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Hydrology / Biogeochemistry Technician

Date: Jan 7, 2021

Location: Grand Raipds, MN, US, 55744

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4553 


The Biodiversity and Sustainable Systems section within the Environmental Sciences Division (ESD),, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL),, is seeking a technician to conduct field and laboratory work on hydrology and biogeochemistry tasks associated with the ORNL-led Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments (SPRUCE) field experiment ( The SPRUCE project is located in the USDA Forest Service’s Marcell Experimental Forest (north of Grand Rapids, MN). The technician will conduct hydrological and biogeochemical measurements in the field and will collect water samples for subsequent chemical analyses. The technician will analyze these samples in collaboration with the Forest Service at their research laboratory in Grand Rapids, MN. Fieldwork and laboratory work will be conducted year-round, with a greater emphasis on field activities in the spring through fall and a greater emphasis on laboratory work in the winter.


ESD is an interdisciplinary research and development organization with more than 60 years of achievement in local, regional, national, and international environmental research. Our vision is to expand scientific knowledge and develop innovative strategies and technologies that will strengthen the nation’s leadership in creating solutions to help sustain the Earth’s natural resources. Our scientists conduct research, develop technology, and perform analyses to understand and assess responses of environmental systems at the environment-human interface and the consequences of alternative energy and environmental strategies.


ESD staff also lead the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE) Arctic project (, and we are an integral partner in the NGEE Tropics research project ( We also lead the Critical Interfaces Science Focus Area (CI-SFA,, which investigates the role of hydrology on the transformation of redox-sensitive elements, such as mercury, in a flowing stream system. ESS staff also lead the development of multiple land system components in the US DOE Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM,


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Conduct field measurements of water level in numerous wells and piezometers.
  • Collect water samples from porewater piezometers, precipitation collectors, streams, and groundwater on a weekly to annual basis (depending on the sampling site).
  • Collect weekly water samples from autosamplers and conduct annual calibration of water outflow systems.
  • Collect detailed field data and ensure all data are electronically transcribed in a timely manner.
  • Analyze water samples for multiple chemistries, including pH, specific conductivity, anions, cations, metals, nutrients (nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, total nitrogen, total phosphorus), total organic carbon, and stable isotopes of water.
  • Conduct QA/QC of analytical results to ensure accuracy.
  • Acid wash glassware and sampling bottles.
  • Assist with additional SPRUCE fieldwork activities (e.g., decomposition studies).
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Required Qualifications:

  • B.Sc. or B.A. in ecology, environmental sciences, biology, or a related field is required.
  • At least 2 years of related fieldwork experience.
  • At least 2 years of experience analyzing environmental samples for chemical constituents.
  • Ability to lift moderately heavy loads and to work outside under often inclement and extreme conditions.
  • A valid driver’s license.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and also collaboratively as part of an interdisciplinary research team.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with environmental sensors and datalogging systems, especially Campbell Scientific dataloggers.
  • Experience with chemical analyses of water, especially measured using ICP, IC, UV-vis, spectrophotometer, total organic carbon, and liquid water isotope analyzers.
  • Experience with QA/QC of water chemistry data.


Other Information:

  • This position will be based in Grand Rapids, MN for the duration of the SPRUCE project (anticipated 2025).
  • Applications should include a cover letter, current CV, and a list of at least three references.
  • At a minimum, we request that applicants include an updated CV and list of references as part of the application packet.


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Grand Rapids MN