Monday, October 25, 2010

Graduate News: Jill Weitz, 2010 Masters in Resource Law Studies Graduate, Hired by Alaska Department of Environment Conservation

Jill Weitz, a 2010 Masters in Resource Law Studies graduate from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, reports from Alaska, also known as America's Last Frontier, about her new position in the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

The department is responsible for conserving, improving, and protecting Alaska's natural resources and environment to enhance the health, safety, economic and social well-being of Alaskans.

"In September of 2010, I was hired as the Environmental Program Specialist II for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Water in Juneau. In this position I am charged with many responsibilities, including identifying, analyzing, and making recommendations to resolve recurring wastewater problems and situations covered by established precedents and procedures to ensure compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

"Within the Division of Water, I specifically work for the onsite wastewater program, assisting an environmental engineer in planning for disposal systems. Alternative on-site disposal systems such as secondary treatment plants or package plants are extremely common in southeast Alaska, where poor soil or high groundwater conditions do not allow installation of conventional septic systems. These systems must be designed by an engineer and plans must be reviewed and approved by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation prior to construction.

"I also serve as the technical writer for a guidance document that will be made available to individuals within the state of Alaska who are writing permits for mixing zones (mixing zones are where wastewater and saltwater/freshwater meet). I am collaboratively writing regulations to comply with EPA’s Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program (section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990). Additionally, I am developing a community outreach program that will provide smaller southeast Alaskan communities and villages with resources for operating and the maintenance of current/new/upgraded onsite wastewater systems."

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