Senior Wastewater Engineer

United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
Home-Based / Remote
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Senior (10+ Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)
Languages Required: 


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The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

Within this remit, UN Environment, in partnership with the UN Office for Project Services, acts in the role of an in-house technical assistance team that provides solutions to Field Missions in the planning, designing, budgeting and implementing of a range of actions to reduce their environmental footprint across a range of technical areas. Field Missions are mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in specific countries and parts of countries for specific periods. The operations usually take place in locations with a fragile environment and a serious lack of infrastructure.

The technical assistance team will primarily provide expertise directly to Field Missions but also strategic support to DOS Environment and Engineering both in New York and the Global Support Centre based in Brindisi, Italy. Activities will be closely co-ordinated amongst these respective entities via existing work planning and request for deployment processes, principally under the guidance of the GSC Environmental Technical Support Unit.  

This vacancy announcement is for a Senior Water and Wastewater Engineer to provide hands-on water and wastewater engineering advice to UN field missions and strategic advice on approaches to manage wastewater treatment within challenging operational contexts.

Functional Responsibilities

The scope of this assignment is can be divided into: a) Operational field mission support, and b) Systemic and strategic advisory, including the catalysation of change in strategic approach.

A)                  Operational field mission support (at least 50%):

Visit field missions to provide on-ground Technical Assistance and / or provide desktop support on the:

  • Planning, costing and implementation of wastewater management investment programmes.
  • Troubleshooting recurrent equipment and site performance problems.
  • Undertaking review of and/or conducting risk assessments, root causes and developing appropriate risk mitigation measures.
  • Training / capacity building of UN engineering staff and/or local contractors in wastewater management.
  • Review and provide technical advice to missions on their Water and Wastewater Management Plans.

B)                  Systemic and strategic advisory

Working under the auspices of a working group on water and wastewater, contribute to systemic and strategic initiatives for improved wastewater management in the field. The output shall include:

  • Scoping the technical challenge and developing field appropriate technical solutions for wastewater treatment. The respective role of out-sourcing vs in-house solutions is to be comprehensively assessed.
  • A detailed exploration of technologies appropriate for various scales and complexities of field operations.
  • In-depth guidance for each priority technology and infrastructure solution, covering scoping, sizing, design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, troubleshooting and decommissioning.
  • Technical specifications, sourcing strategies and SOWs for priority technologies and infrastructures.
  • Cost engineering data including unit rates.
  • Guidance on the end-of-life, including handover and/or decommissioning of wastewater treatment infrastructure.
  • Contribution to, and where necessary, leadership of the development of Policies, Guidelines, SOPs, Standards, key performance indicators, templates for the implementation of water and wastewater management practices.
  • Regular attendance and pro-active contribution to various working group and senior leadership meetings.

The activities and outputs will need to consider, inter-alia, the following constraints:

  • Relatively short timeframes for planning, design, construct and commissioning and operational lifespan.
  • The capital and operating costs, in particular the energy and human resource needs for commissioning and operation.
  • The potential for handover to host nations upon mission liquidation.

Outputs will include:

  • Provision of advice in the form of verbal, written and diagrammatic output, including face to face/VTC meetings and presentations, internal documents and associated working files to high standard. 
  • Writing and/or editing short technical and applied research reports for publication as grey literature.

The Engineer will act as the technical lead and primary author. Technical, CAD and editing support will be available, however the Engineer will be responsible for co-ordinating and scheduling the support tasks, which may come from both internal teams and external partners. The Engineer may be responsible for managing the tasks of junior staff members.

Travel (up to 30%), potentially to remote locations including least developed countries, will be required. All travel expenses will be covered in accordance with UN rules and regulations.

The successful candidate will be working in a multi-stakeholder team. They would be expected to demonstrate professionalism and a strong work ethic; ability to work on their own under minimal supervision; flexibility and willingness to assist with tasks outside formal TORs.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Advanced University Degree (Master's or equivalent) in water and wastewater, mechanical, civil, chemical or environmental engineering.
  • An additional 5 years of relevant work experience in combination with a relevant first university degree (Bachelor’s or equivalent) may substitute for the requirement for a Master’s degree.


  • At least 7 years’ technical experience in the design, planning, installation and commissioning of water and wastewater engineering projects.
  • At least 5 years’ experience in engineering project management and the leadership and/or capacity building of engineering and technical teams.
  • At least 3 years’ experience in applied engineering research and technical development and the writing of technical reports.
  • Experience in all aspects of wastewater treatment, water quality testing protocols, risk assessment and metering and monitoring technology.
  • Experience in fieldwork in remote sites, fragile states and post conflict settings.
  • Experience within the UN is desirable.
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment with respect for diversity and gender awareness.
  • Analytical skills and the ability to provide recommendations and sound business cases/justifications.

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English in writing, reading and speaking is required.
  • Fluency in French is desirable.