Water Quality Scientist

Community Science Institute

Ithaca, New York

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $19-$22/hour
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Water Quality Scientist – Full Time or Part Time, In Person

About Community Science Institute: Community Science Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and NYSDOH ELAP-certified water testing lab. Our mission is to empower communities to protect water quality through volunteer stream and lake monitoring in the Cayuga Lake watershed and the surrounding region. CSI recruits, trains, and coordinates volunteers to participate in our four water quality monitoring programs: Synoptic Stream and Lake Monitoring, Red Flag Monitoring, Biomonitoring, and Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring. In partnership with these volunteers, we build long-term datasets of regulatory quality data that can help guide the sustainable management of local water resources while empowering volunteers to act as stewards of water resources. These data are available to the public on our online water quality database: www.database.communityscience.org. Alone, these data speak volumes, but we help give them a voice through our outreach and education initiatives including our Water and Community events, Water Bulletin Newsletter, summer Journey of Water Youth Education Program, Biomonitoring Open Lab nights, and Monthly Updates. In addition, CSI offers fee-based, certified drinking water testing services and counts the Tompkins County Health Department and Cornell University as well as dozens of businesses and hundreds of private homeowners among our clients. In this way we provide a valuable service to our community while earning fees that help support our nonprofit mission.

About the Position: A Water Quality Scientist is responsible for performing a variety of water quality assays according to standard operating procedures (SOPs), including data quality controls such as calibration checks, blanks, duplicates, and matrix spikes. The successful candidate will receive extensive on-the-job training to gain proficiency in the manual methods employed in our lab. While the primary responsibilities of the Water Quality Scientist lie in the laboratory, there are opportunities to participate in data analysis and science communication depending upon the candidate’s interests and abilities. For example, a Water Quality Scientist might write an article for our Water Bulletin newsletter, give a presentation at a regional conference or symposium, or prepare special reports to local and state government agencies. A Water Quality Scientist might also participate in CSI’s outreach and education events such as water quality cruises for kids through our Journey of Water Program.

Responsibilities and Opportunities of the Position:

  • Perform wet chemistry procedures, for example, uv-vis spectrophotometry, titration, gravimetry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), and microbiological assays.
  • Educate the public on how to collect surface and drinking water samples.
  • Report water quality data and provide context to the public about trends or compliance concerns that may pose public/ecological health risks.
  • Participate in short term in-house projects to improve existing lab procedures or acquire new lab methods with the potential for contributing to peer-reviewed research.
  • All members of CSI’s team contribute to general administrative and support service tasks including but not limited to customer service, accepting water samples from clients, preparing reports, scheduling, ordering, shipping, file organization, etc.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, environmental science, biology, or related discipline.
  • Three semesters of chemistry lecture and lab with at least a B average.
  • Ability to take initiative, work independently, solve problems in the lab, and pay painstaking attention to detail.
  • Comfortable working as a member of a small team and supporting teammates.
  • Evidence of excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm for CSI’s mission.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office.

Enhancing Qualifications:

  • Additional chemistry credits or research experience.
  • Experience with statistics, GIS, science education or communication.
  • Customer service or business experience.
  • Familiarity with quality control/quality assurance.
  • Data analysis with tools such as R studio.

Special requirements:

  • Able to lift more than 25 pounds.
  • Fine motor skills.

Hours, compensation, and benefits:

  • Full time, 40 hours/week OR Part time, ~30 hours/week
  • $19.00–$22.00/hour pay, depending on qualifications, plus time-and-a-half for overtime
  • Thirteen paid holidays plus one floating holiday
  • Generous paid health time (AKA sick time) and paid vacation/personal time
  • Health insurance (Healthy New York EPO Plan)
  • Simple pension plan with CSI contribution overseen by CFCU Wealth Management

Inclusion statement: CSI is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage qualified applicants from historically underrepresented groups in the sciences to apply. We will fully consider all qualified applicants without regard to race, culture, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, lifestyle, marital status, or veteran status.


Application: Please email your resume and cover letter outlining why you are well-suited for and interested in this position to CSI’s Laboratory Director, Noah Mark, at info@communityscience.org with “Water Quality Scientist” in the subject line. Please note that both a resume and a cover letter are required for an application to be considered. Please indicate in your cover letter whether you are interested in a full time or part time position. The job will remain posted until the position has been filled. The preferred start date will be in May.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Hydrology
Tags GIS