Responsibilities & Responsibilities of an Environmental Technician

The environmental technician plays a very important role in keeping our environment safe from hazardous materials and pollutants. His job involves testing, monitoring and disposal of materials considered to be a potential environmental threat if handled, stored or disposed of improperly. Most environmental technicians have an associate or bachelor’s degree in environmental science, which includes classes in chemistry, climatology and geology. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs as an environmental technician are expected to increase by 21 percent by 2016. As of May 2006, environmental technicians earned an average of $40,560 per year.

Monitor Work Sites”> The environmental technician tests water and soil samples. test tube image by Oleg Verbitsky from

The environmental technician works with environmental engineers and scientists to monitor a variety of work settings to ensure environmental and worker safety from pollution and hazardous chemicals. To do this effectively, she collects and tests soil, air and water samples, and looks for toxic gases, poisonous metals and radioactive material. As the environmental technician collects and tests these samples, she analyzes them for toxicity levels and reports her findings to the engineer or scientist with whom she is working.

Hazardous Waste Disposal

When a pollutant or hazardous waste is found, it must be disposed of properly, so that it doesn’t contaminate the environment or put workers at risk. There are many regulations with which the environmental technician must be in compliance, such as disposal into specific containers and receptacles with clearly marked hazardous waste warnings. Environmental technicians often work in managing waste operations and participate in keeping inventory of hazardous waste that’s been collected. Documentation is very important in this area as is communication since the environmental technician must communicate with companies that will come to the work site to properly remove hazardous waste containers and materials.


A variety of equipment and tools are used by the environmental technician to collect, test and dispose of materials. These tools and equipment must be cleaned and maintained to keep them in good working order. Many tools require calibrating, which involves correcting the precision or accuracy of any tool that is used for measuring. This is very important since the environmental technician is relied upon for accurate testing and collecting results. Equipment in the laboratory must be cleaned and sterilized before it can be used on new specimens. Without this maintenance, new specimens could be tainted from prior samples leading to false conclusions about the new material being tested.

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