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12th Annual SABCS Conference on Contaminated Sites

September 21 – 22, 2022

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The 12th Annual SABCS Conference on Contaminated Sites

The Science Advisory Board for Contaminated Sites (SABCS) in British Columbia is pleased to announce our 12th Annual Workshop and Conference on Contaminated Sites, to be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada on September 21 (Workshop) and 22 (Conference), 2022. Both events will be in-person, with an option to attend virtually (i.e., a hybrid event).

Attending this event will be a worthwhile investment that will provide you with new perspectives, practical knowledge, professional connections, and will allow you to be better equipped in your role and professional practice. Benefits of attending include the following:

  • Learn: From wide-ranging presentations providing practical information on site investigation and remediation.
  • Recharge: Listen to cutting-edge research, new ideas and lessons learned.
  • Connect: During lunch and session breaks.
  • Give Back: Share your expertise and lessons learned and contribute to discussions.
  • Interact: With knowledgeable presenters during question-and-answer breaks.
  • Access: Benefit from on-demand access to audio and digital presentations after the event (for two months), allowing you to refresh knowledge.
  • Develop: As a professional and acquire professional development hours.

Hybrid in Vancouver, BC | Sept 21-22, 2022

8:30am – 4:30pm Both Days

Workshop: Contaminated Sites Risk Management

September 21

When Natural Disaster Strikes

In 2021, British Columbia was faced with unprecedented extreme heat and fires (heat dome) and large-scale flooding (atmospheric river) – these are examples of events that are expected to become more common because of climate change. Other climate change factors such as temperature and sea level rise are associated with effects that occur over longer time scales, which are also important to understand. It is increasingly apparent that climate change factors and risks can have a profound effect on the vulnerability and resilience of contaminated sites and ecosystems. Natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes and floods) may also have critical implications with respect to preparedness or contamination risk management. Consequently, scientific inquiry on how natural disasters and climate-induced changes affect contaminated sites risk management is needed. This workshop is intended to address several key themes on this topic, as follows:

  • Tools for climate projections and identification of climate factors relevant to site and remediation activities
  • The importance of an adaptive conceptual site model that includes a climate change lens
  • Ways in which resilience and sustainability of contaminated sites and ecosystems can be increased
  • Specific issues related to disaster risk reduction and post-disaster assessment and mitigation for contamination including site-related, non-anthropogenic, and ecosystem effects
  • Learnings from other disciplines in relation to event prediction and disaster response
  • Practical examples and implications for practitioners and potential gaps in relation to current state of knowledge and practice.

The workshop will be facilitated by experts in varying disciplines that will provide different perspectives on this important topic.

Workshop Schedule

8:30 – 8:35am

Introduction to Workshop - Part 1: Review of Day & Objectives

Dr. Ian Hers
Hers Environmental Consulting Inc.

8:35 – 8:50am

Introduction to Workshop - Part 2: Setting the Stage for Climate Change Risks - Current Knowledge, Gaps & Opportunities

Dr. Olenka Forde
RESOLVE & MG360 Groundwater Research Institute

Climate change is causing a rise in extreme weather events and natural disasters. Many of these events are impacting the resiliency and vulnerability of contaminated sites. Effective management requires conceptual site models that are adaptable to climate change. The duration, extent and impacts of extreme climatic events can be difficult to predict and delineate. Therefore, contaminated site management must also strive for solutions that are regenerative, supporting the resiliency of ecosystems. To support efforts in understanding how to incorporate sustainable resilient remediation into contaminated site management, various resources are being established as guidelines. This presentation will set the stage for the 12th Annual SABCS Workshop ‘When Natural Disaster Strikes,’ by reviewing our current knowledge and resources for climate change adaptation in contaminated sites management. 


Olenka Forde is a Senior Environmental Geoscientist with RESOLVE and a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute. Olenka’s diverse experiences range from working as a hydrogeochemist in the oil and gas and mining sectors, to environmental capacity building for sustainable development. She is passionate about building connections across disciplines, finding common threads in uncommon themes to solve complex problems and spark systemic change. Olenka completed a PhD in Hydrogeology at the University of British Columbia where she examined the subsurface transport and fate of methane leaking from oil and gas wells. 

8:55 – 9:30am

The Current Practice in Understanding & Managing Disaster and Climate Risk

Sahar Safaie
Disaster & Climate Risk Management Specialist,
Associated Engineering – Sage on Earth Consulting

Marion Houlbrook
Manager, Environmental Management, Associated Engineering

We are already experiencing the impacts of climate change in BC and will become more extreme in the future. We will see warmer temperatures, longer summer dry spells, wetter fall and winters, more extreme precipitation events, decrease snowpacks, and sea level rise. These changes can lead to more frequent, more intense, and less predictable hazard events such as flooding, landslides, or changes to ground water levels. The past information on climate and hazards and the past practices for managing the risk are not sufficient anymore. This session will provide an overview of how climate change impacts are considered in risk and risk management in other disciplines.  The objective of this session is to incite the audience to identify the gaps, challenges, and opportunities for incorporating climate change considerations in site investigation, risk assessment, and risk management for contaminated sites.  


Sahar Safaie, M.Eng:
Sahar Safaie is Climate and Disaster Management Specialist with than 17years of experience in risk assessment, policy, and governance of disaster and climate risk management in Public and Private sector in BC and internationally. She has led the process and authored three United Nations’s guidelines on risk management strategy, disaster risk assessment, and synergies between disaster and climate risk management. Sahar is also the lead editor of the NRCan Resilience Pathways Report. She has researched and used various risk assessment tools, methods and framework including probabilistic risk models, ISO 31000, Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC), Canada’s all-hazards risk assessment guidelines. Sahar founded Sage On Earth Consulting in 2017 working on a wide range of projects with various levels of government in Canada. She has been collaborating with AE Strategic Advisory Services as Climate and Disaster Resilience Technical Discipline Lead since June 2022. 

Marion Houlbrook, AScT:
Marion Houlbrook is an environmental professional with almost 30 years of experience. She is an Applied Science Technologist with an environmental sciences diploma from NAIT. Her work history has included positions as an oil refinery process operator, lab technician, industrial emission monitor, consultant, and a short stint with Greenpeace. For the last 25 years, she has focused her career in contaminated sites consulting, and leads a team at Associated Environmental Consultants Inc. At Associated, Marion manages the Contamination Sites/Environmental Management Group, based in their Vernon office.  

9:30 – 10:05am

Integrating Resilience into Remediation Sites: A Look into the Progress that Massachusetts has Made

Cathy Rockwell, PE
Woodard & Curran

Background: While expedited remediation is typically a main objective, due to the nature of environmental impacts at many sites, implementation of remediation programs tend to span numerous years, even decades.  During this time, impacts from climate change have the potential to undermine the effectiveness of the original site remediation design and affect contaminant toxicity, exposure, organism sensitivity, fate and transport, and long-term operation, management, and stewardship of remediation sites.  The Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) spearheaded the development of a pilot state-wide quantitative screening that looked at both the vulnerability of site remedies and integrity and surrounding communities and environment. Over 6,000 hazardous waste sites in Massachusetts were screened based on nearby sensitive communities and infrastructure (e.g. drinking water source areas), site-specific environmental characteristics, as well as predicted exposure to flooding, storm surge and sea level rise. The work product provides a relative ranking in site vulnerability providing stakeholders with a tool to start the climate resiliency discussion and evaluation.   

Activities: Leveraging this tool and pilot results, an environmental justice (EJ) municipality incorporated the results of the SURF vulnerability assessment tool into their grant request for a flood modeling and mitigation study under the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program for their property located along a river in a densely populated area vulnerable to flooding during current conditions. After receiving grant funding, the municipality is currently evaluating future re-use options, integrating the results of future flooding conditions and long-term remedial approach and overall closure strategy.  

At the same time, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is currently updating regulations and working with the Licensed Site Professional Association (LSPA) to develop guidance and a checklist for its waste site cleanup regulated community to incorporate climate change resilience into their assessment and remediation approaches.  

Results: This presentation will walk through the evolution of the climate change resilience efforts with the MassDEP team over the past several years starting with the SURF tool development, noting upcoming regulation updates for integration into the hazardous waste site cleanup program, resources being developed for practitioners using state-wide available resources, and walk through the EJ community case study example noted above integrating the various state led programs to help the municipality deal with the complicated decisions on overall approach from short term use, future funding, and challenges faced to determine long-term strategy. 


Cathy is a Senior Remediation Technical Manager and Senior Principal at Woodard & Curran with over 20 years of experience focusing on environmental and hydrogeological investigations, feasibility evaluations of remedial alternatives, and the design and implementation of remedies at both state-led and federally driven sites. She is driven to develop remediation strategies that are not only effective and efficient, but also sustainable and resilient. She is a member of and former board member of the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF), was a subgroup leader for the integration of Sustainable Resilient Remediation (SRR) throughout the project life cycle component of the recent ITRC SRR tool/ publication and is co-leader of the Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional Associations’ Climate Change subcommittee working to develop tools and resources for evaluating climate change impacts to Massachusetts contaminated sites under the forthcoming regulation changes

10:05 – 10:20am


10:20 – 10:55am

Temporal Modifications to the Water Cycle & Implications for Site Management

Ferdinando Manna, Ph.D
Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute, University of Guelph

Groundwater represents the largest freshwater reservoir on Earth (Ferguson et al., 2021) and governs the hydrological cycle, feeding lakes, streams and wetlands. However, despite its critical role, groundwater is often overlooked and for the last 70 years was managed as an unlimited reservoir of pristine water causing quality and quantity issues.  These existing challenges will be exacerbated in the near future as population continues to increase and the human-induced climate change will make the water cycle more erratic. In this context, groundwater could represent a vital resource, offering the resilience to changes and sustaining human and ecosystem needs. Nevertheless, if scientists agree on the increase of surface temperatures, the extent of modifications to groundwater and to other hydrological components are much less well understood.  To understand how perturbations occurring at surface are transferred to groundwater, it is critical to have a robust knowledge of percolation and groundwater recharge. The first represents rates of water flowing from the bottom of the root zone to the water table and the latter groundwater flux across the water table. Quantifying these rates is critical to assess plume mobility, monitoring strategies and water supply management. At our study site in southern California, we used a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate the temporal variability of these two processes at two different time scales. 

To reconstruct the natural cycles of percolation variability over 5 centuries, we analyzed the chloride (Cl) concentration in the porewater from core samples from the 80-m thick unsaturated zone (Manna et al., 2017).  This method is based on the premise that rain percolates vertically downward through the vadose zone so that each year’s recharging water displaces downward the previous year’s water. We found that the percolation rate varies from -0.9 to +0.80 of the mean value showing a cyclical oscillation with variable periodicity.  This periodicity and trend appear to be consistent with an atmospheric forcing pattern, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), as reconstructed for the last millennium by tree-rings examination. Considering only the last century, there were two main dry intervals observed (1915 to 1931; 1945 to 1975) with rates up to 70% lower than the average. 

To understand variability of recharge at the water table, we employed an integrated surface water groundwater numerical model to simulate recharge over a 25-year period (1992-2017) featuring wetter (1992-1998) and drier (2011-2016) conditions. Analyzing the simulated recharge at the water table, we found the simulated flux to be nearly steady during the dry period (-10% of the long-term average) but considerably higher (+60%) during the wetter period. Spatially, recharge is more homogeneously distributed during the dry period whereas is more focused during the wet period. Results for dry period can be explained by the overall low recharge value (13 mm y-1) and the dampening effect of the thick unsaturated zone. On the other hand, recharge during wet periods is controlled by large storm events generating streamflow that subsequently infiltrates in a few areas, controlled by topography and surface geology, creating conditions for focused recharge. A continuous flux at the water table is simulated over the 25 years, even during driest years. 

The detection of these multiple variability trends at different temporal scales is fundamental for the management and protection of groundwater resources. Extended period of lower-than-average recharge could likely affect environmental policies, tightening rules on remediation approaches that require intensive groundwater pumping.  Moreover, the temporal variations of fluxes through the unsaturated zone affects greatly the mobility of contaminants residing in this zone, such as PFAS. Ultimately, we highlight the importance of analyzing transient recharge conditions to improve transport and fate predictions. This dynamic factor is seldom addressed and too often used simply as an adjustment parameter during model calibration. 


Ferdinando Manna holds a PhD in Hydrogeology and MSc in Geology and Engineering Geology from the University of Naples “Federico II” (Italy). During his PhD, he spent one year as a visiting scientist at the USGS in Menlo Park, California with the Unsaturated Flow Processes research group (https://wwwrcamnl.wr.usgs.gov/uzf/). Currently, he is Research Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph (Canada) and a Principal Investigator with the Morwick G360 Groundwater Research Institute (https://g360group.org/).  

His research focuses on the assessment of groundwater recharge and analysis of flow through the unsaturated zone in fractured porous rock aquifers. His approach includes coupling field observations using physical measurements (water content, hydraulic head) and chemical measurements (hydrochemistry and isotopes as tracers) in combination with numerical modelling at different temporal (hourly to multidecadal) and spatial (borehole, to catchment, to regional) scales.

10:55 – 11:30am

Disaster at the Mouth of the River: Contaminant Risks facing BC's Towns Built on Alluvial Fans

Collen Middelton, RPBio, P.Biol.
RP Bio, Senior Biologist, Waterline Resources Inc.

Alluvial fans and deltas have been the perfect setting for building towns and cities throughout history. The large areas of relatively flat land with productive forests made it easy to plan infrastructure and acquire building materials. The proximity of these surficial deposits to large water bodies are ideal for fishing, transportation, ports, and recreation. The water supply provided by shallow freshwater aquifers within them made digging wells easy. The coarse textured and sandy materials were ideal for providing both construction materials as well as minimal amount of effort to dig and move the soil. 

As the towns and cities grew to their present-day sizes, and our understanding of environmental protection advanced, the vulnerabilities of these deposits to contamination were revealed. As climate change progresses, the potential for natural disasters such as fire and floods to induce contamination of soil and water is increased.  

Shallow, unconfined aquifers contained by alluvial deposits underlying the associated coarse textured soils are well understood to be highly vulnerable to contamination. What is not as well understood is the extent to which historical stormwater management and road infrastructure has altered the overland and subsurface water flow patterns and erosion potential in these deposits. When floods occur, the highly erodible sediments (sometimes made more erosive due to recent wildfire) may damage properties, septic systems, manure storage, chemical storage facilities, pipelines, and petroleum storage tanks in unanticipated ways. These contamination sources then migrates quickly along shallow groundwater pathways to ecological and human health receptors such as surface waterbodies and drinking water wells. 

This talk will offer insights to the identification of these risks and proactive mitigation measures that are available to municipalities and private landowners from a surficial geological perspective. This talk will emphasize the key public datasets, investigative field survey and geospatial data that need to be available or produced to understand the contamination risks posed to the soil and water on alluvial deposits in British Columbia as we respond and adapt to a changing climate. 


Mr. Middleton has over 17 years of experience in soil and terrain science focusing on soil inventory and quality assessment, water quality and wetland ecology. He holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree from the University of Guelph and has studied advanced soil genesis and geomorphology, soil physics, and land management at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). He was appointed to a partner position at global environmental consulting firm, Golder, in April 2015 and joined Waterline Resources Inc. in January 2021. Mr. Middleton’s technical scope of practice as a Registered Professional Biologist (BC College of Applied Biology) includes soil science (soil genesis, soil water characteristics, erosion hazard assessment, taxonomy, soil chemistry), land management and reclamation. Mr. Middleton has executed several projects evaluating infiltration/hydraulic conductivity properties of soils and erosion hazard assessment ranging from urban fluvial to remote forested and/or mountainous environments in Alberta and British Columbia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. 

11:30 – 12:00pm

Panel Discussion

12:00 – 12:45pm


12:45 – 1:10pm

B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy

Tina Neale
BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Director of Climate Risk Management

The Province has released B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy. The strategy strengthens our collective capacity to anticipate, prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change. This includes sudden events like wildfires, floods and heatwaves as well as changes that happen more slowly like rising sea-levels, receding glaciers and shifting ecosystems. Actions fall under four key pathways that work to strengthen the foundations for success, build safe and healthy communities, foster resilient species and ecosystems and advance a climate-ready economy and resilient infrastructure. The presentation will provide an overview of the strategy and highlight actions that may be relevant to contaminated sites risk management. 


Tina Neale is the Director of Climate Risk Management in the Climate Action Secretariat, BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. Her career spans 20 years in leadership, policy development, program management and research roles focused on climate change adaptation, water management and solid waste management. Tina started her career in the BC government in 2009 as a policy analyst in the Climate Action Secretariat working on sea level rise. In 2013 she joined the provincial water program, spending five years working on regulations under the Water Sustainability Act and then managing the River Forecast Centre and Dam Safety program. In early 2019, she returned to the Climate Action Secretariat to lead development of the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy for BC.

1:10 – 1:35pm

Health Risks of Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Mary Cameron
BC Ministry of Health, Director of Climate Resilience

Climate change is increasingly challenging the resilience of British Columbia’s health system and communities. Extreme weather events, such as the heat dome, wildfires and floods of 2021, are projected to become more frequent and intense with climate change, increasing the risk of morbidity, mortality, food insecurity and mental stress. Climate-related shocks and stressors can also exert significant demand and economic burden on B.C.’s health system, including damage to infrastructure, disruption of service, loss of economic productivity, and rising hospital admissions. This presentation will review case examples and health sector approaches to assess risks and protect public health and health systems.


Mary Cameron is the inaugural Director of the Ministry of Health’s new Climate Resilience team, situated within the Population andPublic Health Division’s Health Protection Branch (HPB). Previously, Mary led the development of science-based health protection policy at the HPB since 2013 on a diverse range of environmental health hazards as a Senior Scientist specializing in human healthrisk assessment. Prior to joining the BC Public Service, Mary was a research associate with the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Population Health supporting Indigenous-led community-based health research. Mary has an MSc is in Epidemiology and CommunityMedicine, BSc in Human Biology, and certificate in environmental management. Mary lives in Victoria and is grateful to be raising her two young children on beautiful Lekwungen Territory.

1:35 – 2:00pm

Flood Water Quality Monitoring Task Force

Cindy Meays, Ph.D., P.Ag, RPBio
BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Deputy Director, Regional Operations Branch

In response to the provincial state of emergency due to severe flooding declared on Nov. 17, 2021, the ministry established a multi-party task force to conduct a short-term project to immediately assess the state of environmental quality and evaluate risks to human health and the environment in the flood impacted areas of the Sumas Prairie, Hope, Merritt and Princeton. The task force included representation from Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, provincial and federal agencies. The task force provided oversight to surface water and sediment monitoring, development of conceptual site models, and completion of preliminary regional risk assessments. Task force activities including development of recommendations for longer-term monitoring and assessment activities if required, will be completed by the end of June 2022. 


Dr. Cindy Meays is currently the Deputy Director of the Regional Operations Branch in the Environmental Protection Division of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. She has worked for the Ministry for over 14 years in various capacities including the Provincial Lead for the multi-agency Flood Water Quality Monitoring Task Force.  Cindy has led several provincially significant projects for the Ministry and previously held the position of Senior Water Quality Guidelines Science Specialist where she developed water quality guidelines for BC and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Cindy completed her PhD at the University of Victoria with a focus on source tracking and survival of fecal bacteria in the environment. Cindy has co-authored 8 scientific papers and has developed several policies for the Environmental Protection Division.  

2:00 – 2:25pm

Don't Look Up....or Down?! How Climate Change May Impact BC Contaminated Sites

Leane Holloway, B.Sc., G.I.T.
Core6 Environmental Ltd.

Climate change is already affecting British Columbia, evident by 2021’s unprecedented heat waves, widespread wildfires, and the 100-year extreme rainfall event in November which caused major landslides and flooding. Variable climate effects are expected for different regions of the province, from intense rainfall and gradual sea level rise in the southwest, to higher temperatures and more drought in the south-central Okanagan region. These variable climate effects, based on geographic region, have the potential to affect contaminant behaviour which will ultimately influence how we carry out future contaminant fate and transport assessments, human health and ecological risk assessments, and remediation options evaluations. Similarly, existing contaminated sites may be affected in the way of discontinued plume stability, adequacy of risk assessment conclusions, and resiliency and efficacy of existing remedial systems. In this presentation, we give a synopsis of projected climate change impacts in different regions of BC and how they may affect contaminated sites, with particular focus on contaminant fate and transport of commonly encountered sources.


Leane Holloway is a hydrogeologist with a Bachelors degree in Geology from South Africa and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Hydrogeology. She is a registered Geoscientist in Training with 6 years consulting experience on projects in Western Canada and the Middle East. Leane provides technical knowledge for roadworks, utilities, dredging and land reclamation projects for commercial, industrial, public, and private clients. She has worked on baseline geo-environmental assessments, Phase II and Phase III Environmental Site Assessments, Environmental Impact Assessments, and hydrogeological investigations. Leane has also worked on various high profile and strategically important projects in the Middle East. 

2:25 – 2:40pm


2:40 – 3:15pm

Contaminated Sites: Taking Future Climate into Account

Kari Tyler
Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium

Ellen Pond
Canadian Centre for Climate Services

The impacts of a changing climate are already affecting all regions and sectors of life in BC, and these changes will continue in the coming decades. Overheating has emerged as a new risk in parts of BC. Precipitation patterns are changing and both the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are increasing. Future climate data, or climate projections, help us to understand how the climate is changing and what to anticipate over this century. How can future climate data support better custodianship of contaminated sites?  

The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) and the Centre for Canadian Climate Services (CCCS), along with other climate services providers in Canada, collaborate to produce a variety of future climate information and decision-support tools.  Climate projections provide valuable information about a range of changes in temperature and precipitation patterns. This presentation and workshop will introduce some core climate change concepts relevant to contaminated sites, describe climate projections in BC, and provide resources to help you find and use future climate data.  

The presentation will therefore introduce some of the available, online climate information from PCIC and CCCS. We will briefly explain key data tools including Climatedata.ca, the PCIC Climate Explorer and the Design Value Explorer. Contaminated sites custodians and managers can use these tools to help inform climate risk assessments for their sites. 

Climatedata.ca is useful for gathering information about changes in temperature and precipitation variables across a range of future climate scenarios. Climatedata.ca also has supporting learning materials including sector-specific modules. The PCIC Climate Explorer has complimentary functionality to Climatedata.ca, including 5, 20 and 50 year return-period variables for temperature and precipitation. The Design Value Explorer is a new tool that has data for all of Canada related to National Building Code values. Last, we will share further resources to support your work, such as new federal guidance on integrating climate change into contaminated sites management.  


Kari Tyler is the user engagement and training specialist at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, BC. Kari holds a Masters Degree in Adult Education and Community Development. Before joining PCIC she worked in climate change adaptation and resilience in provincial governments in Alberta and BC, and as a consultant internationally. 

Ellen Pond is the Training Lead at the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, and a member of the BC Society of Landscape Architects. Currently on leave from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Ellen taught in the Policy Studies and Urban Ecosystems programs and was the Policy Studies chair. She also provided climate consulting services for local governments 

3:15 – 4:20pm

Finding and Using Future Climate Data - Facilitated Discussion and Group Exercise

Kari Tyler
Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium

Ellen Pond
Canadian Centre for Climate Services


During the workshop, participants will engage in a small group exercise to explore available future climate data and discuss the implications for contaminated site management over the coming decades. It is recommended that participants bring a laptop to support their work. 


Kari Tyler is the user engagement and training specialist at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, BC. Kari holds a Masters Degree in Adult Education and Community Development. Before joining PCIC she worked in climate change adaptation and resilience in provincial governments in Alberta and BC, and as a consultant internationally. 

Ellen Pond is the Training Lead at the Canadian Centre for Climate Services, and a member of the BC Society of Landscape Architects. Currently on leave from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Ellen taught in the Policy Studies and Urban Ecosystems programs and was the Policy Studies chair. She also provided climate consulting services for local governments 

4:20 – 4:30pm


Conference: Perspectives on Contaminated Sites Investigation, Remediation and Risk Assessment

September 22

The conference theme is purposefully broad to cover multiple topics and provide the opportunity to “catch up” on new technical and regulatory developments. The conference will also provide an opportunity to network with colleagues. For the conference we are inviting all interested in sharing knowledge to submit an abstract (see topics below).

Conference topics of interest include:

  • Sustainable remediation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Resiliency in contaminated sites management
  • Risk reduction and risk management
  • Emerging contaminants of concern
  • Innovative monitoring methods or tools
  • Use of renewable energy in site management
  • Human health and ecological risk assessment
  • Indigenous partnership
  • Soil vapour intrusion
  • In situ remediation technologies
  • Analytical methods
  • Background contamination issues and case studies
  • Legacy gasoline contamination: lead scavengers and tetraethyl lead
  • Remediation methods and optimization
  • Soil reuse or relocation
  • Natural attenuation and nature-based remediation
  • Natural resources including mining and upstream oil and gas
  • Regulatory changes / updates from all levels of government
  • Case studies of contaminated sites investigation and remediation including brownfields revitalization

Conference Schedule

7:45 – 8:25am

Registration and Breakfast

8:25 – 8:30am

Opening Remarks

Zahra Pirani
SABCS President & Conference Co-Chair, Wastech Services

BC Regulatory Update

8:30 – 8:55am

Upcoming CSR Stage 14 Amendment (Focused on Soil Remediation)

Ardith Gingell
BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy

Alan McCammon
BC Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy


Ardith Gingell is currently a Senior Policy Analyst in the Land Remediation Section in the EnvironmentalProtection Division of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. She has worked for the Ministry for 16 years invarious capacities including as a Senior Contaminated Sites Officer in Land Remediation. As a Senior Policy Analyst, Ardith hasworked on legislative and regulatory changes for soil relocation in BC. Ardith completed her B.Sc. in Environmental Science at RoyalRoads University.

Alan McCammon is a member of the management team for the Land Remediation (Contaminated Sites) Section of British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.  Alan has extensive experience as a statutory decision maker under the Environmental Management Act and is presently appointed as Registrar for management of the Site Registry.  Previous and ongoing involvements include high-risk and orphan sites, brownfield renewal and compliance/enforcement.  Alan is a registered professional geoscientist (contaminant hydrogeology). 

Incorporating Resilience and Sustainability in Our Practice

8:55 – 9:20am

Contamination and Its Management in the Context of Ecological Restoration: Musings and Disaster-Related Case Studies

Beth Power, MSc, RPBio, CSAP & Cam Bullen
Azimuth Consulting Group

The work of contamination management in wildlands settings has typically been concerned with contaminant remediation and land reclamation, and overlooked the broader context and more ambitious goal of ecological restoration. Ecological restoration is broadly defined as assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed. While contaminated site management falls within this broad definition of ecological restoration, the principles of ecological restoration are infrequently incorporated into contamination management in wildlands settings. This presentation will examine the reasons and possible opportunities from a contaminated sites’ perspective.   Drawing on disaster-related case-studies, we argue ecological restoration is a valuable lens through which to plan contaminant management. We also identify approaches to assist practitioners in bridging the disciplinary divide between contaminant management and ecological restoration.  


Beth holds a Masters degree and is a Registered Professional Biologist in BC with 33 years of consulting experience related to risk assessment and management of contaminated sitesShe led or was involved in the earliest ecological risk guidance for both Canada (1992) and BC (1998) and enjoys the policy aspects of our work. Since 2003 she has been with the niche consulting firmAzimuth Consulting Group. Beth’s practice sits at the interface between the various parties that want to understand and manage contamination.  

9:20 – 9:45am

Seeing Through the Eye of the Storm Using the Lens of Nature: How Nature-based Solutions Enhance Resiliency and Provide Value

Stacey Hellekson
Woodard & Curran, Butte, MT, USA

This presentation will provide several case studies and one climate assessment tool that will help to describe and answer three key questions including: 

  1. What does a reactive response look like?
  2. How do you assess climate to be proactive? 
  3. What does a nature-based plan look like? 

The first case study presents a site that experience extreme flooding due to tropical storm Irene that impacted the remedial actions of the site. The case study displays the impacts of the climate event, costs incurred and several resiliency measures that were implemented for resiliency related to climate change impacts specific to the area, primarily flooding.  Implementation measures included relocating key operations to areas above the flood plain; implementing flood surge berms to allow flood water in and out during events, and design of nature-based wetland and upland meadow habitat to reduce flow into the downstream river during flood events. 

Second, the presentation will highlight an in-house climate assessment tool that can be used to evaluate a remediation portfolio for vulnerabilities of climate change. The climate tool incorporates climate science, business strategy and resilience engineering to develop and prioritize proactive solutions. The risk analysis in the tool takes into account climate stressors that can be modified by custom weighting based on client and CAPEX planning. The tool has the ability to rank and determine climate risk across multiple years into the future and across a variety of stressors ranging from drought and extreme heat, to flooding, extreme seasonal precipitation and sea level rise. 

Finally, the presentation will demonstrate a case study for flood and stormwater mitigation at a remediation site in the Northwestern U.S.  This case study will present the design considerations that included resiliency to allow for adequate remediation of impacts from historic mining, while accommodating for the risk assessed for increasing intensity of seasonal precipitation.  The presentation will highlight components that were also included for nature-based design considerations of phyto-remediation.  The case study will compare the benefits of including resiliency using nature against a traditional grey-scape stormwater design. 


Stacey is a licensed professional engineer with a focus in bio-resource engineering at Woodard & Curran. Her experience resides in the environmental arena with a focus on strategic planning, investigation, and remedy implementation at Superfund/CERCLA and voluntary clean-up sites in the Rocky Mountain region. She implemented design, and management of site investigations for projects involving historical smelting and mining waste, uranium, and the release of petroleum hydrocarbons. Stacey is currently serving at the Secretary of the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) Board. She is enthusiastic that each person’s commitment to sustainable measures in all aspects of their work and personal interactions can spur change for the better. 

9:45 – 10:10am

Drinking Water Resilience Assessment Project

Deni Olivares
Interior Health and First Nations Health Authority

Climate change is real and extreme weather events pose severe risks to our water supply systems and health¹. Heat has already had devastating impacts across much of British Columbia. It was seen in the summer of 2021, with the entire town of Lytton being destroyed by a forest fire, disturbing current water structures, and causing high costs of climate inaction² 

Drinking safe water is important and is a regulatory requirement that our Drinking Water Program oversees. Not only is water crucial for health, but also for poverty reduction, food security, peace and human rights, ecosystems and education³. We need to make sure that our water systems are resilient in the face of extreme weather events, but how do we know that our water systems are resilient? 

While a publicly accepted definition of resilience is “a process of positive adaptation despite adversity”, resilience means different things to different people. In the diverse views of Aboriginal peoples of Canada, resilience further emerges from interactions between individuals and their communities. We need appropriate and culturally-inclusive criteria to define “resilience”, and apply it to identify the drinking water systems at most risk of climate change and specifically interface wildfire impact. Identifying areas at risk is crucial to strategically apply risk reduction strategies as a necessary climate adaptation process. 

We want to build a tool to assess the degree of climate change resilience of individual water supply systems within the Interior Health region and in consistence with Indigenous ways of knowing. Then we want to pilot the resilience assessment tool on water supply systems located within the boundaries of Interior Health and FNHA. Our specific objectives are to: 

  1. Complete a literature search on the existing tools, assessments, and frameworks that determine the resilience of a water supply system, and the existing pathways of community engagement in the building of these tools.
  2. Complete a literature search on the notions of water resilience in the view of Aboriginal peoples living in what is now known as Canada.
  3. Create an Engagement Plan and develop key informant interview methods.
  4. Conduct interviews with people to collect and include their views on resilience from personal knowledge and experience with the water supply system. This includes but is not limited to: First Nations community members, water suppliers, and environmental health officers.  

The impact of this project is to better identify what drinking water systems in the southern interior region, are a priority for climate change risk mitigation, as a step towards prioritization of action, and to provide a transparent and community-based framework that justifies future drinking water systems decisions.  


Deni is an enthusiastic 3rd year undergraduate student at UBC, specializing in Global Health. As part of her co-op program, she joined the Drinking Water Systems team at Interior Health Authority, to respond to the present and future states of our drinking water systems, in the face of interface wildfires. She’s currently working in the Drinking Water Resilience Assessment tool with the goal of amplifying community voices and Indigenous knowledge”.  


1 IPCC, 2022: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.  

2 Lytton’s on fire! A frontline account by Lytton’s First Nation’s Warren Brown, CWP CWWP (2022). Operator Digest: Quarterly Newsletter of the Environmental Operators Certification Program- BC/Yukon. (Winter 2022, Number 151, p.6). 2022_Winter_Operator_Digest-2.pdf (eocp.ca)  

3 Water and Sanitation – United Nations Sustainable Development. (2022). Retrieved 12 May 2022, from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/  

4 Luthar SS. Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across five decades. In: Cicchetti D, Cohen DJ, editors. Developmental Psychopathology: Risk, Disorder, and Adaptation. New York: Wiley; 2006. pp. 740– 795.  

5 Kirmayer, L., Dandeneau, S., Marshall, E., Phillips, M., & Williamson, K. (2011). Rethinking Resilience from Indigenous Perspectives. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(2), 84-91. doi: 10.1177/070674371105600203 

10:10 – 10:25am

Refreshment Break & Networking

10:25 – 10:50am

Environmental Response for Wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia

Michelle Uyeda, P.Eng., CSAP

Molly Corrigan

Mike Linder

On June 30, 2021, the Lytton Creek Wildfire progressed through the Village of Lytton and Lytton First Nations lands, resulting in significant property damage and evacuation of approximately 1,100 residents. The Lytton Creek Wildfire moved south to north resulting in damage to most of the infrastructure south of the TransCanada Highway 1 and damage to two Class I Railway lines that pass through the area. Highway 1 was closed due to safety concerns with ongoing wildfires, and services for both railways were halted due to damaged infrastructure. The deck of the CN Thompson Bridge sustained substantial damage and immediately was an area of priority for regaining service to the rail line. The CN Thompson Bridge is a truss deck bridge which spans the Thompson River, just upstream of the confluence with the Fraser River. The majority of the rail ties on the bridge were burned or charred, and some entered the Thompson River during the fire and subsequent bridge tie replacement activities. 

CN and contractors reconstructed the bridge deck and GHD conducted air quality monitoring for occupational health and safety due to potential air quality concerns related to smoke from the Lytton Creek Fire, and other ongoing fires in the area. Following the reconstruction portion of the work, CN, GHD, and contractors continued to recover debris from the Thompson River and embankments.  

During the recovery activities, several pieces of guard rail, rail ties, and small debris were retrieved from the bridge truss, embankments, and Thompson River. The site conditions and limited access added additional complications to the recovery process. This presentation will focus on the challenges encountered during the debris recovery and how they were addressed, including lessons learned, such as those outlined below.  

  • Evaluation of fate and transport of burned and charred rail debris in the river, to assess potential risk to environmental and human health receptors 
  • Execution of a complex debris recovery program, with restricted access on an expedited timeline  
  • Engagement during the recovery phase of the project with Village of Lytton community members, and members of Lytton First Nation and nearby Indigenous communities, to determine focal areas for recovery efforts and discuss restoration endpoints 
  • Establishing recovery endpoints based on and understanding of fate and transport of rail debris in the river, worker safety considerations, and net environmental benefit 
  • How CN is using lessons learned to continuously improve strategies and tactics around wildfires such as considering proactive wildfire mapping/tracking for future asset protection


Michelle is a Contaminated Sites Approved Professional (CSAP) and Professional Engineer with over 28 years’ technical expertise on contaminated sites. She has a strong background successfully providing technical and regulatory support to projects to achieve client goals and regulatory objectives. Michelle is a Professional Engineer with a Masters in Hydrogeology from Université Laval. Michelle has worked in urban settings as well as remote locations in NE BC on both provincially and federally regulated lands.  As a Technical Director with GHD Ltd., Michelle leads a contaminated sites team out of the Vancouver office and provides technical support to GHD’s Emergency Response Team. 

Molly is an Area Manager for GHD’s Fast Incident Response Services Team (FIRST) in British Columbia and has over 5 years of consulting experience on a wide range of multi-disciplinary projects. Molly has managed, coordinated, and responded to numerous environmental emergencies across Canada and the USA including train derailments, pipeline spills, insurance companies, and provincial regulators. In recent years, Molly has managed several natural disaster emergency response projects, including wildfire asset tracking, damage assessments and environmental clean-up related to wildfires and flooding, and sampling programs for large-scale flooding events.

10:50 – 11:15am

Sustainability Analysis of Transport Technologies to Haul Impacted Soils and Tailings through an Urban Environment

Stacey Hellekson
Woodard & Curran, Butte, MT, USA

Nathan Beinemann
Woodard & Curran, Butte, MT, USA

Sustainable design and analysis were an integral component for this mining reclamation project and allowed for benefits to be realized for the environment, society, and stakeholders.  This presentation illustrates how sustainability criteria were used to decide the optimum transport technology to haul contaminated waste from the various project sites to a selected repository. The logistics analysis compared two different technologies, truck and conveyor belts, including a combination of the technologies. Three categories were selected to rank each alternative: safety, environmental impact, and cost. Each category was weighted with the highest emphasis on safety, followed by environmental impact, and cost. This presentation will provide details on the analytical data inputs used to determine the safety measurement and environmental impact metricsSafety for haul trucks utilized local data and total trucks miles driven to quantify as probabilistic crashes and fatalities, to determine the safest option for not only the workers, but for members of the community as well. Conveyor safety was calculated utilizing data from active conveyor systems within the mining industry and applied to the anticipated conveyor operational system.  For the environmental impact aspect, the EPA’s Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis (SEFA) were used to evaluate the environmental impact of each alternative. Emphasis was put on the Hazardous Air Pollutant emissions for local impact and total greenhouse gas emissions for global impact. This presentation will show a direct comparison of the results of the alternatives, and which was preliminarily chosen for the project 


Stacey is a licensed professional engineer with a focus in bio-resource engineering at Woodard & Curran. Her experience resides in the environmental arena with a focus on strategic planning, investigation, and remedy implementation at Superfund/CERCLA and voluntary clean-up sites in the Rocky Mountain region. She implemented design, and management of site investigations for projects involving historical smelting and mining waste, uranium, and the release of petroleum hydrocarbons. Stacey is currently serving at the Secretary of the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) Board. She is enthusiastic that each person’s commitment to sustainable measures in all aspects of their work and personal interactions can spur change for the better. 

Arsenic Issues - Local and International Perspectives

11:15 – 11:40am

In-Situ Chemical Treatment for Reduction of Dissolved Arsenic Concentrations near an Active Spur Line in Burnaby, BC

Jason Christensen, B.A.Sc., P.Eng., CSAP
Senior Engineer, Keystone Environmental Ltd.

Keystone Environmental completed an in-situ chemical injection program near an active spur line to address increasing dissolved arsenic concentrations in groundwater. This presentation discusses the site history, arsenic concentration trends, pilot chemical injection program, different injection methodologies, chemical composition, analytical results and its role in the site closure strategy.  

Located on the shore of the Fraser River in Canada, the site was historically owned by Canadian National Railway Company (CN) and operated by third parties to produce railway ties and utility poles, which were pressure treated with wood preservatives. Remediation of the property to address contamination from wood preservation chemicals began when the plant closed in the early 1980s. The site was then sold, and a warehouse building was constructed on the uplands; the current building tenant uses the property for storage and distribution operations. 

Dissolved arsenic was identified at concentrations exceeding the regulatory standard and the site-specific toxicity reference value in monitoring wells at the Site. Prior to 2015, concentrations of dissolved arsenic in groundwater had been increasing at wells in the “discharge zone”. Concentrations of dissolved arsenic exceeding the Site-specific threshold triggered implementation of a mitigation method to address the increasing concentrations.  

Keystone Environmental evaluated several options to address the increasing arsenic concentrations. The selected strategy had to be feasible for implementation at an active storage and distribution facility and in the proximity of an active spur line. Keystone Environmental designed a chemical injection pilot study to investigate the ability of the chemical injection to address the arsenic concentrations.  The study included investigating the rate of arsenic immobilization, the injection radius of influence, and the effects, benefits and limitations of different injection methods, and the optimum injected chemical composition on the site geochemistry. 

A proprietary reducing agent for in-situ metal fixation was identified as a suitable chemical amendment to precipitate arsenic in-situ. Between 2015 and 2018 the chemical injection program consisted of four rounds of chemical injection downgradient of the source location, with follow up amendment applications of sulphate and/or lactate solution to address limiting reagents in the reaction zone. The first round was injected via direct push injection, and the second round was injected via jet grouting. While jet grouting is typically used for soil stabilization or excavation support, its application here allowed for increased delivery of remediation product to the subsurface and created treated soil columns that will continue to react with the dissolved arsenic. Each round of injection also includes varying compositions of chemical being injected to promote precipitation of arsenic in sulphide mineral form.  

Preliminary results of the pilot chemical injection program indicate that concentrations of arsenic are decreasing in the target injection area four years since the first round of injection.  


Jason Christensen has over 21 years of experience in the environmental field and provides engineering expertise in contaminated sites remediation, site investigation, environmental engineering and wastewater treatment. His role includes being the senior technical reviewer and manager for projects that entail remediation option evaluation, remediation plan preparation, remediation system design, wastewater treatment design and operation, and permitting.  He has managed the design of numerous remediation programs and the construction and installation of treatment and remediation systems.   

He is a registered professional engineer in BC and Alberta, is an Approved Professional with CSAP in BC, and is a member of the Performance Assessment Committee for CSAP BC. 

11:40 – 12:05pm

Arsenic in Groundwater: Impact on Agro-ecosystem and Low-cost Removal Option in the Perspective of Bangladesh

Samia Syeoti Ramim

Arsenic(As), ranked as the 20th most naturally abundant element within the earth’s crust, is highly toxic in its inorganic form. Contamination of groundwater with elevated levels of geogenic As has been reported worldwide, even in developed countries like USA and Canada. In fact, As contaminated groundwater is considered as one of the major environmental disaster and health hazard due to its excessive use as a drinking water source. Moreover, the agroecosystem is also threatened because of the prolonged use of As contaminated groundwater for irrigation purposes, especially in the South and SouthEast Asia regions. This practice results in increased As concentration in agricultural topsoils, uptake by crops and plants, accumulation in plants and/or translocation to edible parts, and increased human exposure risks through the food chain. Rice is one of the noteworthy food items in which As tends to accumulate in higher concentrations. Yet, many South Asian countriessolely depend on As contaminated groundwater for irrigation of rice fields. Even though numerous studies have been conducted on arsenic removal from groundwater, limited works have focused on As removal from flowing irrigation water across the soil system. The major challenges in this respect aretreating high volume of irrigation water required for rice production and associated technological costs. The objective of the present study is to assessa lowcostremoval method of Arseniteand Arsenate by “ironoxidecoated jutefabric” through laboratory batch experiments. Locally available jute fabric has been used in the context of Bangladesh,which is one of the most critically affected countries by high levels of As contamination in groundwater (< 0.5 to > 4600 μg/L). Two different types of jute fabrics have been coated with iron oxide following two different coating methods and two drying methods, and subsequently assessed for their effectiveness in removing arsenic from groundwater in batch experiment. Results suggest that iron-coated jute fabrics have significant capacity to remove both As (III) and As(V) from groundwater, and could be used in amending irrigation channels for more efficient removal of As within the channel, ultimately reducing As loading to rice fields. This presentation also covers follow-up work on implementation of this method in an experimental setup under flowing water condition.
Samia Syeoti Ramim is a PHD student in the Geo-environmental research group of the Civil Engineering Department of The University of British Columbia (UBC). She has obtained her BSc. and MSc. degrees in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), in her home country Bangladesh. She has a research background on addressing contaminants in the groundwater and sediment-water system. Her current research focuses on understanding and integrating the fundamental processes governing the fate and transport of emerging contaminants in the sub-surface environment. 

12:05 – 12:50pm


Risk Management and Mitigation - Case Studies & Best Practices

12:50 – 1:15pm

Risk Management Solutions

Vijay Kallur, M.Sc., P.Eng. FEC., CSAP.
Arcadis Canada Inc.

Insitu technologies have been widely utilized for remediation of sites over the last few decades. Due to the cost and lengthy timeframes required for achieving remediation to criteria or standards set by regulatory agencies, they are often not the preferred sole options. As risk based remedial approach gained prominence, insitu technologies provided tremendous value as risk mitigation tools. However, the feasibility and effectiveness of the insitu remedial technology for a Site on the extent of source reduction and risk mitigation depends upon its suitability to the site subsurface conditions. Hence, development of the conceptual site model to accurately reflect the site subsurface conditions becomes critical in identifying a suitable insitu technology for a specific site. This presentation will provide some examples of projects carried out over the years where (a) simple geotechnical tools such as vertical aquifer profiling and soil moisture characteristic curve were used to better characterize the sub-surface conditions and improve the accuracy of the conceptual site models, (b) appropriate insitu or ex-situ remedial technology was selected for each Site and (c) remediation and risk mitigation was successfully implemented.


Vijay Kallur is a Client Program Manager at Arcadis Canada Inc. based in Greater Vancouver and manages multiple roles for Client Development, Program Management, Senior Project Management, Expert Reviews, Technical Support for legal matters and Technical Knowledge and Innovation. He holds a graduate degree in geotechnical and environmental engineering from the University of Saskatchewan. Mr. Kallur has been practicing in BC since 1995 and has implemented various remedial solutions successfully on both medium and high-risk sites leveraging his background in civil, geotechnical, hydrogeology, soil science and construction management for a variety of contaminants including hydrocarbons, metals, solvents, inorganics and PFAS. He received an Award of Excellence in the Field of Contaminated Sites at the 2021 RPIC conference for his contributions to the CFB Comox Site Wide PFAS Management.

1:15 – 1:40pm

(VIRTUAL PRESENTER) The Potential for Using Native Plant in In-Situ Remediation

Elizabeth Murray, Ph.D., P.Biol., R.P.Bio.
Earthmaster Environmental Strategies

Phytoremediation is a nature-based remediation method that uses plants to remove contaminants such as metals, salts, and petroleum hydrocarbons from soil. Phytoremediation is a sustainable way of remediating the contamination to conserve the soil and reduce carbon emissions associated with hauling to a landfill or treatment using other energy intensive methods. Often phytoremediation is conducted using non-native high biomass producing agronomic species that are more tolerant of contaminants and easier to get established. However, non-native species often require removal or eradication once remediation is complete as they are not suitable reclamation species. Using native species for remediation can serve an additional function in restoring the site, thereby reducing reclamation costs and the associated carbon emissions from reclamation related equipment use. Native species can be challenging to use in phytoremediation due to seed germination failure and poor establishment rates. For native species to be successfully adapted for in situ remediation, growth and survival of the plants must be improved.  

Earthmaster has been working to expand its PEPSystems phytoremediation technology to include native species in addition to the agronomic species currently being used commercially. Native species generally have bigger root systems that penetrate much deeper in soil; however, they often struggle to grow on contaminated sites. This can be overcome somewhat through agronomic practices such as irrigation, but this increases cost and emissions, and may not be viable given site location and accessibility. PEPSystems uses plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) to stimulate plant growth in contaminated and/or poor-quality soil and facilitate plant growth in reclamation applications, where contamination may be left in place as a strategy for risk-based site management and/or where sites may have naturally elevated parameters such as salinity.  

Earthmaster has conducted laboratory and field trials with seed and plugs of a variety of native species to evaluate the effect of PGPR on plant germination, growth, and survival. Laboratory seed germination studies ±PGPR were conducted using 4 agronomic and 6 uncoated native grass species with varying concentrations of one of two types of PGPR in a range of produced water concentrations. It was observed that, in general, PGPR had no effect nor were detrimental to germination of agronomic species in low salt concentrations but provided significant advantages in high salt concentrations. Surprisingly, for most species of native grasses, PGPR provided significant advantages in both conditions. However, within both groups, there were some species where PGPR were detrimental in all conditions. Field trials were conducted in 4 locations in southern Alberta using 4 species of native grass plugs ±PGPR. Plug health and height were evaluated during the growing season and the following spring. As with the germination studies, effects were variable and species dependent. These studies demonstrate the importance of testing PGPR/plant compatibility as well as optimum PGPR concentrations prior to site deployment and lay the groundwork for using native species in in situ remediation applications, potentially facilitating much deeper in situ soil treatment than with agronomic species. 


Elizabeth W. Murray, Ph.D., P.Biol., R.P.Bio. – Elizabeth Murray is a senior scientist with Earthmaster Environmental Strategies in Calgary, Alberta. She is a graduate of Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She has a Ph.D. in human genetics and she has worked for more than 20 years in medical related research and in plant based biotechnology, developing biologics as treatments for human diseases. Elizabeth has worked in environmental sciences for over 10 years and plays a lead role in the analysis and reporting of phytoremediation research and results. She also manages the research and development of Earthmaster’s PEPSystems® technologies.   

1:40 – 2:05pm

Enhancing Excavations, Rapid Remediation

Keith Munsey

Background. The treatment of petroleum contamination by excavation has occurred for at least thirty years. Often excavation is not a closure remedy, but a source removal action. The treatment of petroleum contamination via electron acceptors became popularized in the early 1990s and the use of activated carbon in-situ did not become available until the 2000s. 

Activities/Results. Today the combination of excavation, electron acceptors, and activated carbon is becoming widely used for the treatment of petroleum hydrocarbons. Over the past five years, many sites have achieved closure from excavations that otherwise may have remained open if not for the addition of other amendments such as electron acceptors and activated carbon. 

Lessons Learned. Many sites continue to be contaminated post-excavation, from plume migration, site wall contamination, or saturated contamination. The use of additional amendments allows for further site treatment and potential benefits long term. 


Keith Munsey has worked in the environmental research and consulting industries for over 6 years. He supports groundwater and soil remediation projects in the western United States and Canada and focuses on sites with petroleum hydrocarbon impacts. Keith has project management, compliance reporting, and analytical experience in the United State, Central America, and Canada. He earned his master’s degree in geology and geochemistry from Florida State University.


2:05 – 2:30pm

Filling in the Data Gaps at Complex Sites before Focused Remediation: Three Case Studies

John Sankey
True Blue Technologies Inc.

Background/Objectives. This presentation focuses on 3 cases where remediation was made possible by high resolution characterization and instrumentation that provided a sound and defensible Conceptual Site Model (CSM). 

Case Study #1:  

A railroad tie treating facility, located adjacent to a lake, was impacted both in upland areas and subaqueous sediments. NAPL was observed as dense globules on the lake sediments and as a light sheen on the water surface. 

An Ultra-HRSC process (Aestus GeoTrax CSM+™) was used to confirm the CSM relative to NAPL distribution in the subsurface at the coastline and in offshore subaqueous sediments, as well as provide evidence of ongoing bioactivity as a useful input for remedial design. Scanning data was also used to identify potential subsurface obstructions (e.g. wastes/debris and/or buried utility lines) to a planned barrier wall construction alignment. The high-density field data also was used to verify and support groundwater modelling results. 

The consulting firm used these data to assist in developing a more focused remedial design, which eliminated groundwater pumping, resulting in ~90% O&M budget reduction (from ~$300K/year to ~$30K/year) or $4 million total savings during remediation/monitoring. 

Case Study #2:  

A known release of gasoline fuel at this facility led to ground water contamination. Due to site activities, the length of the plume, and multiple properties being involved, typical technologies were determined to not be feasible. Implementation was completed using a segmented horizontal well (Vertebrae™ ) for data collection and chemical injection. 

The easy installation minimized business disruption by running under several properties and a busy traffic area. Control when preferential pathways exist or even when lithology and hydraulic conductivity varied. Adaptation when the plume responds and changes. 

Case Study #3:  

A robust conceptual site model (CSM) was the key to the success of groundwater remediation at a chlorinated solvents site in the Bay Area, California.  The piezometric data, stratigraphy, geochemistry, and PCE transport interpretation came from several wells, including discreet multi-depth wells. The Project Manager injected ZVI into strategic hot spots during the same injection event as a widespread downgradient bioremediation. This was also an effective strategy to reach the desired goals.  The performance monitoring, which included Volatile Fatty Acids, gases and microbe population analysis, allowed the PM to design the next steps in the remediation.


John is a solutions engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He has been in the groundwater industry for 24 years and in 2003 started True Blue Technologies, a business dedicated to providing engineering, technical support and business development for technologies in groundwater remediation and characterization.   


2:30 – 2:45pm


Innovation in Analysis and Forensics

2:45 – 3:10pm

Tetraethyl Lead Analysis by GC-ICPMS in Support of BC CSR Standards

Louis Wagner & Mark Hugdahl

Testing of environmental waters and soils for Tetraethyl lead (TEL) is necessary to assess regulatory standards in British Columbia and Ontario, and can also be a useful tool for forensic investigation of sites contaminated with gasoline, to evaluate the potential for presence of legacy contaminants (pre 1990)In the case of waters, sub part-per-trillion reporting limits are required, pushing analytical methodologies to require greater sensitivity and selectivity than is possible with conventional analytical methods such as quadrupole GCMS.  Tetraethyl lead [Pb(C2H5)4], or TEL, is an organolead gasoline additive first used in 1923, with widespread use in Canada until the late 1980’s.  TEL was eventually phased-out as a gasoline additive due to the toxicity of lead. ALS Canada offers testing for TEL using Gas Chromatography with ICPMS detection (GC-ICPMS). This instrumentation allows for unique analysis of test results, utilizing the unparalleled sensitivity of the ICPMS detector, and is particularly advantageous for organolead compounds, since all detectable chromatographic signals can be definitively attributed to lead compounds.  Select case studies will be presented showing some TEL results, with potential implications for site remediation and regulatory compliance. 


Louis Wagner received his B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry from Simon Fraser University in 2003 and has worked at ALS Environmental in many different roles since 2004. In 2008 Louis took on his current role of ALS Canada National Technical Inorganics Specialist.  In this role, he has led and conducted numerous analytical method development projects in the field of inorganic chemistry Most recently Louis has led several projects to develop trace metal and organometallic speciation test methods utilizing HPLC-ICPMS and GC-ICPMS instrumentation.  

3:10 – 3:35pm

Managing Environmental Data via ESdat Online to Meet Updated BC MOE CSR Requirements, Support Efficient Workflows

Sean Babulic, P. Eng
Gwaii Engineering

Nick Tumney
EarthScience Information Systems (EScIS)

Gwaii Engineering (“Gwaii”) values a flexible and work-life balanced culture and embraces the use of innovative technology to support their ESG corporate initiatives.  

This means Gwaii wants the best available processes to support efficient workflows, and need to access their systems while staff work at various remote locations, including from home over the course of the pandemic. 

Gwaii adopted ESdat Online (“EO”), a cloud-based package from EarthScience Information Systems (“EScIS”). EO is a specialized environmental database system; used to import, validate, analyze, and report a broad spectrum of environmental data. 

EO interfaces with major Canadian environmental laboratories and is pre-populated with major Canadian regulatory guidelines including the recently updated Ministry of Environment Contaminated Sites Regulation B.C. Reg. 375/96. 

Before EO, Gwaii experienced common data management challenges, including time-consuming manual data entry, missed regulatory guideline exceedances, bottlenecks, cut & paste errors, difficulties compiling large data sets, clunky borehole logging software, and problems sharing analytical data. 

Adopting EO delivered the following benefits: 

  • Intuitive, automated, and user-friendly interface, allowing staff – from field technicians to project directors – the ability to import and interrogate data, no matter the location 
  • More consistency in data presentation with standardized table layouts and guideline exceedance formatting 
  • Automated laboratory report upload and checking of QA/QC – such as field and lab RPDs, blank analysis, and spike recoveries – saving time and increasing confidence in data quality 
  • Increased time to consider and interpret data, less time arranging and formatting it 

Integrating EO into workflows has allowed Gwaii to put their time and effort into interpreting their data and providing their clients with the best advice possible. 


Sean Babulic, a registered Professional Engineer, has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Waterloo. With project management experience as an environmental contractor and years of field engineering experience in quality control / coordination, Sean has a keen eye for constructability and practical design. His clients have included major oil / gas corporations, multinational construction contractors and all levels of government. He has significant experience on large complex multi-disciplinary projects including remote northern remediation projects and investigations.  

Gwaii Engineering is an Indigenous-owned and operated Civil and Environmental Engineering consultancy based in Vancouver Island, serving communities throughout BC. 

Nick Tumney, a Senior Implementation Specialist at EScIS Canada, oversees the implementation and client management of ESdat. This includes onboarding, developing & providing training services, and other support services. Prior to EScIS, Nick spent 10 years working as an environmental consultant in Melbourne, Australia. His roles included project management, environmental sampling & fieldwork, and data management tasks for various clients across the contaminated land sector. Nick has a B.Sc. specializing in Earth Science and a Masters of Spatial Information Science.  

EScIS Canada, headquartered in Vancouver, provides environmental data management software, training, and other support services in industry. 

3:35 – 4:00pm

A Case Study – Forensic Analysis to Characterize an Unknown Source of Methane in Soil Vapour

Nicholas Head, M.E.Sc. G.I.T (ON) & Darius Mali

The presence of methane at contaminated sites can originate from multiple sources including thermogenic (i.e., natural gas seeps and distribution leaks) and biogenic (i.e., municipal landfills, sewer gas, natural organic materials, and residual petroleum hydrocarbons). Understanding the source(s)  of methane is critical towards the development of corrective action strategies for vapour intrusion. A case study is presented where an unforeseen methane soil vapour plume with concentrations of up to 70 percent by volume (%vol) was identified along a residential property boundary of an industrial site contaminated by chromium and chlorinated solvents. The proximity to the residential homes was a major concern and warranted further investigation. An innovative approach was applied to identify the source of methane, using methane forensic analysis supported by multiple lines of evidence. The methods included: i) radiocarbon dating, ii) ratio analysis of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon fractions (C2-C6+), and methane, iii) mercaptans and sulfur analysis, and iv) utility locate and historical property use search.  

Radiocarbon dating is a method that estimates the age of organic material by measuring the decay of radioactive isotope 14C. The radiocarbon dating indicated that the carbon of the methane was generated recently (i.e., natural organic material, municipal landfill, sewer gas) and excluded mature sources such as decomposing petroleum and natural gas. Natural gas possesses a distinct chemical composition of hydrocarbons (C1-C6+) and carbon dioxide with mercaptan and sulfur compounds added by utility providers for detection purposes. The ratio analysis along with mercaptans and sulfur analysis further supported the results of the radiocarbon dating and were inconsistent with a natural gas leak or decaying petroleum. Utility locates revealed no nearby sewer or gas services in the area. The historical property use search indicated that the site was not formerly used as a landfill. The source of methane was narrowed and identified to be the result of anaerobic decay of natural organic materials.  

The identification of the source of methane supported the development of a conceptual site model (CSM). Test pits were dug to delineate the extent of the methane soil vapour plume and the local geology. A shallow layer of organic-rich soil was identified above the water table, bounded by low-permeable clay-silt layers, further supporting the methane forensic analysis. A site-specific corrective action plan was implemented, where a series of gravel beds were constructed to provide venting, resulting in measurable decrease in methane concentrations in soil vapour.  


Nicholas is a Senior Staff Professional with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. based in Guelph, Ontario with more than 5 years of experience in investigating and remediating contaminated sites. Nicholas serves as a member of the vapour intrusion practice team at Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. In this role, he supports the implementation of field investigations along with the design and installation of vapour intrusion mitigation systems  using new and innovative techniques for private and public sector clients. 

Nicholas earned a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences, McMaster University and a Masters of Engineering Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario. 

Mr. Mali has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering and a Masters of Applied Science Degree in Atmospheric Pollutants. And is a licensed as a Professional Engineer in British Columbia.  Mr. Mali has been a member of the vapour intrusion services team at Geosyntec for the past 9 years.He has worked as a vapour intrusion specialist assessing sites using typical and advanced sampling and measurement techniques. He primary works with the migration of chlorinated volatile organic compound (cVOC) vapours originating from current or historic operations and assessing risk to occupants. His current role is project manager and mitigation system designer. He is also active in research and development, sitting on the research and development (R&D) board at Geosyntec and has worked on R&D projects within Geosyntec and for the United States Department of Defense.  

4:00 – 4:25pm

New Methods to More Accurately Quantify Hydrocarbon Contamination from Natural Background

Anthony Aquino
AGAT Laboratories

Examination of hydrocarbon contaminated environmental sites by traditional gas chromatographic (GC) methods reveals that natural background hydrocarbon signals often interfere with signals from petroleum or anthropogenic sources suggesting anthropogenic contamination may be greater than in actuality. In some cases, such as peatlands and other boreal forest environments, the natural (biogenic) hydrocarbon signal may exceed regulatory guidelines even without additional anthropogenic materials present. Traditional single-dimensional gas chromatography, used as the current standard prescribed method does not accurately allow for the quantifiable differentiation of biogenic inputs from anthropogenic ones. This may result in potential mitigations being implemented on uncontaminated or marginally contaminated sites, unnecessarily disturbing the natural environment.  

To overcome the limitations of traditional GC, two-dimensional gas chromatography (GCxGC) can be used resolve petrogenic and biogenic compounds, enabling unambiguous group quantitation of both. We will present data from case studies showing the amount of mixing of petrogenic and biogenic compounds using traditional methods such as silica gel removal, environmental subtraction and biogenic interference calculation (BIC) versus GCxGC.  


Anthony Aquino graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2017.  He then completed a Master’s degree in Forensic Science, specializing in Forensic Chemistry, at the University of Strathclyde in 2018.  He was hired by AGAT Laboratories in September 2019 to work in their Forensics Division and in particular to develop their two-dimensional gas chromatography technology.  He was been with the company for a year and a half and with this presentation will showcase one of the most interesting and exciting areas of development with this technology. 

4:25 – 4:30pm

Closing Remarks and Conference Adjournment

Zahra Pirani
SABCS President and Conference Co-Chair, Wastech Services