We Need More Dam Engineers, Inspectors and Floodplain Managers.
I got your attention. Please read below.
Floods. Dam failures. Levee breaches. Most of us have seen their devastation in news reports and on television from Rhode Island, New Orleans, Minnesota, California and yes – Metro Atlanta. They have caused billions of dollars of damage and claimed hundreds of lives over the last few years. The good news is some of the losses from these disasters can be curtailed by careful planning and well-built infrastructure. However the great challenge to dealing with the floods of the future is the declining number of engineers, scientists and technologists who design, build and inspect dams, levees and other storm water infrastructure.
Why are these positions such a challenge to fill? The general public is not fully aware that jobs like these exist. Let me share some information on these jobs.
- Dam Inspector: Many dams and levees are near the end of the usable lives or in need of major repair. These professionals check dams and levees for signs of wear and potential failure. The qualifications to become a inspector are straight forward. The individual must have at least a high school diploma, some construction experience and pass state qualification exams. See more information here
- Floodplain Managers– Floodplain managers are government managers, engineers, scientists and public safety officials who engage in floodplain management, flood hazard mitigation, the National Flood Insurance Program, and flood preparedness, warning and recovery. Their primary focus is to minimize loss of life and property through different means such as Wetlands restoration. For instance, the state of Louisiana is engaged in coastal wetlands restoration program which not only restores habitat for animals but also protects coastal cities from storm surge. There is a recognized certification program for Floodplain Managers (CFM).
- Geotechnical/Dam engineer: This specialized field of engineering blends civil, structural engineering and geology to design and build dams for water storage, power and flood control. They also investigate dam and levee failures like the one caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that infrastructure related engineering professions will grow “much faster than average” over the coming decade. Geotechnical engineering will become one of the sectors of the profession with the highest levels of demand.
- Hydrologist/Water Quality modelers: These professionals study the behavior of water underground and in the soil plus the effects of pollution on water quality. Floods introduce pollution into the environment and hydrologists ensure that water supplies are safe for the ecosystem and public use. This is another profession which will see accelerated growth over the next few years.
- Storm water Engineers: Storm Water engineers are civil engineers who design structures which control the flow of storm water run off from developed land into the environment. They have a role in designing your everyday storm sewer all the way up to mammoth underground storm water tunnels. Many large cities have multi-year, multi-billion dollar infrastructure programs underway (Atlanta has one) to separate their sanitary sewer from their storm sewer systems in an effort to stop the flow of untreated wastewater into the environment during regular storm events.
What You Can Do.
These are just a few of the job opportunities available in the infrastructure job market. If you are interested in doing more research on these career fields, please click on one of the links in the article and buy our new e-book “Is it Worth The Green?” . Encourage someone today.