VICKSBURG, Miss. - Eric Lam, an environmental engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth District, has graduated from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center University (ERDC-U). The organization held a virtual graduation ceremony, Sept. 16, 2021, featuring project presentations from current participants to top leadership highlighting extensive research efforts from the 2021 session.
Now in its sixth year, ERDC-U pairs USACE division and district participants with relevant laboratory mentors for an in-depth project to aid the Corps and the selectee’s district. ERDC Environmental Laboratory mentors Luke Gurtowski and Mandy Michalsen served as subject matter experts as they guided Lam through his research project.
As an environmental engineer, Lam serves as a technical manager and contracting officer representative for multiple civil works and military projects relating to landfills, contaminated areas and monitored wells. His project for ERDC-U is titled, “Bioremediation of RDX: Demonstrating Efficacy Through Corn Syrup and Isotopes.”
“Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5,-triazine (RDX), a toxic explosive compound used in conventional and insensitive munition manufacturing, contaminates the groundwater of more than 65 U.S. military installations as of 2017,” said Lam. “Two studies were conducted to determine how well bioremediation applications can affect RDX reduction in-situ.”
“The first study involved monitoring RDX levels following three large-scale, high-carbon injections of diluted high fructose corn syrup occurred during 2011 thru 2013 at Umatilla, Oregon. The second study is a validation demonstration using 13C and 15N labeled isotopes to trace the RDX degradation pathway as it occurred in-situ,” he said.
As part of Lam’s initial application, Fort Worth District Commander Kenneth Reed said, “I am pleased to submit the nomination of Mr. Eric Lam, P.E. as a superior candidate. He has distinguished himself as a proactive, highly dependable, engaged, provider of high-quality work, which has led to his technical expertise being highly sought out. His high level of accomplishment is further emphasized by his drive to seek professional development exemplified by the publication of his technical article on isotopic geochemical analysis research.”
“It was an honor being able to be mentored and working with researchers at the top of their field. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to share in their time and expertise,” said Lam.
Following congratulatory opening remarks by ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman, ERDC-U Program Manager Antisa Webb, Chief, Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT), Technology, Knowledge and Outreach (TKO) Division, program co-sponsor with the Directorate of Human Capital, presented Lam with his framed graduation certificate and commended him on his efforts to assist his district.
Applications will open in October for the 2022 ERDC-U session to partner Corps division and district participants with subject matter experts at ERDC’s seven laboratories to apply and implement technical solutions during this six-month program. ERDC funds the costs of labor or travel with the district covering the participant’s other choice. For information on ERDC-U and applications, visit: https://wiki.erdc.dren.mil/ERDC_University.