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EPA Drinking Water Data Analysis and Policy Research

EPA Office/Lab and LocationMultiple research opportunities are available at the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water (OW), Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) Standards and Risk Management Division (SRMD) located in Washington, DC.

Research Project: The Standards and Risk Management Division (SRMD) is the focal point in EPA for developing national policy in support of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The goal is to protect public health by ensuring safe drinking water through executing the regulatory process for drinking water contaminants. This process includes monitoring the extent of non-regulated contaminants in drinking water systems, establishing new standards for drinking water constituents, reviewing existing drinking water regulations, developing technical information to support drinking water standards and providing technical assistance on drinking water issues. This project will focus on conducting drinking water data analysis and policy evaluation relating to health effects, occurrence, and treatment technologies of drinking water contaminants including microbes, disinfection by-products, lead and copper, as well as emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, Legionella and cyanotoxins.

Learning ObjectivesUnder the guidance of the mentor, the participant will have the opportunity to be involved and trained in the following team activities:

  • Learn how to compile literature and conduct scientific/engineering analyses and regulatory policy evaluations
  • Learn how to develop documents/reports/papers on drinking water topics of national significance
  • Participate in and contribute to EPA’s drinking water regulatory development and review process including problem identification, health risk/exposure analysis and assessing risk mitigation approaches

The participant will gain experience in technical writing, risk analysis, communication, strategic planning and project management. They will learn aspects of the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA's drinking water regulatory process and develop a deeper understanding of the issues that face drinking water systems; and how to coordinate outreach efforts and to share pertinent information with external stakeholders.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2022. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed three to four additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. At this time, bachelor's degree stipends are ~$50,000 per year, master's degree stipends are ~$60,000 per year, and doctoral degree stipends are ~$75,000 per year. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security ClearanceCompletion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion by the appointment start date. Most recent degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience analyzing data or policies related to drinking water, treatment technologies, health and/or public health, or evaluating chemical and/or microbial contaminants (e.g., per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, DBPs, microbes, lead and copper, Legionella, cyanotoxins, etc.)
  • Background in engineering and/or evaluating regulatory policies
  • Strong analytical skills for analyzing complex data sets (using R or MS Access), analyzing treatment strategies, or interpreting regulatory policies
  • Strong critical thinking skills and demonstrated ability to communicate effectively through presentations, papers, or manuscripts