EPA Environmental Research Assistant

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Reference Code

The EPA Environmental Research and Business Support Program has an immediate opening for an EPA Environmental Research Assistant with the Office of Research and Development at the EPA facility in Ada, OK.

The Office of Research and Development at the EPA supports high-quality research to improve the scientific basis for decisions on national environmental issues and help EPA achieve its environmental goals. Research is conducted in a broad range of environmental areas by scientists in EPA laboratories and at universities across the country.

The Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Division (GWERD) located in Ada, Oklahoma conducts basic and applied research to understand processes affecting the quality and availability of ground water and to evaluate and develop strategies and technologies to protect ground water resources.  Scientists conduct research to evaluate ground water flow and factors influencing the fate and transport of anthropogenic and naturally occurring contaminants in the subsurface.  Scientists also conduct research focused on ecosystem processes and manipulations that can be used to achieve restoration goals.  Researchers provide technical support to federal and state environmental regulators on issues regarding subsurface contamination, contaminant fluxes to other media (such as surface water and air), and ecosystem restoration.

To support these activities, GWERD laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for chemical characterization of ground water and surface water. The analytical function of the Division is critical to supporting the research and technical assistance mission of the laboratory. This project involves analytical support for the analysis of water and aquifer samples to support research to protect ground water and surface water resources, possible field support for collection of samples, and additional project support as needed.

The majority of the selected candidate’s time shall be spent in the laboratory with the possibility of some field work. Primary duties shall be conducting soil and water analyses (particle size, pH, electrical conductivity, acid titrations, soil extractions, digestions, etc), imputing data into electronic formats, performing quality assurance checks on data, analytical support, and any associated administrative duties such as maintaining and implementing health and safety plan (HASP) and quality assurance project plan (QAPP) development or revisions. He/she shall assist with data collection activities, data checking/verification activities, and data analysis for water quality analyses conducted at GWERD or at field sites. He/she may be required to assist in the preparation for field trips; log in/receipt of samples for processing after field trips; help maintain laboratories; and glassware washing processes at GWERD. Travel to field sites to assist with sample and data collection may also be required. He/she shall be trained to collect data, verify data, input data, and generate reports.

The selected candidate shall maintain careful and accurate records in a laboratory notebook, following the requirements of the NRMRL Quality Management Guidelines and as outlined in approved QAPPs, document electronic file contents and locations, and shall make entries as necessary into permanent laboratory instrument logbooks. These notebooks and all other data produced under this order shall be the property of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He/she shall receive training on basic safety requirements and basic Quality Assurance requirements at GWERD before he/she begins work in the laboratory.

The selected candidate shall be trained and pass a proficiency test on analytical equipment and standard operating procedures for the specific equipment. Analytical equipment may include, but not be limited to inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), inductively coupled plasma – mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Raman Spectroscopy, Zetasizer, quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D) and microwave digestions.

Location: This job will be located at EPA’s facility in Ada, OK.

Salary: Selected applicants will become temporary employees of ORAU and will receive an hourly wage of $20.04 for hours worked.

Travel: Limited government travel may be required. 

Expected Start Date: The position is full time and expected to begin October 2016.  The selected applicant will be a temporary employee of ORAU working as a contractor to EPA. The initial contract period is through May 14, 2017, and EPA may elect to renew the contract for an additional three (3) 12-month optional periods.

Working Conditions: 

The selected candidate will be supervised by a mentor who will provide day-to-day direction, as well as coach, advise, and counsel, and review his/her work.  The mentor for this position will be a federal EPA employee. 

This position will primarily involve work in a laboratory setting and may involve exposure to hazardous elements.  Limited travel to field sites and assistance with sample collection may also be required.  Work will be performed in an office or laboratory setting at the GWERD and at select field sites.  During work in the laboratory the selected candidate will wear safety glasses, a laboratory coat (provided by GWERD), and closed-toed shoes.  Work performed at field sites will require HAZWOPER training, steel toed boots, hard hats, and other specialized safety equipment (provided by GWERD) as dictated by the Health and Safety Plan for the field site.  The work day will be eight hours Monday through Friday unless otherwise agreed to by the selected candidate and EPA mentor.

For more information, contact EPAjobs@orau.org. Do not contact EPA directly.


Eligible applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age and
  • Have earned at a minimum a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, chemistry, geology, soil science, environmental science, environmental engineering, or another scientific discipline from an accredited university or college within the last 24 months and
  • Be a citizen of the United States of America or a Legal Permanent Resident.

EPA ORD employees, their spouses, and children are not eligible to participate in this program.

Required Knowledge, Skills, Work Experience, and Education

The applicant shall have:

  • Experience with laboratory sample collection, sample preparation, routine maintenance/calibration of instruments, handling and disposal of chemicals, laboratory glassware cleaning,
  • Knowledge of Quality Assurance/Quality Control, Health and Safety Plans, and Quality Assurance Project Plans,
  • Proficiency in oral and written communication in English,
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and conduct data analysis and evaluation, and
  • Demonstrated familiarity with PC computers and experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

How to apply:

  • Submit application and supporting documents by clicking on Apply Now button.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: LPR or U.S. Citizen
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree, or Doctoral Degree received within the last 24 month(s).
  • Overall GPA: 2.00
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (12 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (21 )
    • Engineering (27 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (14 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (45 )
    • Physics (16 )

I certify that I am at least 18 years of age; a recent graduate with at a minimum a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, physics, chemistry, geology, soil science, environmental science, environmental engineering, or another scientific discipline from an accredited university or college within the last 24 months; a citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States of America; and not a current employee of EPA ORD or the spouse or child of an EPA ORD employee.

ORAU is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE AA M/F/Vet/Disability); visit the ORAU website for required employment notices.

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