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Cutting-edge science in remediation: Q&A with Mark Harkness

Mark Harkness, OBG thought leader in environmental remediation

Remediation expert Mark Harkness joined OBG just last year and is already making an impact. We sat down with Mark to learn a bit more about his perspective on the remediation industry, OBG’s environment business, and his commitment to innovation and making the world a better place.

Q: So far, what do you like about OBG?

A: In my short time at OBG, I find the company’s strengths to lie in the quality of our people, our commitment to excellence and innovation, and our ability to execute on our commitments and provide high-quality, sustainable, and cost-effective service to our clients. I love the culture here—we’re committed to our people and always working to improve on our ability to offer better solutions to our clients.

Q: You joined OBG from GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, where your research focused on developing innovative remedial solutions for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), petroleum hydrocarbons, and chlorinated solvents for soil and groundwater remediation projects worldwide. How have you continued this work at OBG?

A: This was a relatively easy transition for me. I’ve been able to continue some of the same work here at OBG, while the universe of remedial sites has expanded. I’m also exploring some cross-over work with our wastewater treatment team. There is no shortage of interesting work at OBG.

Q: How is the environment business at OBG making an impact on the world?

A: Responsible environmental stewardship is a value that impacts all generations. Our team at OBG is committed to protecting and remediating our environment in the most sustainable, cost-effective way possible. This requires seeking innovative and pragmatic solutions to the most complex environmental problems in a resource-constrained world. Our ability to provide these services is creating a better future for our clients, and for our children and our grandchildren.

Q: Can you talk about some of the interesting projects you’re working on?

A: I came out of industry and continue to work with several large industrial clients. Working with large clients allows us to employ some novel remediation techniques that have never been attempted before—such as injecting a colloidal form of magnetite and encapsulated vitamin B12 into fractured bedrock to support bioremediation of trichloroethylene (TCE) in a high sulfate environment. This cutting-edge approach both solves a critical site-specific problem and helps move the entire remediation industry forward in our understanding of how to effectively apply bioremediation in challenging environments.

Q: How are you contributing to OBG as a thought leader in environmental remediation?

A: OBG is committed to innovation and providing advanced, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions to our clients. In every aspect of my work, I help OBG to stay on the cutting edge of science in the remediation arena and to develop our capabilities in applying innovative remedial technologies to our client’s most challenging environmental problem statements.

About Mark Harkness: Mark is a leader in remediation project design and management with extensive experience implementing a wide range of innovative, pragmatic, and cost-effective remedial technologies to address petroleum and chlorinated solvents in soil and groundwater. He is widely published in bioremediation and frequently presents his work at environmental conferences, most recently at the Battelle 2017 Bioremediation Symposium. Mark can be contacted at Mark.Harkness@obg.com

Learn more about how OBG brings the latest thinking to some of today’s most challenging areas—from advanced water treatment to sediment management and emerging contaminants; resilient energy, water, and coastal infrastructure; and smart manufacturing—in our Insights from OBG Thought Leaders video.