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AECOMs award winning Water Engineer Emilie Leclerc

AECOM's award winning Water Engineer Emilie Leclerc

 December 07, 2017

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AECOM Consultant Engineer, Emilie Leclerc has been awarded the UKSTT Young Engineer Award for 2017 for her work on trenchless technologies.

Her team at AECOM managed to clean around 900km of mains in an 18 months period thanks to innovative design of a mains cleaning project. The project itself has been one of the largest mains cleaning exercises carried out in the industry in recent years.

"I truly believe the reason why this project was a complete success is the effort that people, including myself, have put into it. As the project progressed, key members of the team left and I gained more and more responsibilities. By the end of the project I was in charge of basically all of the planning of the Ice Pigging sequences and had become very confident in my role," says Emilie.

Bursary awarded to develop new skills

Emilie has been awarded a £2,000 bursary to help develop her trenchless knowledge, which she is planning to use to attend the ISTT's 36th Annual International No Dig Conference and Exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa!

"I am very pleased this is held in an emerging country such as South Africa because it will give me the opportunity to see products and technologies that are being developed and used in a different environment to the one I am used to work with."

On her return, Emilie plans to bring some fresh ideas back to AECOM and further open her mind to innovation and new technologies.

"Developing my knowledge of Trenchless Technology can only help me become a better engineer," she states.

Getting in to the water industry

With a logical mind, and a great satisfaction in solving maths, Emilie began studying a Water Engineering degree at University. Learning about drinking water production and supply, wastewater treatment, sanitation, watershed management, flood control and soil contamination - Emilie knew this particular field of study was for her as she knew it was something that could help the environment, explaining "I think we all have a responsibility in trying to pass on the planet to future generations in a better condition than the one we received it."

"I believe Trenchless Technology is the way forward. First of all, with all utility companies facing the reality of ground becoming more and more populated by different assets, Trenchless Technology needs to be developed and improved. Constructing and maintaining underground infrastructure will be much safer for workers when they don't have to dig around high risk assets such as high pressure gas mains or high voltage electricity cables or literally work inside trenches. Reducing exposure of workers to risk means saving lives and that is crucial in the modern world that we live in.  Another reason why I am interested in Trenchless Technology is the fact that with population of cities constantly increasing there is a need for installing and maintaining underground infrastructures with far less disruption to customers whether they are domestic or commercial.  Finally with the reality we are facing regarding climate changes there is an urgency of developing sustainable technologies. Within the industry there are a lot of possibilities for innovation. I think Trenchless Technology rhymes with sustainability and that is the future." she states.

Developing skills and knowledge in new environments

Currently working on becoming a chartered engineer through the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Emilie hopes to one day use her skills and knowledge to work in a developing country where she can share her knowledge with the less fortunate. She also wants to explore working somewhere with different conditions and issues such as the weather, existing assets, and stakholder engagement to expand her knowledge further.

"I see myself working in urban hydraulics, either clean water or sanitation somewhere in South America or in Africa. I still need to travel the world and decide where I can see myself living for a few years; my trip to South Africa is a good first step in this direction!" she enthuses.

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