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Aquatic Life Support Supervisor


Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is seeking an Aquatic Life Support Operator to perform all aspects of aquatic Life Support Systems (LSS) and public water feature operation and maintenance.  Provides support, as needed, for the design and construction of new aquatic LSS for a new large sea lion exhibit and existing public water features.  Works closely with curatorial and facilities staff in order to complete critical tasks related to the maintenance of LSS and to ensure the maintenance of designated water quality parameters.  Ensures all public water features meet DHEC water quality requirements when open to the public. Supervises plans and coordinates a variety of services, activities, operations and maintenance of LSS and public water features. Coordinates assigned activities with other divisions and provides reliable technical assistance to staff. This is a hands-on position. This position is expected to execute aquatic LSS functions as described, below, and to teach/mentor Omaha Zoo staff regarding life support theory, function and implementation. This position reports directly to the Aquatics Curator.

Skills and Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent required.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry, biology or relevant field preferred. Four years of relevant experience may be substituted for a degree.
  • Two years of successfully performing duties as LSS/Water Quality position.
  • Experience in the maintenance of aquariums, aquatic life support systems, and use of water quality testing equipment preferred.
  • Thorough understanding of biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration systems including; ozone mechanics, ORP, chlorine injection, ultraviolet (UV), biological filters, rapid sand filters, and the ability to trouble shoot these types of systems required. AALSO Level 2 certification preferred.
  • Skills in LSS plumbing, minor electrical, fiberglass repair, and light carpentry preferred.
  • Knowledge of spectrophotometers (e.g. HACH) and multiprobe mini-sonde (e.g. hydrolab, YSI) preferred.
  • Proficiency with computers required with MSOffice software experience preferred.
  • Ability to perform strenuous physical work required.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays required.
  • Ability to communicate well both verbally and in writing required.
  • Ability to plan and organize work in an efficient and cost-effective manner and without direct supervision required.
  • Ability to provide excellent guest service by positively interacting with guests.
  • Ability to develop and maintain cooperative working relationships with all Zoo team members and contacts regarding company business required.
  • Ability to adhere to standard operating procedures including but not limited to safety protocols required.
  • Possession of a valid State motor vehicle operator’s license and a good driving record required.
  • Proof of negative TB screening prior to placement and annually thereafter required.
  • Ability to adhere to the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s drug-free workplace policy including but not limited to pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion and follow-up treatment required.
  • Ability to successfully complete a criminal history background.

Duties and Responsibilities (include but not limited to):

  • Operates monitors and ensures proper functioning of all equipment vital to the operation of Animal Care exhibit water quality and life support systems and exhibit water features (e.g. lab equipment, pumps, valves, filters, ozone generators, backwashes, generators, UV sterilizer and chemical controllers).
  • Communicates daily with co-workers and curators with regard to LSS and water quality issues as they relate to animal health and exhibit function/appearance. Works closely with co-workers to monitor and maintain nitrogen cycling in new and empty tanks, and to ensure all scheduled and unscheduled water changes, transfers and system-drop procedures are completed safely and efficiently.  This may include but is not limited to monitoring and performing the following analyses:  salinity, pH, temperature, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, copper, sulfate, ORP, hardiness alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, turbidity, chlorine, and other parameters as assigned by curators.
  • Maintain efficient operation of backwash recovery system and water reclamation. Prepares and maintains salt water batches and water transfers on large systems.
  • Performs minor service and repairs to LSS equipment/systems including but not limited to water pumps, ozone equipment, meters/monitors/probes/sensors and associated calibrations, air blowers, and air prep units, water towers and vessels, water chillers and heat exchangers, valves, LSS plumbing, filters, and generators.
  • Troubleshoots water chemistry problems by recommending and adding chemicals, synthetic seawater and reclaimed seawater to tanks as needed to maintain appropriate levels and responds to life support system alarms.
  • Maintains accurate records of water quality testing and life support reading/activities and generates reports/recommendations (e.g. repairs, purchases, supplies) based on the information.
  • Coordinates with and assists Facilities Department with major repairs; preventative maintenance service; and, on water quality and life support equipment.
  • Maintains an inventory of back up LSS equipment, parts and supplies to facilitate regular preventative maintenance service and minor repairs.
  • Assures safety of self, animals, co-workers and visitors by observing safety guidelines around the animals, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Utilizes chemical supply products and follows standardized usage guidelines and safety information as set by the Material Data Sheets and makes recommendations to curator staff on compliance related issues.
  • Attends region meetings and participates in developmental seminars (e.g. remains current on job skills) and workshops as required.
  • Provide input to Area Supervisor and curator staff on all aspects (e.g. water quality, safety, life support systems).
  • Participates in cross-training as directed
  • Establishes and maintains contacts with other LSS professionals.
  • Provides leadership to other Animal Care staff members and departments on water quality and life support issues as required.
  • Constantly strives to further the mission of the organization and avidly supports the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Implements sustainable practices in daily tasks whenever possible.
  • Must be on-call for LSS emergencies.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, nor is it to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer as defined by the EEOC.