Ask Keith Rice, Senior Professional Geologist, about his role at NOVA Engineering and Environmental, LLC (NOVA) and you will likely get a range of responsibilities typically handled by several geologists. As one who wears two “hats,” Senior Professional Geologist and Senior Technical Professional, Rice’s duties encompass many key areas within today’s expanding environmental industry. “My responsibilities are wide-ranging”, says Rice. “They include, but are not limited to, soil and groundwater assessment, in situ and ex situ soil/groundwater remediation design and implementation, vapor intrusion mitigation system design and implementation, managing Brownfield sites, real estate due diligence assessments, such as writing and reviewing Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, project management , and growing client relationships.”
Actively Improving the Environment and Partnering with REGENESIS
With such a vast, yet specialized list of duties at NOVA, a valued REGENESIS® client and leading environmental engineering and consulting firm in the Southeast, Rice realized one of his initial goals in pursuing a career in the environmental sciences. Shares Rice, “I chose a career in the environmental industry for several reasons, but two of the most important are the personal satisfaction I receive from actively improving the environment, and the chance to learn more on emerging technologies in the environmental remediation industry.” With a B.S. degree in Geology from the University of West Georgia, which includes an emphasis in Environmental Geology, Rice began his professional career as a Staff Geologist, before rising to Project Geologist and then Professional Geologist. In his current role at NOVA, Rice has seen first-hand the positive effects that result from his firm’s close, collaborative relationship with REGENESIS. A recent example of partnering with REGENESIS includes the former Larkin Coil facility, a redevelopment project that included a challenging schedule. Continues Rice, “REGENESIS was one of a few companies that successfully completed an effective remediation design and efficiently implemented that design within a tight project schedule. I appreciate that REGENESIS was keenly adept at adjusting their design on the fly, based on the current sampling results. They also worked hard to successfully meet our schedule requirements.”
An Ever-Changing Industry
With regard to specific REGENESIS products, Rice points to NOVA’s use of the company’s chemical oxidants. He continues, “We use RegenOx® and PersulfOx® the most because of the amount of contaminant mass we are dealing with on some of our sites. Additionally, we like REGENESIS’ PlumeStop®, a Liquid Activated Carbon™ solution, which lowers the risk of further migration of groundwater plumes.”
To stay current in an ever-changing science-based industry, Rice regularly attends and participates in webinars, conferences and seminars that address emerging regulations and remedial technologies. “I recently participated in a Land Science® webinar with Dr. Blayne Hartman on “The Vapor Intrusion Risk Pathway: Regulatory Updates & Hot Topics.” Additionally, I’ve recently attended the American Institute of Professional Geologists’ (AIPG) conference on Innovative Environmental Assessments and Remediation Technology.”
Rice lives in Acworth, GA with his wife and two children, and covers Georgia and the surrounding states of Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Arkansas in his work for NOVA. When he’s not busy in the field or at the NOVA offices in Kennesaw, GA, he enjoys spending time fishing and boating at the lake near his home. He also enjoys traveling with his wife, and recently returned from Europe, where they toured Rome, Italy and Athens, Greece. He also finds time to volunteer over the holidays by helping to provide dinners to needy families, and occasionally donates a weekend to help Habitat for Humanity.
When asked what he enjoys most about his work, Rice points to the satisfaction of knowing he plays a role in making a better environment for his children, while also taking care of his client’s needs. And the most challenging aspect? “Client schedules…Everybody needs everything yesterday,” says Rice.
How to Assess the Regulatory Landscape
When asked how he’s seen the industry change over the years, Rice points to the areas of regulatory control and finance. He explains, “During my over ten years in this industry, I have seen the regulatory landscape change and adapt to a different financial landscape. I’ve also witnessed the evolution of vapor intrusion regulation, assessment and mitigation. When I first started in the environmental industry I worked on a lot of petroleum Underground Storage Tank (UST) sites. I don’t recall assessing those sites for the potential for vapor migration or a guidance document detailing how to do so. So today, there are guidance documents at the federal level and in many states that detail the assessment at Petroleum Vapor Intrusion (PVI) sites.” He continues, “There is also a federal guidance document, released in June 2015, that details the assessment of vapor intrusion on non-petroleum sites. Individual states are also starting to create their own vapor intrusion guidance.”
And how would Rice encourage others to pursue a career in environmental science? “I would share with them some of my experiences to help them determine what specific area of geology or environmental science they want to be in. There are numerous areas in this industry just waiting to be explored!”
REGENESIS is proud to have Keith Rice, Senior Professional Geologist at NOVA Engineering and Environmental, LLC, as a valued client, and appreciates his expertise in geology and environmental science along with his impact in providing successful remediation outcomes for REGENESIS and its clients.