Tuesday 25th June 2024
Hydrogeological Consultancy
Groundwater Protection & Leachate Management

Overview of Qualifications and Experience

Nick Rukin has been working continuously in hydrogeological consultancy since January 1991. In terms of formal qualifications he has a BSc (Hons 1st Class, 1986) from the University of Manchester in Geology with Geochemistry and a PhD in Geochemistry (no corrections, 1991) from the University of Liverpool.

Nick first worked and trained in hydrogeology at the University of Birmingham (1986-1987), but his hydrogeological skills have been gained through work experience. Nick started as a junior hydrochemist with the then Hydrotechnica in January 1991 and left Entec UK Ltd (now part of Wood via Amec Foster Wheeler) as an associate director 18½ years later in September 2009. At that time, Entec UK Ltd was one of the leading environmental consultancies in the UK and its Water Management Group had one of the strongest reputations in the country. Nick co-led what became a national team specialising in groundwater quality and risk assessment services for over ten years.

Nick's experience began with significant hydrochemical work on the UK Nirex investigations for potential deep nuclear repository sites in the early to mid 1990s. He started carrying out groundwater risk assessments and leachate management work for landfill sites in 1996 and provided repeated support to clients on many sites for the following 13 years of his time at Entec UK Ltd. Combining his hydrochemical and risk assessment skills, Nick has also undertaken work on the quality of water likely to discharge from deep coal (and gold) mines and spoil heaps and the risks to groundwater from backfilling overburden from open cast coal mines. Nick has also evaluated the risks to water quality from a range of other activities (e.g. industrial activities) as part of environmental impact assessments or permit applications. Nick was co-trainer for Environment Agency staff on the Remedial Targets (P20) methodology for assessing risks to groundwater from contaminated land from 2005 onwards.

Circa 2000, Nick started undertaking R&D and preparing national guidance for the Environment Agency on areas such as assessing the risks to groundwater from waste sheep dip and pesticide disposals, he developed a new national approach for groundwater vulnerability assessment, and has attempted to constrain the challenging area of risks to groundwater from pesticides. In the last months before leaving Entec UK Ltd, Nick wrote new national guidance for the Environment Agency on how to carry out groundwater risk assessments from permitted activities (See Reference #1 on Downloads page*) and prepared a legislative update of the national guidance on hydrogeological risk assessments for landfill sites (See Reference #2 on Downloads page*).

Since 2006, Nick has been working with Water Companies (and the Environment Agency) to help them understand the challenges they face in terms of increasing concentrations of nitrate in groundwater. In 2007/8 Nick developed a new approach (albeit based on science undertaken by others in the 1970s and 1980s) to predict future trends in nitrate concentrations at public water supplies. This expertise was brought to the EU / DEFRA WAgriCo project with German partners in 2008 and at national conferences Nick's work in this area was called pioneering. Nick used this experience to design programmes of work for Water Companies during AMP5 and AMP6.

Since becoming an independent consultant in 2009, Nick's work has included the Agency / Defra Evidence and Measures projects on the causes of Water Framework Directive failures in rural, urban and mixed catchments. New approaches have been developed to bring together different lines of evidence to help stakeholders agree on the main problems in a catchment and decide on the measures needed to make improvements. The effectiveness of measures has also been evaluated. Work since 2009 has also included hydrogeological and water quality evaluations for landfill sites, discharges to ground, polluted rivers and lakes, nitrate trending and pesticide and cryptosporidium evaluations. Bottled water source quality and catchment delineation studies have also been undertaken.

The vast majority of Nick's work experience has been in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, States of Jersey), but he has also worked for five months in Qatar (artificial recharge project, 1994), for one week in Johannesburg (gold mine project, 2000), and a night! in Ottawa (Canadian Government Department project, 2006).

Throughout Nick's experience, he has maintained a hands-on approach to his work, worked to the best of his abilities and delivered what he hopes his clients have felt to have been high quality technical outputs and honest advice. Repeat work from a number of companies and individuals over many years whilst Nick was at Entec UK Ltd and since 2009 at RUKHYDRO Ltd suggest those attributes have been highly valued.

* The format of the guidance changed in 2010 and 2011 and the guidance documents were withdrawn on 01 February 2016.