Kristan Buck, PhD, CWP: an investment in CGRS’ water/wastewater future

CGRS’ water/wastewater offerings reached a new depth when Project Engineer Kristan Buck, PhD, CWP, came aboard in January 2018.

“It was an investment in the future for the water/wastewater business,” said Eric Hick, CGRS CEO/President, of hiring Buck. “We really wanted to pursue that market and we needed some horsepower, some engineering support for that.”

Buck brought with her a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and Petroleum Refining with minors in Mineral Economics and Public Affairs for Engineers from the Colorado School of Mines and a doctorate in Chemical Engineering with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology from the University of California, Davis.

She also brought an impressive portfolio from 11 years of professional experience prior to working for CGRS:

  • Design and construction of water/wastewater infrastructure including installation, troubleshooting and process improvement;
  • Reservoir engineering;
  • Grant writing;
  • Responding to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Water/Wastewater Compliance Notice of Violation/Cease and Desist Orders (NOV/CDO) and developing Corrective Action Plans;
  • Evaluation of project feasibility and return on investment; and
  • Implementation and tracking of large-scale project budgets and contracts.

Buck’s experience and skills provide a substantial building block for the company, especially its Water/Wastewater division. She has supported various projects, among them the City of Longmont Biogas Treatment and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) Fueling Station and the St. Mary’s Glacier Water System Improvements, and served as a contract interim manager for the  .

“It is great to be involved in CGRS’ core strengths in environmental compliance and CNG fueling and also part of the team that is expanding CGRS’ work into water and wastewater,” she said.

Contributions at CGRS

Buck’s responsibilities have included moving projects through permitting processes, coordinating multiple engineering and architectural teams, and assisting with project administration for the Longmont RNG project; developing quality assurance/quality control procedures for the St. Mary’s Glacier project; and managing the GMWSD for a year.

“I was able to draw on my previous experience in special district management, and I developed great working relationships with other engineering firms, water/wastewater contractors, and water/sewer service providers, including Denver Water,” Buck said of her time at GMWSD.

Hick is impressed by how quickly Buck can read and interpret regulations, her exemplary organizational skills and her enthusiasm for every job.

“She tackles all of her projects head on and is very thorough in examining every angle of a problem and every possible solution,” he said.

Those skills have proven essential with her latest assignment, in which Buck is coordinating the Environmental Services and Water/Wastewater Construction teams to complete a comprehensive engineering study of a special district’s wastewater system’s performance.

A holistic approach

Deike Estates Improvement and Service District provides water/wastewater service to an industrial complex in Cheyenne, Wyoming, at the heart of which is CGRS Compliance Services and Refined Fuels customer Sapp Bros. Travel Center. The organization had received its second Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit Effluent Limits Notice of Violation for exceeding the nitrate concentration when it called CGRS for assistance.

Besides troubleshooting the reason behind the elevated nitrate concentration, Buck is working with the District board members to reestablish their administration procedures and will design improvements as needed to help the District meet the DEQ’s effluent limit standards.

Hick said he was confident in handing the project over to Buck.

“Kristan came in with a real holistic approach,” he said. “She dove in, collected all the info, and then stepped back and looked at the entire situation.”

That included looking at the connections within the system and what’s going into it, as well as assisting with the District’s organizational structure and working with the DEQ, Hick said.

“She’s coming in and understanding the minutiae of all of this, but she’s also stepping back and getting a global picture, and fixing the problems of the business as well as the wastewater system,” he added. “That’s really what we’re looking for is a holistic approach to solving our customers’ problems.”

In a little more than three years at CGRS, Buck said she enjoys the people and the culture and looks forward to the next water/wastewater challenge.

“I appreciate that CGRS is a small company, where I can work with team members in each division and learn about their role in our success,” she said. “CGRS’ culture is designed to foster and encourage employees to work within the discipline for which they were hired and to explore new areas of interest at the same time.”