Water Resources Utility Planner

Thurston County | Olympia, WA

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Posted Date 11/15/2020

Thurston County is seeking to fill a vacancy within the Water Resources Division’s Technical Services Group.  This team consists of a group of engineers/planners who provide planning, development review, and capital projects management for the County’s stormwater, water, and sewer utilities. The group also leads public outreach for projects, management of utility advisory committees, and County code updates.

The ideal candidate will join the group ready to learn and work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to ensure capital project delivery, and planning project compliance with regulatory requirements.  Primary tasks will include management of consultant design and planning contracts, capital project scoping, and review of development applications (stormwater scoping reports, and new water and sewer connections).

While the Technical Services Group does not currently perform engineering design services, the group is especially interested in candidates who will bring a design skill set to the team.

Distinguishing Features
The Utility Planner position is distinguished by the independent responsibility to research and develop public policy proposals and programs, while obtaining and incorporating input from interested departments, federal/state/tribal/local agencies, community and stakeholder groups, and the public.  The Utility Planner also serves as a staff technical advisor, interprets complex rules and regulations, and may conduct environmental reviews.

Working Conditions
Work is performed primarily in an office environment but requires frequent travel to meetings and site visits.  Attendance at meetings often requires working evening hours.

Essential job functions consist of, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Depending on area of assignment, responsibilities may include the development of environmental resource plans which include basin and watershed characterizations, stormwater management plans, and asset management systems.
  • Plans, prioritizes, assigns, directs, and reviews the work of assigned staff and professional service consultants responsible for water resource studies, and water, sewer, and stormwater capital project design.
  • Depending on area of assignment, serves as a technical specialist to engineers, planners, and department managers and may interpret state, federal, and local regulations as well as tribal interests in the areas of water resource, public policy, utility development permitting, Public Works business models and organizational structures, and/or departmental strategic planning.
  • In coordination with other departments and units of government, develops and presents recommendations on various permits, project development applications, and emerging requirements, including the drafting of new or amended complex policies and ordinances.
  • Communicates with citizens, community organizations, stakeholders, and advisory committees with diverse interests and expectations.  When appropriate, solicits public involvement and presents County policies, findings, and recommendations.  May represent the department and act as spokesperson on various committees.
  • Prepares, influences, and monitors project budgets.  Develops, administers, and coordinates grants and consulting contracts.
  • Communicates effectively with individuals and groups regarding complex or controversial public policy issues or services.


  • Bachelor's degree in biology, environmental science, civil engineering, or a closely related field.
  • Five (5) years of progressively responsible experience related to water resources management, including demonstrated experience in collaborative problem solving.  Relatable equivalent experience may be substituted on a case-by-case basis.  A Master's Degree may be substituted for one (1) year of experience.
  • Current Washington State Driver's License or have requested and obtained an appropriate accommodation.

Desired Skills

  • A Master's degree in planning, biology, environmental science, civil engineering, public policy, public administration or a closely related field is preferred.
  • Experience with oversight and management of consultants performing planning, and capital project design.
  • Knowledge of computer software used in stormwater management and planning such as ArcGIS, WWHM 2012, and Autodesk SSA.
  • Ability to apply policy development, administrative principles, and legal requirements to complex issues and provide policy and program recommendations to managers and directors.
  • Ability to interpret and apply environmental quality laws and regulations to ensure compliance with development, projects, and codes.
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities in project management, presentations, and negotiations.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relations with elected officials, staff, regulators, local jurisdictions, and the community. 
  • Ability to quickly assess problems and act to constructively and collaboratively resolve conflicts and coordinate efforts to the satisfaction of elected officials, regulators, staff, local jurisdictions, consultants, contractors, and the public.
  • Ability to prepare and analyze technical and administrative reports, statements and correspondence.
  • Knowledge of federal and state stormwater and water quality regulations (i.e., Clean Water Act and the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems Stormwater Permit Program for public drainage facilities, Total Maximum Daily Loads, and the Underground Injection Control Program).

Other Position Related Information

For additional information:
Contact Tim Wilson at (360) 786-5831 or by email

This position is:
- Represented by a Union
- Eligible for benefits
- NOT eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Items required for consideration:
- Application
- Letter of Interest
- Resume


Job Category
Local Government
Career Level
Mid Level

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