Promoted content

Water Quality Specialist II

The County of Santa Cruz job header
(The County of Santa Cruz)

JOB TYPE: Open and Promotional

SALARY: $5,898 - $7,602 per month

CLOSING DATE: Friday, October 21, 2022

THE JOB: Santa Cruz County’s Water Quality Program seeks energetic, enthusiastic, and nimble environmental microbiologists, chemists, and engineers with a passion for water quality management in the context of public health protection and ecological resilience. Help contribute to sustaining and advancing the ELAP accredited laboratory program targeted at ambient water systems (freshwater, estuarine, and near-shore), drinking water, stormwater, and focused investigations. The scope of activities includes molecular analyses (microbial source tracking, cyanobacteria, wastewater surveillance, detection of indicator organisms and pathogens, and eDNA), geochemistry, cyanobacterial toxins, and routine monitoring of watersheds in compliance with the requirements of the Clean Water Act (Total Maximum Daily Loads, BEACH Act, and stormwater permits). There are also opportunities to implement new environmental chemistry methods. Participate in watershed characterization efforts that include in-situ monitoring and targeted sampling. The multi-disciplinary program involves conducting traditional and emerging analytical investigations to address chronic, transient, and emerging water quality concerns. Strong problem-solving skills with applications in environmental microbiology, analytical chemistry, quality assurance, and watershed science are critical for success.

The option for remote work may be available based on the type of work and operational needs.

THE REQUIREMENTS: Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and abilities would be:

  • Two years of water quality experience equivalent to a Water Quality Specialist I at Santa Cruz County OR
  • Possession of a valid Certificate of Registration as an Environmental Health Specialist issued by the State Department of Health Services AND
  • Equivalent to six months experience designing, constructing, installing, inspecting, or maintaining on-site wastewater disposal systems or conducting water quality monitoring efforts

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Possess and maintain a valid California Class C Driver License. Special Requirements/Conditions include:

  • Exposure to variable temperatures; slippery surfaces; loud noises; sunburn; dust and pollen; bee stings; infections, such as tick-borne Lyme disease or mosquito-borne encephalitis; angry or hostile persons; corrosive chemicals; wetness, such as while walking in the rain or through a stream on a site inspection.

OTHER SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Positions may be assigned to respond to emergency situations and perform on-call or call-back duties. Work situations may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. Positions may be assigned to carry a pager and respond to emergency situations and perform on-call or call-back duties. Work situations may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.


  • Some knowledge of the basic principles and laboratory applications of water chemistry
  • Chemical laboratory methods, equipment, facilities and materials
  • The principles of aquatic biology, including sampling and analysis procedures
  • The hazards of operating laboratory equipment and of working in a laboratory environment, including knowledge of appropriate safety precautions
  • Principles, methods and techniques of wastewater disposal systems
  • The impact of environmental factors such as soils topography, geology, groundwater and slope, on wastewater disposal systems
  • The principles of environmental health and wastewater management
  • Basic data analysis techniques.
  • Working knowledge of Purposes and policies, procedures, and regulations of a County Environmental Health Department
  • The principles and techniques of gathering and analyzing and validating data.
  • Some knowledge of the techniques of public presentation
  • The principles of biology, geology, hydrology, water quality, or watershed management pertaining to land use and water resource planning.


  • Learn to perform chemical, biological and physical analysis related to water pollution; make and record accurate scientific observations
  • Learn to collect field samples, such as stream samples or monitoring well samples; prepare related reports
  • Understand and follow technical and complex oral and written instructions
  • Maintain accurate records
  • Work in a variety of physical environments, which may involve walking over rugged terrain, over streambeds or through water
  • Learn to input, access and analyze data using a computer terminal; perceive colors normally
  • Learn to make inspections to determine compliance with performance standards
  • Learn to read, interpret and evaluate map and file information such as soil, topography, geology, groundwater, and slope and water quality data
  • Establish and maintain cooperative relationships with others
  • Interpret and explain program policies and procedures
  • Perform chemical, biological and physical analysis related to water pollution
  • Collect field samples, such as stream samples or monitoring well samples
  • Make inspections to determine compliance with performance standards
  • Read, interpret and evaluate map and file information such as soil, topography, geology, groundwater, and slope and water quality data
  • Make and record accurate scientific observations
  • Prepare and present studies and reports, orally, written and graphically
  • Synthesize and explain technical data to non-scientific people
  • Speak effectively before groups
  • Interpret, explain and apply laws, ordinances, rules and regulations
  • Interpret and explain program policies and procedures
  • Evaluate and prepare inspection reports on existing on-site wastewater disposal systems
  • Institute enforcement actions.

THE EXAMINATION: Your application and supplemental questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental questionnaire. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental questionnaire. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply online here or mail/bring an application and supplemental questionnaire to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. For information, call (831) 454-2600. Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711. Applications will meet the final filing date if received: 1) in the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date, 2) submitted online before midnight of the final filing date.

Women, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. If you have a disability that requires test accommodation, please call (831) 454-2600.

To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S. Some positions may require Fingerprinting and/or Background Investigation.


  • ANNUAL LEAVE - 22 days first year, increasing to 37 days after 15 years of service. Available for vacation and/or sick leave.
  • HOLIDAYS - 14 paid holidays per year.
  • BEREAVEMENT LEAVE – 3 days paid in California 5 days paid out-of-state.
  • MEDICAL PLAN - The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans. For most plans, County contributions pay most of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents.
  • DENTAL PLAN - County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.
  • VISION PLAN - County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.
  • RETIREMENT - Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013(PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years. County participates in Social Security.
  • LIFE INSURANCE - County paid $20,000 term policy. Employee may purchase additional life insurance.
  • DISABILITY INSURANCE - Employees in the General Representation Unit participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. This program is funded 100% by employee payroll deductions.
  • DEPENDENT-CARE PLAN - Employees who make contributions for child or dependent care may elect to have their contributions made utilizing “pre-tax dollars.”
  • H-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay a County medical premium may elect this pre-tax program.
  • HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) - Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.
  • DEFERRED COMPENSATION - A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.