Environmental Scientist

How long have you worked for Wessex Water?

'Since August 2019.'

How did you apply?

'I heard about the position at the River Restoration Centre conference in April 2019. I was sat on the table of Chris Tattersall (who is now my ‘boss boss’) and he told me about the role and what it entailed. I kept an eye out for the position he mentioned and applied through the company website.'

What attracted you to Wessex Water in the first place?

'I have a background in geography and so I’ve always wanted a job which has a good mix of fieldwork and office-based tasks (which this role does). I liked the security of working for a water company. The salary (in my opinion) was very generous compared to other graduate roles at the time when I was applying (I came to Wessex Water almost immediately after completing my Masters degree).'

What does your job entail and what do you most enjoy about the role?

'My job title is Environmental Scientist (Chemicals). My role is to help with the delivery of the Chemical Investigations Programme (CIP) phase 3 (2020-2025) which is a national programme of wastewater investigations in response to emerging legislation on chemicals in the water environment.

I love my job and enjoy the variety of the role. While some parts can be a bit gross like sampling the inlet of WRCs, it is really interesting and I feel like I am making a difference (if only slightly in the grand scheme of things). With the help of my line manager (and colleague) Richard Standerwick, I help design and eventually carry out sampling programmes to try and identify sources of chemicals of emerging concern e.g. HBCDD, cypermethrin and tributyltin. (These investigations are currently delayed due to COVID19 disruption). These sampling programmes vary from sampling rivers, groundwater springs and observational boreholes (not related to drinking water supply) and raw and treated wastewater, both at WRCs and in the sewer network.'

Tell me about your team and what you like most about working with your colleagues at Wessex Water?

'They are a really friendly bunch, lots if interesting characters and we all get along really well. Everyone has their own specialism e.g. wetlands, water quality, catchment management/partnership, hydrogeology, freshwater ecology (and my own: chemicals) – there is so much diversity within our team, I’m always learning new things and get to help out on other peoples’ fieldwork. We socialise outside of work too which helps to bring the group closer, often we go climbing or go to the pub for a drink.'

Why do you think Wessex Water is a great place to work?

'I love the community feel of the company and the security it brings compared to environmental consultancies or wildlife charities. You meet lots of different people and groups in the job and it’s so varied. I like that everyone tries to help each other out. And I also like that health and safety is taken very seriously – if you don’t feel safe performing a task then it’s okay not to do it.'

What do you enjoy most when not working?

'I lived in Worcester for four years during university and moved to Bath for the job in August. It’s a lovely city and it’s nice being a bit closer to family who live in Salisbury (where I grew up). My hobbies include running, playing badminton, going for walks – generally being outside. I love to walk my dog when I visit my family. She’s a 10-year-old Border Collie called Willow.'