Meet Bonnie Lu – Site Engineer at Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre

Fresh from completing six years of study – four years in China for her bachelor’s degree, followed by an additional two years in Sydney at UNSW, Bonnie Lu earned her master’s degree in civil engineering and now serves as a valuable member of the Kimbriki team. Her role involves overseeing the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation of infrastructure while prioritising public and environmental health and safety.

Bonnie’s journey at Kimbriki began working on the Western Shelf Cell in October 2021, she then became highly involved with the construction of the Clean Water Diversion System which started in June 2022 to present. This intricate system comprises a network of drains surrounding the site’s active areas, redirecting clean water away from Kimbriki. Collaborating closely with Kimbriki’s Operations Manager, Mark Winser, and on-site contractors, Bonnie played a pivotal role in this $15 million project. The system is expected to reduce stormwater entering the Kimbriki site by 80%, thereby mitigating the risk of overloading Kimbriki’s stormwater drains and treatment ponds during heavy rainfall.

With a hands-on approach to her career, Bonnie explained that she relishes on-site work, “The Clean Water Diversion System project was really challenging, we needed to make modifications to the original designs and troubleshooting with my boss, Mark to find better ways to stabilise the rock and soil structure. This led to lots of inspection, photography, redesigning, and continuous monitoring of processes. It was a lot of work but very rewarding.”

Bonnie is responsible for Construction Quality Assurance (CQA), ensuring that construction activities on-site align with drawings and specifications. She coordinates multiple stakeholders, including contractors, consultants, and ecologists, for the Clean Water Diversion System (CWDS).

Inspections form a significant part of Bonnie’s week-to-week responsibilities, driven by the requirements of Kimbriki’s Environmental Protection License and in accordance with the NSW EPA Landfill Guidelines. These include monthly landfill gas emissions monitoring with the assistance of Sandra Westren, quarterly landfill gas monitoring, and surface water and groundwater monitoring, in coordination with a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory for sampling and testing.

Bonnie also conducts quarterly dust monitoring around the site, performs environmental inspections of the site twice a month, and updates site erosion and sediment control plans, soil and water management plans, environmental management plans, Pollution Incident Response Management Plan (PIRMP), and other management plans as necessary.

In addition to her engineering duties, Bonnie conducts land surveys for various structures, such as temporary roads, access tracks, landfill bund walls, landfill gas collection infrastructure, landfill cells, and stormwater structures. She also assists with landfill planning and design, including the design of the landfill gas capture system using 12D modelling software.

Outside of her demanding career, Bonnie finds time for personal interests. She practices Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art characterised by twisting and throwing techniques. She also enjoys snowboarding holidays at Perisher Valley and indulges in surfing at Freshwater Beach. For more relaxed downtime, Bonnie likes to play board games with friends on weekends, with her favourite being Carcassonne. Bonnie explained “It’s a tile-placement game. Players strategically place tiles with a piece of southern French landscape on them, adding meeples (game pieces) to various features.” As the map expands, players can disrupt each other’s plans and vie for control, making it a perfect game for an engineer like Bonnie to showcase her skills in planning and strategy with a dash of deceit.