Inspecting and Improving the Environment

September 15 2017
Category: Academics

This week’s #SoaringToSuccess spotlights, Maggie Groce ’18. As an environmental studies and business administration double major Maggie spent her summer with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Her inspection efforts helped make the environment better, but also opened up new career possibilities.

Let’s learn more from Maggie…

Maggie Groce '18

This summer, I interned with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, specifically the Bureau of Safe Drinking Water. One of the major concerns of the bureau is the levels of lead in drinking water. From this concern, the Pennsylvania Plumbing System Lead Ban and Notification Act (or the Lead Ban Act) was formed. The Act bans the sale and use of 50/50 acid or solid core solders. I spent the first few days familiarizing myself with the Act. After that, I began researching, planning, and organizing trips to survey hardware, craft and auto parts stores across the state. I oversaw 10 counties across all parts of Pennsylvania.

A typical inspection included introducing myself, looking at any solder for sale, and then either one of two endings. If the solder sold was in compliance with the Act, no further action was needed. However, if a banned solder was found for sale, I would ask to see a manager and inform and educate them on the Lead Ban Act and ask them to remove the solder. I would then come back to the office and input all the inspection data into a database and then wrote compliance notices to those who were not in compliance with the Act. By the end of the summer, I had inspected 435 retailers. It was found that 21 had banned solder for sale and therefore, not in compliance. At the end of my internship, I wrote a technical report that will be published on the DEP website.

This internship gave me the chance to really test and display the skills and knowledge I have gained at Elmira College. My supervisors were impressed with the skills I had and how I easily used them in the field.

My favorite part about this internship was the fact that it showed me the many opportunities available to me after graduation. Along with my usual duties, I also got the chance to visit two natural drilling sites, a water treatment plant, and various other fields I could go into, such as environmental education. I had no idea how many different options were available in my field. This summer I learned something new every day and now I really know I’m heading into the right career field.