F&V Drone Sampling Project Wins ACEC Award

Fleis & VandenBrink (F&V) received an Engineering Merit Award in the 2022 American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M) annual Engineering & Surveying Excellence competition.

The award recognizes outstanding Michigan engineering and surveying projects from the past year, as well as engineering professionals who have significantly contributed to the profession.

F&V’s winning project, “Taking Water Sampling to New Heights,” was for Gelman Sciences who unintentionally generates bromate as part its groundwater treatment process for 1,4-dioxane.

F&V worked with Gelman to remediate the contamination, extracting groundwater from multiple wells and treating it before discharging it into a creek per an NPDES permit. F&V and Gelman designed a drone with a water sampling device to collect samples in a creek, saving time and money, and protecting the environment.

“We commend Gelman for their remediation efforts and buying into the outside-the-box drone sampling method,” said John DeVol, F&V’s president. “It was a rewarding experience for all our staff who helped with remediation effort and unique way of taking water samples.”

Sampling had logistical issues as it was bordered by wetlands and a railroad. Using a drone to collect daily water samples was much safer than the traditional sampling by boat, especially during the winter months. It was also a timesaver – taking approximately five minutes.

“Our companies have worked together for many years, and we’re excited about the innovation that comes to our projects – specifically the use of a drone to collect a surface water sample at the confluence of a creek and river,” said Lawrence Gelb, Gelman Sciences vice president of EHS & Sustainability. “The use of the drone was an innovative solution to a very difficult sampling challenge.”

The award was announced Saturday at The Inn at St. Johns in Plymouth. F&V’s environmental project was among 30 engineering entries. F&V also received an Engineering Merit Award for “Transforming Old Runway into a New Roadway.”