In 2021 and 2022, Kevin French of Vertex presented a talk at several conferences entitled: “Evolution of the Contaminated Site Remediation Industry in Canada”. The initial impetus for the talk was a request from the organizers of the Americana conference for a presentation that provided a retrospective of environmental remediation in Canada.
The environmental industry has experienced steady evolution since the “good old days” of “dig and dump” as advances in science, technology, regulation and broader societal trends, like sustainability, have taken place. Since the early days when remediation was only considered for heavy metal contamination in soil, and only addressed via excavation, environmental remediation technology has evolved dramatically. Remedial designs now consider hundreds of contaminants in soil, bedrock, groundwater and soil vapour and at concentrations as low as parts per trillion. Additionally, our greater understanding of the subsurface now requires us to consider complex processes such as vapour intrusion and diffusion-controlled contaminant migration to increase the effectiveness and certainty of in-situ remediation and risk management approaches.
Kevin has been practicing in this field for over 30 years (including some work on the infamous Love Canal site in the late 1980s), so was in a unique position to provide some personal recollections, insights and predictions for the future of the industry. Topics covered include advances in the understanding and characterization of site conditions; better-engineered remedial amendments; advances in application technologies; and the use of detailed interim data collection to assist in optimizing the design of remedial programs and the resulting positive outcomes.
Upon review of the past, it is hoped environmental practitioners and stakeholders will gain a more thorough understanding of the current state of environmental remediation in Canada, what is possible, what is not, and potentially what the future of our essential sector may hold.
You can view or download Kevin’s presentation “Evolution of the Contaminated Site Remediation Industry in Canada” below: