Postdoc: Tribal Drinking Water Program via Zintellect

Seattle, WA, US

A postgraduate fellowship project is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA), Region 10, Office of Water and Watersheds (OWW) in Seattle, Washington. The appointment will work in the Drinking Water Unit on the Tribal Drinking Water team.

The mission of OWW is to restore, maintain, and enhance the overall quality of Region 10’s water resources in order to protect the health and diversity of the environment and its inhabitants for present and future generations. The Drinking Water Unit assures that national drinking water standards are adhered to by public water systems (PWSs) in the Region, which includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, through a combination of State oversight and direct implementation (DI) on Tribal lands.

The participant will gain experience on DI through the Tribal Drinking Water team, which carries out all functions associated with primacy of a drinking water program, including assuring that tap water at Tribal PWSs meets national health standards for all regulated contaminates (over 80), that sanitary surveys are conducted on time on-site at each water system, and that issues that pose potential risks to the water system are identified and mitigated.

The participant will be trained in the following areas: 

  • Reviewing water quality data to assure it meets drinking water standards.

  • Preparing technical assistance documents that support Tribal operators and water system managers.

  • Providing technical support on the implementation of various drinking water rules, including the Revised Total Coliform Rule (RTCR), Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR), Groundwater Rule (GWR), radionuclides, organic and inorganic chemicals, and the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) Rule.

  • Preparing technical and scientific input on contamination issues relating to organic and inorganic chemicals, radionuclides and bacteria, as well as on turbidity removal and achieving disinfection for virus, giardia and cryptosporidium.

  • Assist in the management of drinking water data.

  • Assist in the evaluation of groundwater sources that are potentially under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI).

This opportunity will provide the participant with exposure to a broad range of regulatory, technical and policy issues surrounding drinking water. Since the work involves Tribal water systems where the EPA has primacy, the fellow will gain hands-on experience in rule implementation. There is flexibility for the fellow to develop expertise in areas of his or her interest. The fellow will also learn how EPA informs and engages with a broad range of stakeholders, and gain experience in working with water operators in rural areas.

The appointment is full time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant’s travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or participant’s health insurance. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.