Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners
Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or drains. May patch walls and partitions of tank, replace damaged drain tile, or repair breaks in underground piping.
Sample of reported job titles: Drain Cleaner, Drain Technician, Public Works Technician, Septic Cleaner, Septic Pump Truck Driver, Septic Tank Service Technician, Service Technician, Sewer Bricklayer
View report: Summary Details Custom Easy Read Veterans Español
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Communicate with supervisors and other workers, using equipment such as wireless phones, pagers, or radio telephones.
- Drive trucks to transport crews, materials, and equipment.
- Inspect manholes to locate sewer line stoppages.
- Operate sewer cleaning equipment, including power rodders, high-velocity water jets, sewer flushers, bucket machines, wayne balls, and vac-alls.
- Prepare and keep records of actions taken, including maintenance and repair work.
- Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or related structures such as manholes, culverts, and catch basins.
- Measure excavation sites, using plumbers’ snakes, tapelines, or lengths of cutting heads within sewers, and mark areas for digging.
- Service, adjust, and make minor repairs to equipment, machines, and attachments.
- Locate problems, using specially designed equipment, and mark where digging must occur to reach damaged tanks or pipes.
- Dig out sewer lines manually, using shovels.
- Clean and disinfect domestic basements and other areas flooded by sewer stoppages.
- Withdraw cables from pipes and examine them for evidence of mud, roots, grease, and other deposits indicating broken or clogged sewer lines.
- Ensure that repaired sewer line joints are tightly sealed before backfilling begins.
- Rotate cleaning rods manually, using turning pins.
- Install rotary knives on flexible cables mounted on machine reels, according to the diameters of pipes to be cleaned.
- Start machines to feed revolving cables or rods into openings, stopping machines and changing knives to conform to pipe sizes.
- Update sewer maps and manhole charts.
- Cover repaired pipes with dirt, and pack backfilled excavations, using air and gasoline tampers.
- Cut damaged sections of pipe with cutters, remove broken sections from ditches, and replace pipe sections, using pipe sleeves.
- Requisition or order tools and equipment.
- Break asphalt and other pavement so that pipes can be accessed, using airhammers, picks, and shovels.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
back to top
- Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks
- Calendar and scheduling software — Work scheduling software
- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Route navigation software — Route mapping software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
back to top
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
back to top
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
back to top
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
back to top
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
back to top
Detailed Work Activities
- Communicate with other construction or extraction personnel to discuss project details.
- Drive trucks or truck-mounted equipment.
- Inspect plumbing systems or fixtures.
- Clean equipment or facilities.
- Record operational or environmental data.
- Maintain plumbing structures or fixtures.
- Measure work site dimensions.
- Locate equipment or materials in need of repair or replacement.
- Maintain construction tools or equipment.
- Decontaminate equipment or sites to remove hazardous or toxic substances.
- Inspect completed work to ensure proper installation.
- Maintain mechanical equipment.
- Install equipment attachments or components.
- Operate heavy-duty construction or installation equipment.
- Dig holes or trenches.
- Edit documents.
- Compact materials to create level bases.
- Cut metal components for installation.
- Remove worn, damaged or outdated materials from work areas.
- Spread sand, dirt or other loose materials onto surfaces.
- Order construction or extraction materials or equipment.
- Break up rock, asphalt, or concrete.
- Drill holes in construction materials.
Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities
back to top
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 68% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 60% responded “Extremely important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 51% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 60% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 60% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 50% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Physical Proximity — 46% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 48% responded “High responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Important results.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 37% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 32% responded “High responsibility.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 51% responded “Every day.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 39% responded “About half the time.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Standing — 52% responded “About half the time.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 40% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 32% responded “About half the time.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 26% responded “Every day.”
back to top
|Title||Job Zone One: Little or No Preparation Needed|
|Education||Some of these occupations may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.|
|Related Experience||Little or no previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, a person can become a waiter or waitress even if he/she has never worked before.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations involve following instructions and helping others. Examples include food preparation workers, dishwashers, sewing machine operators, landscaping and groundskeeping workers, logging equipment operators, and baristas.|
|SVP Range||(Below 4.0)|
back to top
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|40||High school diploma or equivalent
|37||Less than high school diploma|
back to top
back to top
Interest code: R Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
back to top
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
back to top
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
back to top
back to top
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$19.77 hourly, $41,120 annual|
|Employment (2020)||30,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Faster than average (10% to 15%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||4,200|
|Top industries (2020)||
Administrative and Support Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
back to top
Job Openings on the Web
back to top
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Municipal Waste Management Association
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies
- National Association of Sewer Service Companies
- National Association of Wastewater Technicians
- Water Environment Federation
back to top