Environmental Health Specialist I

Thurston County
Full Time $4,997 - $6,647 Per month HI Hawaii, USA


Thurston County Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) is recruiting for an for our Environmental Health Division’s Water Quality Program.
Public Health and Social Services (PHSS) is Thurston County’s local health jurisdiction and human services department and is responsible for protecting the health and promoting the well-being of all people who live, work, and play in Thurston County. We value diversity and strive to foster a sense of belonging, honoring the unique experiences, cultures, skills, backgrounds, identities, and perspectives of our employees and community. As an agency actively working to address health equity, we aspire for everyone to have the opportunity to attain their highest level of health, regardless of their individual circumstances.
In your role as an Environmental Health Specialist I – Ambient Monitoring, you work daily to ensure that our county-wide stream and lake monitoring program is running smoothly and in compliance with our quality assurance project plan. You will ensure high quality data is collected and presented to the public using methods that result in an increase in their knowledge of local water quality and inspires them to take independent action to improve it. Responding to public complaints regarding failing septic systems, poor animal waste management practices, etc., and working closely with property owners/occupants to correct any identified problems is also part of your job responsibilities.
Some of the essential job functions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Enforce the PHSS Sanitary Code in relation to water quality concerns.
  • Investigate, sample, evaluate, and act upon public complaints of conditions involving pollution, disease, illness, or contamination.
  • Conduct environmental studies by gathering, evaluating, and reporting on data.
  • Manage and analyze data.
  • Conduct sanitary surveys and dye tests on onsite sewage systems.
  • Maintain rigorous quality assurance/quality control standards.
  • Document inspection results and prepare documentation needed for enforcement action for failing septic systems.
  • Offer technical support and education to the public.
  • Work with property owners and residents to correct conditions on their site that contribute to or have the potential to contribute to pollution.
  • Conduct water quality monitoring in lakes, streams, groundwater, and marine waters.
  • Interpret laws and policies, assist with program development, draft policies, and make recommendations for consideration by department management and the Thurston County Board of Health.
  • Write technical reports.
  • Perform other work as required or assigned, including, but not limited to, a 24/7 response during public health emergency situations and disease outbreak investigations. 
The ideal candidate has the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
  • Knowledge of theory, principles, and practices of environmental health science, biology, epidemiology, hydrology, and soils science.
  • Experience with onsite sewage system regulations, permitting, and evaluation.
  • Ability to interpret and enforce complex regulations.
  • Ability to compile and maintain complete and accurate records.
  • Versed in sanitary survey methods and other pollution identification and correction strategies.
  • Ability to effectively communicate oral and written presentations.
  • Knowledge of water quality monitoring techniques.
  • Ability to use judgment and sensitivity when interacting with the public while educating and promoting good public relations.
  • Knowledge of the PHSS Sanitary Code and related federal and state laws and regulations.
  • Ability to use measuring devices and testing equipment.

What we offer our employees:
  • Work-Life Balance: We are committed to ensuring that our staff experience the reward of public service, while also sustaining a routine that suits each individual’s lifestyle.
  • Plan for Your Future: As a member of our team, you enjoy great employee benefits, including a retirement plan, pre-tax savings accounts, as well as comprehensive health care and dental/vision care for you and your family. Please visit our website for more information. 
  • Paid Leave: Full-time regular employees earn a minimum of 12 paid vacation days per year in addition to 11 paid and 2 floating holidays. 
  • Robust Training Program: Employees are encouraged to attend County-paid training to help them further their career, learn new skill sets, and stay on top of emerging trends in our industry. We also encourage staff to participate in professional organizations and attend conferences.  
  • Flexible Work Schedules:  Options some employees may take advantage of are alternative or compressed schedules and/or remote working.
  • See under Benefitslater in this job description for detailed information about the many other benefits the County offers.

Why you’ll love it here:
Thurston County is located between Seattle and Portland in Western Washington’s South Puget Sound Region. Perched between the mountains and the ocean, the area boasts the perfect blend of year-round outdoor activities including boating, hiking, skiing, and more. The region is also home to the state capital city of Olympia, known for its many restaurants, microbreweries, coffee shops, farmers markets, kids’ activities, history, and art events. Discover more about life in Thurston County at .


  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental health, biology, bacteriology or related field.  
  • One year of professional environmental health work experience requiring extensive public contact.Additional experience may substitute for education on a year-for-year basis.
  • Must have current Washington State Driver's License. 

Desired Skills

Respect and Organizational Culture:

  • Create an environment where employees and partners can safely express needs or concerns and where employees can make and correct mistakes.
  • Effectively interact with sensitivity while working with persons from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, educational, racial, ethnic, and professional backgrounds, and persons of all ages, gender identities, sexual orientations, and lifestyles.
  • Thrive in a fast-paced, robust organization maintaining a positive work environment.
  • Serve the public in a timely, complete, accurate, and professional manner while ensuring that written and verbal communication is clearly understood by others.
  • Maintain cultural competency to support diverse perspectives in developing, implementing, and evaluating policies, programs, and services that affect the health of the community.
  • Strong oral communication for networking and interpersonal relationships.
  • Excellent written communication including the ability to craft correspondence, reports, and articles or web postings with minimal grammatical and syntax errors.
Goal Setting and Accomplishment:
  • Use strategic thinking and planning for goal setting and evaluation.
  • Effectively plan, organize, and manage competing priorities and challenges under pressure.
  • Create a sense of mission by articulating and modeling confidentiality, professional values, and ethics with honesty and integrity.
  • Operate with a high degree of flexibility, initiative, attention to detail, and commitment.
  • Delegate and use persuasion and negotiating skills for shared responsibility and acceptance of change.