Skip to main content

Rhian Lynes

Rhian Lynes

During my undergraduate degree, I had an inspiring lecture on contaminated land and knew that this was a field I wanted to pursue as a career.

The Applied Environmental Geology course at Cardiff University really appealed to me because the course modules had the exact technical focus I was looking for. The dual coverage of both geotechnical and geoenvironmental aspects, including contaminated land, environmental law, engineering geology and soil mechanics, and the six-month project placement were also a highlight.

We were able to get hands on in the laboratory with various geotechnical tests, which really helped me to understand how these typical tests are carried out and what information can be gained from conducting them.  We also went on several field trips where we could see the theoretical remediation treatments and engineering solutions in action.

The course was instrumental to my career, providing me with essential knowledge and skills that I have applied throughout my working life.

Dissertation project

For my dissertation placement, I spent six months with ground investigation contractor Structural Soils in Bristol as a Trainee Geotechnical Engineer.

Whilst on my placement I observed the importance of preserving the water content of rock core samples, and set about investigating the best method of doing so. As well as using this information for my dissertation, I also presented my findings at the annual Early Career Geologist Award competition, where I won the regional prize for the South West group of the Geological Society of London. I then went on to present in the final at Burlington House in London.

Graduate career

Following the completion of my placement, Structural Soils offered me a position as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer. My role involved conducting Phase 1 Desk Studies for sites, supervising ground investigations on site, logging soil and rock samples, interpreting the data and producing Phase 2 Ground Investigation Reports. I covered sites across the country and got to work on a variety of projects, from small house extensions up to major projects like Hinkley Point C.

After two years, I started a new role as Project Scientist at Churngold Remediation, a remediation contractor based in Bristol, where I have now been working for five years. My first project on site was the remediation of a former gas works site – a topic well covered by the Master's degree.

My role involves reviewing the ground investigation reports, producing remediation implementation plans, helping get projects through planning, preparing health and safety documentation, applying for treatment permits with the Environmental Agency, supervising works on site, taking samples to validate the remediation and producing the final verification report. The role ties in nicely with the knowledge and skills I learned during my postgraduate course and involves working on a variety of remediation solutions, from asbestos in soils to hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater.