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EPA Fellowship in Assessing Drinking Water System Capacity, Compliance, or Lead Exposures

EPA Office/Lab and LocationMultiple research training opportunities are currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW), Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW), Drinking Water Capacity and Compliance Assistance Division (DWCCAD), located in Washington, D.C.

Research ProjectThe Drinking Water Capacity and Compliance Assistance Division oversees implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), covering all of America’s public water supplies. The DWCCAD is responsible for overseeing and implementing efforts related to: (1) state primacy, regulatory oversight, and Source Water Protection programs, (2) drinking water grants, (3) supporting improved public water system compliance and technical, managerial, and financial capacity, and (4) administering and supporting tribal and territorial programs and grants. As the DWCCAD works with states and communities to provide funding for, technical support to, and oversight of drinking water systems, there is a need to effectively assess progress states and public water systems are making towards clean and safe water for all. This project will focus on drinking water data analysis and policy evaluation relating to regarding either lead exposures in drinking water or the capacity of drinking water systems.

Learning ObjectivesUnder the guidance of the mentor, the participant will have the opportunity to be involved and trained in any or all of 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
  • Research publicly available information on lead and drinking water and analyze it in order to identify priority areas for reducing lead exposure through drinking water
  • Compile literature and data sources for identifying the technical, managerial and financial capacity to maintain compliance with all applicable drinking water laws, and using that data to analyze progress being made over time
  • Evaluate findings from recent reports and program analyses looking at workforce and technical, managerial and financial capacity to identify common challenges or gaps that may need to be addressed, especially for disadvantaged communities

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.
MentorThe mentor(s) for this opportunity is Damaris Christensen ( Each of the multiple research opportunities will be guided by a different mentor. If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the listed mentor(s).
Appointment LengthThe appointment initially may be for one year and may be renewed 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. The current stipends for this opportunity are $50,643/year (BS), $61,947/year (MS). 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.

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).

QuestionsPlease 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 or master's degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing the degree with completion before the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience analyzing data or policies related to drinking water, health and/or public health
  • 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