Katrina-Marie Blair

Katrina-Marie works as a graduate environmental engineer at AECOM. Her role involved preparing reports such as desk studies, human health risk assessments and controlled waters risk assessments, and coal mining risk assessments; data interpretation and analysis; groundwater and gas monitoring; sample collection and design; and supervision of ground investigation. Katrina studied Physical Geography at the University of Liverpool and then studied for a Masters in Contamination, Risk Assessment and Remediation at Lancaster University.

Katrina believes the best aspects of her job is the variety and ability to see projects through from beginning to end. Her job allows her to see the whole process of site development, starting with the initial desk study, the installation of boreholes, the collection of environmental samples, monitoring and subsequent data interpretation, risk assessment and report writing. 

“The blend of fieldwork and also office based work is challenging as you must develop both fieldwork skills i.e. sampling techniques and also data analysis and report writing skills. However, having the opportunity to visit sites and be involved in the practical side of a project as well as the writing of reports is a great part of the job. In my current role, I am fortunate to be able to get involved with a diverse and exciting range of projects.”

Katrina is also grateful for the support her team has given her:

“Working in a team of people who are more than willing to answer questions I may have, from technical to data analysis, has taught me a lot and being able to discuss the reasons behind findings, for example elevated gas concentrations and the possibility of gas migration form a particular site, is a great part of my job.”

One of Katrina’s favourite professional projects was the Mersey Gateway project, which is a new road bridge across the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. She was involved with producing a Conceptual Site Model to discuss the potential contamination present in an area which the bridge development would cross. This involved summarising previous ground investigations, screening groundwater and soil data for elevated levels of contaminants, identifying pathways through which contaminants could migrate and identifying potential receptors taking into account the geology, hydrology and hydrogeology and sources of historical contamination based on previous land use of the surrounding area. Having lived in Liverpool and still having close connections to the city it was especially interesting for her to work on a project which will improve the infrastructure.

In the future, Katrina plans to gain more experience in the design and supervision of ground investigations and generally to broaden her knowledge and skill set over the next few years in an industry that she is passionate about. She would be really interested to become involved in some remediation works too.  Her main aim is to achieve Chartered Scientist designation (CSci) with the IES in order to progress in my career as a professional.

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