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Life Support Systems Technician

This position is responsible for the daily operation and maintenance of Zoo Knoxville’s life support systems and aquatic filtration components of varied exhibits. The individual will be responsible for the operation, maintenance, monitoring and repair of the zoo’s LSS and water feature equipment, structure and facilities.

Essential Functions:

  • Clean, operate and maintain the zoo’s water features, aquatic environments, life support systems and related equipment in a safe manner and environment.
  • Operates, monitors and maintains proper functioning of all equipment vital to the operation of a varied of animal exhibit water quality systems, life support systems and exhibit water features.
  • Conducts daily rounds of all pump rooms to inspect filters, sand filters, pumps, motors, compressors, lights, fans, ozone units, chillers, water towers and vessels, heat exchangers and all other equipment related and or associated with Zoo Knoxville’s LSS and water feature systems.
  • Coordinate with animal management and the maintenance supervisor for the routine maintenance, preventive maintenance, repairs and or emergency maintenance of the systems to ensure healthy aquatic environments and water for the zoo’s collection of species.
  • Complete regular preventive maintenance, calibration, routine upkeep, troubleshooting and repair to instrumentation and mechanical equipment.
  • Basic knowledge of pool maintenance and water sanitation methods and techniques.
  • Knowledge of chemistry methods and water quality testing including coliform.
  • Ability to adapt, analyze, solve problems and apply critical thinking
  • Ability to perform safely in a high stress environment and emergency situation.
  • Troubleshoot water chemistry/quality issues and know how to correct them. This may include, but is not limited to daily monitoring and performing the following analysis: pH, temperature, ammonia, nitrate, copper, sulfate ORP, hardiness alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, phosphate, turbidity, chlorine and other parameters.
  • Assures effective organizational communication.
  • Ability to read and understand SDS sheets for products used in daily job performance.
  • Experience in the operation of ozone and automated control systems.
  • The ability to make repairs, install and or replace equipment and modify equipment as needed.
  • Develop, administer and monitor assigned budget.
  • Develop and complete routine water quality inspections and document the data for each system.
  • Develop and implement specific safety guidelines for each area.
  • Develop and create water quality programs for each species in the current and future collection.
  • Maintain current records for review as needed.
  • Effectively communicate any water quality concerns to the appropriate staff including animal collections and maintenance supervisor.
  • Prepare and maintain a sufficient inventory of equipment and supplies.
  • Produce water quality maintenance reports and work orders as required.
  • Knowledge and understanding of pool filtration and equipment.
  • Develop, document and perform emergency procedures for power outages and operations associated systems with the ARC backup generator on a monthly basis.
  • Document and perform monthly tests of these systems.
  • Proficient computer knowledge and skills along with verbal and written.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Follows USDA, OSHA, TWRA and AZA standards.
  • Adheres to Zoo Knoxville and Operations policies and practices.
  • Demonstrate continued interest in knowledge of the facility and equipment maintenance field.
  • Keep certifications current.
  • Further knowledge through additional certifications as identified.
  • Implement sustainable practices in daily tasks where possible.
  • Excellent organizational skills and time management.
  • The ability to sort through and comprehend technical instructions, including the ability to read and understand mechanical, electrical and life support drawings, specifications and system sequence of operation procedures.
  • Provides specialized training for Operations and Animal Collections staff.
  • Provide input for future exhibits and facilities.
  • Performs other duties and tasks as assigned.

Education and Certifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Biology, Chemistry, Animal Science, Zoology or other applicable field and/or work experience equivalent to a combination of education and training.
  • Specialty training beyond high school.
  • OSHA 10 certification for General Industry -preferred but not required
  • Minimum of 3 years related work experience in an AZA accredited institution preferred.
  • An equivalent combination of education and work experience will be considered.
  • AALSO Operator Level 2 or equivalent experience
  • AFO certification – preferred but not required
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Must be at least 21 years of age


As an employee of Zoo Knoxville, you must possess English communication skills as well as the ability to communicate using a 2-way radio, email and telephone.  The position hours vary depending on business needs and will require weekend and some holiday shifts. Depending on the specific tasks, this position will be required to work within close proximity of exotic and domestic animals and must be aware that there are dangers inherent in working under those conditions. Zoo Knoxville is committed to maintaining a drug free workplace and as such each employee must pass a pre-employment drug screen.