I think often times the public
takes for granted that they have clean water to drink and
that they have enough
clean water to drink, but that is something
that people are working
very hard to ensure. We want people to have
confidence that that
water will be healthy. They don’t need to
buy bottled water. My name is Tamar Losleben. I am an environmental engineer
with Malcolm Pirnie. I work in New York City. Environmental engineering is
really where public health and
environmental needs meet. Environmental engineers
work with cleaning up contamination or preventing
contamination of the air,
soil and water. we study where there could be
an impact on the environment or people’s health and we
create solutions to try
and mitigate that impact. [ANNCR] TAMAR’S AREA OF SPECIALTY IS WATER ENGINEERING.
SPECIFICALLY, WATER TREATMENT. [Tamar] So I’m here at a
friend’s house and I’m here to test um lead in the water
because often in a these old houses that were built maybe 50
or 100 years ago there’s concern about lead in the water. I’m
collecting samples to make
sure that the water is safe. At Malcolm Pirnie
I work on a lot of different types of projects.
Anything from determining water storage needs or disinfection
needs, upgrading drinking water facilities or
wastewater facilities. Doing overall master
planning. I also look at
the sustainability of projects and that is
something that we are very
much focused on now. [Tamar] I am working on a
project in Nassau County Long Island at the Bay Park
Sewage Treatment plant… [Shila] we are working with
the NY state department of
environmental conservation to meet the
stricter regulations that they have put on us to remove the
proper amount of chlorine
and dissolved oxygen from the waste water
leaving the plant and
entering the water bodies. So Tamar is working
with us here to monitor the levels of the
dissolved oxygen and the
chlorine. [ANCCR] WORKING FOR AN
ENGINEERING FIRM PROVIDES TAMAR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON A
VARIETY OF PROJECTS AND TO SPEND LOS OF TIME OUTDOORS,
WHICH SHE LOVES. I like to start my day
outside, whether its running or
surfing in the morning or biking to work. My working
environment is a mix. I sometimes work in the
office…other days
I’ll head to the field I quite like my hours that I
work. It’s usually a 40 hour
week. We’re here at Meadow Lake
in New York City and I’m taking a sample of the lake
water to test for turbidity. I basically want to understand
if there are a lot of particles that are suspended in the water.
It’s about 30, which is higher than what we would want for
drinking water, but for swimming and recreational
purposes, that’s fine. [Tamar] We’re in Jackson
Heights. This is the
little India of NYC. I love it here there’s
so many cultures, so many
colors and reminds me of my childhood. I grew up in
India, Kenya and Egypt.
There’s just so much here. [ANNCR] LIVING IN LARGE
INTERNATIONAL CITIES, TAMAR HAS SEEN FIRST HAND
HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO BALANCE URBAN GROWTH WITH
PRESERVING AND PROTECTING
THE ENVIRONMENT. SHE KNEW EARLY ON THAT
THIS IS HOW SHE WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
SHE DEVOTES MUCH OF HER TIME TO ORGANIZATIONS LIKE
ENGINEERS WITHOUT BORDER. [Tamar] People can learn how
to make it and reconstruct
it and if it breaks it coast about ten or
fifteen dollars to make [Colleague] That’s a very
good solution. That’s a very
good innovative solution. [Tammar] In El Salvador I
worked with a community that built one of them and
they’re still using it. [ANNCR] AS A PROJECT LEAD FOR
ENGINEERS WITHOUT BOARDERS
TAMAR HAS WORKED HANDS ON WITH TEAM
MEMBERS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN CONSTRUCTING WATER STORAGE,
DISTRIBUTION, AND PURIFICATION SYSTEMS FOR SMALL VILLAGES
IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. TAMAR IS PASSIONATE ABOUT
SHARING HER EXPERIENCES WITH
LIKE MINDED COLLEAGUES. [Tamar] About half of the
population in developing countries lacked access to
proper sanitation or even just improved sanitation. They
don’t have a latrine to use. And one out of six people
don’t have access to an
improved water source. So they are drinking
water that could potentially make them sick or
they could even die from. I know as an environmental
engineer that I impact
people’s lives and hopefully they are
healthy because of that. When I work abroad I see
the impact directly. You
know people, it changes people’s lives. They now have a water tap or
they are not getting sick
and we can talk about it. I can see it. I can see their
joy and how thankful they are. [ANNCR] LIKE MANY WATER
ENGINEERS, TAMAR FINDS HERSELF
BOTH WORKING AND PLAYING IN AND AROUND WATER. We’re at Rockaway beach in New
York and we’re heading out to the ocean to see if
there’s some little waves
to catch this morning. When I am surfing I see
a lot of marine life. I have seen porpoises
and I see whales Pretty big whale, I don’t know
what kind, but it jumped in the air twice and just went down I
also love to uh bike around the city into Central Park along the
rivers and I sometimes bring my paints I grew up really
intrigued by nature and found that I just had this
desire to try and capture
some of the beauty. Environmental engineers are
very much optimists and I think sometimes we are confused
for idealists, but its just that we see an issue or something
that could be mitigated. Something that is damaging the
environment or people and we have ideas of how to solve that
problem and it may not be a perfect solutions at first, but
we return to the problems and we keep on working on them and I
think that is the hope that we have is that things
can be better. [ANNCR] ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS
LIKE TAMAR ARE EXPERTS IN AREAS
LIKE POLLUTION CONTROL, INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE, HAZARDOUS
WASTE MANAGEMENT, WATER SUPPLY, RADIATION PROTECTION, WASTEWATER
MANAGEMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH AND LAND MANAGEMENT. THEY MAY WORK
IN ENGINEERING FIRMS, UNIVERSITIES, PRIVATE RESEARCH
FIRMS, CORPORATIONS, TESTING LABORATORIES, AND GOVERNMENT
AGENCIES OF ALL TYPES. I would say someone who
wants to be an environmental
engineer should have an interest in
people and in science
and be strong in math. We use a lot of chemistry. We
do calculations on dosages, on flow rates uh but I think
someone who has a strong interest in science and
people would be a good
environmental engineer. [ANNCR] ENVIRONMENTAL
ENGINEERS TYPICALLY HOLD A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN
ENGINEERING. THIS CAN BE CIVIL, MECHANICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL.
MOST CONTINUE AND GET A MASTERS DEGREE IN ENVIRONMENTAL
ENGINEERING. engineering is a field that
has historically been
dominated by men but I do see that changing in my generation
and I am encouraged by it. My supervisor is a wonderful
woman engineer. Great leader. My dream is to work abroad on
international water projects to help people get better access
to clean, safe, water. Water is a need that is
global and I think that need will be there and so will
environmental engineers