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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Category: Science & Engineering


Directs an environmental or public health section and supervises thirteen or more staff which includes at least four environmental engineers performing environmental engineering duties.  Represents the department as a registered Professional Engineer 


As an advanced senior environmental engineering specialist, plans and conducts investigations of, and proposes solutions to complex environmental engineering problems on a program-wide (in Ecology) or division-wide (in Health) basis that require the research and application of advanced environmental engineering techniques and principles within a specialty field.  Positions are recognized and designated in writing by a program manager (in Ecology) or Assistant Secretary (in Health) as a program’s/division’s expert in an environmental engineering technical specialty, type of facility or equipment.  Position represents the department as a registered Professional Engineer.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  1. Provides mentoring, training, engineering lead and consulting expertise on a program-wide/ division-wide basis, and
  2. Applies conventional and newly emerging environmental engineering techniques and principles in innovative, creative ways to complex program-wide/division-wide environmental engineering problems, and
  3. Represents a program/division as an expert in an environmental engineering technical specialty, type of facility or equipment, and
  4. Consults with/advises section supervisors, program manager, or division director on issues related to specialty field. 

Typical Work

Directs environmental engineering programs for the Department of Health;

Directs technical biological, chemical and engineering services for the Department of Health; 

Plans, promotes and directs environmental engineering and environmental control programs and methods;  

Serves on national and regional commissions concerned with environmental engineering problems;  

Administers planning, direction and coordination of pollution water projects; promotes local participation; acts in liaison capacity between local and federal officials; 

Serves as consultant to the Secretary of Health, other state departments, local officials and public and private organizations on technical and administrative problems in environmental engineering; 

Prepares administrative and technical reports, papers, bulletins and pamphlets for official, professional and public use; gives talks on environmental engineering subjects;  

Prepares budget request and controls costs for section;  

As a project manager, plans, conducts, and coordinates advanced detailed environmental engineering functions and recommends solutions for complex environmental problems having program-wide or region-wide cross program impacts;  

Prepares, reviews, and provides final checks on preparation of environmental engineering reports, plans, estimates, and specifications for facilities with multifaceted engineering impacts in such areas as water, wastewater, air, solid waste, contaminated site cleanup, and hazardous waste control;  

Provides expert environmental engineering analysis, recommendations and direction in areas of specialty on environmentally sensitive and critical issues concerning program or region-wide environmental projects, regulations, permit compliance, or policy development;  

Serves as a department environmental engineering consultant in areas of technical specialty; represents the department in negotiations with other agencies, private organizations, industries, and consulting engineers to maintain the department’s environmental engineering interests and policies; assists in resolving significant program or region-wide conflicts;  

Investigates, researches, and prepares comprehensive technical reports and papers providing expert evaluation, to resolve significant environmental issues and problems; presents reports and papers to public and professional groups;  

Represents the program as an environmental engineering specialist providing advanced technical knowledge and testimony in a technical specialty in legal proceedings, regulation, and enforcement appeals; serves as an expert witness in specialty field at legislative hearings and as respondent on complex engineering problems;  

Serves on regional or national environmental engineering professional groups and commissions concerned with environmental engineering problems;  

Keeps abreast of new environmental engineering methods in specialty field and disseminates this information to practicing engineers;  

Provides direct supervision, hires and evaluates, develops training plans and annual work plans for staff within a section with environmental engineering responsibilities;  

Serves on and/or directs professional technical staff, including environmental engineers, on Director, Assistant Director, or Regional Director appointed environmental teams for the purpose of evaluating engineering alternatives to resolve complex and highly controversial environmental issues and problems;  

Serves as consultant to a program manager on highly technical problems in environmental engineering; 

Serves as a consultant to a Regional Director on projects requiring significant cross-program coordination;  

Performs other work as required.   

The following are examples of specialist positions that may be classified at the Environmental Engineer 5 level within the Department of Ecology

In the Air Quality Program:  Program specialist in air emission control technologies.

In the Industrial Section:  Program specialist in the primary metal reduction industry, the petroleum refining industry, OR the pulp and paper industry.

In the Nuclear and Mixed Waste Program:  Program Specialist in radioactive waste treatment processes.

In the Solid Waste and Financial Assistance Program:  Program specialist in solid waste facility design and construction, corrective action, OR incineration.  

In the Toxics Cleanup Program:  Program specialist in remedial action treatment and technologies OR land disposal technologies; Program specialist in engineering contract document development and administration.

In the Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction, Recycling and Litter Control Program:  Program specialist in industrial process engineering techniques for waste reduction, minimization and recycling for complex industrial categories such as pulp and paper, chemical manufacturing, electronics manufacturing OR aerospace manufacturing.

In the Water Quality Program:  Program specialist in conventional municipal wastewater treatment, industrial wastewater treatment/pre-treatment, biosolids/sludge handling facilities, storm water management OR advanced/tertiary wastewater treatment.

In the Water Resources Program:  Program specialist in geotechnical and seismic design for impounding structures.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  principles and practices of environmental engineering and environmental sanitation; design, construction and operation of water supply, sewage and industrial waste disposal systems; methods and procedures in establishing and administering an environmental control program; laws and regulations governing water pollution control.   

Ability to:  direct development of designs involving environmental engineering theory and judgment; establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with local, state and federal officials; plan, promote and administer projects; analyze significant environmental engineering and sanitation data and write evaluative reports; write legislation and rules.

Legal Requirement(s)

Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington.  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 Master's degree with major study in one of the following engineering fields: environmental, water resource, civil, geotechnical, environmental, chemical, mechanical, or related field  


Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington and five years of experience in environmental engineering which includes one year as an Environmental Engineer 4 or equivalent or two years as an Environmental Engineer 3 or equivalent


An Engineer-In-Training Certificate or a Bachelor's degree with a major study in one of the following engineering fields: environmental, civil, geotechnical, water resource, environmental, chemical, mechanical, or related field


Registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington or another state based on registration requirements equivalent to those in Washington and six years of experience in environmental engineering which includes one year as an Environmental Engineer 4 or equivalent or two years as an Environmental Engineer 3 or equivalent 

Note:  A Ph.D. in one of the above engineering fields will substitute for two years of the environmental engineering experience.   

Note:  Requirements for registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington are eight years of professional experience (which may include up to four years of college-level engineering education) and successful completion of sixteen hours of professional licensing exams.  

Applicants qualifying through the licensing equivalency option must achieve registration as a Professional Engineer in the state of Washington within six months of appointment to this class.   

Note:  Selective certification for candidates with specific experience background or education may be authorized to meet the requirements of certain positions.   

Note:  For Technical Specialists only, to quality for selective certification, an individual must meet one of the following criteria and provide suitable documentation: 

Authored or co-authored at least one article in their specialty field, published (or accepted for publication) in a peer reviewed journal or book.  This article may not include publication of a Master’s thesis or report. 

Presented a paper in their specialty field at a peer-reviewed proceeding from a national or regional conference.  This may not include a paper based on a Master’s thesis or report.   

Been a principle author or co-author, or directed the development of agency-adopted engineering policies, guidelines or standards in their specialty field, with significant engineering requirements and components, such as the “Air Pollution Operating Permits Rule.” 

Class Specification History

New class, effective January 1, 1968.
Revised definition, effective September 13, 1985.
Revised definition, effective March 3, 1986.
Revised minimum qualifications, effective May 9, 1986.
Revised minimum qualifications, effective April 10, 1987.
Revises definition, minimum qualifications, and class title (formerly Sanitary Engineer 5), effective September 18, 1989.
Revised minimum qualifications, effective November 15, 1991.
Revised definition and minimum qualifications, added distinguishing characteristics, effective January 29, 1993.
Revised minimum qualifications, effective January 13, 1995
New class title (formerly Environmental Engineer 5 in general government) and new class code (formerly 62550), effective July 1, 2007.
General revisions, housekeeping only: Revised definition, typical work, legal requirements, and desirable qualifications, effective November 14, 2008.

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