U.S. nationals: Water Quality Standards Uses, Antidegradation and Variances

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Washington, DC, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Reference Code EPA-Water-2019-0036

How to Apply

A complete application consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcripts – Click here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts
  • A current resume/CV, including academic history, employment history, relevant experiences, and publication list
  • Two educational or professional recommendations

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

If you have questions, send an email to  . Please include the reference code for this opportunity in your email.

Application Deadline
7/1/2019 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone


*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

A research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW). This appointment will be served with the Office of Science and Technology (OST) located in Washington, DC.

The Standards and Health Protection Division directs the national water programs for water quality standards (WQS) to protect the quality of lakes, rivers, estuaries and other water bodies, and advisories for safe fishing and swimming. The participant will be trained in the Division’s National Branch (NB), one of the two Branches in the Division that work on water quality standards. NB develops policy, guidance, and technical documents to assist states in implementing their water quality standards programs. These policies, guidance documents, and technical documents focus on protecting high quality waters, establishing goal uses for surface waters, and implementing water quality criteria (i.e., amount of pollutant(s) allowed in the waterbody).

Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will learn to provide science and policy analysis on water quality standards program issues that have national implications, particularly those pertaining to uses for surface waters, antidegradation and WQS variances. This would include research and development of pertinent technical and policy materials. The participant will be involved in planning and executing the WQS Academy which is held twice a year (https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-academy). The participant may also be involved in revising and communicating EPA’s primary guidance on WQS: the WQS Handbook (https://www.epa.gov/wqs-tech/water-quality-standards-handbook), or in planning a national meeting with state and EPA water quality standard program personnel.

The participant will be part of a multi-disciplinary and/or cross-program team on any given project or issue. The participant will be involved in a range of activities that support EPA’s Water Quality Standards Program, with a particular emphasis on national policies on designated uses, antidegradation components of WQS and WQS variances. The participant will be trained to: (1) analyze policy reports and technical documents related to water quality standards issues that have national implications; (2) contribute to training programs for states or tribes on the Water Quality Standards Program including the popular WQS Academy classroom sessions; (3) assemble data and information and developing materials and concerning biological, chemical, and other scientific aspects of the Water Quality Standards Program; (4) coordinate with other offices in the Office of Water to support policy and technical analyses related to uses, antidegradation and WQS variances; and/or (5) contribute to the communication of national WQS Program guidance, in the form of the WQS Handbook, in coordination with internal and external WQS counterparts.

The participant will learn about the role of water quality standards in achieving the goals of the Clean Water Act, and the relationship between standards and related core Clean Water Act programs such as the CWA 402 NPDES permit program and the CWA 303(d) listing and TMDL programs. In addition, the participant will gain familiarity with relevant EPA regulations and guidance documents. The project will provide excellent exposure to: (1) a broad range of water pollution control technical and policy issues; (2) the process of providing technical data and information that will support policy development; (3) interpretation of Clean Water Act statutory and regulatory language and its application to state-specific water quality standards proposals and submissions; (4) synthesizing technical and policy information for presentation to EPA senior managers and appropriate stakeholder groups, including honing the skill of communicating complex scientific or technical information to a non-technical audience; and (5) coordinating both within EPA and with regional and external counterparts to disseminate information on national WQS policy.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: July 1, 2019

This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding. The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant's travel expenses to travel to workshops, trainings, or conferences related to the research. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or participant's health insurance. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. The appointment is full-time at EPA in the Washington, DC area. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits.


The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree and will reach completion by the start date of the appointment. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. Students currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university pursuing a master's degree in one of the relevant fields are also eligible to apply. Proof of enrollment will be required each semester.

Preferred skills:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Familiarity and/or experience with the Clean Water Act and water resources science and management
  • Experience with MS Office (including PowerPoint)

Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree or Master's Degree.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Communications and Graphics Design 
    • Earth and Geosciences 
    • Engineering 
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences 
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences 
    • Other Physical Sciences
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences


I have received a bachelor's degree, or am currently pursuing the degree and will reach completion by July 1, 2019. OR I am currently pursuing a master's degree at an accredited U.S. college or university.