Americana 2015

Americana 2015

Americana is a long standing environmental conference that brought 10,000 attendees from around the world together to discuss the environment, economic impacts, and innovation. Bruce and Patrick attended, Bruce gave a technical presentation and Patrick featured Vertex’s innovative approach to rapid, real time field data collection (high resolution characterization) on the trade show floor.


The conference went very well. In this article we share some of our thoughts about the event, including the possible direction of the environmental remediation industry.

During the conference opening talks many industry leaders and politicians spoke, including Thomas Mulcair, leader of the Official Opposition in Canada. All speakers acknowledged how important the environment is and how much more important it will become, especially considering increasing populations and the associated stress on our natural world. A common view across talks and attendees is the environmental industry will continue to grow and evolve based upon research, regulations, and public opinion. It’s amazing to think that the US EPA and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment were just established in 1970 and 1972, respectively. Our industry has evolved significantly since the ‘70s and, based upon the many conversations at Americana, will continue to evolve in the 2010s and beyond.

From a remediation perspective, our industry appears poised to consider the global environment in addition to the local environment. Previously remediation approaches and extent of remediation was defined by soil and groundwater standards, but governments and large corporations are starting to consider other factors, such as minimizing the use of non-renewable fossil fuels and destruction of the contamination on-site rather than transportation to off-site locations. Calculations considering carbon emissions reveal the high global environmental cost of dig and dump, and how the “cost” of traditional off-site disposal can exceed the cost of using on-site soil management, or in-situ approaches, or risk assessments (RAs). With the global environment in mind and a more informed public, our industry seems more accepting of in-situ and RA approaches. It’s very possible that excavation and off-site disposal may not occur as frequently, as our industry moves to more sustainable approaches.

The Soils and Groundwater talks also reviewed the Lac-Megantic response, many in-situ techniques, soil mixing approaches and equipment, thermal treatment, fracking, passive oxidant releasing cylinders, brownfield approaches, and more.

The talks were interesting and the trade show floor was busy.


On the floor, Patrick spoke to many attendees about the high resolution site characterization tools, including the Membrane Interface Probe (MIP), Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF), and Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT). Patrick says “I enjoyed the experience of being at Americana and meeting everyone who came by our high res van. It gave me the opportunity to talk to many people, most of whom were genuinely interested in the technologies and how they operated in the field.”


Bruce’s talk went well, it focused on a large formaldehyde and PHC spill response and the in-situ remediation of the groundwater plume.

Overall a great time was had by all, especially considering one of the conference days was St. Paddy’s Day, which is always well celebrated in Montreal! Hopefully we also contributed to the learning of others. The sharing of ideas between practitioners leads to a healthier industry for all of us. We know we certainly left the conference with a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of the environment, the economy, and innovation, both within Canada and our larger world.