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Environmental Monitoring Technician
Environmental monitoring technicians observe the environment and the impacts of human and industrial activities. There are two areas of specialization for environmental monitoring technicians: regulatory and research. Regulatory monitors are responsible for monitoring the activities of industry to ensure project terms and conditions are met, whereas research monitors assist technicians and technologists in monitoring factors of the environment, for example wildlife counts, surveys, or sampling. Environmental monitoring technicians communicate valuable information to stakeholders to work toward mitigating negative environmental impacts.
At a glanceImagine you are standing on the land your family has called home for many generations, where they have hunted, fished, and lived off the land. You are an environmental monitoring technician for a private company that has been contracted to build a landfill for the local Aboriginal community. As a member of this community, you have a vested interest in the landfill project and want to ensure all environmental regulations are followed. As an employee of the construction company, you will be closely involved in the project in a position where you can address your community’s concerns. As an environmental monitoring technician, you are responsible for observing industry activities to ensure compliance with land-use and other environmental impact agreements. Before construction on the landfill can begin, the company must conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to identify strategies to minimize and mitigate the potential effects of the landfill on the environment. You will work with the company’s environmental team to collect baseline data on the area, including soil and water samples. You will also make certain special consideration is given to the possible impacts of construction on traditional land-use areas and ecological species. Once approval is given and the company is ready to begin construction, you will be responsible for monitoring how the company clears the land. For example, you’ll ensure that it follows regulations for the removal and storage of topsoil and sub-surface materials, stays within authorized zones, and avoids sensitive areas. During construction, you will also observe the site to make sure necessary permits are posted, waste is disposed of appropriately, and fuel and other hazardous materials are handled properly. Until the landfill is complete, you will monitor the activities and environmental impact of the project and report any issues to the appropriate person, whether it is the company, the regulatory agency, or the community.
Job dutiesDuties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as an environmental monitoring technician:
- Collect samples, for example air, water, and soil samples.
- Record data and observations in an accurate and well-organized manner.
- Assist in the operation and maintenance of equipment, including laboratory, field, and monitoring equipment.
- Identify and locate landscape resources.
- Read maps and navigate variable terrain, including operating vehicles.
- Prepare technical reports detailing monitoring activities.
- Communicate effectively with project team members.
- Prepare for jobs, including attending daily meetings to discuss upcoming jobs.
- Review Job Environmental Analysis (JEA) reports that detail project-specific environmental issues.
Work environmentEnvironmental monitoring technicians work in a variety of locations, including: In the office:
- Doing paperwork and entering and analyzing data for reporting
- Communicating on the phone and in meetings with clients, government departments, colleagues, and experts in the field
- Inspecting sites and recording data and observations
- Taking photographs of sites and construction projects
- Operating and maintaining equipment
- Collecting samples and specimens
Where to workThere are a number of places environmental monitoring technicians can find employment. They include:
- Environmental and engineering consulting firms
- Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
- Firms in other industries, for example oil and gas, mining, and forestry
- Not-for-profit and non-governmental organizations
Education & requirementsIf you are a high school student considering a career as an environmental monitoring technician, you should have strong marks or an interest in:
- Environmental Technology
- Environmental Science