By Aya Costa
My first co-op experience was with an environmental consulting company called Hemmera. I worked on their Site Assessment and Remediation team for eight months assisting environmental engineers and scientists with contaminated sites related projects.
In my position as an Environmental Engineering Co-op Student, I experienced a balanced mix of office and field work. While in the field, I was exposed to a variety of contaminated sites related work including: ground and surface water monitoring and sampling, drilling investigations, soil vapour sampling and slug testing. I was very fortunate to work with an extremely supportive team of people that always made an effort to share their knowledge with me.
While in the office, I worked a lot with an environmental data management software called ESdat. I used this program to manage analytical data and generate tables and borehole logs. In my position, I had the opportunity to independently complete several projects including two Phase I reports and an annual groundwater sampling report for a service station following the shutdown of their water treatment system. One of the most interesting projects I worked on throughout my term was a post coal spill recovery and monitoring program. I really enjoyed being a part of this project because I was able to learn a lot about spill response and BC’s Surface Water Quality Guidelines. My work with Hemmera allowed me to develop a thorough understanding of federal and provincial level environmental regulations and guidelines. Furthermore, I learned how to use these regulations to determine whether the land being investigated was safe to be used for its intended purpose.
Hemmera is also very invested in growing their company through their Innovation Program. Through Innovation, I had the chance to research micro plastics and salt forensics which was really interesting!
Since I am not originally from Vancouver, I had a great time on the weekends discovering all of the activities the area has to offer! Particularly during the summer, there is always something going on so you just have to find and take advantage of every opportunity.
My co-op term with Hemmera was one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences during my degree. I was able to learn all about the Site Assessment and Remediation industry and experience working at a great consulting firm. I would recommend co-op to everyone because it really is the greatest investment you can make in yourself early on in your career.