Environmental Laboratory Scientist I (Conventionals Unit)

King County   Auburn, WA   Full-time     Science
Posted on September 9, 2022
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The Water and Land Resources Division of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks is looking for a Term-Limited Temporary Environmental Laboratory Scientist I for the Conventionals Unit.
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.

Who is Eligible: This position is open to all qualified applicants. If the successful applicant is a King County Career Service employee, this position will be offered as a Special Duty Assignment (SDA). Employees must have their current supervisor’s approval to accept an SDA.

Duration: This Term-Limited Temporary position or Special Duty Assignment is expected to last two-years.

Commitment to Equity and Social Justice:
As the only jurisdiction in the world named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation's history, King County is a vibrant international community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the traditions of many cultures.
We have a deep commitment to equity and social justice and advancing practices, strategies, and policies that promote fairness, justice, and opportunity for all – in our workplaces and our communities. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda to advance regional change and ensure that residents from vulnerable communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts. To learn more, please visit http://www.kingcounty.gov/equity.
Work Location:  Environmental Laboratory, 322 W. Ewing, Seattle, WA 98119-1507

Work Schedule: This term limited temporary full-time position is not exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is overtime eligible. This position is based on a 40-hour workweek, typically 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. Periodic extended hours and occasional weekend work is required and should be expected.

Job Duties

  • 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 using technical analytical instrumentation (autoanalyzers, autotitrators, Ion Chromatograph, TOC analyzers, UV-visible spectrophotometers, fluorometer, and a variety of manual procedures) 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 computerized databases 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.
  • Participate actively as a member of the Conventionals team. Keep co-workers informed on project status, problems with samples, instrumentation, etc. Constructively participate 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.
  • 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.
  • Receive environmental samples into the laboratory, review and process accompanying documentation for appropriateness and completeness per 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, and track information from external laboratories. Assist in establishing contracts with external laboratories and in evaluating subcontracting work. Identify and implement improvements to subcontracting system.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Our Ideal Candidate will have the Following Competencies:

  • Action Oriented: Enjoys working hard, is action oriented and full of energy for the things they see as challenging.  
  • Functional/Technical Skills: Has the functional and technical knowledge and skills to do the job at a high level of accomplishment.  
  • Priority Setting: Spends their time and the time of others on what's most important.
  • Peer Relationships: Can quickly find common ground and solve problems for the good of all, can represent their own interests and yet be fair to other groups, can solve problems with peers with a minimum of noise, is a team player and is cooperative, easily gains trust and support of peers, encourages collaboration, can be candid with peers.  
  • Technical Learning: Picks up on technical things quickly and can easily learn new skills and knowledge.
Required 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 pipettes, balances, 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.
Desired Qualifications:
  • 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.
  • Direct and recent experience with physical and electronic sample login.
Work Environment:  Sample preparation and analysis is performed in a laboratory environment where potentially dangerous chemicals, biohazards, gases, and electrical equipment are utilized. Mitigation of risks and exposures is minimized by strict adherence to the proper use of fume hoods and personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, lab coats, and chemical resistant gloves. Adherence to appropriate laboratory safety practices is very important for oneself and others in the laboratory. Each staff person has a cubicle in an office area outside the laboratory to perform non-laboratory work functions.
Physical Requirements: Requires precision in operating and using delicate laboratory equipment and glassware with accuracy. Ability to stand/position oneself at laboratory fume hoods and countertops for prolonged periods of time, occasional lifting of up to 40 pounds, and occasionally moving and 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

Application and Selection Process: Application materials will be screened for clarity, completeness including online application, cover letter and resume, and responsiveness to the list of qualifications, skills, and abilities. The most competitive candidates may be invited to participate in one or more panel interviews. Applications without the following required materials may not be considered for this position.

  • King County application
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter detailing your background and what you can bring to this position
  • Responses to supplemental questions
Union Membership: This position is not represented by a union.

 For more information regarding this recruitment, please contact:
Pamela Johnson, Human Resources Manager

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.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
As of October 18, 2021, most* King County employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If hired, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination by October 18th. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. Employees may make requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a medical disability or for sincerely held religious beliefs. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.
This directive applies to employees in the Executive branch*, the Assessor’s Office, Elections, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and the Executive Office.  
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 the 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.

Are you applying to this position as an eligible current or previous King County Employee Priority Placement Program Participant? Is this position the same or lower percentage of full-time when compared to the position held at the point of the notification of layoff? Do you possess the skills and abilities to qualify for this position?
  • Yes, I was given a layoff notice from my role at King County and I am within two years of the effective date of my layoff. Additionally, the position I was laid off from was the same or a higher percentage of FT status when compared to this one.
  • No.
If you answered yes to the question above and you are applying for this position as a Priority Placement Participant, to be considered, you must provide the following three pieces of information in the space provided: 1. The title you held when you received your layoff notice 2. The department you worked in 3. The effective date of your layoff
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 performing 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, etc.). 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 the specific experience you have had performing Conventionals sample preparation and analysis, including Standard Methods and EPA methodology, and 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.
The ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously under pressure is an important ability for this position. Describe any work experience or situations that you have been required to perform under these conditions for extended periods of time and how you handled it.
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.

Required Question