The diverse range of products and solutions within the environmental remediation industry demand a level of support that includes access to professionals with a keen focus and hands-on experience. Enter Tyler Harris, PetroFix Design Specialist for REGENESIS®. Harris joined REGENESIS 6 years ago and creates remedial designs for clients with petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater. Additionally, Tyler provides clients with a wide range of application techniques and recommendations for using PetroFix, a dual-function remedial amendment which removes hydrocarbons from the dissolved phase by adsorbing them on to activated carbon particles, and then stimulates hydrocarbon biodegradation by adding electron acceptors. Harris shares, “I assist clients in troubleshooting any problems they encounter while they are in the field. I also track activity on the PetroFix website to assist clients with their online designs. Generally, I help clients in a variety of ways in the design and use of PetroFix.”
Harris joined the PetroFix team in the spring of 2021. He began his career with REGENESIS in 2016, first as a staff scientist for REGENESIS Remediation Services (RRS) in Philadelphia. He was then promoted to Project Supervisor later that year, and became a Field Project Manager in 2019, prior to transitioning to his current position. To prepare for a career in the environmental industry, Harris earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he gained valuable experience studying soil bacteria. He continues, “While at Mercer University I worked for two years with Dr. Kevin Drace researching soil bacteria near and within gold mines in Mozambique that have had persistent exposure to heavy metals, mostly mercury. The mining operations used an artisanal mining process, an old rudimentary mining method in which gold ore is pulverized and mixed with mercury.” He later went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Applied and Environmental Microbiology at Georgia State University. “My work at Georgia State was on researching iron and sulfate reducing bacteria in microcosms created from Louisiana barrier salt marshes contaminated by the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. My research focused primarily on the methodology of using multiple electron acceptors in microcosm studies.” Both his undergrad and graduate programs helped provide a natural progression and transition to environmental remediation, and looking back, he’s pleased with the direction his career has taken. “I find my work really interesting. Despite how most sites seem so similar, every site truly is different and offers its own unique challenges. I also really enjoy working at REGENESIS- the people I work with and the company culture are outstanding. From day one, REGENESIS has been as invested in my career as I am, and the company has provided me with some great opportunities.”
As a PetroFix design specialist, Harris works specifically with hydrocarbon sites, and he appreciates the product’s versatility. He adds, “It’s such a versatile and reliable technology and it seems to find its way into most of my designs. It is effective in treating a wide range of contaminants, and can handle a very broad spectrum of concentrations.” While he feels the most common usage of PetroFix is still focused on gasoline station sites, he points out it can also be used just about anywhere dissolved hydrocarbons are present. He continues, “These include distribution facilities, pipelines, and home heating oils and fuel storage, to name just a few. The most common application methods are source area grids, downgradient barriers, and underground storage tank basin flooding (UST) treatment but we see a lot of variation here. We also use it in trenches for emergency responses, excavations after razing a previous facility or replacing leaking infrastructure. It’s very common on large sites to use a method that we call asymmetric grids. This method treats the entire area but with less injection points and volume by creating a series of very close barriers over the grid area. Oftentimes we use several methods on a single site.” Recently, Harris designed a site in Philadelphia where an environmental team had performed an excavation and two persulfate injections, but results still showed rebound because they could not treat the source within the UST basin, and that plume eventually spread downgradient again. He continues, “On that site we recommended flooding the UST basin and treating the areas immediately surrounding it with a traditional grid. Then in the downgradient area off property, we used an asymmetric grid. Overall, we were pleased with the outcome.”
Based in Atlanta, where he lives with his fiancée and three cats, Harris finds time away from work to train and compete in amateur strongman competitions, which perhaps makes him a reliable go-to source for on-the-spot site preparation and earth moving duties! He shares, “I’m curious to see how my next competition goes. I herniated a disc in my back last August and will be back with my first competition in Nashville, on March 19th.” He also finds time to work as a volunteer for Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Atlanta, and volunteers with his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha at Mercer, as their alumni advisor. When asked how he would encourage others to join his field of study, he feels there is no substitute for field experience. He concludes, “I’d encourage people to start on the applied side of things and try to gain a variety of field experience. There are a lot of things on paper that make sense, or should work, or sound feasible that just are not, or not in the way you might think. So, it is advantageous to see those things yourself, rather than just hear about them.”
REGENESIS is proud to have Tyler Harris as a PetroFix Design Specialist, and they appreciate his valuable expertise and contributions in providing outstanding solutions and outcomes to its clients.