Not very many environmental engineers get to work directly with the producers who raise our food. But the opportunity to do so is what Teddi Dear loves about her career.
The main focus of Teddi’s job is implementing the Agricultural Operations Act, which protects water resources by requiring intensive livestock operations to have adequate waste storage and waste management plans. Splitting her time between the office and the field, she provides technical assistance to producers and regional engineers. She explains government regulations and the approval process, and assists producers hiring consultants for engineering work.
Teddi helps clients applying for Farm Stewardship Program funding, which provides financial assistance to producers making environmental improvements on their farms. She discusses with them the environmental benefits of undertaking a project and provides counselling on the program options.
On a more technical basis, she evaluates potential livestock operation sites for environmental risk. In this role she looks at waste sources, potential pathways and receptors, which can involve the collection of soil and water samples. After surveying an area, she plans the proper placement of facilities such as pens and runoff controls, and then creates site layouts, design drawings and as-constructed plans. She is also involved in surface water monitoring of areas that receive manure from livestock.
Working in the livestock sector was natural for Teddi, as she grew up on a farm working with cattle and spent many years in the 4-H program. Teddi completed her degree in Civil Environmental Engineering and spent time working in environmental consulting before taking this role within the Ministry of Agriculture.
There are a number of environmental programs available at the college and university level. Depending on the university, environmental engineering options may be available within the agricultural, biological or civil disciplines.