Research Scientist - Water Quality Standards
This position is located within the Water Assessment Section of the Environmental Analysis & Outcomes Division at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, for the State of Minnesota. The Water Assessment Section provides technical support for the development and application of water quality standards to protect human health and aquatic life and ensure water bodies are suitable for fishing, swimming, drinking water and other important uses. The Section provides risk assessment support for multiple agency programs and initiatives. The section conducts monitoring and studies about the contamination in Minnesota’s water, including contaminants of emerging concern, such as pharmaceuticals and endocrine active compounds; evaluates groundwater conditions, best management practices for protecting groundwater and interactions between groundwater and surface water; and provides information and coordination regarding emerging issues and “toxics in products” policy and regulation.
The incumbent will develop new and revised water quality standards* to reflect current science and EPA guidance, and to protect the designated uses of Minnesota waters. The incumbent will conduct research on conventional pollutants, nutrients and toxins through existing water quality standards/criteria documents and published literature review. The incumbent will provide technical assistance to rulemaking efforts related to new and revised water quality standards. The incumbent will also develop all relevant written documents, reports, procedural manuals, statements of need and reasonableness (SONARs) and exhibits necessary to support proposed changes to water quality standards.
*When referring to numeric values or narrative statements used to protect beneficial uses, the term “water quality standards” in this document is equivalent to the term “water quality criteria” found in federal regulations and EPA guidance.
- A Master’s degree in aquatic toxicology, biology, zoology, the aquatic sciences, or a closely related field, with significant coursework in aquatic toxicology, limnology, statistics, and chemistry.
- A Bachelor’s degree in any of the above fields with at least three years of work experience related to water quality and working with requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
- Candidates must have good communication skills and the ability to work effectively with others, cooperate and coordinate with individuals involved in diverse application of environmental programs and research, to establish and maintain productive and open communication with clientele and other staff members.
- In-depth understanding of aquatic toxicology.
- A general understanding of the Clean Water Act and associated federal regulations, particularly those related to water quality standards and designated beneficial uses.
- Experience with rulemaking.
- Knowledge of scientific, experimental and research techniques sufficient to understand, design and conduct comprehensive and sophisticated scientific research.
- Ability to manage and conduct statistical analyses of large data sets.
- Ability to evaluate and assist in the prioritization of new and ongoing WQS development work and propose research approaches that reflect current scientific understanding and future opportunity.
- Accomplished technical/administrative writing skills necessary to organize and effectively present ideas in a manner appropriate for the intended audience.
- Skilled in oral communication necessary to clearly, and tactfully, communicate in a manner appropriate for the intended audience. The Research Scientist 2 must be capable of making effective presentations to and communicating with management.
- Good project management skills to meet priorities, goals and objectives, monitoring work, and follow-up on goals.
Requires occasionally lifting and/or carrying such articles as file folders, ledgers, and small equipment. Although a sedentary job is defined as one, which involves sitting, a certain amount of walking and standing is often necessary in carrying out job duties.
Why Work For Us
Our mission is to protect and improve the environment and human health. We work with many partners (citizens, communities, and businesses, all levels of government, environmental groups and educators) to prevent pollution, conserve resources, and to help ensure polluting does not have disproportionate impact on any groups of people.
The State of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package including low cost medical and dental insurance, employer paid life insurance, short and long term disability, pre-tax flexible spending accounts, a retirement plan, tax-deferred compensation, generous vacation and sick leave, and 11 paid holidays each year. We emphasize work-life balance, and strive to have inclusive workplace for everyone.