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Career Story: Environmental Protection Specialist For The Coast Guard

Environmental Protection Specialist For The Coast Guard

Job Title: Environmental Protection Specialist

Type of Company: I work for the United States Coast Guard.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Northeastern University

Previous Experience: I worked for the US Army and US Navy performing the same duties.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for ensuring that Coast Guard employees comply with Federal, State and local environmental regulations. My job is based at a land unit, not on a vessel. Some of the programs we comply with are hazardous waste, air emissions, spill response, hazardous materials, solid waste, storm water and pollution prevention. I supervise the Hazardous Waste Coordinator and the Hazardous Materials Minimization Center Manager. I try to hire a summer intern each year to assist in day-to-day activities. I conduct many inspections around my facility, some on a daily basis, others on a weekly basis and some less frequently. I also conduct environmental compliance evaluations for other Coast Guard units. This evaluation covers every environmental program and provides a report to the person in charge of the unit. These units are spread throughout New England so I typically spend a few days a month travelling. I perform environmental baseline surveys for lighthouses. These surveys usually require a Coast Guard boat ride to the lighthouse, a survey of the property looking for any potential sources of environmental pollution and a written report. I have interaction with Federal, state and local regulators on a frequent basis.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is knowing that I am helping to keep the environment safe. I am able to make people aware of environmental conditions that they were never aware of.

The worst part of my job is coming across an individual who has no respect for the environment and chooses to do things their own way, even though it could be the wrong way.

Job Tips: You have to be able to use common sense during an inspection.

You do not want to be looked upon as someone to avoid, but someone an individual would come to when there is a problem. Many sets of eyes are better than just one.

I learned a lot of what I do on the job, but my college education taught me how to learn.

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