Why do we need engineers?

Engineering is an exciting profession that makes a difference in our world. Engineers play a critical role in providing clean, safe water to sustain life and support our economy. This includes planning, design and construction of new facilities as well as maintenance of existing ones. Engineering jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide the opportunity to earn a good living for yourself and your family while serving your community and protecting the environment.

“There are two things that make my job enjoyable. The first is the satisfaction of knowing that I am building infrastructure that keeps the environment safe from wastewater and pollution. The second is that even though this is a position in civil engineering, I am exposed to all of the other engineering disciplines…. This keeps the job interesting and allows me to learn about things that I might not otherwise be exposed to.” Chris Pachmayer, Union Sanitary District

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Yan Qu Senior Engineer, Trussell Technologies, Inc.
Yan Qu Senior Engineer, Trussell Technologies, Inc.

Knowledge of: engineering principles; applicable Federal, State and Local laws, ordinances, codes, standards, regulations related to the specific engineering field; research and data analysis methods and techniques

Ability to: adhere to established policies; organize and coordinate project activities; manage staff, budget, and contractors to resolve problems and accomplish project goals work in a team environment with colleagues, managers, stakeholders, and the general public; handle difficult situations; convey technical ideas and information in a clear and concise manner; read, review, evaluate and interpret technical materials, research reports, and scientific studies; organize written information in a logical sequence to prepare clear and concise reports, correspondence, contracts and other documents; and use proper investigative and evaluation methods to solve engineering problems

Experience and Training

A bachelor’s degree in engineering is generally the minimum education required. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in design, mathematics, physical and life sciences, and hands-on laboratory classes. Advanced computer skills are also vital. Many employers require at least four years of experience in engineering and a professional engineering (PE) license in order to advance within their organization. However, some large companies and public agencies offer entry-level engineering positions for college graduates.


  • CWEA Kirt Brooks Scholarship Program – for undergrad water environment students. Eligible students include: anyone pursuing a water environment related degree or certification at any community college or university. Application deadline: January 15th. 
  • Environmental Engineers of the Future – Designed to encourage students to obtain a Masters Degree in environmental engineering. This program offers funding for students attending one of many outstanding Environmental Engineering programs across the nation, in return for a two-year employment commitment.

Salary Range

  • Entry-level engineer $65,000 to $96,000
  • Mid-level engineer $97,0009800 to $124,000
  • Senior engineer $125,000 to $150,000

Salary range source: Baywork 2014 survey (adjusted for inflation)

Engineers touring the Edward C Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo.