. 

Recruitment Contact

Contact phone: 


Contact email:


1480 Main Street

St. Helena, CA 94574