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Army Air Force

Water, Fuels and Environmental Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Water, Fuel and Environmental Technicians provide water supply, waste water treatment and environmental engineering support to operational units at home and abroad.

The Water, Fuel and Environmental Technician job is one of seven Construction Engineering positions that provide all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations. The primary responsibilities of the Water, Fuel and Environmental Technician are to:

  • Install, operate and maintain water treatment and supply systems
  • Install, operate and maintain waste water collection and treatment systems
  • Set up and monitor various environmental programs
  • Produce associated mechanical designs and specifications
  • Produce associated mechanical drawings
  • Conduct reconnaissance related to the above
  • Assist other Construction Engineering tradespersons

Work environment

Water, Fuel and Environmental Technicians often work day or night and must deal with the challenges that come with varying environmental conditions. Water, Fuel and Environmental Technicians maintain their skills while employed at home units or on humanitarian and United Nations operational assignments.

Career Overview

Transcript

TITLE:

WATER, FUELS AND ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNICIAN

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: I’m Master Corporal Cara Stangby from Frosty Hollow, New Brunswick. I'm a Water, Fuel and Environmental Technician currently posted to 17 Wing Winnipeg.

Water, Fuels and Environmental Technicians, or WFE Techs for short, are entrusted with one of the most important roles in the Canadian Armed Forces – ensuring that Canadian soldiers, sailors and air crews are provided with clean, safe water on bases in Canada and wherever in the world they are deployed.

WFE Techs also take care of contaminated water like the wastewater from showers and toilets and deal with it so that it can safely go back out to the environment. They work with many other areas of environmental concerns on bases in Canada and wherever in the world they are deployed, doing environmental sampling and component testing to make sure that everything is in compliance. They’re also involved in hazmat spill cleanup. This could be anything from a simple fuel spill on a runway to the worst-case scenario involving an unknown chemical.

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: Every day is not the same as the day before. There is such a big area of responsibility that you're constantly learning new things and there's lots of different aspects to do every single day.

In the fuels part of their trade, WFE Techs take care of the tank farms where fuel is stored. Whether it’s aviation, gas, diesel or naval fuel, they ensure fuel delivery and storage systems are capable of delivering a safe product, and make sure the fuel is clean and dry.

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: Environment is a big role that's getting bigger every day, especially here in Canada as well as abroad. Environmental assessments are done before setting up any exercises or camps overseas. And before we were to leave that country or that exercise spot domestically, we do a closeout assessment, which is making sure that we're leaving the terrain, the land, the environment in as good a quality or better than what it was before we were there.

WFE Techs are also part of the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, based at CFB Gagetown. They take care of the portable Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit, or ROWPU. When the DART deploys, the ROWPU is one of the most important tools they bring with them.

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: I really love being a WFE Tech. Every day is different, every day I'm excited to get up and go to work. I really like water and wastewater, being in a plant and making sure everything's running properly and of course, things break, so you get that little bit of mechanical inclination there, you get to fix pumps and things. It's always busy. There's always something to do. So it's good.

On completion of their military and primary trade training, WFE Techs are posted to an Air Force, Army or Navy base for two years of on-the-job training. That involves pretty well all aspects of the trade, including time at a water treatment plant and at a wastewater treatment plant. They will also do some hands-on training with hazmat spill clean-up and environmental testing. It’s very comprehensive, with a lot of technical requirements, especially with regards to mathematics, chemistry and lab work.  

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: It's pretty good at taking you from high school level to where you need to be to be an apprentice. And then when you go back for your journeyman training, they bring you up that next notch so that you're comfortable supervising and all the aspects of your job.

MASTER CORPORAL CARA STANGBY: I really like my career. It's definitely not just provided financially for my family, but for my own lifestyle and hopes and dreams. I get to travel, I have a normal day-to-day job when I’m not travelling. There’s something about a military family that’s really special.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Water Plant Technician
  • Waste Water Plant Technician
  • Environmental Assessor
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Mechanical)

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Water, Fuel and Environmental Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 21 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawings and schematics
  • Water distribution and treatment systems
  • Waste water disposal and treatment systems
  • Fuel storage and distribution systems
  • Chemistry, fluids and mechanical principles
  • Math and Physics
  • Brazing and welding techniques

Water, Fuel and Environmental Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Water plant technician
  • Waste water plant technician
  • Environmental assessor
  • Certified engineering technician (mechanical)

Entry plans

No previous work experience or career related skills are required. CAF recruiters can help you decide if your personal interests and attributes match the criteria for this occupation.

The minimum required education to apply for this occupation is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondary 4 in Quebec including Grade 10 Applied Math or Math 416 / CST 4 in Quebec.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Water, Fuels and Environmental Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide water supply, waste water treatment and environmental engineering support to military units for training and operations. When employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis, they usually serve at a CAF location within Canada.

Find a Recruiting Centre

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, the home unit will arrange for additional training for specialized skills. Training for Water, Fuels and Environmental Technicians takes about 21 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. 

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends (Air Reserve Water, Fuels and Environmental Technicians usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day), although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.