Environmental Lab Scientist I

King County   Auburn, WA   Full-time     Science
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Posted on October 17, 2020

This position is open to all King County employees and the general public. Applicants from this recruitment may be considered for other vacancies as they occur.

Job Summary
The King County Environmental Lab is a full-service environmental laboratory supporting a range of King County wastewater treatment and environmental programs. (See http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/data-and-trends/environmental-lab.aspx for more details.) This is an entry-level classification for conducting environmental laboratory analyses using a variety of complex analytical methods and advanced instrumentation to characterize environmental samples in the Conventionals Unit. Under supervision, this position performs and interprets a variety of environmental laboratory analyses using accepted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods. Environmental Laboratory Scientist I incumbents develop their skills and perform a variety of analyses with training and progressively decreasing oversight.

Job Duties

Applying equity and social justice principles is a daily responsibility and a foundational expectation for all King County employees. In this role, you will apply equity and social justice principles that exemplify shared values, behaviors, and practices to all aspects of the work. You will also:

  • Receive environmental samples into the laboratory, review and process accompanying documentation for appropriateness and completeness given project requirements. Enter sample receiving data and related information into the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS); review samples and documentation and notify appropriate personnel of any problems or discrepancies between samples and project requirements. Maintain knowledge with chain of custody, quality assurance and safety requirements and guidelines. Maintain knowledge with sample container and preservation requirements for analyses conducted within the laboratory.
  • Subcontract samples to external laboratories. Prepare samples for subcontracting, arrange for shipment of samples, track information from external laboratories, and reconcile invoices with external lab documentation. Prepare required documentation for payment of invoices. Assist in establishing contracts with external laboratories and in evaluating subcontracting work. Identify and implement improvements to subcontracting system.
  • Prepare reagents, standard solutions, laboratory equipment, and environmental samples for all types of Conventionals analyses (nutrients, chlorophyll, BOD, COD, TOC, ion chromatography, cyanide, pH, conductivity, alkalinity, turbidity, solids, sulfide, particle size distribution, and several others).
  • Using standardized procedures, perform a variety of moderately complex Conventionals analyses by autoanalyzers, autotitrator, Ion Chromatograph, TOC analyzers, UV-visible spectrophotometers, fluorometer, and a variety of manual procedures.
  • Perform chemical analyses using technical analytical instrumentation and following standard operating procedures. Monitor analysis for instrument or analytical problems. Perform instrument calibration, maintenance, and troubleshooting on laboratory equipment.
  • Utilize computer software to prioritize work, track samples, acquire data, and perform calculations on results of laboratory tests. Transfer data into the LIMS database to track data and sample analysis progress.
  • Perform QA/QC activities to ensure that tests are in control and that quality of data meets project needs. Evaluate quality control results, identify deficiencies and take appropriate corrective actions.
  • Actively participate as a member of the Conventionals team. Keep co-workers informed on project status, problems with samples, instrumentation, etc. Participate constructively in group problem solving and decision making. Represent the Conventionals team on committees such as the safety and LIMS committees.
  • Incorporate certification and other regulatory requirements and amendments into laboratory services with assistance. Write, review, and edit standard operating procedures in support of the quality assurance program and accreditation.
  • Serve as a technical coordinator on project teams. Review and provide feedback on project documentation such as sampling and analysis plans (SAPs) and permits. Produce sample reports for customers including data interpretation in narrative form.
  • Maintain an inventory and order routine laboratory supplies. Receive supplies and document appropriate paperwork.
  • Follow chemistry laboratory safety requirements and guidelines. Recognize and correct potential safety hazards.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Minimum Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or an equivalent combination of experience and education is required.
  • A minimum of one year of inorganic environmental lab chemistry experience.
  • Knowledge and understanding of EPA, Standard Methods, and other approved conventional (physical / wet chemistry) analytical protocols.
  • Skill in operating, maintaining, and troubleshooting general lab equipment (motorized micro pipettesbalances, ovens, incubators, sonicators, and homogenization equipment) and moderately complex automated instrumentation (autoanalyzers, TOC analyzers, chromatography systems, spectrophotometers).
  • Knowledge and understanding of principles of inorganic, organic, and analytical chemistry, and relevant mathematics and statistics.
  • Working knowledge of computer applications including LIMS, Word, Excel, and vendor specialized software.
  • Demonstrated ability to promote mutual respect and acceptance of all workers in a diverse work group.
  • Proven effective communications skills (verbal and written, including professional report writing and standard operating procedures).
  • Demonstrated ability to participate in team and committee efforts of problem solving and decision making.
  • Demonstrated ability to work successfully under supervision and independently within a team environment.
  • Skill in prioritizing work and managing own time and in coordinating with others to facilitate teamwork.
  • Proven ability in applying principles of effective customer service and continuous quality improvement.
  • Ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously under tight deadlines, and be very detail oriented.
  • Must be able to perform all of the primary job functions.
Desirable Qualifications
  • Direct and recent experience with physical and electronic sample login.
  • Direct and recent experience in conventional chemistry procedures.
  • Direct and recent experience with computer software applications including data acquisition and data processing programs, LIMS, Word, Excel, and Outlook.

Necessary Special Requirements: A valid Washington State Driver's License and the ability to travel throughout the County in a timely manner. This position also requires precision in operating and using delicate laboratory equipment and glassware with accuracy. Ability to stand/position oneself at laboratory hoods and countertops for prolonged periods of time, occasional to frequent lifting of up to 40 pounds, raising and holding heavy bottles above the head, and moving, manipulating/positioning large and bulky materials. This position requires the ability to repetitively prepare and mix samples, which involves shaking and pouring samples, using repetitive hand and wrist motion and some kneeling and stooping.

Supplemental Information

Required Application Materials
1. King County application including the supplemental questionnaire
2. Resume
3. Attach a cover letter - Your letter should include how your skills and experiences makes you qualified for this position.

NOTE: Please answer ALL questions in the online employment application itself, with each of your jobs during the last 10 years listed (listing each position for each employer separately), duties explained, reasons for leaving etc. Earlier jobs should be included if they are relevant in some way to this job. Applications that are not complete, or do not include all required materials may be rejected as incomplete, and not advanced in the process. Applicants who are unable to apply online should follow the instructions under Application Tips and FAQs at www.kingcounty.gov/jobs. If you need an accommodation in the recruitment process or an alternate format of this announcement, please inquire directly with the Human Resources contact for this job announcement.

Selection Process
Applicants will be screened for competitiveness, completeness, and written communication skills. The most competitive candidates may be invited to participate in one or more interviews and possibly other selection process elements such as a writing exercise and/or other test. Final offers are contingent on successful completion of reference checks.

About King County
As the only county in the United States named after Martin Luther King Jr, one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation's history, King County is a vibrant community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the artistic and social traditions of many cultures. Together we are changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. We continue to build on an enduring legacy of shared values of equity and social justice, employee engagement, innovative thinking and continuous improvement. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda aimed at advancing regional change and is developing the systems and standards necessary to achieve better outcomes for all of our residents, regardless of their race or income. All of these qualities make this King County one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Competitive Benefits

Work Schedule
This position is non-exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and is eligible for overtime pay. Work schedule is normally Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Alternative work schedules may be considered. Work outside of the normal workday maybe required periodically.

Work Location
This position will work partially remote. There will be an expectation to travel to various worksites throughout King County as needed for your work. A Laptop will be supplied by King County.

For more information regarding this recruitment, please contact: Helen Hackley, HR Analyst, 206-477-0087, hhackley@kingcounty.gov

Union Membership
This position is non-represented.

Class Code: 7530100

Forbes recently named King County as one of Washington State's best employers.

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact your recruiter listed on this job announcement.

King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being.  Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:

  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 10 paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page.

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy.  If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails.  Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.
NOTE:  Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position. Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.
For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.

For the following types of conventional analyses: pH, Turbidity, Alkalinity, TSS, Settleable Solids, BOD, COD, TOC, Total Cyanide, Laser Diffraction PSD, Chlorophyll a, Ortho phosphorus, Nitrite + Nitrate, Ammonia, Silica, Total Phosphorus, Total Nitrogen, and Other: a) List your years of professional experience with each test. b) List all applicable matrices you analyzed for each test (surface water, saltwater, groundwater, industrial effluent, municipal influent and effluent, leachate, biosolids, soils, fresh and marine sediments). c) List types of equipment and instrumentation you used for each test you have experience with.
Describe how your experience and qualifications make you the best candidate for this position. Focus on specific experience you have had performing Conventionals sample preparation and analysis, including Standard Methods and EPA methodology, maintenance and troubleshooting of associated instruments. If you do not have a degree in chemistry, please explain why you believe your combination of education and experience can substitute and provide documentation to support your explanation.
3. We expect a high level of performance from employees at the King County Environmental Lab. We empower each other and value our technical expertise, collaboration, ethics, diversity, and service to our customers. Describe how you would contribute to and fit into the culture of this unique workplace
Please describe a difficult analytical problem you have encountered. What was the issue and what steps did you take to resolve the problem? Who else was involved? What was the outcome?

Required Question