Samantha discusses her role on the Environmental Regulation Team

Samantha Keane’s role with Irish Water’s Environmental Regulation Team puts her at the forefront of the work the utility does – ensuring that water is safe to drink and safeguarding the natural environment from wastewater discharges.

No two days are the same. One week she could be from carrying out analysis on the impact of wastewater discharges on sensitive shellfish habitats, while another could see her assessing the sanitary conditions at a water or wastewater treatment plant.

What roles has Samantha worked in?

In her six years with Irish Water Samantha has worked in a number of key roles across the organisation, including as a field engineer with the metering programme and the Connection and Developer Services team.

Prior to joining the utility she worked with the environment section with Limerick County Council for seven years – a role that gave her an in-depth knowledge of the county as she worked to protect its environment.

The one common factor across all her roles, however, has been her willingness to learn and grow – a trait she believes is shared by many engineers.

“I feel that my career has given me a chance to grow and to develop constantly, which is really important to me both personally and professionally,” she says.

Career background

Her career journey began with a Certificate and Diploma in Civil Engineering from Waterford IT, followed by a Degree in Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, as well as Mathematics, from Trinity College. Since then Samantha has never stopped learning and challenging herself. She is currently in the first year of a Masters in Water Services Management – a course which will enable her to further develop the skills and knowledge she has gained in her career to date.

“I think it is really important to broaden your horizons, which is why engineering is such a great profession to be in. As a career it gives you the opportunity to go in many different directions and do work that is interesting and valuable,” she says.

She is proud of the role Irish engineers have played in shaping our modern world, citing as her hero Peter Rice who worked on some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including Sydney’s Opera House and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. And she believes more young people – especially girls – should consider a career in engineering.

What does her role as an engineer involve?

“As an engineer, you get to be the ultimate problem-solving. Engineers are constantly changing and innovating as we work to find solutions to the challenges that effect everyone’s lives.”

Her various roles with Irish Water have seen Samantha travel the length and breadth of the country, visiting many of the utility’s 7,000 pieces of water and wastewater infrastructure. But what she really relishes is the opportunity to meet people from different walks of life.

“As I am a working in a regional role, I get to meet and work with lots of people from a whole range of different professions, which is really interesting. Every day is different and I am lucky to be able to work outdoors as well as in the office,” she explains.

What does Samantha do in her downtime?

Much as she loves her job as one of Irish Water’s guardians of the environment, downtime is important too and outside of work Samantha is a busy mum to three boys, aged six to 14. She also enjoys jogging and has recently rediscovered her childhood love of dancing and performing, taking the lead role in a production of 'Beauty and the Beast' in Listowel.

She admits that dusting off her old dancing shoes and taking to the stage again was a daunting experience but believes that in life, as in work, “sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway”.

More information

For more on news and events for Engineers Week visit our Engineers Week 2020 page.

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