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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 523E
Category: Science & Engineering


Performs entry level professional assignments in environmental analysis, control or enforcement activities under direct or close supervision. Positions perform assignments in one or more of the following areas: 1) Environmental permit development and review; 2) Environmental inspections and/or enforcement activities; 3) Scientific studies, surveys and/or scientific analyses; 4) Technical assistance for grants, contracts, and loans; 5) Interpretation of policy and environmental technical assistance.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Positions at this level learn and perform professional level duties under direct supervision. The supervisor typically reviews work in progress as well as outcomes, provides advice or direction regarding work procedures, and assists with work prioritization. Assignments are focused on specific tasks rather than an overall objective and comprise a portion of a larger assignment carried out by higher level environmental staff.

Positions are characterized by one or more of the following assignments:
1) Environmental permit development and review: Provides support to permit writers, including compiling data and results of permit decisions, such as the number and types of permits, status of permits in process, timeliness of permit issues and results of inspection reports and other information that would be used to incorporate into permits; conducts necessary sampling or tests and analyzes the results; visits facilities or project sites and reviews practices and procedures in order to identify preliminary or potential areas of concern.

2) Environmental inspections and enforcement activities: Under direct supervision, conducts routine inspections and investigations of facilities or project sites, monitors existing environmental permits, identifies specific violations of compliance requirements and possible corrective actions and/or potential sanctions, and brings issues to the attention of higher level environmental staff.

3) Scientific studies, surveys or scientific analysis: Provides support to higher-level environmental staff by gathering and evaluating specific information necessary in formulating a sound recommendation in relation to the state’s goal of protecting, preserving and enhancing the natural environment. Researches and gathers information either through on-site field studies, surveys or scientific literature review. Conducts routine sampling and tests; analyzes, evaluates, and interprets data; and writes reports pertaining to the specific applications of the data.

4) Grants, contracts and/or loans: Researches and responds to specific questions or requests for information, interprets environmental regulations in order to explain requirements and assist clients in navigating the process. Under direction, evaluates elements of environmental protection projects including planning, design and implementation.

5) Interpretation of policy and technical assistance: Under close or direct supervision, responds to routine inquiries for technical assistance regarding the scientific background and technical implementation of agency programs.

Typical Work

Assists in the installation, operation and maintenance of environmental monitoring/sampling equipment; assists in performing field and office surveys and studies; performs surveillance and other special projects;

Assists in routine repairs and calibrations of environmental monitoring/sampling equipment, in accordance with specifications and standard operating procedures; performs basic sampling data review for precision and accuracy;

Assists in responding to complaints, routine inspections/surveillance and permit review to meet compliance requirements;

Assists in the research and compilation of basic information for use in regulation or policy development;

Enters and maintains basic databases or inventories;

Assists in preparing for public meetings, hearings and workshops;

Assists with routine inspections or investigations of facilities or project sites which require specialized knowledge of industry processes, pollutant sources, or natural processes;

Responds to routine inquiries or requests for technical assistance regarding the scientific background and technical implementation of agency programs;

Reviews plans for technical accuracy and makes recommendations to higher-level staff;

Conducts routine sampling and tests, analyzes, evaluates and interprets data, writes reports, and assists higher-level staff;

Creates, maintains and utilizes environmental databases in support of technical projects for basic data compilation for use with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology;

Reviews routine permit applications for technical accuracy and makes recommendations regarding the scientific merit of the proposal;

Provides environmental technical and administrative assistance to grant/contract/ loan recipients in the planning, design, construction and/or implementation of environmental protection projects;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: field investigative techniques and data gathering and basic research; practices and methods of environmental problem solving; soil, water or air sampling methods and techniques; characteristics of pollutants; principles, practices, and methods of environmental science, natural resource management, pollution prevention and pollution control; applicable state, federal, and local environmental regulations.

Ability to: use sound judgment in performing assigned tasks; understand and apply environmental regulations and related laws; write clearly and concisely and prepare maps, plans, charts and graphs; communicate effectively with agency staff, other agencies, industry and the general public.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position. 

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree involving major study in environmental, physical, or one of the natural sciences, environmental planning or other allied field.

Note: Experience at or above the Environmental Technician level or equivalent will substitute, year for year, for education.

Class Specification History

New class: 5-5-72.
General revision: 11-10-78.
Revised minimum qualifications: 3-15-80.
Revised definition; deleted distinguishing characteristics: 4 11 86.
Revised definition, minimum qualifications, general revision, and title change (formerly Environmentalist 1): 3-11-94.
New class code, formerly 62950, effective July 1, 2007.
Revise definition, add distinguishing characteristics; adopted November 8, 2012, effective November 9, 2012.
Revised typical work, adopted 06/13/2019, effective 07/01/19.
Class Plan Maintenance, effective July 1, 2023.