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EPA Postgraduate Research in Underground Water Protection

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and Location: A postgraduate research opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 9 Water Division located in San Francisco, California. This research opportunity is with the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program in the Groundwater Protection Section.

Research Project: The Groundwater Protection Section is responsible for administering the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Program responsibilities are mainly related to the protection of underground sources of drinking water. This opportunity will focus on the implementation of research and planned activities related to UIC Class VI injection wells. Class VI wells are used to inject carbon dioxide (CO2) into deep rock formations.

This long-term underground storage is called geologic sequestration. Geologic sequestration refers to technologies to reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere and mitigate climate change.
The selected participant will research, compile, analyze and summarize information and data related to Class VI carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic sequestration permit applications. The selected participant will be involved in the Region’s analysis of multiple Class VI CO2 permit applications to determine best practices for evaluation of permit application modules, including geologic site characterization, plume modeling, well construction and operation, testing and monitoring, well plugging, and post-injection.

Learning Objectives: Under the guidance of a mentor, the participant will gain a broad understanding of EPA’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) program and the nexus with climate change mitigation through geologic carbon sequestration. The participant will have an opportunity to conduct research and analysis to support EPA’s role in geologic sequestration (GS) permitting and collaborate with EPA Regions, researchers, states, and local stakeholders to improve EPA's abilities in evaluating Class VI permit applications and overseeing GS projects. The participant will learn first-hand about the interaction between the various levels of government and the private sector on these issues. This opportunity will provide the participant with exposure to a broad range of technical and policy issues surrounding carbon sequestration and groundwater protection.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is David Albright ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Winter 2021/2022. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment may initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. At this time the annual stipend for master's degree ~$68,000/year and doctoral degree ~$82,000/year. A travel allowance will be provided for pertinent conferences, meetings, and/or trainings, with approval of the project coordinator or mentor.

EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE Information: 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. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity (EPA-REG9-WD-2022-03).