Underrated but highly valuable, the role of the hazardous waste technician is one of vital importance. The energy world is becoming greener every day, with new technologies and installations cropping up on a regular basis. However, we aren’t 100% renewably powered just yet and in the meantime, there are some nasty side products of our energy generation that need to be dealt with. This is where the hazardous waste technician comes in. Their job is to make sure all of the hazardous materials are safely disposed of.
The Basics of the Job
You’re completely covered in a protective suit and you have an important mission. You need to make sure that the hazardous waste in the back of a truck ends up being safely stored away so that it doesn’t wind up in a landfill or being poured down a drain. You know exactly what kind of waste each substance is and how it should be disposed of in order to keep it from contaminating the surrounding land and water.
You sort the waste into categories according the to its active ingredient. Some will be recycled and some will need to be shipped to special recycling and disposal plants. By meticulously sorting the waste and disposing of it responsibly you are playing a significant role in saving the environment from even more damage.
Your main job duty will be making sure all of the hazardous waste placed in your care is disposed of correctly and that none of it seeps into the land or water. You will maintain registers, inventories and documents of everything you encounter and the method in which you have disposed of it. You will need to follow complex procedures for chemical handling and waste management.
You will then fill in reports outlining the actions and measures you took as well as the necessary paperwork for sending non-recyclable hazardous waste to the appropriate disposal centre. Everything must be carefully documented, as there are high degrees of accountability and responsibility associated with this job. You will also need to ensure you are up to date with any new processes and procedures regarding hazardous waste management.
Where You Will Be Working
As a hazardous waste technician you will work in a number of different environments, including in the field. Here you will receive and inspect hazardous waste before organising it into appropriate categories. You will operate the process equipment used for treatment and disposal as well as vehicles for transporting the waste.
Back in the office, you will need to fill in the necessary paperwork relating to your recent tasks. You will also have data that need to be analysed and communications that must be sent to the relevant authorities. You may also spend time researching innovative disposal processes to make your job easier and more effective.
Who to Work For
The scope of possible work placements for a hazardous waste technician is broad. You could find yourself at a waste recycling and disposal facility or a waste management firm. Alternatively, you could work for a lab, hospital or manufacturing firm and take charge of the hazardous waste coming from that establishment. Finally, there are opportunities to work in government departments or within universities and research institutes.