Established: 09/07
Revised: 8/14
FLSA: Exempt
EEO: 3



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


The Planning and Zoning Division within the Department of Transportation and Development provides services for processing land use, building, and septic permit applications for compliance with the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance and applicable state and federal laws. The long range planning services address the future planning needs of the community through updates to the Comprehensive Plan, County Code, and other special projects. Services provided by the septic and onsite waste water program include evaluating proposed sites for on-site sewage disposal and 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 Associate is responsible for evaluating proposed sites for on-site sewage disposal and 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.

Unlike the Soils Scientist, the Soil Scientist Associate may sign-off (approve) Building Permit plot plans but does not have the authority to write septic approval letters or septic plan check letters. The Soils Scientist Associate is further distinguished from the Soil Scientist by the latter's responsibility for more complex assignments and their certification(s) being beyond the “Trainee” level.


Duties may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Provides customer service by answering questions regarding septic permit processes, soil evaluation studies, soil investigations, existing septic system reviews and variance procedures.
  2. Conducts septic feasibility studies; inspects septic construction permits; 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. Drafts preliminary designs of septic systems based on landform, soil and groundwater conditions in accordance with Department of Environmental Quality rules and County codes and protocols.
  4. Investigates complaints of septic violations of environmental law or local codes.
  5. Prepares reports and completes correspondence regarding field investigations; maintains files and records for septic inspections and 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 erosion control Best Management Practices; English grammar and composition.

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


Duties require frequent standing, walking, squatting, bending, twisting, kneeling, reaching, digging, balancing, climbing, fine motor control, and the ability to lift 50 pounds and carry up to 25 pounds. Duties also involve frequent exposure to confined spaces, loud noises, slippery and/or uneven surfaces, dust, and adverse weather conditions.


Registration by the State of Oregon as an Environmental Health Specialist Trainee or Wastewater Specialist Trainee.

Must be registered 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" within two (2) years of hire in this classification.

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.


The Soil Scientist Associate is part of a promotional career path. Incumbents in the Soils Scientist Associate classification must qualify for and be advanced to the Soils Scientist within two (2) years of hire. Must possess required knowledge, skills and abilities at the higher classification, as documented in an approved promotional evaluation form.

Edited: 03/17