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EPA Water Quality Restoration and Safe Drinking Water Program Research Opportunity

EPA Office/Lab and LocationTwo postgraduate research opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10, Water Division. The appointments will be served in Seattle, Washington. Working remotely part of the time may be possible. 

The mission of EPA R10 Water Division is to restore, maintain, and enhance the overall quality of the water resources to protect the health and diversity of the environment for present and future generations. EPA has 2 opportunities:

1. Watersheds Section: The participant will learn about impaired and threatened waters and watershed restoration plans, the nonpoint source pollution control program, and tribal relations. The participant may also learn about wetlands, water quality standards and permits.

2. Safe Drinking Water Program: The participant will learn about Tribal public drinking water systems where the EPA has primacy and gain hands-on experience implementation the drinking water regulations. The participant also will learn how EPA informs and engages with a broad range of stakeholders, and gain experience in collaborating with water system operators in rural areas. 

Research Project: Under EPA mentors, the selected applicant will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • review and make recommendations on various documents or plans for consistency with regulations, EPA policy and/or accepted technical practices
  • provide technical support for agency decisions or actions
  • review data using appropriate data analytics to support EPA staff and managers in making recommendations on agency actions or decisions
  • conduct research or investigations on technical topics to support agency actions or decisions
  • help prepare technical and scientific documents related to litigation
  • effectively communicate orally, in writing and through a formal presentation effectively for the targeted audience

Learning ObjectivesThese opportunities will provide participants with exposure to a broad range of technical and policy issues surrounding watershed protection/restoration and drinking water programs. The participants will be trained in the various components of these programs, observe how the programs fit together to support EPA's goals and reporting requirements, learn how EPA informs and engages with its broad range of stakeholders, and gain experience in program development and implementation.

Mentor(s)The coordinator for this opportunity is Jayne Carlin ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the coordinator.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Winter 2023. 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 four 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 based on the GS-9 (masters) or GS11 (PhD) level rate (Seattle/Tacoma area) . Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

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

ORISE InformationThis 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).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

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.

The qualified candidate should have received a master's or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (science, public health or engineering), or be currently pursuing the degree with completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within the past five years. 

Preferred skills/experience:

• Experience or familiarity with computer programs and statistics such as R, Studio, Excel, Access, GIS, and/or modeling software
• Interest, knowledge and/or experience with environmental policy, law and federal regulations, especially in the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act
• Familiarity with water quality monitoring and/or collecting samples
• Experience or interest interfacing with the public and diverse audiences, working with people from diverse backgrounds and the ability to maintain cultural sensitivity
• Strong oral and written communication skills