YouTube tips for operators

Wastewater operator's YouTube videos help others prepare for operator exams free of charge.

Here's a novel idea: strengthen the water treatment industry's capabilities by producing your own instructional videos. Then put them online and don't charge a nickel. That's what one Novato, Calif., operator is doing, with great success.

Christian Williams, a Veolia employee and Grade IV operator in the San Francisco Bay area, has been making YouTube videos on operator math since 2009. They're posted as CAwastewater on the popular video-sharing site and cover operator math grades 1 through 5. The videos review a range of subjects would-be operators need for their licenses: watering rates, pumping rates, detention time, weir overflow rates, hydraulic and surface loading and many more.

"Often, an operator has to sign up for an $800 class for help with their certification exams," says Christian, who's only been in the field for five years. "I wanted to help out people who aren't able to afford that. I never ask for money. I'm doing this to improve our industry. Not a lot of people know that water can provide a rewarding long-term career. The truth is society will always need us."

Christian's multi-part videos prepare the operators for subjects covered in their California license exams. In fact, Christian's e-mail volume ( increases as test dates approach. Occasionally, he meets with people for a hands-on lesson; some things are easier to explain in person.

Fortunately for Christian - and his YouTube "students" - Veolia is very supportive. His supervisor routinely volunteers him for teaching activities, such as the time an eighth-grade math camp toured the Novato plant and Christian provided them with a lesson in operator math. Veolia operates the wastewater treatment plant in partnership with the Novato Sanitary District.

James Good, executive vice president of Veolia North America's Western Region water operations, puts it this way: "Christian is amazing. He's early in his career, has his Grade III license and has passed his Grade IV exam. He'll go for Grade V when he's eligible, and - in his spare time - he has made these YouTube videos to teach operator math for anyone to view. He represents the future of the industry and we're glad to have him on our team."

Want to see more of the videos? They can be found here.

Could you benefit from a partnership with a company committed to the future of the water and wastewater industry? Call Veolia at 312-552-2800 or e-mail us and we can answer any questions you might have.


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