Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations

Program Title – Environmental Technician – Water and Wastewater Systems Operations

  • Credential Earned
    Ontario College Diploma

    Full Time

    Program Length
    4 Semesters (Uncompressed, non-co-op option)
    6 Semesters (Compressed, co-op option)

    Program Status

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    The BYOD initiative allows you to have access to tools and resources. Review BYOD information prior to the start of your program to ensure you have a system that meets requirements.

  • Tuition and Fees

Program Codes
NORT-T089 (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus
NORT-T090 (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus

January Intake
NORT-T089W (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus
NORT-T090W (KL) Kirkland Lake Campus

Intake Model
Flow Chart Fall Intake Compressed, Co-Op Option
Flow Chart Fall Intake Uncompressed No Co-Op Option

Program Description
This program provides the specialized training required to become a licensed drinking water and/or wastewater systems operator under Ontario’s rigorous standards. You’ll train for interesting, good-paying, stable work opportunities that are making a real difference in our environment. It’s a trades-focused, hands-on operator’s line of work – where operators and practical environmental stewardship meet. Students have a choice of studying under the original compressed co-op delivery program or an uncompressed, non-co-op delivery. Both options include a blended program combining on-site and distance learning.

Co-Op Delivery Option
Co-operative education is a structured method of combining classroom-based education with an academic credit for practical work experience. Our original program co-op delivery option provides students with the fastest path to becoming fully licensed operators in Ontario. Students follow a continuous 6-semester cycle of academic and placement semesters, taking 2 years of continuous study or placements until graduation. This compressed (4 academic semesters into 3) delivery prepares students with a strong combination of theory and the opportunity to obtain up to one year of paid co-op practical systems operator experience. Because it is a compressed delivery, the academic semesters have up to 27-28 hours classes/ week. Northern College will make every effort to assist students in finding co-op employment, but cannot guarantee co-op employment. Students are encouraged to speak with local employers in water and/or wastewater treatment plants about co-op placements prior to starting the program.

Students write the Ontario Operator-In-Training (OIT, a kind of “learner permit”) examination and the Drinking Water Operators Entry-Level Course exam, and through three 4-month-long co-op placement semesters have the opportunity to obtain the year of work experience required to take their full industry certification exams and enter the industry as fully licensed Class I operators. This program is now recognized by OACETT as meeting the requirements for the Certified Technician designation for graduates. This provides a path to earning the C.Tech. credential but please note the program is not nationally accredited by Technology Accreditation Canada (TAC) so some additional steps are required. Please contact us for further clarification.

Uncompressed No Co-Op Option
This delivery option paces the 1170 hours of courses more evenly across 4 regular fall and winter academic semesters. It is a recommended path for International students for greater certainty of obtaining a minimum 2-year post-graduate work visa permit after graduation, or for students that prefer a workload with lighter weekly hours of study. Students may be able to find industry-related work in the summers but still will require acceptable proof of Ontario Grade 12 equivalency as a prerequisite to writing their Operator in Training (OIT) exam. An OIT certificate is needed to work in Ontario municipal plants.

  • Overview Video
  • Extended Version (4 Minutes)

Admission Requirements for Domestic Students

Please refer to the Domestic Students – Requirements tab section.

Admission Requirements for International Students

Please refer to:
Admission Requirements for International Students
Application Process for International Students

Information about Equipment

Students need to purchase two pieces of equipment. These are a requirement for students when working in Ontario drinking water and wastewater plants:

  1. A non-programmable scientific calculator – e.g. Texas Instruments TI30XA Scientific/Statistics (or equivalent. Preferred that students purchase this model for ease of instruction if you do not have one.
  2. Steel toed work boots are a requirement in certain of our program labs – e.g. Pumps and Motors, Millwrighting, and when working with the water treatment plant.
Additional Information

For those students in the co-op version of the program, many employers provide work wear (pants, shirts, hard hats) to students free of charge while they are on co-op. However, steel toed work boots are not supplied. Therefore, the following is a suggested personal equipment list to prepare you for this program:

  • Steel toed work boots (required)
  • Work pants (optional)
  • Work shirts – orange reflective type (optional)
  • Safety goggles (optional)
  • Hard hat (optional)
  • Lab coat (optional)

Career Opportunities
Graduates may find employment in municipal water and waste water facilities, environmental departments in mines and other industries, solid waste management facilities, and in government.

Transfer Agreements
Articulation Agreement list for Universities and Colleges (PDF, 113KB). You can also visit OnTransfer. This site provides information and resources to help students and potential students find their way through Ontario’s postsecondary system.

Contact Information
Richard Kallio
Tel: 705-567-9291 ext. 3705