Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Environmental Microbiologist (#20003611)

General Statement

Under general direction, conducts microbiological monitoring and research to meet regulatory objectives and support wastewater treatment operations, water quality monitoring and public health protection.

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.

  • Ensures adherence to established policies and procedures; instructs and provides training; performs technical tasks such as routine monitoring for permit compliance, ambient water quality monitoring, treatment plant operations assessment; and applied research projects.
  • Performs required microbiological testing included in the Laboratory certification provided by Environmental Laboratory of Accreditation Program by Illinois Department of Public Health and maintains IDPH laboratory certification.
  • Provides technical support to Virology, Parasitology, and Wastewater Laboratories and applied research projects.
  • Instructs and trains laboratory staff.
  • Participates in the preparation and administration of the analytical microbiological laboratory program budget; submits budget recommendations; monitors laboratory equipment preventative service and repair contract.
  • Prepares analytical and statistical reports summarizing and interpreting the microbiological results. As appropriate, submits for publication in professional journals.
  • Stays abreast of new trends and innovations in the field of microbial water quality analysis.
  • Responds to supervisor’s request for special sample collection and analyses during non-work hours due to events such as spills and emergency industrial waste discharges.
  • Schedules, assigns, supervises and reviews work; ensures staff compliance with District policies and procedures including Personnel Rules and Administrative Procedures; completes performance reviews; addresses employee complaints and grievances; may recommend employment actions such as hiring, transfer, suspension, promotion or discharge.

Other Job Functions

  • Performs data entry, verification, summarizing, and statistical analysis of biological and chemical monitoring data.
  • Coordinates and monitors the maintenance of laboratory analytical equipment. Initiates purchase orders as necessary.
  • May conduct tours of the labs or participate in other public outreach activities relating to the laboratory.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Environmental Conditions

May involve exposure to a variety of chemical and biological materials, some of which may be hazardous or toxic. May involve exposure to fumes and noxious odors. May involve field work.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the principles, aseptic practices and procedures of environmental microbiology, molecular biology, parasitology and virology.
  • Knowledge of operations, services and activities of wastewater treatment plant laboratory.
  • Knowledge of biochemistry, wastewater treatment processes and biostatistics.
  • Knowledge of pertinent Federal, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards laws, codes and regulations.
  • Knowledge of chemical hygiene and standard laboratory safety practices.
  • Skill in the use of personal computers, including spreadsheet and related database software.
  • Skill in the use of microbiology laboratory equipment, e.g. microscope, autoclave, pH meter.
  • Ability to plan and supervise the microbiology laboratory work of subordinate staff.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university majoring in microbiology, bacteriology, virology, biology, or a closely related field and two years of experience in environmental microbiology or a closely related field.


Graduate study in an appropriate academic specialty may be substituted for the required experience on a year-for-year basis.

Promotional Requirement

  • Possession of a bachelor's degree in microbiology, bacteriology, virology, biology, or a closely related field. 
  • One year of service with the District as a Senior Laboratory Technician or Senior Environmental Research Technician.
  • Civil service status in one of the foregoing classifications.

CLASS: 20003611; EST: 1/1/2017; REV: 1/1/2023;