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EPA Fellowship in Disaster Resilience for Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA Office/Lab and LocationA research training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water (OW). The appointment will be served in the Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water (OGWDW), Water Security Division (WSD) located in Washington D.C., EPA Headquarters.

Research ProjectThe selected participant will contribute research to a project designed to help water and wastewater utilities become more resilient to disasters. The goal of the project is to research disaster resilience, recovery projects and tools, and study outreach techniques for water and wastewater utilities. The research will investigate the best ways to prepare utilities for disasters and the best ways to communicate those ways to the sector. The objective of this project is to enhance the resilience of utilities to disasters so communities can recover more quickly and withstand the impacts of future disasters such as boil water advisories and water outages. The WSD will benefit from the results of this research and can share the lessons learned in factsheets, presentations, and guides.

Learning ObjectivesThe participant will be trained to develop, use, and promote tools and documents to help water/wastewater utilities become more resilient to and recover from disasters. The participant may become familiar with overarching communications and outreach in support of WSD priority projects, including multi-sector interdependencies, external communications to the water sector, and internal EPA program coordination and collaboration. The participant will receive training in and help promote projects and tools dealing with disaster resilience, preparedness, hazard mitigation, and emergency response for water and wastewater utilities. The participant will receive extensive training in presenting on topics in disaster recovery and resilience, interacting with representatives of local, state, federal, and national agencies, participating in emergency exercises and workshops, and will have the opportunity to enhance the nation's ability to recover from and mitigate against disasters.
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: 2022. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.
MentorThe mentor(s) for this opportunity is Kevin Tingley ( and the project coordinator is Eric Bissonette ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s) or project coordinator.
Appointment LengthThe appointment initially may be for one year and may be renewed upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current stipends for this opportunity are $50,600/year (BS), $61,900/year (MS), and $74,900/year (Ph.D.). Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

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

ORISE InformationThis 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.

ORISE offers all ORISE EPA graduate students and Postdocs a free 5 year membership to the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA).

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

QuestionsPlease 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.

The qualified candidate should have received a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields (e.g. Communications, Environmental Studies, Engineering, Behavioral Studies, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, Ecology, Environmental Health), or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion by September 30, 2022. Degree must have been received within the past five years.

Preferred Skills:

  • Ability to communicate well both orally and in writing.
  • Takes initiative and provides input and ideas to project work.
  • Interest in topic.
  • Experience with emergency management potential emergency exercises, disaster response and recovery.
  • Experience with data analysis and manipulation.
  • Ability to convey complex concepts to diverse audiences.
  • Ability to facilitate meetings.
  • Ability to handle stressful and quickly changing situations during emergencies.
  • Experience working with teams and workgroups and establishing partnerships to accomplish common goals.
  • Understanding of chemical, biological and physical features of drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.