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City of Torrance
Class Code: 5401

Class Designation: Civil Service

March 2016

Representation Unit: Torrance Municipal Employees
(AFSCME Local 1117)


Water System Operator I


Under general supervision, maintains water meters, reads meters and records readings; assists in the installation, repair and replacement of water mains, water meters, fire hydrants and other water facilities; computes water consumption; and performs related work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Water System Operator I is the entry/journey level class in the series, distinguished from the Technician II in that the Technician I does not regularly operate heavy equipment in the construction or perform repair work to the water system.  Assignments are generally limited in scope and require the incumbent to make choices or decisions within established procedures and/or policies.  As experience accrues, the incumbent performs with increasing independence.  Work requires incumbent to exercise some judgment in selecting appropriate established guidelines to follow; significant deviations require prior approval.  Interpretation of general administrative or operational policies is sometimes necessary.
Lateral-entry Water System Operator I is distinguished from entry-level Water System Operator I in that the Lateral-entry Water System Operator I is required to have successfully completed the Water Service Intern training program within the last six months days as certified by the Public Works Department and possesses the required certification and licenses and a minimum of 12 months of successful performance as an Water Service Intern.

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives general supervision from the Water Operations Supervisor; may receive technical or functional supervision from the Water System Operator II or III.

Examples of Essential Duties
The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all-inclusive.

  • Tests and calibrates meters to departmental standards.
  • Keeps a record of new meter installations and exchanges.
  • Repairs leaks in service assemblies.
  • Reads meters and records readings.
  • Installs, replaces, repairs, inspects and maintains residential and commercial water meters and hydrant meters used by construction firms.
  • Installs, replaces and repairs fire hydrant assemblies.
  • Assists in the installation, repair and maintenance of the City's water system, including water mains, valves, water service lines, and hydrants.
  • Computes water consumption.
  • Performs safety inspections of equipment and machinery.
  • Reports defects and irregularities to supervisor.
  • Turns water service off and on as appropriate.
  • Receives and responds to inquiries and complaints from customers and the general public regarding water service.
  • Responds to emergency calls during work and after normal working hours.
  • Assists in the training of new and lower classification employees.
  • In addition to those listed above, incumbents assigned Irrigation Systems perform the following duties:

  • Inspects, tests, repairs and replaces backflow prevention devices on City properties.
  • Inspects, repairs, maintains and modifies existing irrigation systems.
  • Inspects irrigation system contract sites for compliance with contractual requirements and city codes.
  • Diagnoses, troubleshoots and repairs field units including controllers, sprinkler heads, valves and related systems.
  • Effectively applies regulations, policies and procedures related to area of assignment.
  • Provides functional training and guidance to maintenance workers on the diagnoses and repair of various components of the City's irrigation systems.
  • Supervises the work of others and provides training in a lead capacity on assigned projects.
  • Interfaces with other City departments to implement irrigation system projects.
  • Develops and maintains a variety of activity, time and parts records; develops and submits scheduled reports to State and local regulatory agencies.
  • Conducts cross-connection tests to assess and report on the City's reclaimed water supply.
  • Safely operates vehicle, equipment, and hand tools required for work assignment.
  • Researches and orders parts needed for the maintenance, repair, and/or installation of irrigation system components and/or backflow devices.
  • Examples of Other Duties
    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties:

  • Maintains and cleans equipment and tools; maintains a clean and orderly workplace.
  • May distribute notices to water customers.
  • May maintain field reports, and work orders.
  • Performs related duties as required.
  • Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of
  • Basic mechanical principles;
  • The uses of hand and power tools;
  • Accepted methods of repair, rehabilitation and maintenance of water meters;
  • Safety rules and precautions related to the use of tools, vehicles and equipment;
  • Proper procedures in lifting or moving heavy objects;
  • General public relations techniques.
  • In addition to the above, incumbents assigned to Irrigation Systems are also expected to have knowledge of the following,
  • Testing, operation and installation requirements of backflow prevention devices;
  • Pertinent local, State and Federal rules, regulations, laws and reporting requirements;
  • Principles of soils; drainage systems;
  • Hydraulics and water flow, including valves, pumps and controllers;
  • Plumbing as related to cross connections and water purity;
  • Potential impacts related to the use of reclaimed water.
  • Ability to 
  • Read meter dials and records readings.
  • Make arithmetical calculations.
  • Perform assigned tasks without close supervision.
  • Communicate effectively orally.
  • Read and understand work orders, drawings, maps, etc.
  • Operate equipment and tools with skill and safety.
  • Understand and carry out oral and written directions.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative relationships with co-workers, the public, other City departments and individuals from other agencies.
  • Learn City policies and procedures affecting departmental operations, generally City operations and utilize new skills and information to improve job performance and efficiency.
  • In addition to the above, incumbents assigned to Irrigation Systems are expected to have the ability to do the following:
  • Perform skilled work in the testing, diagnoses, maintenance, repair and installation of backflow prevention devices and the City irrigation systems.
  • Read, interpret and apply information from blueprints or drawings related to irrigation systems installation, maintenance and repair.
  • Work independently in the absence of immediate supervision.
  • Effectively supervise the work of others in a lead capacity, as assigned.
  • License/Certification Required

    Must possess and maintain an appropriate, valid California driver's license; and a State of California Department of Public Health Water Distribution License, Grade D1.
    In addition to those listed above, incumbents assigned Irrigation Systems must possess the following:
    Must possess and maintain a valid certification as a Backflow Prevention Device Tester from Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

    Education and Experience
    Any combination of education and experience that would have provided the knowledge and skills required is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and skills would be:

    One year of full time experience in the repair of mechanical equipment and six months of experience in a position involving public contact; and equivalent to a high school diploma.

    Education and Experience - Lateral Entry

    Completion of the City of Torrance Public Works Dept., Water Service Intern Training program and completion of a minimum of 12 months of successful performance in the program.

    Special Requirements
    Performance of the essential duties of this position includes the following physical demands and/or working conditions:

    Requires the ability to exert a considerable amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull or otherwise move objects and to stoop, crouch, climb and lift in the performance of manual labor; to operate a variety of tools, equipment and vehicles; to work around electrical equipment in a safe manner. Tasks require color and visual perception and discrimination, as well as oral communications ability.  May be subject to uncomfortable working conditions including exposure to dust, noise, heat or cold.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in this classification may serve to meet the minimum requirements for promotion to Water System Operator II and/or Water System Operator III with appropriate certification.