Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Environmental Specialist (#20002679)

General Statement

Under supervision, works with industry management to coordinate and conduct industrial waste surveys to determine the quantity and quality of industrial wastes discharged into the sewers and waterways within the District's jurisdiction. Conducts professional environmental work in the administration of the Sewage and Waste Control Ordinance, User Charge Ordinance and other ordinances and conducts industrial/commercial facility inspections.

Essential Job Functions

Essential job functions are fundamental, core functions common to positions in a classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class. Since class specifications are designed to be descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents may complete one or all of the job duties listed or tasks of similar kind not specifically listed here.

  • Supervises and participates in the collection of effluent discharge samples, flow data and other compliance evidence through inspections, sampling, and recording; prescribes locations, methods and frequency of sampling.
  • Installs and/or inspects user installation of flow measurement devices, automatic samplers and related equipment; inspects industrial facilities, production activities, wastewater treatment systems and chemical storage areas; records field monitoring data and prepares investigative reports.
  • Consults with industry representatives and District personnel regarding pollution prevention and control matters; prepares correspondence to municipalities, utilities and public.
  • Conducts investigations and inspections; determines sampling points and locates pollution control violation sources; provides technical assistance to other District departments and outside agencies in response to emergency complaints.
  • Provides quality control/quality assurance for inspection and sampling activities and investigative reports generated from such activities; analyze data to identify errors or omissions; accurately maintain data in the IWD computer database.
  • Prepares enforcement actions and participates in conciliation conferences with industry management and monitors industrial user compliance efforts.
  • Reviews self-monitoring reports submitted by industrial users; reviews sampling analyses.
  • Researches and prepares correspondence in response to public inquiries and agency assignments including Freedom of Information Act requests; confers and coordinates with other departments, contractors and agencies; participates in public relations activities.
  • Prepares information for administrative enforcement and litigation proceedings; acts as an expert witness on behalf of the District.
  • Responds to chemical spills and environmental emergencies in industrial settings; Field Services personnel may be required to respond to special investigations and other work-related activities during non-working hours.
  • May assign, supervise and review work; ensure staff compliance with District policies and procedures including Personnel Rules and Administrative Procedures; complete performance reviews; address employee complaints and grievances; recommend employment actions such as hiring, transfer, suspension, promotion or discharge.

Other Job Functions

  • May provide coverage for routine administrative activities in the absence of the Senior Environmental Specialist.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Environmental Conditions

Positions in this classification involve a combination of office work and work in the field. Office work is performed in a typical office environment and requires the use of standard office equipment including computers. Field work is performed outside the office and may involve exposure to industrial equipment or operations, contact with hazardous or toxic material and exposure to a variety of weather conditions. Field work may also require the operation of a District vehicle.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the basic principles of chemistry.
  • Knowledge of the basic principles of wastewater treatment.
  • Ability to collect and record sampling data and assess the accuracy, validity and integrity of that data.
  • Ability to conduct inspections related to sewage discharge.
  • Ability to read, interpret, apply and enforce controlling laws, ordinances and regulatory provisions.
  • Ability to use computer applications for word processing, spreadsheets, basic database management, electronic mail and other functions.
  • Ability to meet with and secure the cooperation of industry representatives.
  • Ability to plan and supervise the work of subordinate staff.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing.

Absolute Requirements

Possession of a valid driver's license.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from a four-year accredited college or university majoring in environmental engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, biology or a closely related field.


Sub-professional technical or professional experience in engineering, scientific, treatment plant operations or industrial waste activities may be substituted for the required college or university education on a year-for-year basis to a maximum of two years.

Promotional Requirement

  • One year of service with the District as an Assistant Civil Engineer; or, possession of a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, biology or a closely related field and one year of service with the District as a Treatment Plant Operator II, Treatment Plant Operator I, Pollution Control Technician II, Pollution Control Technician I, Senior Laboratory Technician, Laboratory Technician, Environmental Research Technician, Senior Environmental Research Technician, Engineering Technician V, Engineering Technician IV, Operating Engineer II, Operating Engineer I, Patrol Boat Operator, or Safety Specialist.
  • Civil service status in one of the foregoing classifications.

CLASS: 20002679; EST: 1/1/2013; REV: 1/1/2024;