Meet Principal Environmental Scientist and Site Contamination specialist – Anthony Plumb

Anthony Plumb

Anthony Plumb is a Principal Environmental Scientist and Site Contamination Specialist and began his career at Tetra Tech Coffey in 2017. His career with Tetra Tech has seen him work on landmark projects, including the Sydney Modern, Circular Quay Towers, and Quay Quarter Tower. Anthony recently returned to Sydney, Australia after working remotely for 12 months in Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia.

A strong advocate of flexible work, Anthony is now keen to share his experience with others about Tetra Tech’s flexible approach to work, while building a successful environmental career.

Digging deeper to understand challenges.

Anthony says that the majority of his work requires a strong attention to detail, and a firm understanding of legislative requirements, carrying out investigations to assess sites or properties for the presence of contamination to facilitate redevelopment, as well as providing advice on how to manage or remediate contamination when it’s identified.

“We’ll carry out the investigations or be engaged in an advisory role to provide independent advice or expert witness services, working for a range of private and public sector clients alongside other consultants like geotechnical engineers, ecological consultants, heritage consultants and occupational hygienists.”

Enjoying the challenges the role brings.

“At the moment we’re investigating a small industrial property which was going to auction. The client would like to purchase the site to expand their existing operations however was concerned about contamination due to the site’s previous use which included the manufacturing and application of various chemicals including dye’s, paints, lacquers, solvents, and enamels. We only had a short timeframe of 3 weeks in which to carry out an investigation including providing a scope and fee, arranging the fieldwork, collecting, and interpreting the data and providing a report.”

Anthony credits Tetra Tech Coffey’s expertise in this area to being able to ensure clients have all the information they need to make better decisions and outcomes.

“We identified underground storage tanks (USTs), asbestos and soil vapour contamination which will need remediating and managing as part of any new development, for which the purchaser will need to account for in the purchase of the property. Another consultancy who carried out a due diligence assessment for the current owner didn’t identify this contamination, so it was a really good outcome for our client.”

Embracing Leading with Science in a technology driven world.

“Like a lot of people in the industry I’m currently excited about how AI, ML and DL (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning) might be able to be applied to help streamline workflows and provide efficiencies, as well as lead to more effective cleanup efforts, minimising the risks associated with exposure to contaminants and improving the overall efficiency of remediation projects” he says.

“I’m also interested in how technologies such as LIDAR, BIM and VR can be applied to provide immersive and interactive experiences and produce 3D Conceptual Models of a site.”

Anthony is one of many colleagues around the world with access to Tetra Tech Delta which is a space for creating and accessing solutions which use some of these emerging technologies.

“We’re part of a 28,000 strong global team and are able to tap into a range of teams and experts who work with analytics, design, maps, modelling, and simulation,” says Anthony.

In 2023, Anthony was given the opportunity to take his career beyond the borders of Australia.

“Last year I had the privilege of working from Medellín, the second largest city in Colombia. My wife Jess is from there and we wanted our children, Jasper, and Amelie, to experience what it’s like to live there, spend quality time with extended family, and improve our Spanish.” He explains.

With the support of his manager, Anthony was able to transition to working part time (4 days) split over Monday to Friday to align with Australian time.

“Because of the time difference I was able to get a big chunk of undisturbed work done in the mornings when everyone in Sydney was asleep, and then mostly take calls and respond to emails and messages in the evenings (including some Sundays) when colleagues and clients came online,” Anthony says.

“I found that being really organised, being responsive in the evenings, and having support and assistance from a reliable team back in Sydney was key to delivering good work during this period.”

Anthony is eager to share with others his own experience to encourage others.

“Being able to work and explore a new country allowed my family and I to really embrace the local lifestyle and culture which is unique to Medellín,” explains Anthony.

“Our daughter Amelie found a love for rock climbing. Cycling is a big sport in Colombia, and I had the opportunity to do a long ride with an uncle and his group over the Easter Break (covering over 1,000km in 6 days). Did I mention the coffee? Antioquia which is the state where Medellín produces the best coffee!”.

Anthony says it was a year he and the family will never forget, and being able to stay connected with colleagues back in Sydney through work then come back and pick up your career when back made it even more positive.

Working at Tetra Tech Coffey, Anthony enjoys constantly learning in his role.

“We have access to reliable and emerging technology which enables us to work efficiently and explore new opportunities.” he says. “I also work with a great group of people that are willing to help.”

“One of my favourite things is the flexibility that working for Tetra Tech Coffey provides. This is really important to me at the moment with 2 young kids – it allows me to be more present and be around for drop offs, pick-ups and activities which I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do should I have to commute 5 days a week.”

Working within the broader Environments team, Anthony during his career has been able to work on some memorable projects.

“I’ve worked on a lot of projects while at Tetra Tech Coffey, the most memorable ones or ones that stand are to me are the Sydney Modern remediation and validation works. It was a challenging project which resulted in a stunning building and cultural space” –  Anthony Plumb

“The M6 Stage 1 Project has probably been the biggest / longest project I’ve worked on as I’ve been working on it for about 3 years. I was also fortunate to provide a lead role in the remediation at the Sydney Modern, and validation of new landmark buildings in the city including Circular Quay Towers and Quay Quarter Tower. Being able to revisit these spaces and see them working is a fantastic part of my role,” says Anthony.

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