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Environmental engineer protects Danish and Swedish groundwater against contamination

Environmental engineer and project manager, Freja Rebecca Johansen inspects contaminated sites, among others at closed down military bases in Sweden. Here, she both upholds her childhood and is challenged professionally.

Clean and refreshing drinking water is a matter of course for most people in Scandinavia. Except for environmental engineer and project manager Freja Rebecca Johansen. In Denmark, more than 15.000 sites are contaminated by industry, waste and tank farms, and each day she strikes a blow for locating, inspecting and cleaning the contaminated sites – both in Denmark and Sweden.

”Many contaminated sites may be harmful to the groundwater – which is our drinking water in Denmark – if the contamination gets to seep down completely, before we can inspect it and remove it. Fortunately, a growing number of our clients becomes aware of the fact that we in corporation can do something,” she says

I have had an unique possibility for combining my Danish professionalism with my Swedish background.

Freja Rebecca Johansen

Inspection of hazardous substances from fire extinction foam

Ordinarily, Freja plans and coordinates inspections of contaminated sites. Together with colleagues, that are ready with the sampling equipment, among others the so-called Geoprobe, she goes on field work and analyses and compiles the collected data.

One of NIRAS’ frame agreements with Swedish customers aims at locating, inspecting and preventing contamination at properties, including many closed down military airports, where PFAS based fire extinction foam was applied. PFAS is perfluorated substances, so-called perfluoroalkylated substances, which are hormone disrupting and bioaccumulable and suspected of being cancer-inducing.

”I have the general responsibility for the inspections. It is highly motivating to combine the theoretical work with the physical work. All assignments are different from each other and that challenges my professionalism. For example, I am highly experienced in investigating how chlorinated solvents and oil act in the soil, while the PFAS substances are new to me. At the same time it is really motivating to test new methods of inspection – e.g. the advanced Geoprobe OIP-probe.”

Swedish childhood with Danish professionalism

Since the beginning of 2019, Freja has been a part of NIRAS. The reason that she ended in NIRAS after a longer period in another large consultant company is highly influenced by the corporation with NIRAS Sweden and the contact to Swedish customers. Freja grew up in Karlskrona with Danish parents and she speaks and writes Swedish fluently.

”I NIRAS I have been given a unique possibility for combining my Danish professionalism with my Swedish background. In this context, I can contribute to a stronger business connection between Denmark and Sweden and take part in strengthening of NIRAS’ Swedish department. That, I find really exciting.”

She elaborates: ”Furthermore, I really appreciate the culture in NIRAS where I perceive that there is a focus on creating well-being and engagement concurrently with the business. The good corporation culture makes me feel that I am not alone with the challenges. I believe that it creates good results in long-term when the human nature and the business are well balanced.”

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