Maintaining a clean city requires the unique skills of many different types of sanitation workers. Professionals are needed to design wastewater treatment plants and landfills, oversee the proper and safe disposal of toxic waste products, and ensure that streets and parks are clean and litter-free. There are many different sanitation jobs available to individuals of all education and experience levels who want to make a positive difference in their communities. People can obtain sanitation jobs as engineers, garbage collectors, hazardous waste experts, and sanitation managers, among many other possibilities.
A sanitation engineer is a professional who researches and designs the systems and equipment used in waste management, water treatment, and disposal. He or she determines the most efficient and environmentally-friendly means of maintaining a clean community. A professional might design a citywide sewer system, determine the most appropriate location and building materials for a landfill, or supervise the construction of a water treatment facility. They rely on their advanced knowledge of mechanical, industrial, and chemical engineering to ensure that systems are safe and reliable. Most sanitation engineers hold master's degrees or higher in engineering, and work for city governments or private consulting companies.
Garbage collectors are the men and women who pick up trash, recyclable materials, and yard debris and bring them to the appropriate processing facilities. Many individuals engaged in sanitation jobs drive large trucks that collect and compress trash so that it may be disposed of properly. Workers who collect recycling usually bring items back to a central plant, sort products, and prepare them for redistribution to manufacturers. Most municipal governments require prospective garbage collectors to possess clean driving records, high school diplomas, and a passion for improving their communities.
Many sanitation jobs are held by physicists, environmental scientists, and other highly skilled individuals who conduct extensive research on pollution, environmental protection, and waste removal. Individuals may survey a potential landfill site to determine its safety and assess the impact that dumping will have on nearby communities and ecosystems. They often collect air, water, and soil samples from areas where industrial waste is present, and analyze the amount of contaminants and pollutants through a series of laboratory tests. Most leading scientists hold doctoral degrees and have gained several years of experience in the field.
Sanitation and environmental managers are responsible for supervising the maintenance of sewers, waste disposal sites, and water treatment plants. They perform frequent inspections of facilities to ensure that sanitation laws and company standards are met at all times. Sanitation managers analyze the effectiveness of waste management strategies and suggest improvements when necessary. Individuals in supervisory sanitation jobs usually hold bachelor's degrees or higher in environmental management or a related field.