Laboratory Manager

City of San Luis Obispo | San Luis Obispo, CA

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Posted Date 2/06/2020

Supervises, trains, and manages the daily operations and staff of the City's Water Quality Laboratory. The City's Water Quality Laboratory is an Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) State Certified Laboratory which utilizes The National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) Institute criteria and performs sampling and/or analysis for drinking water, wastewater, surface water, recycled water, groundwater and biosolids samples.   This position is designated as Laboratory Director as defined in Title 22, section 64817 of the California Code of Regulations. The Laboratory Manager ensures federal, state and City regulations and guidelines relating to ELAP, the NELAC Institute, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits (NPDES) and other directive documents are fulfilled, and sampling, analysis and laboratory procedures conform to state and federal standards to maintain state certification.

This single-position classification administers, plans, and oversees staff and activities while performing professional-level work in the development and administration of the City's Water Quality lab. This position is distinguished from the Laboratory Analyst classification in that the former is responsibility for overall management and administration of the Water Quality Lab.


The Laboratory Manager receives general direction from the Deputy Director of Utilities Wastewater within a framework of legal requirements, polices and established organizational values.
General supervision is provided to Laboratory Analysts.


(Any one position may not include all of the duties listed nor do the listed examples include all tasks that may be found in positions of this class.)

  • Plans, oversees, reviews, and evaluates all analytical and operational activities of the City's Water Quality Laboratory.
  • Plans, organizes, assigns, supervises, trains, reviews, and evaluates the work of laboratory staff to ensure work is completed safely, ethically, with high data integrity, within documented procedural compliance, and within City and regulatory requirements.
  • Assists in long range and short-range planning of laboratory activities to meet current and future needs as regulations change.
  • Directs the preparation and timely submission of a variety of written and electronic correspondences, reports, procedures, ordinances and other materials.
  • Monitors changes in laws, regulations and technology that may affect laboratory or department operation; implements changes to policies and procedures as warranted.
  • Develops and administers the laboratory section operating and capital improvement budget; assists in the preparation and review of request for proposals with contract vendors and service contracts.
  • Plans, develops, prepares, reviews and oversees the development of, but not limited to; quality manuals, Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), policy and procedures and other documents for ELAP, the NELAC Institute and City laboratory compliance.  
  • Conducts special assignments, pilot studies, and special projects inside and outside of the department.
  • Performs related duties similar to the above in scope and function as required.

Knowledge of:

  • Principles and practices of organic and inorganic chemistry and microbiology as related to water and wastewater analyses.
  • Regulations and requirements pertaining to the operation of an Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) certified laboratory.
  • The methods, standards and regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and California State Department of Public Health for drinking water, wastewater, surface water, groundwater, recycled water, biosolids and related matrixes.
  • The methods, requirements and standards issued by the NELAC Institute for wastewater, drinking water, surface water, groundwater, recycled water, biosolids and related matrixes.
  • Safety practices and safe work methods related to work.
  • Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater.
  • Quality Assurance / Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures required by the California Department of Public Health and Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program and the NELAC institute.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permits, Water Quality Control Plan for the Central Coast Basin, the Policy for Implementation of Toxics Standards for Inland Surface waters, Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (California Toxics Rule and State Implementation Plan) regulations and requirements and other pertinent directive documents.
  • Ethical practices and principles of managing a water quality / environmental laboratory
  • Written and electronic reporting formats and requirements for various state, local and federal agencies for drinking water, wastewater, biosolids and related matrices,
  • Supervisory principles and practices, including work planning, scheduling, employee training, employee evaluations and budget control functions.
  • Techniques for providing a high level of customer service to the public and City staff, electronically, in person and over the telephone. 

Ability to:

  • Plan, organize, schedule, supervise and review activities of assigned staff.
  • Analyze and interpret laboratory and plant operating data, reaching sound conclusions and make appropriate recommendations.
  • Train staff in work practices and assist in employee development and professional growth as defined in the City's Skills Based Pay (SBP) program and other organizational goals.
  • Establish staffing, supplies and equipment needed for the laboratory.
  • Prepare justifications and support documentation. Compile annual budget requests for the laboratory.
  • Coordinate laboratory services with operations, maintenance, pretreatment, municipal supply, municipal distribution, wastewater collections and other related units.
  • Serve as technical advisor to other City departments or contract services on matters related to water quality issues.
  • Maintain working relationships with City departments, related public and governmental agencies.
  • Develop laboratory goals, objectives, polices and administrative details




Bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year university in biology, chemistry, microbiology, or closely related field.
Four years of commercial or treatment plant laboratory experience.  A master's degree in biology, chemistry, microbiology, or related field may be substituted for one year of the required experience.
Or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • A valid California class C driver's license and a satisfactory driving record.
  • Possession of a Grade III Laboratory Analyst Certificate issued by the California Water Environment Association (CWEA).
  • Pre-employment Physical
  • Livescan Fingerprinting - DOJ


Job Category
Local Government
Career Level

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