Bruce Boland

“It was during the early 1970s when pollution of the Great Lakes was a major issue.” According to Bruce Boland, this is what persuaded him to complete a bachelor of science in engineering with a major in water resources. Originally, the University of Guelph student was looking to combine his experience of growing up on a farm with his strength in math and science to become an agricultural engineer. But after learning about the pollution in the Great Lakes, he made up his mind. “The need to clean up the pollution really caught my attention. It seemed like something that needed to be done, and I wanted to help.”

Today, the water and wastewater plant engineer is the president of his own consulting company, Waterbru Water and Wastewater Services, in London, Ontario. Before 2002, when Bruce established the company, he worked for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Ontario Clean Water Agency as a water and wastewater plant engineer. In a managerial role, Bruce oversaw the design and construction of new or upgraded water and wastewater facilities. “I looked at whether the components of the treatment plants were something the operators were going to be able to operate.” He also reviewed the specification documents detailing what equipment was being provided for new or upgraded plants.

In addition to the desktop review, Bruce met with the engineers creating the plant designs. “We would discuss things like the treatment plant capacity, meaning the volume of sewage or water it needs to treat.” He also met regularly with the municipality to discuss issues such as financing, staffing, and the capacity necessary for a facility’s growth over a 20-year time period. When touring new plants or existing plants that were being retrofitted, Bruce met with the construction team, and when construction was complete, he oversaw staff training on the new equipment. “One of the best parts about that job was being able to interact with such a broad range of professionals. I really enjoyed it.”

The primary drawback to Bruce’s work was the hurdles he often encountered working on government projects. “I can remember a couple of projects where I had to deal with several different municipalities, my own provincial department, and the federal government. It made getting the job done very difficult.” Regardless, Bruce persevered, always getting the job done. “I realized there was a need for what I did. A lot of people were depending on me to treat their water and wastewater.”