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Water Utility Science worker

The Science Behind Clean Water: Water Utility Science at SCC

​Water utility science has an impact on everyday life. Water is vital to human survival and clean water ensures that people will not become sick. Through the study of water utility science at Santiago Canyon College (SCC), students have the chance to contribute to a fundamental human need which not many professionals can say.

The SCC Water Utility Science Program has been offered for approximately 20 years and serves about 400 students annually. At SCC, the Water Utility Science Program works closely with an industry advisory board including water industry partners and its expert instructors to ensure that the program is current to meet industry and student needs. The program serves those in water and wastewater industries along with those interested in getting into those careers.

"I knew that I was in the right place for my future career during my first class with Professor McLean. I was impressed with how he was able to break down concepts into pieces that were easy to follow," said 26-year-old Zachary Barker, a former Water Utility Science student, "Even though I knew nothing about water utility science at that point in time, I knew that he was going to provide me with a thorough and comprehensive education for my future."

Classes provide students technical and professional lessons combined with hands-on experience taught by instructors who are water utility science professionals. Coursework emphasizes the fundamental aspects of drinking water treatment, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatments. Certificate programs are designed to prepare students for entry level jobs like water distribution operator, water quality technician, and maintenance technician. The three degrees/certificates options are:

  • Water Treatment
  • Water Distribution
  • Wastewater/Environmental Sanitation

Water utility science students have the opportunity to get hands-on experience and college credit through internships. Through these placements with local water utilities, students discover different career paths, establish a winning resume, gain networking opportunities, and the potential for career advancement.
Every semester, approximately 20 students are in the water utility science internship program with about 10 placed with the Orange County Sanitation District. Interns work half-time and go to class the remainder of the time. Some internships are paid while others are non-paid.

Current water utility science student, 27- year-old Artun Ereren, has earned both the water treatment and water distribution certificates. Ereren is now working on the wastewater/environment sanitation certificate. He has participated in two part-time internships at the Yorba Linda Water District and Long Beach Water Department.

Ereren said, "I’ve been told my whole life that water was important, but it didn’t really hit me until I got older. I have always been fascinated by the natural and political history of water. I decided to take the water utility science classes because I wanted to learn the practical components and applications of water."

For more information, visit, email, or call the Business Career Technical Education (BCTE) division at (714) 628-4883.