Position Announcements

Principal Limnologist

Posting Date : 8/20/2013
Job Number : 3856443
Job Title : Principal Limnologist
Location : La Verne, CA
Work Schedule : 9/80
Application Filling Period : August 20, 2013 - September 10, 2013, 4:30 p.m., or until sufficient applications are received.
Salary Range : $49.78 - $65.04 per hour

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a consortium of twenty six cities and water districts that provides drinking water to nearly 19 million people in Southern California. Metropolitan’s mission is to provide its service area with adequate and reliable supplies of high quality water to meet current and future needs in an environmentally and economically responsible way. Metropolitan’s facilities include the 242-mile Colorado River Aqueduct, five conventional water treatment plants with a combined capacity of 2.6 billion gallons per day, nine surface water reservoirs, 800 miles of pipeline, and 16 hydroelectric power plants.


The MWD’s Water System Operations Group, Water Quality Section currently has one (1) opening for a Principal Limnologist within the Microbiology Unit located at the Water Quality Laboratory in La Verne, CA. 

Positions at this level are recognized as technical experts in the development and interpretation of guidelines. The work includes varied duties requiring many different and unrelated processes and methods applied to a broad range of activities or substantial depth of analysis. Decisions regarding what needs to be done include major areas of uncertainty in approach, methodology, or interpretation and evaluation processes resulting from such elements as continuing changes in program, technological developments, unknown phenomena, or conflicting requirements. The work requires originating new techniques, establishing criteria, or developing new information. The work involves isolating and defining unknown conditions, resolving critical problems, or developing new theories. The work product or service may affect activities, or the operation of other organizations. 

Acts as a lead. Coordinates and reviews work assignments of employees performing the same general work as the lead on a day-to-day basis. Responsibilities may involve solving problems and providing instructions on work procedures. 


1. Plans and executes programs of multi-disciplinary nature and liaisons with internal and external groups.
2. Leads staff to ensure projects and other assignments are accurately completed. Evaluates and approves analytical data; interprets results as related to compliance with drinking water regulations, and current operational conditions, and program objectives.
3. Oversees the development, adoption, and revision of testing techniques and procedures.
4. Directs and may perform limnological, biological, or chemical tests.
5. Performs and directs troubleshooting and maintenance on laboratory and field instrumentation.
6. Evaluates effectiveness and makes recommendations for water quality programs.
7. Prepares and reviews technical papers and reports regarding water quality issues and programs.
8. Conducts training on laboratory and field procedures and quality control protocols.
9. Provides technical review of literature relating to water quality issues and liaises with appropriate scientific and professional organizations.
10. Gives technical presentations to staff or outside groups on water quality related topics.
11. Acts as the team lead person when designated.
12. Acts as Project Manager; plans, coordinates, and conducts projects within area of responsibility, including monitoring scope, quality, budget, and schedule


Education and Experience: Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a related field, AND eight (8) years of relevant experience; OR Master’s degree from an accredited college or university in a related field, and six (6) years of relevant experience.

• Valid California Class C Driver License that allows for driving in the course of employment.

Required Knowledge of: Principles and practices of limnological, biological and laboratory methods; specialized laboratory and field techniques and instrumentation; primary and secondary drinking water regulations; emerging limnological and water quality issues; drinking water treatment technologies; standard laboratory quality control requirements; laboratory information management system; laboratory and field safety protocols; advanced mathematics and statistics; and current office technology and equipment.

Required Skills and Abilities to: Conduct data analysis and interpretation; project management; apply laboratory and field techniques; operate and troubleshoot analytical instrumentation; public speaking; convey technical material in a non-technical way; stay current on applicable drinking water and limnological issues; advanced mathematics and statistics; handle boats and trailers; use independent judgment and exercise discretion; problem solve; prioritize and multi-task; communicate clearly and concisely, both verbally and in writing; establish and maintain effective working relationships with those contacted in the course of work; work independently and in a team environment; lead and train; and operate current office equipment including computers and supporting applications.

Work Schedule: Monday – Friday (alternate Fridays off)


Employees in this position may be required to obtain and maintain the following certifications, licensing and registrations:

Diving positions require:
• Rescue Diver Certification
• Oxygen Provider Certification
• CPR/First Aid/AED

• May be required to be a licensed/certified SCUBA Diver


The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met or may be encountered by an employee to successfully perform the job duties of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the job duties.

Physical Demands: The work requires some physical exertion such as long periods of standing; walking over rough, uneven, unstable, or rocky surfaces; recurring bending, crouching, stooping, stretching, reaching, or similar activities; recurring lifting of moderately heavy items such as personal computers and record boxes. The work may require specific, but common, physical characteristics and abilities such as above-average agility and dexterity.

Work Environment: The work involves moderate risks or discomforts that require special safety precautions, e.g., working around moving parts, carts, or machines, or irritant chemicals; etc. Employees may be required to use protective clothing or gear such as masks, gowns, coats, boots, goggles, gloves, or shields.

Job Related Selection Criteria:
• 30% Job Preparation (education, experience, and training relevant to this position)
• 25% Technical knowledge & skills (sampling, monitoring, algal ecology, cyanobacteria, toxins)
• 10% Written communication skills
• 5% Oral communication skills
• 10% Leadership/Team work
• 10% Project management
• 10% Data analysis and interpretation
• 100% Total

This job announcement has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work being performed by employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job. To receive a copy of the complete job description, please send an email to jobs@mwdh2o.com. 

Reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities may be requested by calling (213) 217-7738 at least 5 working days in advance of the scheduled examination date(s). 

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

For more information, see:  http://metrowater.hodesiq.com/job_detail.asp?JobID=3856443&user_id