Environmental Science at Columbus State Community College


At first glance, you’d think there’s been
a chemical spill in this building. In reality, it’s a Hazardous Waste Operations class
– suited up for a training exercise. Professor Jeff Bates, Environmental Science,
Safety and Health: This class is for people who might work at contaminated properties
and try to prepare them to wear personal protective equipment and know how to use it.
(VO) Students split into groups with one at a command post documenting everything. Another
goes in with radios and air monitoring instruments. They take readings near the waste drums to
see if there’s any vapors or hazards in that area.
(VO) The entire exercise – from the monitoring to the air-purifying respirators – can be
an adventure for students. Tyler Harris, Environmental Science, Safety
and Health Student: Probably the suiting up, we’ve also done some air monitoring labs
and things. All that is pretty nice. (On camera) Jason Perkins, Real Community:
This training is required for anyone who must go into a contaminated site. For instance,
the oil spill in the Gulf. Workers dealing directly with the crude oil there had to be
certified in this same training. The class is part of Environmental Science,
Safety and Health. Students here go on to careers ranging from land use planning to
environmental site assessors and underground storage technicians.
Jeff Bates: It’s fun, students tend to enjoy it and there’s a big benefit that Columbus
State offers this training, especially when it comes to students actually getting a job.

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