Utility System Planning Engineer

City of Seattle, WA
September 8, 2023
Seattle, WA
Job Type


Position Description

This position is open until filled. First consideration will be given to candidates who apply by October 3, 2023 . An online application including submittal of a cover letter and résumé must be completed for consideration.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is seeking a Utility System Planning Engineer to support the initiation and planning of Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO), wastewater and drainage capital projects. This position will function as a Line-of-Business (LOB) representative in the Drainage and Wastewater (DWW) branch, addressing critical DWW system project needs, and leading or overseeing several projects at any one time, among other LOB rep duty assignments.

This position will work closely with the CSO System Planner to lead utility projects addressing CSO program needs to meet Seattle's consent decree requirements, and to support wastewater and drainage capital projects, especially to address capacity needs; this position may also support LOB priorities within the Major Interagency Projects program. Projects will vary in complexity from low to moderate to highly complex, with individual project budgets of up to $100M +/-.

This position supports SPU's Strategic Business Plan mission, vision and values; ensures ongoing compliance with the city's NPDES permits and EPA Consent Decree, and agreements with Ecology. This position helps achieve goals for improving wastewater and drainage service levels across the city and will focus on DWW Risk Areas in the central and southern parts of the city, including especially Georgetown and South Park. This position helps achieve SPU's community vision and goals of Shape Our Water. Projects and programs are anticipated to be a combination of grey and green strategies to meet system needs while achieving multiple benefits. In 2023, the Wastewater Capacity, Localized & Landslides programs expect to deliver over $23 million in capital project improvements in various phases of planning, design or construction. Solving problems in capital projects often involves solving all DWW problems in any one location, including assuring that goals to address combined sewer overflow problems, green stormwater infrastructure needs for water quality and other capital programs, are part of all our project solutions.

This position will be responsible for leading pre-design (initiation and options analyses) phases of capital projects planning work, completing project-specific business cases, in concert with programmatic business cases, and overseeing scope, schedule, budget and performance requirements of projects as they pass through design, construction and close-out phases. As an LOB rep, this position also ensures improved service equity and community-centeredness with every effort. Completing racial equity toolkits, equity strategies and public engagement plans are made accountable by this LOB rep. This position also represents DWW as an LOB representative for drainage & wastewater utility concerns that are not yet planned within the capital programs and may assist with other DWW capital planning work assignments not listed.

This position will report to the DWW Strategic Advisor 2 overseeing capital programming for the Central and South geographic areas.

About Seattle Public Utilities: Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is a Community Centered Utility whose mission is to foster healthy people, environment, and economy by partnering with our community to equitably manage water and waste resources for today and future generations. We deliver high quality, vital services, across four major lines of business: providing water, solid waste, drainage and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses. In addition, SPU provides drinking water for 1.5 million regional customers in Seattle and other municipalities. Our customers depend on us to deliver high quality, reliable, and cost-conscious utility services and to achieve the highest benefits possible for every investment we make.

For more information about Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), please visit:

  • SPU Workplace Expectations (Download PDF reader) (Download PDF reader)
  • Strategic Business Plan

SPU commits to Our City Values and Race and Social Justice as core principles that guide our work. We actively take steps to dismantle systemic racism and increase service equity. We value diverse life experiences and strive to create a workplace that is welcoming to all. We take steps to be inclusive and equitable in our recruiting, hiring and promotional opportunities.

Why join us?

We know work isn't only about what you do, it's also about who you work for and with! SPU provides a fun and family-friendly work environment that supports a work-life balance, including:

  • Hybrid work schedule opportunities
  • Family-friendly and multicultural work environment
  • Generous benefits package
  • Free public transportation options
  • City pension plan with employer/employee contributions
  • Growth potential and advancement opportunities

Job Responsibilities

This position will lead DWW utility project and program work, including the CSO, Wastewater Capacity, and Drainage Capacity program (Localized Flooding Program), and serve as a line-of-business (LOB) rep leading teams in capital projects and programs in the DWW line-of-business. This position will work closely with the System Planning staff to lead utility projects addressing CSO problems, and to support wastewater projects and other Utility projects as assigned. This position is expected to lead several projects simultaneously and provide program leadership to project stakeholders delivering drainage capital projects. Other specific essential duties include:

Project Leadership : this position will function as a project lead or LOB Rep in drainage and wastewater projects to:

  • Initiate projects for solving prioritized stormwater, wastewater and CSO system problem areas identified through DWW planning efforts, to solve multiple DWW problems with a single project.
  • Identify options, analyze costs, benefits, and risks of options, and select the preferred option.
  • Draft Scope statements to define existing DWW problems as part of project initiation. Recommends the Utility's preferred alternative in business cases for future capital projects.
  • Complete business cases, scope documents, and other technical writing to make project recommendations to SPU leadership based on financial, social, and environmental considerations.
  • Establish capital project and program performance requirements and ensure that capital projects and programs meet those performance requirements through design and construction stages.
  • Lead diverse teams and leverage the expertise of internal and external staff to inform project and program development.
  • Lead consultant procurement processes, as well as direct and manage ongoing consultant work and support.
  • Communicate via presentations, briefings and written updates about capital projects and programs with SPU staff and leadership, department directors and executives.

Program Leadership : this position will assist the Strategic Advisor 2 to:

  • Develop strategies for drainage capital programs to deliver projects in innovative ways.
  • Update capital programs through business cases, uses of racial equity toolkits, economic and service equity analyses.
  • Optimize capital project delivery options for challenging sites of high priority.
  • Incorporate Operations & Maintenance needs into capital projects solutions and to meet long term maintenance needs.
  • Optimize strategies for crew-built solutions for small-sized projects.
  • Integrate diverse team members through trust and relationship-building.

This position will report to the DWW Strategic Advisor 2 overseeing capital programming for the Central and South geographic areas.

This position will lead projects and programs that are expected not only to solve high-risk and high-priority drainage and wastewater system challenges but also to:

  • Expand our approaches and innovates to maximize the community benefits of drainage and wastewater investments.
  • Embed racial equity deeply in our work determining what, where and how capital projects and programs are implemented.
  • Engage meaningfully with environmental and community stakeholders, sharing power and decision making to the extent possible.
  • Align with mobility, open space, and livability improvements through partnership with other agencies and City departments.
  • Adapt to future environmental challenges and to build system resiliency - especially in areas most vulnerable to environmental hazards.
  • Lead with humility, to build relationships with and deepen our commitment to community.

You will be successful if you feel passionate about:

  • Solving challenging drainage and combined sewer problems with innovative, 21st century approaches including green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) solutions, that provide the highest value for every dollar spent.
  • The essential role that stormwater and wastewater play in the lives of SPU customers and the environmental health of Seattle's water bodies.
  • SPU's role in fostering environmental justice by leading infrastructure planning and decision making through the lens of equity and working to address infrastructure disparities that fall along racial lines.
  • Coordinating and developing partnerships with a variety of governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and community members and/or developers to identify opportunities for the City of Seattle to solve multiple problems and provide benefits to communities through infrastructure work led or supported by SPU.

Your effectiveness in this role will depend on your ability to:

  • Initiate projects and continue to be an integral part of project teams through options analysis and design, infusing strategic thinking and ensuring appropriate level of effort for the scale of project and decision point needs.
  • Setting clear project requirements and ensuring projects are adequately resourced.
  • Build effective relationships with SPU and other City Department staff and collaborate with environmental and public/community stakeholders to build trust in SPU's work.
  • Communicate complex technical issues to SPU and other department staff and managers.
  • Lead and influence the work of staff who do not directly report to you.
  • Work within an environment with shifting priorities.
  • Move between detailed technical work and big picture thinking.

Please note this job advertisement is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


Experience: Five (5) years progressively responsible experience in utility system planning; wastewater and/or CSO project design or management; utility program management; general project management, and civil engineering design experience.

Education: Bachelor's Degree in Engineering; Environmental Studies; Urban Planning; Drainage, Infrastructure or Utility Management, or related field.

Experience and Education Equivalency: Combinations of appropriate education, training, certification, and experience will be evaluated on an individual basis for comparability to the minimum education and experience requirements.

Abilities: Demonstrated ability to write and communicate well, in technical memos, reports, and capital project-related documentation, such as pre-design reports, options analyses plans, business cases, value planning studies, presentations, etc.

Licensure: At the time of appointment must hold a valid Washington State Driver License , and a Washington State Professional Engineer (PE) license.

Work Environment/Physical Demands:

  • Most work is performed in a normal City work/office environment.
  • Field assignments may entail exposure to all types of weather, traffic, hazardous/toxic substances, high voltage energized equipment and work in or near construction sites.
  • May be required to stand, walk, or bend for extended period of time.
  • May be required to work nights, evenings, weekends, and/or holidays.
  • Overnight travel may be required.

You will be most successful in this role if you possess one or more of the following:

  • Excellent oral presentation skills.
  • Excellent writing skills, especially technical writing, and persuasive writing.
  • Ability to use discretion, good judgment, confidentiality, professionalism at all times, and a sense of humor!

Desired Experience in:

  • Combined Sewer Overflow system planning, design, and problem solving.
  • Stormwater system planning and design.
  • Green stormwater infrastructure system planning and design.
  • Design and project management of utility projects in landslide prone areas, and slope stabilization projects.
  • Wastewater system planning and design.
  • Resiliency and/or climate adaptation planning in utilities capital projects.
  • Racial and Service Equity analyses supporting capital projects.
  • Effective use and understanding of project management principles from the Project Management Institute within project delivery at any project phase.

Additional Information

How to Apply: Please attach a cover letter (no more than one page), and a résumé (no more than two pages max) in addition to your online application. If you do not submit these documents, you will not be considered.

A writing sample of past work authored or co-authored by the applicant will be required to be submitted during the interview process. Examples of types of documents include: technical reports, analyses, studies or memoranda, project scopes, business cases (especially for public projects), program or project charters, outreach & engagement plans, resiliency plans, urban planning studies, or other capital project-related documents.

Workplace Environment: This position allows for the flexibility of a hybrid work schedule. Employees will be required to come into the office twice a week. Individual schedules will be agreed upon by the employee and their supervisor.

The full salary range for this position is $57.96 - $67.49 per hour.

Benefits: The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday, and sick leave as well as medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance for employees and their dependents. More information about employee benefits is available on the City's website at: https://www.seattle.gov/human-resources/benefits/employees-and-covered-family-members/most-employees-plans

Who may apply: The City of Seattle encourages people of all backgrounds to apply, including people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans, and those with diverse life experience. This position is open to all qualified candidates that meet the minimum qualifications. The City of Seattle values diverse perspectives and life experiences. Applicants will be considered regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

If you have any questions, please contact Charles Gilmore at charles.gilmore2@seattle.gov

Learn more about Seattle Public Utilities at our web page www.seattle.gov/util/ .

The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday and sick leave as well as medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance for employees and their dependents.

More information about employee benefits is available on the City's website at:
"Most" Employees Plans - Human Resources | seattle.gov

Closing Date/Time: Continuous

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