Water and Sewer

Somerville is a city that upholds progressive principles for both employees and residents. The City of Somerville embraces and encourages an innovative, empowering, and collaborative workplace culture in a fast-paced, challenging environment. The City also offers a generous benefits package that embodies a strong work-life balance. Not only is Somerville a “Model City,” as termed by The Boston Globe, but it is also a model employer.

General Statement of Duties and Responsibilities:

The Working Foreman Special Heavy Motor Equipment Operator (SHMEO)/Sewer oversees and works in the construction, maintenance, and operation of the sewer system including but not limited to sewer mains, drains, connections, and catch basins. The individual shall have a thorough knowledge of the principles and practices of maintaining sewer systems. Performs all other related duties that may be assigned.


Supervision Received:

Works under the direct supervision of the Director of the Water and Sewer and/or their designee.


Supervision Exercised:

Performs front-line working supervision of sewer crews.


Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Supervises the activities of a sewer maintenance crew.
  • Supervises and performs the installation and repair of mains, valves, manholes, drainage systems, and any other appurtenances using whatever methods, tools, and procedures are necessary to complete the task in a safe, proper, and proficient manner.
  • Digs, braces, backfills and tampers excavations.
  • Installs and repairs asphalt and concrete.
  • May be required to climb into catch basins and sewer lines to remove and dispose of solid substances.
  • Reads and follows the specifications in engineering blueprints, sketches and diagrams of the sewer system.
  • Locates, operates, repairs, and maintains underground sewer and drainage utilities and controls.
  • Supervises use of and operates equipment including but not limited to front-end loaders, backhoes, compacting equipment, skid-steer loaders, vactor-type equipment, jetting machines, and catch-basin machines in a professional and competent manner and with care taken to perform the work safely and with efficiency.
  • Uses standard hand tools including but not limited to shovels, picks, axes, saws, heavy wrenches, and small power tools.
  • Responds to emergencies as directed.
  • Reports any emergencies to a Foreman.
  • Oversees emergency response activities related to system failures and/or crisis situations of the City sewer and drainage system. In the case of breaks and failures of the City sewer and drainage system, is responsible for determining the cause, locating problem area, and using whatever methods, tools and procedures that are necessary to complete the task in a safe, proper and proficient manner. Also responsible for responding to flooding conditions caused by the City sewer and drainage system by entering account holder premises and basements to check their status.
  • Supervises and performs minor maintenance functions on equipment including but not limited to checking and maintaining air pressures and fluid levels, lubrication of mechanical joints by applying necessary greases, and routine cleaning of vehicle exterior and interior.
  • Ensures all vehicle condition inspections and reports as required by law or by Department policy are performed.
  • Supervises all employees in customer response and problem resolution as related to sewer system issues and reports such issues to the Director of the Water and Sewer Department and/or their designee.
  • Assists with cross-departmental Water and Sewer emergencies as required.
  • Uses and oversees use of electronic work order system.
  • Supervise water crews and water work in emergency or urgent situations.
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with superiors, co-workers and the general public.
  • Supervises the safe collection and transport of sewer effluent in compliance with all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and State DEP sewer regulations; may perform this function as needed.
  • Responsible for reporting any Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) to a superior for notification to DEP.
  • Ensures that all safety practices and measures related to work zones, confined space entry, excavation, and others are adhered to and that personal protective clothing and equipment are utilized.
  • Ensures operational, maintenance, and staff compliance with applicable safety regulations and other requirements governing construction, repair, and maintenance operations.
  • Reports staff conduct and performance issues to Sewer Foreman.
  • Supervise training of and trains personnel for methods and techniques as necessary.

Minimum Qualifications and Entrance Requirements:

Working knowledge of the following:

  • Principles and practices pertaining to the correct, proficient and safe operation of equipment and assigned vehicles.
  • Applicable Municipal and Department rules and regulations pertaining to safe operation of assigned motor equipment.
  • Rules, regulations and applicable laws related to job safety.
  • Principles and practices for the operation and maintenance of sewer systems.


Demonstrated ability to:

  • Supervise construction, maintenance, and repair; manage personnel toward these repairs as necessary.
  • Exercise proper professional and technical judgment.
  • Use a computer with various programs applicable to duties set forth in this job description.
  • Read and follows the specifications on engineering blueprints and maps and specifications as they pertain to municipal sewer and sewer systems and recognize the need for referral to determine safe excavation.
  • Supervise employees who enter and make observations in manholes, pump stations, sewer lift stations, trenches and other confined spaces.
  • Comply with all Federal, State, City and Department policies and provisions as pertains to the City sewer and drainage infrastructure.
  • Frequently lift, move, push, pull and/or carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Occasionally lift, move, push, pull, and/or carry up to 100 lbs.
  • Balance, stoop, bend and crouch; reach and handle tools with both hands to operate, demonstrate, or train employees.
  • Work under varying weather conditions.
  • Perform duties of this job description scheduled and unscheduled overtime.


Entrance Requirements:

  • Graduation from a high school or vocational school, or equivalent degree.
  • Demonstrated experience supervising crews operating and maintaining a public sewer/water system or related construction experience.
  • Must possess a valid Commonwealth of Massachusetts Class B license with air-break endorsement and tank endorsement.
  • Must possess Massachusetts Hoisting License with 2B and 4E restrictions.
  • Must have a responsible driving record.
Application Procedure: 

This position will remain open until filled. Send your resume and cover letter to:

City Hall Personnel Office
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville MA 02143
Fax: 617-666-4426
TTY: 1-866-808-4851
Email: [email protected]

City of Somerville residents are especially encouraged to apply.

The City of Somerville is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, disability or any other protected category. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures will be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities free of charge, upon request.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator, Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected].

Full Time Plus Benefits
$58,254.90 yearly / $28 per hour
Application Start Date: 
Friday, August 2, 2019
Application End Date: 
Friday, September 20, 2019