A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available beginning August 2018 in the Research and Development (R&D) Department of the Orange County Water District (OCWD). The mission of the R&D Department at OCWD is to conduct applied research that supports OCWD’s operational, regulatory, and water quality objectives. This includes process optimization for the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF), operated by OCWD in Fountain Valley, CA, which consists of treatment of secondary wastewater effluent by microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO), and ultraviolet/advanced oxidation process (UV/AOP) followed by lime stabilization prior to groundwater recharge and injection for indirect potable reuse (IPR). OCWD R&D scientists evaluate new technologies, develop new or improved processes and methods, and collaborate with universities and topic experts.
With oversight from the R&D Department Director, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will carry out applied research related to molecular biology, microbiology, and water quality of the GWRS. Recently, R&D initiated studies applying advanced molecular methods for microbial water quality characterization of the GWRS AWPF, including one completed and one current grant-supported project. These studies use high throughput sequencing (HTS)/Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) coupled with metagenomics analysis to identify microbial community signatures and their transformations across unit treatment processes. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will support this work, completing sample collection, laboratory sample preparation, data analysis and interpretation, and recommending additional studies. Findings may be related to individual unit process treatment steps and standard operational/water quality parameters, towards improved understanding and monitoring of conventional wastewater and advanced treatment performance. Additionally, the Postdoctoral Research Associate will conduct microbiological sampling and data analysis for 1) pilot-scale treatment technology testing for water reuse, and 2) evaluation of pathogen removal during wastewater treatment upstream of advanced treatment for reuse, for current ongoing projects. Dependent on the candidate’s qualifications and interests, the Postdoctoral Research Associate may identify other related research projects within OCWD’s groundwater management, recharge, treatment, and water quality monitoring activities, with the ultimate goal of providing operational recommendations and validating new methods/technologies, as well as publishing the findings.
The Postdoctoral Research Associate will be responsible for conducting their own field and laboratory work and managing project/task timelines and deliverables. Additional responsibilities include identification and pursuit of grant funding; assigning and coordinating tasks completed by R&D interns; preparation of project reports; conducting literature reviews; and presenting at conferences and internal meetings.
In addition to laboratory work at bench scale, field work will include sampling from pilot-scale treatment systems and potentially the full-scale GWRS AWPF. Supporting facilities available at OCWD include: the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory (AWQAL) for standard chemical analyses via EPA methods, as well as emerging contaminants; the R&D molecular biology laboratory with qPCR systems, Sequencer and fragment analyzer synthesizer, single tube and 96 well luminometer, and standard microbiological equipment; R&D water quality instrumentation including Hach spectrophotometers and a Horiba Aquilog fluorometer; R&D microscopy for image analysis including light microscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy; and the Engineering Research Center (ERC) featuring MF, RO, and UV/AOP pilot systems.
Application Deadline: July 2, 2018
Preferred Start Date: August 15, 2018 or earlier if applicant screening is completed promptly
Applicants must provide a résumé, a 1-2 page research statement (highlighting research accomplishments, current research interests and goals, research experience relevant to OCWD and this job description, and long-term career aspirations), and the names, emails, and phone numbers of three references.
A PhD in Environmental Engineering, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, or a related scientific or engineering discipline is required, with research experience in water quality, water treatment/reuse, chemistry, microbiology, and/or molecular biology.
Applicants should have experience in conducting molecular biology and microbiology research, including study planning, sample collection, sample preparation in the laboratory, use of relevant laboratory instrumentation, and data analysis with a strong publication record. Preferably, applicants will also have experience with metagenomics and high throughput sequencing (‘next generation sequencing’) such as use of sequencers and performing data analysis and interpretation (i.e., bioinformatics). Proposal writing experience is also desirable.
Applicants should have a strong interest in applied scientific research; excellent communication skills (presenting and writing) and organizational skills; strong quantitative skills; the ability to work both independently and within collaborative teams; experience designing and conducting scientific studies and experiments; experience with field and laboratory work; knowledge of safe field and laboratory practices and procedures; the ability to prepare clear and concise written project reports and publications.
Note: OCWD does not sponsor work visas for international candidates.
The term of the Postdoctoral Research Associate position will be a one-year appointment via a limited-term (at will) contract, with the possibility of up to two annual renewals contingent on satisfactory performance, availability of funds, and project life.
M-F (8:00am – 5:00pm)
You must submit an OCWD online employment application to be considered.
Please visit www.ocwd.com to complete an application.
Pre-employment drug screening is conducted for DOT Program positions.
A valid California driver’s license and proof of automobile insurance is required.
Applications will be accepted until a sufficient number apply. EOE