Distribution System Operator I

South Coast Water District | Dana Point, CA

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Posted Date 5/13/2022

Salary: $55,838.00 - $75,096.00 Annually

DEFINITION This position is located in the Distribution System Section of the Operations Department and performs a variety of routine to skilled work in the installation, repair, operation, and maintenance of the District’s water distribution system; assists in project inspections during maintenance and construction of District water distribution system; may obtain water and other meter readings; and performs related work as required.


This position reports to the Water Distribution Supervisor.   No direct supervision of staff is exercised.  


This is the entry-level class in the distribution system operations and maintenance series.  Initially under close supervision, incumbents with basic maintenance experience learn District infrastructure, systems, and facilities, use of tools and equipment, and a wide variety of practices and procedures.  As experience is gained, assignments become more varied and are performed with greater independence.  This class is alternately staffed with Distribution System Operator II and incumbents may advance to the higher level after gaining the knowledge, skill, experience, licenses and certifications that meet the qualifications for and demonstrating the ability to perform the work of the higher-level class.

The incumbent ensures that her/his activities are aligned with and support the South Coast Water District’s policies, mission, vision, core values, core strategies, and annual action items as well as performance measures.

Examples of Duties


Duties may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Perform a variety of semi-skilled work to inspect, maintain and repair water distribution pipelines, reservoirs, tanks, pumps, hydrants, valves, blow offs, meters, and related appurtenances; inspect and test the distribution system visually, and/or closed-circuit television devices to locate damaged or worn parts and makes repairs as necessary.
  • Monitor and control the operation of water distribution systems incorporating chemical feed equipment, utilizing the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, filtration equipment, reservoirs, and/or storage tanks; inspects for compliance with established federal, state, and local municipal codes and regulations/.
  • Check the operation of automatic pump and valve regulating equipment and adjusts or repairs as needed.
  • Test and monitor manways, vaults and other confined spaces that have the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere and exercise proper safety precautions when entering such confined space.  Perform confined space entry and rescue operations as necessary.
  • Perform valve maintenance and leak detection with the use of electronic devices.
  • Perform preventive maintenance on pumps, motors, and other equipment.
  • Take water samples and perform chemical tests to measure chlorine residual, and perform a variety of other chemical tests as needed.
  • Adjust and repair pressure-regulating equipment and remove and replace chlorine cylinders.
  • Operate, adjust, maintain, and repair chemical feed equipment.
  • Oversee, coordinate, and inspect contract repair work associated with installation and repair of pipelines, reservoirs, tanks, pumps, hydrants, valves, blow offs, meters and related equipment.
  • Install, replace, maintain, and repair water and fire services and hydrants, including installing parts and fittings and performing regularly scheduled preventative maintenance.
  • Perform various water meter maintenance tasks, including removal, installation, and minor meter repairs; read and service customer water meters; turn customer water services on or off.
  • Report water service defects and public safety hazards, including providing exception list information and reporting hazards to supervisors.
  • Read and interpret maps and diagrams in the performance of work tasks.
  • Observe safe work methods and make appropriate use of related safety equipment as required.
  • Operate and maintain a variety of light, medium, and heavy-duty equipment and trucks, as well as hand and power tools appropriate to the functional area of assignment.
  • Maintain work areas in a safe, clean and orderly condition, including securing equipment at the close of the workday.
  • Install and maintain approved traffic control practices and devices, including street barricades, delineators and cones, to secure a safe work area and control vehicle and pedestrian traffic around work sites to ensure safe conditions for the public and District workers.
  • Provide information as needed and demonstrate performance of certain work tasks to new employees in the same or similar class position.
  • Answer public inquiries regarding work performed in a professional and courteous manner; maintains accurate records of work performed.
  • Respond to after-hours emergencies and assists other maintenance crews as requested in emergency or relief situations.
  • Perform related duties as assigned.



Knowledge of:

  • Maintenance principles, practices, tools and materials for maintaining and repairing water distribution systems, including water hydraulics, valves, pipe materials and water service components, pressurized water lines, and other related facilities and equipment.
  • The operation and minor maintenance of a variety of hand and power tools, vehicles and power equipment.
  • Approved traffic control procedures and traffic sign regulations.
  • Shop arithmetic.
  • Safety equipment and practices related to the work, including the handling of hazardous chemicals.
  • Safe driving rules and practices.
  • Basic computer software related to work such as SCADA and other telemetry systems.
  • English usage, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation.
  • Techniques for providing a high level of customer service to public and District staff, in person and over the telephone.

Ability to:

  • Perform construction, modification; maintenance and repair work on water distribution systems, facilities and equipment such as found in the District.
  • Operate specialized maintenance and repair equipment related to water main cleaning.
  • Set up and operate traffic area construction zones, including cones, barricades and flagging.
  • Locate underground utilities by use of blue prints and electronic locating equipment in accordance with Underground Service Alert (USA) regulations.
  • Troubleshoot maintenance problems and determine materials and supplies required for repair.
  • Make accurate arithmetic calculations.
  • Read and interpret construction drawings and specifications.
  • Safely and effectively use and operate hand tools, mechanical equipment, power tools, and equipment required for the work.
  • Perform routine equipment maintenance.
  • Maintain accurate logs, records and basic written records of work performed.
  • Follow department policies and procedures related to assigned duties.
  • Understand and follow oral and written instructions.
  • Organize own work, set priorities and meet critical time deadlines.
  • Use English effectively to communicate in person, over the telephone and in writing.
  • Use tact, initiative, prudence and independent judgment within general policy, procedural and legal guidelines.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of the work.


Any combination of experience and training that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying.  A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

No experience required.

Equivalent to the completion of the twelfth (12th) grade.  College-level coursework in biology, chemistry, engineering, construction methods, or a related field is desirable.


  • Valid California Class C driver’s license with satisfactory driving record and/or possession of, or the ability to obtain a valid California Class B driver’s license within one (1) year of employment. 
  • Possession of, or the ability to obtain, a Grade I Water Distribution Operator Certificate issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) within one (1)  year of employment.
  • Possession of, or the ability to obtain, a Grade I Water Treatment Operator certificate issued by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) within one (1) year of employment.



Supplemental Information

Must possess mobility to work in the field; strength, stamina and mobility to perform medium to heavy physical work, to work in confined spaces, around machines and to climb and descend ladders, and operate varied hand and power tools and construction equipment; vision to read printed materials and a computer screen; and hearing and speech to communicate in person and over the telephone or radio.  The job involves fieldwork requiring frequent walking in operational areas to identify problems or hazards.  Finger dexterity is needed to access, enter and retrieve data using a computer keyboard or calculator and to operate above-mentioned tools and equipment.   Positions in this classification bend, stoop, kneel, reach and climb to perform work and inspect work sites.   Employees must possess the ability to lift, carry, push, and pull materials and objects weighing up to 75 pounds and heavier weights with the use of proper equipment.

Employees work in the field and are exposed to loud noise levels, cold and hot temperatures, inclement weather conditions, road hazards, vibration, confining workspace, chemicals, mechanical and/or electrical hazards, and hazardous physical substances and fumes.  Employees may interact with upset staff and/or public and private representatives, and contractors in interpreting and enforcing departmental policies and procedures.


Must be willing to work weekends, holidays, and off-hour shifts for emergency callback response.

The specific statements shown in each section of this classification description are not intended to be all-inclusive.  They represent the essential functions and minimum qualifications necessary to successfully perform the assigned functions.  Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind the work assignments of different positions and to make reasonable accommodations so that qualified employees can perform the essential functions of the job.

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Job Category
Local Government
Career Level
Entry Level

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