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Environmental Programs Specialist

R20

Basic Purpose

Positions in this family are responsible for planning, supervising and performing technical and professional work in an environmental quality, environmental management or environmental health protection program. This includes performing inspections, surveys, and investigations, reviewing and approving federal grants, providing consultative services, and ensuring compliance with environmental laws.  Specialty areas may include biology, health, geology, hydrology, and environmental science. 

Typical Functions

The functions within this job family will vary by level, but may include the following:

  • Conducts air, water and soil inspections and investigations; issues discharge and water use permits; conducts and administers natural resource investigations and studies; conducts studies to protect Oklahoma cultural resources; collects and analyzes environmental samples; provides technical assistance; prepares enforcement documentation.
  • Conducts investigations into and resolves environmentally related complaints from citizen and industrial clients.
  • Evaluates environmental health status of the state, and prepares relevant reports; performs environmental lead assessments in response to elevated blood lead levels; performs epidemiological investigations to prevent environmental health and protection incidents; performs environmental lead assessments in response to elevated blood levels.
  • May serve as the standardization officer for specific programmatic activities.
  • Serves as an expert witness in the enforcement of the state’s environmental protection and public health laws.
  • Researches, develops and assists in the implementation of long term planning for efficient use of the state’s air, water and land resources; assists in the development of waste reduction practices through recycling and pollution prevention programs; ensures waste disposal practices protect land resources for present and future use.
  • Provides 24-hour emergency response to natural disasters and emergencies related to hazardous materials, spills or releases.

Level Descriptors

The Environmental Programs Specialist job family has four levels which are distinguished by the complexity of assignments, the level of expertise required to perform the duties assigned, and the responsibility for providing leadership to others.  

Level I Code: R20A Salary Band: I

This is the basic level of this job family where employees are assigned duties and responsibilities in a training status to build their skills in conducting investigations, performing basic professional analysis, and interpreting state and federal laws.  In this role they will perform tasks involved in the evaluation of inspection and survey data, preparing technical records and reports, and assisting in making recommendations concerning remedial actions to correct environmental or water problems. 

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include knowledge of the principles and practices of environmental quality and sanitation; of biological, microbiological, radiological and chemical analysis; of environmental problems; of sample collection; of laboratory methodologies; of complaint investigations; of the survey and inspection of environmental and sanitary conditions; of consumer protection; of epidemiology; of water and air quality regulations; of hydrological and geological survey methods; and of the principles of ground and surface water geology and hydrology.  Ability is required to operate and maintain monitoring and detection equipment; to establish and maintain professional working relationships with others; to write technical reports; to collect samples; to apply research methodologies; to read and interpret plans and specifications of proposed facilities; to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; and to establish and maintain effective working relationships with others. 

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of a bachelor’s degree with at least 24 semester hours in a physical, natural, or biological science, chemistry, geology, hydrology, physical geography, epidemiology, environmental science, environmental health or civil, agricultural, environmental, geological or chemical engineering.

Level II Code: R20B Salary Band: J

This is the career level of the job family where employees are assigned duties and responsibilities at the full-performance level while performing a wide range of tasks involving investigations, analyses and interpretation of state and federal laws.  In this role, employees will evaluate inspection and survey data, prepare technical records and reports and make recommendations concerning remedial actions to correct environmental or water problems.  At this level, limited guidance and training may be provided to entry-level employees performing environmental program duties.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level I plus knowledge of the preparation, coordination and review of environmental program applications and of laboratory procedures.  Ability is also required to think analytically and make sound decisions and to read engineering and architectural plans and specifications.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level I plus one year of professional experience in one of the areas listed; or a master’s degree in a qualifying area. 

Level III Code: R20C Salary Band: K

This is the specialist level where employees are routinely assigned independent responsibility at the advanced level in management of a single or multi-program environmental or health protection area.  Employees at this level may have a clear specialization in an environmental discipline and may be recognized as an expert in the specialty.  The work is generally performed with a high degree of technical and administrative freedom to plan, develop, organize and conduct all phases of the work necessary for completion within broad program guidelines.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level II plus advanced knowledge of the causes, impacts and prevention of environmental protection problems.  Ability is also required to plan and conduct field investigations; to design and interpret engineering plans and specifications; to develop hydrological computer programs or interfacing hydrological studies with existing computer programs; and to function independently and exercise good judgment.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level II plus two additional years qualifying experience

Level IV Code: R20D Salary Band: L

This is the leadership level of this job family where employees are assigned responsibility for directing or supervising the work activities of assigned areas of responsibilities, projects, programs or a unit on a regular and consistent basis.  This includes performance of technical duties as well as providing leadership or supervision to staff.  Responsibility for supervision may include project, unit, or team supervisors who provide direct supervision to assigned staff or other employees that have responsibility to provide technical supervision to others in coordinating, reviewing, and insuring completion of assigned projects.  Some positions may provide direct supervision which includes additional responsibilities for employee development, approving leave and initiating disciplinary actions, as well as performing related administrative functions.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities required at this level include those identified in Level III plus knowledge of supervisory practices and principles; of program development and implementation; and of office management practices.

Education and Experience requirements at this level consist of those identified in Level III plus one additional year of qualifying experience.

Selective Qualification

The positions at the Department of Environmental Quality require possession of a bachelor’s degree in one of the above areas.

Special Requirements

Some positions may require eligibility for registration as a Sanitarian-in-Training or Environmental Specialist-in-Training with the Sanitarian and Environmental Specialist Registration Advisory Council as provided for in 59 O.S. Supp. 1997 1150.3.

Some positions may require full registration with the Oklahoma Sanitarian and Environmental Specialist Registration Advisory Council as provided for on 59 O.S. Supp. 1997 1150.3.

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