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Keuka College News

Environmentally Sound Engineering

By Mary Leet ’16

When it comes to construction and renovation, especially within cities, it is tempting to do what is fastest and easiest without considering the long-term impact on the environment.

Unless, of course, Lu Engineers, a civil and environmental engineering firm, is involved in the project.

Gina Ferruzza ’14, an environmental science major from Penfield, discovered just how committed the firm is to the environment by conducting a Field Period at their Pittsford office this summer.

“We investigate, identify problems, and then make a plan with a contractor to excavate,” said Steve Campbell, Ferruzza’s supervisor and director of the Environmental Division.

He explained that each site is a commitment the firm takes on, because even post-excavation sites must be continually monitored for many years in case other problems arise.

Campbell’s division assists in areas such as bridge and highway design, natural resource assessment, and site design to optimize the use of safe materials and methods in construction and renovation projects.

Where previous Field Period experiences had Ferruzza working in a lab, she has received “training she can use wherever she goes” as a certified Hazmat transporter, according to Campbell.

“The people here were relaxed and very patient with me as I was learning, and they’re also very funny,” said Ferruzza.

She has compiled data reports, collected and sent samples, and evaluated— with the survey crews— if bridges were built with hazardous materials.

“It’s important to us that our students are here to learn, not making copies,” said Campbell.

At a recent site, Ferruzza helped take soil samples to identify where contamination in groundwater was coming from.

The knowledge Ferruzza has obtained from her work at real sites is something she notices even off the job.

“I was so impressed when we started going to survey sites that Mitch [a coworker from the survey department] could look and see right away that certain materials were present, but now, I can look and see them too,” she said. “Sometimes, when I’m driving with my mom, I’ll look at a truck and know that it contains a flammable liquid.”

With one Field Period requirement left, Ferruzza hopes to return to Lu Engineers in January to hone her new skills at even more sites.

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