August 2021's Featured Agrologist is Virginie Brunetaud, PAg of Vancouver (District 3)!
What are your areas of practice? What is your expertise?
I am a hydrogeologist at Core6 Environmental Ltd. where I work on contaminated sites assessment and water resources management. My expertise includes hydrogeological assessments, water well design, groundwater dewatering and monitoring design, coordination and supervision of environmental and water wells drilling, development of conceptual site models, assessment of contaminant fate and transport, and environmental sampling of soil, groundwater and soil vapour. I have had the opportunity to collaborate on projects for a range of clients across the private and public sectors, as well as First Nations.
Why did you choose the career in which you are currently?
I always loved being outdoors in nature and watch the wildlife in their natural ecosystems. I wanted to work in a field that would combine my strong interest in science (biology and chemistry in particular), being outdoors and make this world a better place. I also strongly advocate for social justice and think everyone has an equal right to access clean and sustainable drinking water.
For the last decade, climate change has been a major concern to me. Based on all the scientific data that has been published to date, it is undeniable that climate change is real and is in fact impacting all of us, whether we believe in it or not.
As an environmental scientist, I believe that the younger generations are key to changing skeptical and denying opinions and will be the power that can drastically trigger a change in our society. This is why I chose to volunteer at the Vancouver Aquifer as a Marine Educator for many years before the pandemic. I had access to the most current scientific research on how climate change is impacting our environment and oceans, especially here in British Columbia.
I shared my knowledge with children to bring awareness to local issues that would resonate with them. I was actually agreeably surprised that kids are generally more aware of the dire situation of our environment compared to a lot of adults and they know that we need to take meaningful actions now. This gives me hope for the future.
What do you do in a typical workday or week?
My work and daily tasks have changed since I first started working at Core6. I used to do a lot more fieldwork, supervising contractors and collecting groundwater and soil samples. Now I’m mostly working at my desk, writing technical reports, preparing dewatering plans and water well designs, preparing proposals, work plans and budgets for hydrogeological studies. I also provide technical support and mentor junior staff. I still do some fieldwork occasionally, usually to supervise the drilling and installation of dewatering wells or water supply wells that I have designed.
Please share some favourite bonus "perks" and/or experiences from your career.
My career as a hydrogeologist allowed me to travel around the world. Groundwater issues are similar in most countries, so the skills are easily transferable, only the regulations are different. I obtained my Master’s degree in Montpellier, France, during which I did a 6-months internship in Christchurch, New Zealand. After that, I moved for 4 years to Perth, Western Australia where I worked on various projects, in very unique places around the province. Since working for Core6, I have had the opportunity to travel to various parts of BC and the Yukon.