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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Trained and Competent Personnel

Reference Number: MTAS-1386
Reviewed Date: 05/12/2023

Cities should employ competent, professional personnel in utility operations. Water and wastewater licensed positions should meet at least the state minimum certification requirements. Licensed employees must regularly update their training so that they are able to comply with the latest federal and state regulations. Operations and maintenance personnel need to also have the proper certifications in their respective areas and have a thorough knowledge of the systems’ pumping stations, tanks, lines, etc. Operational problems caused by ill-trained or incompetent personnel can cost the city valuable dollars in lost revenues, equipment failures, and even fines resulting from operational or health violations. One of the most important ways for cities to attract and maintain excellent personnel is to provide pay and benefits that are competitive with other area utilities.

As regulatory requirements get stricter and more complex, and as treatment plants and the related equipment becomes more complex the need for highly competent workers is even greater. Simply meeting the minimum licensing requirements is often not enough. Cities should consider hiring staff with a higher level of experience or education especially for treatment plants. Computer skills, written and oral communication skills, and industrial maintenance skills are all valuable in utility departments.

Two good schools to look for candidates are the community colleges and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology.