Sewer Cleaner Career

Job Description: 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.

*A job as a Sewer Cleaner falls under the broader career category of Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Sewer Cleaner Career

What Sewer Cleaners do:

  • Communicate with supervisors and other workers, using equipment such as wireless phones, pagers, or radio telephones.
  • Drive trucks to transport crews, materials, and equipment.
  • Operate sewer cleaning equipment, including power rodders, high-velocity water jets, sewer flushers, bucket machines, wayne balls, and vac-alls.
  • 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.
  • Clean and repair septic tanks, sewer lines, or related structures such as manholes, culverts, and catch basins.
  • Break asphalt and other pavement so that pipes can be accessed, using airhammers, picks, and shovels.
  • Inspect manholes to locate sewer line stoppages.
  • Dig out sewer lines manually, using shovels.
  • Withdraw cables from pipes and examine them for evidence of mud, roots, grease, and other deposits indicating broken or clogged sewer lines.
  • Prepare and keep records of actions taken, including maintenance and repair work.
  • Install rotary knives on flexible cables mounted on machine reels, according to the diameters of pipes to be cleaned.
  • Cut damaged sections of pipe with cutters, remove broken sections from ditches, and replace pipe sections, using pipe sleeves.
  • Measure excavation sites, using plumbers' snakes, tapelines, or lengths of cutting heads within sewers, and mark areas for digging.
  • Start machines to feed revolving cables or rods into openings, stopping machines and changing knives to conform to pipe sizes.
  • Ensure that repaired sewer line joints are tightly sealed before backfilling begins.
  • Clean and disinfect domestic basements and other areas flooded by sewer stoppages.
  • Tap mainline sewers to install sewer saddles.
  • Requisition or order tools and equipment.
  • Cover repaired pipes with dirt, and pack backfilled excavations, using air and gasoline tampers.
  • Rotate cleaning rods manually, using turning pins.
  • Update sewer maps and manhole charts.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

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.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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 of materials.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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.

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.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Communicating with Persons Outside 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.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Holland Code Chart for a Sewer Cleaner