Waste Treatment Operator

Control equipment to decontaminate and dispose of radioactive waste.

What does a Waste Treatment Operator do?

Controls heat exchange unit, pumps, compressors, and related equipment to decontaminate, neutralize, and dispose of radioactive waste liquids collected from chemical processing operations: Removes sample of liquid from collection tank, using pipette. Pours sample into dish and bakes dish under heat lamp to evaporate water, leaving radioactive residue. Tests residue with Geiger counter and compares reading with chart to determine whether radioactivity level is within prescribed safety limits. Determines degree of acidity or alkalinity in liquid, using pH meter, and adds acid or alkali to neutralize liquid. Starts pump and admits waste liquid into sewer for disposal or into storage tanks for evaporation, according to degree of radioactivity. Transfers radioactive waste liquid from storage tanks to heat exchange unit. Operates heat evaporation system to reduce volume of liquid, and observes gauges and adjusts controls during process to maintain steam pressure, temperature, and liquid at specified levels. Starts compressed-air pump to blow slurry on bottom of evaporator into lead container for permanent storage. Records data, such as number of gallons of waste pumped into sewer system or storage tanks, or reduced by heat exchange unit, and radioactivity levels. May monitor panelboard to control operation of recovery systems that store or dispose of radioactive waste and be designated Nuclear-Waste-Process Operator.