Environmental Laboratory Scientist I

King County   Auburn, WA   Full-time     Science
Posted on April 28, 2022
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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 Trace Organics Unit. Under supervision, this position performs and interprets a variety of environmental laboratory sample extractions, cleanups and analyses using accepted Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods. Environmental Laboratory Scientist I incumbents develop their skills and perform a variety of extractions and analyses with training and progressively decreasing oversight.

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.

WHO MAY APPLY: This is open to the general public.  In addition to filling this vacancy, this recruitment may be used to fill future vacancies.

Who is Eligible:  This position is open to all King County employees and the public.

Work Location: Environmental Laboratory, 322 W. Ewing, Seattle, WA 98119. The Environmental Laboratory offices are located on the Lake Washington Ship Canal at the north end of Queen Anne, close to popular urban residential neighborhoods like Fremont, Ballard, and South Lake Union.
This position will work primarily from the Lab. However due to Covid-19, there may be times when telecommuting is allowed or even required. The County will provide a laptop and other IT equipment to facilitate the ability to work from home when necessary.
WORK SCHEDULE: This 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 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday.  Periodic extended hours and occasional weekend work is required and should be expected.


Job Duties

  • Using standardized EPA procedures, extract a variety of environmental sample matrices for fuels, pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, PAHs and other Trace Organic constituents.
  • Using standardized EPA procedures, cleanup a variety of environmental sample extracts including: gel permeation chromatography (GPC), alumina, Tetrabutylammonium (TBA) sulfite and sulfuric acid.
  • Prepare reagents, standard solutions and laboratory equipment for all types of Trace Organics analyses.
  • 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 corrective actions.
  • Write or update and review standard operating procedures in order to maintain laboratory certification and keep up with changing regulatory requirements.
  • Proactively and constructively participate in group problem solving and decision making.  Keep co-workers informed on project status, problems with samples, instrumentation, etc.
  • Maintain an inventory and order routine laboratory supplies. Receive supplies and document appropriate paperwork.
  • Follow laboratory protocols for the documentation, treatment and disposal of Hazardous Wastes.
  • Follow laboratory safety requirements and guidelines. Recognize and proactively correct potential safety hazards.

Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

  • A Bachelor's Degree in chemistry or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Operating, maintaining and troubleshooting lab equipment such as balances, ovens, water baths, sonicators, liquid-liquid extractors and homogenization equipment. 
  • Prioritizing work, managing own time and coordinating with others to facilitate teamwork. 
  • Handling non-routine situations independently.
Knowledge of:
  • Relevant principles of inorganic, organic, stoichiometry, qualitative and quantitative analytical chemistry. 
  • Relevant mathematics and statistics including principles of standard deviation, relative percent difference, calibration models and standard/reagent preparation. 
  • Applications including Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and/or their equivalents. 
  • EPA methods for Trace Organics extraction and cleanup protocols. 
  • Laboratory safety protocols and procedures in working with solvents, corrosives and analytical standards.
Ability to: 
  • Promote mutual respect and acceptance of all workers in a diverse work force. 
  • Successfully perform multiple tasks simultaneously under tight deadlines. 
  • Proven ability in applying principles of customer service and continuous quality improvement. 
  • Perform all of the primary job functions.
Demonstrated Ability to: 
  • Work successfully under supervision and independently within a team environment. 
  • Effectively communicate both orally and in writing scientific results and concepts. 
  • Be very detail oriented.
Desired Qualifications:
  • Direct and recent experience in Environmental Trace Organics sample preparation.
  • Direct and recent experience in Environmental Trace Organics sample analyses.
  • Skill in operating moderately complex automated instrumentation such as gel permeation chromatography and gas chromatograph instruments.
  • Direct and recent experience with computer software applications including: data acquisition and data processing programs, LIMS, spreadsheets, databases, email, and word processing packages.
  • GC-FID and GC-ECD experience.
  • HPLC MS/MS sample preparation and analysis experience.

Supplemental Information

Requires precision and coordination of hands and limbs to operate and use delicate laboratory equipment and glassware with accuracy. There is frequent prolonged standing, occasional to regular lifting of up to 40 pounds, raising and holding heavy bottles above the head, and manipulation of large, bulky materials. This position requires repetitive motion of hands and wrists and may require some kneeling and stooping at times.
Heavy workload, deadline pressure and interruptions due to changing priorities and malfunctioning equipment are not uncommon. Work is performed in a laboratory environment, with exposure to noxious fumes, harmful chemicals, biohazards, and high-volume or high frequency noise, and risk of exposure to high voltage electricity, harmful chemicals, very hot or cold materials, potential explosives, pressurized gas and sharp objects. Exposure and risk of exposure are minimized by adherence to appropriate laboratory safety practices.
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 
  • Responses to supplemental questions
Union Representation: This position is not represented by a union.
 For more information regarding this recruitment, please contact:
  Calvin Rivers, Senior Human Resources Analyst
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

King County Executive Branch employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are the successful candidate for the position you applied for, the County will send you a conditional offer letter.

As a condition of employment, prior to a final offer of employment, you will be required to:
  • submit proof of vaccination, or
  • have an approved request for medical or religious exemption and an approved accommodation. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation.

People are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccination approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Executive Branch includes 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
Describe how your experience, qualifications or education make you a competitive candidate for this position. Focus on specific experiences you have had performing environmental Trace Organic extractions, cleanups and analysis, including EPA methodology, maintenance, quality control, instrumentation used and troubleshooting experience.
Please define the terms positive and negative control samples and explain the importance of including these types of samples when extracting and cleaning up Trace Organic samples for analysis. What would these positive and negative control samples be called if you were following EPA method SW-846 8081?
Describe an analytical or technical situation that required you to solve a problem. Give us the details of the problem, what troubleshooting skills you used, and how the problem was resolved.
Describe a work situation where you were in conflict a peer or boss. What steps did you take to resolve the issue? What did you learn from the experience?

Required Question