Green Gosport Initiative

Water Quality Apprentice Sought for Star Island

Star Island seeks a Water Quality Apprentice for the summer of 2015.
This position offers a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience in water and wastewater system operations, an important and interesting branch in the environmental field. On-the-job training and skills gained can provide credentials for New Hampshire state licensure, preparing the apprentice to work with water or wastewater systems throughout the state, or with private companies in the environmental field.
Description: The Water Quality Apprentice will work to provide clean, reliable drinking water to island residents and visitors and ensure proper and efficient day-to-day operation of the island’s wastewater treatment facility. This includes maintaining compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements, and state statutes. To enhance the island’s ability to efficiently use available water resources and to develop and maintain an effective wastewater process, the apprentice will work to understand and characterize island water use patterns, evaluate source water quality and availability, and monitor both influent wastewater quality and the microbiological wastewater process. This will allow for efficient management and sustainable development of the island’s wastewater operations and water resources. This is an opportunity to learn in a hands-on setting, and apply a systems-thinking approach, necessary on a small resource-limited island, to daily operations and special projects.
Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Implementing regulatory testing schedules in accordance with NPDES and SDWA requirements. This includes preparing for and performing solids, pH, chlorine, coliform, and other analyses.
  • Performing regular process testing at the water and wastewater treatment facility to monitor and troubleshoot system processes. Analyses include microscopic examinations, oxygen uptake rate, settling, and evaluation of salinity and dissolved oxygen profiles.
  • Recording and maintaining all system and maintenance data and information in water and wastewater treatment facility benchsheets and logbooks.
  • Following appropriate protocols to collect representative and accurate samples for all analyses.
  • Maintaining preventive maintenance and cleaning schedules for laboratory equipment.
  • Assisting in wastewater biosolids management, which includes working with reed and sand/gravel drying beds, and biosolids composting.
  • Working with island staff to identify projects related to water conservation and wastewater treatment then implementing 1-2 projects of these projects. Possibilities include installing a stormwater diversion and filtration system to augment available freshwater; evaluating how salt water (used to flush toilets) affects the biological wastewater treatment process; collecting and analyzing water use data for specific island functions (showers, laundry) and compiling a report.

This is not a comprehensive list, and other duties and projects will be assigned as needed.
Apprenticeship Site: Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH
This is a residential position on Star Island. Star Island is part of the Isles of Shoals, a small group of islands just off the coast of Maine and New Hampshire. The island is home to a seasonal conference center serving nearly 300 guests and operated by just over 100 staff members. Star Island is a great place to be a part of a dynamic community, experience island living, and enjoy a unique natural environment.

Water Treatment: Drinking water is produced through saltwater reverse osmosis, treatment of rain water collected in an 80,000 gallon cistern (first system of this kind in NH), and delivery of municipal water by boat. Toilets are flushed with salt water, and a culture of conservation is encouraged on-island.
Wastewater Treatment: A 10,000 gallon per day, seasonal, brackish sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treats all wastewater generated on-island. Effluent is discharged to the Atlantic Ocean, and biosolids are processed on reed beds and sand/gravel drying beds. Once dried, biosolids are composted.
For more information about Star Island see
For more information about Star Island systems see .
Desired qualifications/skills/coursework: Recent graduate or student pursuing degree in environmental sciences, engineering, water resources, or related field. Ability to work both independently with limited supervision and collaboratively in group settings; Ability to troubleshoot; Strong attention to detail; Ability to quickly learn complex processes and tasks; Safe, cooperative, respectful individuals who will thrive in the close working and living quarters of Star Island’s remote setting. Previous laboratory and technical experience recommended.
Supervision: Kristen Simard, Environmental Services Manager at Star Island.
Start and End Dates: June 22, 2015-August 28, 2015 (exact start/end dates are flexible)
Time Commitment: 36-42 hours/week
Compensation: Hourly rate, room and board, on-the-job training, and NH wastewater and water treatment license eligibility.
Room and board is provided, including all meals, dormitory-style accommodation in staff quarters, and a rustic island environment. Island residency is required 5-6 days each week with transportation to and from the island provided from Star Island’s dock in Portsmouth, NH. Training will be provided on-island and at other facilities in the State of New Hampshire, including Red Hook Brewery and the Hampton New Hampshire Public Works Department. Training received is approved by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) as qualifying experience and educational credit, which can be applied to eligibility requirements for the written water and wastewater operator examinations.
Upon successful completion of one season an apprentice will be eligible to take the NH Water Works Operator grade 1 treatment and grade 1 distribution exams and the NH Wastewater Treatment Operator grade 2 exam, as an operator-in-training. Upon successful completion of two seasons (minimum 6 months total experience) the apprentice, having passed the initial exams, will be eligible for full grade certification. Upon successful completion of two seasons (minimum 6 months total experience) the apprentice will also be eligible to take the NH Water Works Operator grade 2 treatment and grade 2 distribution exams as an operator-in-training.
The apprentice can also apply to work both through ‘end of season’ (mid-September) and into ‘close-up’ (October), after the initial seasonal contract is completed.
How to apply:
Submit (as PDFs) a resume, cover letter, and two references (professor or work/internship supervisor name and contact information), by Wednesday, June 17th to