Biosolids Specialist

  • Full-Time
  • Madison, WI
  • Application deadline: 2021-09-19


Do you have a passion for the field of agriculture, agronomy, soil, and nutrient management? Are you a soils scientist who enjoys working with farmers and the environment? The Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is seeking a Biosolids Specialist to oversee the environmental regulatory and compliance activities associated with the District’s current land application biosolids reuse program (Metrogro). The successful candidate will be an innovative, forward-thinking leader, skilled at building trusting relationships and advancing environmental health and community well-being, through sustainable solutions.

Who We Are

At Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) we believe in enriching life through clean water and resource recovery. We are a passionate team who work together to recover resources and clean wastewater for return to nature 365 days a year through our innovation and expertise.
Working at Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District is more than just a paycheck. It is about taking care of the communities we live in. We are trusted leaders working together to protect one of our most valuable resources, our water. When you think about your career and what you want to accomplish in your lifetime make the choice to do Work Worth Doing!

What You Will Do

The Biosolids Specialist has primary responsibility for overseeing the environmental regulatory and compliance activities associated with the District’s current land application biosolids reuse program (Metrogro), works with the Metrogro operations supervisor to ensure success during land application, and provides support for other District resource recovery and nutrient management initiatives related to Class A and Class B biosolids. It requires a person who is driven to serve the public and make a difference in this region’s quality of life. The role also demands that the individual is comfortable working behind a computer as well as out in a farm field. This position has increased hours, including weekends, during the hauling season which is typically about 2 months in both the Spring and Fall.

What You Will Love

  • Working hard and having a mix of office and field work.
  • Building strong relationships with DNR, farmers and employees.
  • Working with other passionate water experts.
  • The challenge and autonomy to make impactful decisions.

Success Factors/Duties

  • Success Factors
    •  Collaborative: Articulate and confident communicator. Builds strong external working relationships and partnerships and can influence people with a focus on developing and promoting better management practices around biosolids reuse.
    • Analytical: Can effectively collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data. Understands the importance of accuracy and strives to produce high-quality, error-free work. Pays attention to detail.
    • Motivated: Inspired to perform well by the ability to contribute to the success of the District and has a passion for sustainability, the environment and protecting public health.
    • Sustainable Thinker and Problem Solver: Is open to and seeks new novel solutions to problems and brings holistic thinking to every situation.
    • Adaptable: Is flexible and open-minded to change and new ideas. Can adjust and modify to fit the situation. Has the courage to create change when necessary.

Job Duties

  • Perform all necessary regulatory permitting and reporting in accordance with state and federal guidelines and regulations
  • Solicit farmers to identify new fields for biosolid application.
  • Conduct activities related to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) site-approval process for the biosolids reuse programs, including site verification, inspection, site soil investigations for soil morphological reports, and gathering up-to-date soil tests and appropriate permission signatures from farm customers.
  • Conduct surveys of agricultural fields to determine their suitability for biosolids application.
  • Coordinate soil sampling for all application sites prior to field application to support permit compliance and nutrient management planning, as needed.
  • Gather information, permit new application sites, and establish application boundaries in accordance with state and federal rules.
  • Conduct soil borings to verify field conditions and create field maps for land application including flagging fields for applicators.
  • Calculate site-specific biosolid application rates, based biosolids nutrient availability, previous and planned crops, nutrient credits, and soil yield potential.
  • Conduct post-application inspections to ensure compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.
  • Record data from application sites to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and maintain and record data in electronic form for biosolids application and field information.
  • Update and maintain program specific GIS data, including field boundaries, application setbacks and restrictions, well locations, and others.
  • Uses GPS and GIS to accurately record field locations and properties.
  • Prepares and presents necessary reports verbally, in writing, and electronic as necessary.
  • Optimize current data management practices.
  • Meet and correspond with regulators as needed for new or existing land application permits or permit compliance.
  • Maintain all site approval records in the Metrogro database, GIS, and OnBase.
  • Communicate all nutrient application credits to farmers and/or consultants in a timely manner for nutrient management planning.
  • Enter and maintain all daily application records in the Metrogro database.
  • Completes the biosolids program DNR annual reporting.
  • Ensure District compliance with applicable federal and state regulations and permits relative to biosolids reuse and disposal through regular operational reviews and contractor quality control checks, as well as facilitate any necessary corrective actions, if needed.
  • Participate in the long-range planning for the beneficial reuse of biosolids, including the evaluation of alternative methods and technologies.
  • Maintain constructive relationships with regulatory agency representatives to resolve technical and compliance issues and communicate program activities and objectives
  • Investigate various methods of application to reduce nutrient runoff and over application of nutrients and stay up to date with technologies.
  • Locate and build land base for beneficial reuse of biosolids at farms, and form relationships within the agricultural community, farmers, and contracted applicator operators and contracted truck drivers.
  • Provide technical information and presentations to regulatory agencies, community customers, and the general public as needed.
  • Monitor and understand regulatory trends such as phosphorus limitations, micro-contaminants, and personal care products and their potential impact on District land application program operations.
  • Stay up to date on administrative codes, statutes, laws, and new technology that can impact activities associated with the biosolids reuse programs.
  • Participate in professional organizations and attend meetings/conferences as necessary to build relationships and enhance technical and project management skills.
  • Participate in projects and research pertaining to emerging contaminants in the realm of biosolids.
  • Provide support on an as-needed basis for activities related to resource recovery initiatives and to the District’s adaptive management project.
  • Manages all aspects of the spring yield guarantee program, including working with the biosolids operations supervisor to coordinate spring field application timing.
  • Manages all aspects of the Metrogro wheat price guarantee program.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Education and Experience

  • Four (4) year degree in agronomy, soil science, environmental studies, water resource management or related environmental degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A minimum of five (5) years of agronomy experience.
    If an applicant does not possess the specific requirements outlined above, HR will review the application materials to determine if the applicant possesses the following equivalent experience:
    Four (4) years experience with the following:
  • Farming principles, including agronomic application rates and control of organic and inorganic pollutants, nutrient management practices, and soil conservation.
  • Geology (specifically the local geology) and other factors affecting migration of pollutants into groundwater or surface waters.
    Two (2) years experience with the following:
  • Pertinent federal, state and local laws, codes and regulations associated with biosolids management.
    Familiarity with the following:
  • Workplace safety principles and practices.
  • Computers and computer software applicable to the duties of the position.

Required Credential

  • Credentials are required upon appointment to obtain State DNR self-approver status under Wis. Admin Code NR 204.06(6) for biosolids application site approvals for demonstration of competence to review sites. In order to obtain said credentials, one of the following is required:• a Bachelor of Science degree in soil science from a 4-year accredited college, or
  • a certified professional soil scientist in good standing with the American Society of Agronomy, or
  • the possession of a certified soil tester classification (CSTM or CSTS) from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

If one does not possess the above, a variance is possible. In order to qualify for a variance, either of the following is necessary upon appointment:

  • Licensure through DSPS as a Professional Soil Scientist, or
  • Credentials as a Wisconsin Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg) with the American Society of Agronomy.

The District strives to provide exceptional customer service to all its residents and visitors. Therefore, successful candidates will have demonstrated ability to effectively work with multicultural communities.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

Work is performed both in the field and in a standard office environment. The seasonal nature of the biosolids program will result in extended hours (early mornings and some evenings) during the spring and fall, as well as work on the weekend, dependent on the weather. Must be able to use computer equipment for extended periods of time. Requires enough hand, arm, and finger dexterity to operate computer keyboard or other office equipment. Requires visual acuity to read and write words and numbers. Requires speaking and hearing ability enough to communicate in person, publicly or over the phone. Must be able to lift to 50 pounds occasionally. The noise level varies from quiet to loud. Requires the ability to work outside, stand, walk, kneel, and stoop for extended periods. Because work is performed in farm fields, the ability to physically access and walk over uneven terrain, ranging from dry to muddy condition, is essential.

Remote work may be a possibility for this position during the off-season.

Salary and Benefits

The District provides a competitive compensation package, including a salary range between $72,632.91 to $98,268.05 annually, DOQ, participation in the top-rated Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), and excellent health, dental, and other insurance, as well as generous vacation and sick time. The District promotes a casual, friendly work environment and support for ongoing development.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume on our website by September 19, 2021

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