In the Ask EnviroStaff series, we answer popular questions about positions in the environmental industry. This week’s question: are CDL drivers in demand?
Environmental Remediation and Semi-Truck Drivers
Environmental remediation is the removal of pollution or contaminants from water (both ground water and surface water) and soil. This aids in the protection of human health as well as works to restore the environment. It could be a planned job or an emergency requiring immediate action. Hazardous material (HAZMAT) semi-truck drivers with experience, usually two or more years, are a big part of site cleanup.
There are many jobs associated with environmental remediation to dispose of hazardous waste, which often presents unique challenges that require specific skills working in cooperation. Several types of workers are involved in each step of a remediation project.
Workers in environmental remediation might be employed by companies in architectural, engineering, and related services industries; by construction management, scientific, and technical consulting firms; or by state, local, or federal government agencies. One of the important jobs is the safe transportation of hazardous materials from a polluted site.
Are CDL Drivers in Demand?
Semi-truck drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) are in high demand across a variety of industries, and none more so than environmental remediation. A driver should be able to do the following:
- Safely operate and drive trucks in a timely manner.
- Load and unload waste using vans and tankers.
- Maintain full compliance with regulations, electronic logs, vehicle inspection reports, and fleet safety.
- Prepared for on-call emergency service.
- Assist with other hazardous waste equipment use.
Most workers who are new to uncontrolled hazardous waste or emergency response operations are required to complete online Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training through the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This training includes general site workers (such as laborers and equipment operators) and on-site management and supervisors.
A HAZMAT truck driver is a professional driver responsible for transporting toxic materials safely. These drivers adhere to a strict set of procedures to ensure the general population’s health and protection from harm. These haulers have a CDL and are trained in handling, delivering, and disposing of hazardous substances by earning their HAZMAT endorsement.
All liquid and liquefied gas materials must be transported in a tank vehicle, so such goods require an X endorsement to haul. This is an endorsement above and beyond the H endorsement allowing a driver to transport HAZMAT.
Local job opportunities are available for transporting HAZMAT loads, but most hazardous substances are shipped long distances. HAZMAT drivers should be prepared for regional and over-the-road (OTR) trips.
CDL Job Data
The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics does not keep wage or job growth data specific to environmental remediation. However, the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $48,310 as of May 2021. On average, about 259,900 openings for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are projected each year over the decade, with 4% growth.
Due to the training required for this type of CDL work, drivers in this field are often among the higher paid. According to Salary.com, HAZMAT drivers can earn as much as $91,296 per year, while a ZipRecruiter.com survey finds a tanker hauler can make as much as $99,500 per year.
If you have a CDL and want a hand finding new career opportunities, contact EnviroStaff today. We partner with clients across the country to provide them with the environmental professionals they need on their team. Our team is ready and waiting to help!