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EPA Water Quality of Drinking Water Systems Internship

*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and LocationThree research opportunities are available at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Research and Development (ORD), Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response (CESER), Water Infrastructure Division (WID) located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Research Project: These EPA research projects will investigate and study biological and chemical treatment of drinking water and the integrity and the water quality of drinking water distribution systems. Ongoing drinking water distribution studies on the following research topics are of critical importance to the Division:

  • Drinking water biofilms (Legionella is commonly found in biofilms),
  • Metal contamination, such as lead or copper, which is associated with premise plumbing in buildings and homes                       
  • Biological treatment of water systems,
  • Harmful algal bloom and cyanobacteria research

These projects will also include research on how to effectively remove certain contaminants, such as ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, metals and legionella, from drinking water. Bench and pilot-scale approaches such as home plumbing system and dual column pilot will be utilized for this research studies. Pilot filtration studies will be performed to evaluate the of effect of parameter changes in some of these contaminants.

Learning Objectives: Research learning objectives may include: 

  • Learning how premise plumbing systems can contribute to the risks associated with exposure to lead and microbial contaminants in drinking water.
  • Learning the conditions that both promote and mitigate metal corrosion in drinking water systems.
  • Learning the conditions that both promote and mitigate the occurrence of Legionella bacteria and other indigenous human pathogens in drinking water systems
  • Understanding the conditions that promote biological treatment and negate distribution nitrification
  • Understanding the use of microbiological analysis tools to assess and solve drinking water treatment and distribution issues.
  • Understanding the properties and stability of drinking water treatment residuals associated with systems treating waters contaminated with harmful algal blooms.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Daniel Williams ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 2020. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed three to four additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE Information: This 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.

Questions: Please 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.