Drinking Water Quality Division Director

Seattle Public Utilities
Seattle, WA

The position is open until filled.  Candidates are encouraged to submit their application by November 30, 2022, to be considered in the initial screening process.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is seeking a Drinking Water Quality Division Director. This position ensures the quality of drinking water through the provision of water laboratory services, utility service inspections, and water treatment operations, maintenance, planning and engineering.  The work of the division maintains regulatory compliance, facilitates operational and maintenance decisions, provides guidance on capital improvement projects, sustains customer confidence, and protects customer health. The position reports to the Deputy Director, Drinking Water Line of Business and Shared Services.

Additionally, the division director is accountable for: Delivering reliable drinking water that is safe and is aesthetically pleasing for 1.5 million customers in the form of treatment, monitoring, and reporting that meets all state and federal requirements. The work includes:

  • Ensuring operational excellence and emergency response capability – 24/7 – for water treatment and water quality oversight in support of City of Seattle and Seattle Public Utilities’ (SPU’s) retail and wholesale drinking water customers.
  • Managing a state accredited laboratory that operates 7 days a week.  
  • Collaborating with and oversight of third-party contractors to ensure Tolt and Cedar drinking water treatment facilities operate at, or above, established service levels and regulatory requirements.
  • Providing Utility Service Inspector services for retail customers, including administration of SPU’s Cross Connection Control program.  

About Seattle Public Utilities:  Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is a Community Centered Utility working to make Seattle the best place to live for everyone. We deliver high quality, vital services, across four major lines of business: providing water, solid waste, drainage and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses. In addition, SPU provides drinking water for 1.5 million regional customers in Seattle and other municipalities. Our customers depend on us to deliver high quality, reliable, and cost-conscious utility services and to achieve the highest benefits possible for every investment we make.

SPU commits to Our City Values and Social Justice as core principles that guide our work. We support and hold ourselves accountable by eliminating barriers to access and providing employees with equitable opportunities for professional growth and advancement.

Job Responsibilities

  • Leads the Drinking Water Quality Division in managing and coordinating the operations of the water quality laboratory and two water treatment facilities, supervising 40 staff. 
  • Provides policy planning and implementation to maintain regulatory compliance, customer confidence and health protection. 
  • Represents SPU to regulators and external partner agencies such as environmental and governmental stakeholders. Maintains and builds collaborative working relationships.
  • Manages the Utility Services Inspections group, including SPU’s cross-connection program and responding to customer inquiries about water quality. 
  • Plans and implements future needs for the water treatment plants, including capital upgrades and operations and maintenance resourcing. 
  • Ensures the Water Quality Laboratory meets all State laboratory accreditation requirements. 
  • Champions and facilitates a safe and inclusive workplace that supports employee engagement, innovation, and productivity.
  • Manages staff by planning and prioritizing work; ensuring policy and procedure compliance; recommending changes and adjustments; and monitoring staff performance and development. Provides sufficient resources and training to enable staff to provide services in an efficient, innovative, inclusive, and safe manner. 
  • Works collaboratively with peers such as division directors in the branch, at SPU, and across various city departments to further SPU’s goals as described in the Strategic Business Plan.
  • Provides 24/7 emergency response capability working with staff in the division. 
  • Works at the Water Quality Laboratory in person alongside frontline staff.


Education: Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Public Health, Environmental Management, or a related field.
Experience:  Seven (7) years of experience in engineering project/program management, water treatment, water system, water quality management or other related experience including two (2) years of supervisory/management experience. Experience should also include significant professional level experience working with regulators and ensuring compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements is required.

Education/Experience Equivalency:  Combinations of appropriate education, training, certification, and experience will be evaluated on an individual basis for comparability to the minimum education and experience requirements.
License:  Valid current Washington State Driver license within six (6) months of hire.  

The ideal candidate should possess:

  • Experience building collaborative long-term relationships with regulators and other external stakeholders. 
  • Experience serving in a lead role addressing real-time water quality issues such as Total Coliform Rule daily compliance and water system depressurization / precautionary boil water notice decisions. 
  • Experience serving in a lead role answering questions from the media and the public about a wide range of water quality and treatment issues. 
  • Experience planning for future water quality and treatment regulations and translating those requirements into staff and program resources.
  • Washington State Water Distribution Manager IV or Water Treatment Plant Operator IV License.

Additional Information

This hiring process involves a background check of conviction and arrest records in compliance with Seattle’s Fair Chance Employment Ordinance, SMC 14.17 as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process. Applicants will be provided an opportunity to explain or correct background information. 

All City of Seattle employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Failure to submit proof of vaccination or qualify for a reasonable accommodation will result in withdrawal of a job offer.
Who may apply: The City of Seattle encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experience. This position is open to all qualified candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.  
Seattle Public Utilities has three lines of business, which include: drinking water, sewer, drainage, recycling, and waste collection services in the Seattle area.

Our “Mission” is to foster healthy people, environment, and economy by partnering with our community to equitably manage water and waste resources for today and future generations. We do this work while always keeping in mind that we need to spend customers’ money wisely.

Seattle Public Utilities is the largest water supplier in Washington State, providing drinking water to over 1.5 million people in the Puget Sound region.  The drinking water program provides:

  • Some of the highest quality drinking water in the nation because it comes from protected mountain sources.
  • Management and protection of the Cedar River and South Fork Tolt River watersheds with input from state and local agencies. In the case of the Cedar River habitat, we also partner with local tribes and manage the river to protect salmon.
  • Maintenance of 1,800 miles of pipe to ensure that high quality drinking water gets to our customers’ homes and businesses.
  • Protection of the water supply by operating two state-of-the-art treatment facilities, conducting daily monitoring, and testing, and building underground reservoirs.
Much of what we manage are unseen structures, often underground, that make the city work – and which we continue to upgrade and maintain to ensure we have 24-hours-a-day, seven days-a week utility services.

As a city, Seattle is known as a progressive leader in technology, innovation, and the environment. As an employer, the City of Seattle is a leading local government in environmental stewardship, green building, and social justice, making our city what it is today and shaping our future.  Our employees play an important role in making this possible.

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities at our web page www.seattle.gov/util/.