by Kevin French
Please bear with me and I’ll explain what Dr. Seuss and the Wachowskis have to do with environmental remediation.
Since you are reading this on LinkedIn or the Vertex website, presumably you have grown up and are no longer reading Dr. Seuss – at least not to yourself; maybe to your kids. But then again, who am I to judge? One of my past favourites was the classic “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) was a genius at creating new and fantastic realities to entertain and subtly educate at the same time.
Moving on to more adult fare, I recently re-watched the ground-breaking sci-fi classic “The Matrix”. If you haven’t seen it, and I can’t believe you haven’t, Mr. Anderson learns that the life he thinks he lives is actually a vast and complex computer program that his consciousness is plugged into. Once he takes the Red Pill offered by Morpheus he is awakened into the real world, one that is run by Artificial Intelligence and patrolled by the nefarious Agent Smith.
So now the tie in to environmental remediation: there actually are new and fantastic realities out there in the environmental remediation world! The old reality, “The Matrix” as it were, is only thinking about dig and dump, pump and treat, and risk assessment. Don’t get me wrong – each of these approaches still have their time and place when it comes to dealing with contaminated sites. But there are many more remedial options and technologies out there that you owe it to yourself and your clients to awaken to. Who would have thought even a few years ago that there would be ways to delineate contamination in-situ and on-the-fly without the need of a lab? Or that there would be truly passive Permeable Reactive Barriers (PRBs) for petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs)? Or that there would be a permanent solution to contaminant rebound in groundwater – including for chlorinated solvents? Well, there are! All of these and many other technologies are detailed on our website and are used by Vertex almost every day at contaminated sites across Canada.
More and more new scientific breakthroughs and technological advances are being developed every day – seemingly at a faster and faster pace. We at Vertex are constantly researching and learning about these and developing our own (Teaser: wait for an exciting upcoming announcement of a new technology that we developed to immobilize LNAPL and remediate PHC sheens on groundwater in-situ soon…). Is there a way to permanently remediate PFAS in-situ? No, not yet. What about PBDEs? The same. But wait a year or so (or less) and maybe that answer will change to yes, absolutely!
Grow up, but stay entertained and educated, and by all means do not get stuck in the Matrix! Which reality do you choose? (Hint: don’t take the blue pill!)