Established: 11/90
Revised: 05/07, 9/14
FLSA: Exempt
EEO: 3



Under general supervision to conduct plan reviews and on-site soil investigations to determine the feasibility of septic systems; and to do other work as required.


The Soils Section within the Water Environment Services is responsible for administering DEQ rules and Clackamas County ordinances and regulations.

The Soil Scientist is responsible for evaluating proposed sites for on-site sewage disposal or inspecting newly constructed, existing or failing on-site sewage disposal systems consistent with DEQ codes and County ordinances, and conducting field inspections of same as necessary. The Soil Scientist reports to the Soils Program Supervisor, who has full supervisory responsibility for Soils Section staff.

The Soil Scientist is distinguished from the Senior Soil Scientist by the latter's responsibility to provide technical guidance and lead work supervision of soil inspection personnel.


Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Reviews and approves or denies on-site sewage disposal permits and building permits requiring on-site sewage disposal; answers questions regarding septic system permit processes, soil evaluation studies, soil investigations, existing septic system reviews and variance procedures.
  2. Conducts on-site soil investigations and evaluation studies; gathers information to determine whether the site is suitable for a septic system; analyzes soil samples and determines if soil characteristics, slope, surface water, and potential ground water sources meet current standards.
  3. Reviews submitted designs for septic systems based on site and soil characteristics, Department of Environmental Quality rules and County codes.
  4. Provides technical guidance to the general public regarding septic system installations, site characteristics and repair options for failing septic systems via the telephone, in person or in writing.
  5. Reviews Planning Department applications for consistency with sewage disposal regulations.
  6. Investigates complaints or observations of State, regional or local environmental law violations.
  7. Prepares reports and completes correspondence regarding field investigations; maintains records for septic inspections, certificates and other programs.


Working knowledge of: Department of Environmental Quality regulations; general principles of geology, hydrology and soil science; septic design, septic system design standards and practices; basic math and statistics; on-site septic system field inspection procedures and practices; County permit process and losing regulations; English grammar and composition.

Skill to: Interpret scale drawings; determine soil profiles; discriminate between functional, marginal and non-functional septic systems; provide advice on septic system installations; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing; prepare detailed reports; establish and maintain effective working relationships.


Duties are performed both indoors and outdoors; field investigations may require moderately strenuous physical activity.


Registration by the State of Oregon as an Environmental Health Specialist, Wastewater Specialist, Geologist or Engineering Geologist, and/or recognition by the American Registry of Certified Professionals in Agronomy, Crops and Soils as a "Certified Professional Soil Scientist or Specialist".

Employment is contingent upon passing a post-offer physical assessment. Accommodation requests will be reviewed on an individual basis in compliance with State and Federal legislation.

Driving is required for County business on a regular basis or to accomplish work. Incumbents must possess a valid driver's license, and possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.


Any satisfactory combination of experience and training that demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.