3h exam in 30mins keep your fingers crossed for me
Build Engineer within the Environmental Department
The Coal Authority
I work to clean up polluted water from old coal mines from orange (tomato soup) to crystal clear
Having two older brothers is probably what got me into engineering as the toys they got to play with, Lego and building blocks always seemed more fun than dolls.
After finishing my A Levels I went to Bristol University where I studied for 4 years (one of which I did as an exchange in Canada) where I studied to become a Civil Engineer. From university I went to work on the Canals in the midlands as an Asset engineer, working to repair locks and river walls.
I have been working for The Coal Authority which is funded by the government for the last 3 years. We work looking after the legacy of the Coal Mining industry in the United Kingdom. This is things from looking at records to see if you have mining underneath a property you want to buy, to repairing a void that has been created when a 100m deep shaft has started to collapse.
I work in the Environment Department of the Authority and we find ways to clean up water that has been polluted with iron as it passes through old mine workings. When this water reaches the surface it goes tomato soup orange as the iron reacts with oxygen to make iron oxide, which we call ochre but most people know as rust. This can cause large stretches of rivers and streams to turn bright orange and can have harmful effects on the wildlife in the river.
There are two ways we look to clean the water, first is what we call an ‘active’ process where we use chemicals and big mixers and pumps to treat the water inside a building. This gets as very clean water but as you can imagine cost a lot of money to look after day to day.
The second way is called ‘passive’ where we use large ponds and beds of reeds to treat the water. This option is great as it costs us a lot less money to look after and also create habitats for wildlife.
My job is to take the idea of how to treat the water polluted mine water from paper and build it on the ground. I have to work with a large group of people to get this done. But once complete on the ground it great to see a previously orange river run crystal clear and be teaming with wildlife.
My Typical Day
Talking to people, via emails meetings and reports
Arrive at work at 8.45 and plug the laptop in. Make a cup of tea while the computer logs in, check my calendar for meetings coming up. Look through the emails that have come in so far today, I usually get up to 30 emails a day and managing them can take up a lot of the day if I am not careful.
Start to review a feasibility report sent in by a company of engineer designers (consultants) who have looked at how we should be treating a polluted stream. It is my job to check the report to make sure it covers all the questions we asked them to think about such us,
How should we be treating the water by adding chemicals or through ponds
Where is there land that we can put the treatment scheme on
Do we need to pump the water anywhere and if so where can we get power from
Can we generate any renewable energy from the scheme
How much is it going to cost to build
After lunch I have a meeting with our builder, to have get an update on how a scheme we are currently building is progressing. They have found a problem on site where they have uncovered a old well where the new access road is going to go. Meeting with the designers, builders and myself we look for a way forward that will work, will not delay the project for too long and hopefully not cost to much money. Sometimes we have to chose a more expensive quick solution as a slower solution will cost more money overall.
In between this I have to answer emails from land agents who are trying to buy me a piece of land, talk to a neighbour who is unhappy with some works that are on site, review the finances for next year and write a proposal for starting a new feasibility report.
By the end of the day I have drunk at least 5 cups of tea, answer and written many emails, talked with colleagues, and by the end of the day I am happy to go home ready to do it all again tomorrow.
What I'd do with the money
Take a 10m long bridge to schools in Lincolnshire
Ice East Midlands have a 10m spanning cable stay bridge that they take round schools.
kids at the school put together the bridge and at the end of the task get to walk over it.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Resourceful, enthusiastic, dyslexic
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Washing with a elephant in Nepal
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Tell us a joke.
What do you get if you cross a goldfilsh with an elephant? swimming trunks