I admit it. I’m somewhat of a nerd. Fortunately, that’s an asset in my line of work. But this side of my personality shows up in some interesting ways. For example, most people look forward to a relaxing beachfront vacation, playing golf, or a yoga retreat. Me, I can hardly wait to hop a plane on April 7 to the Battelle Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds.
The program is literally 102 pages long, and just reading about all the extensive educational tracks and amazing speakers, I’m already in heaven. I wish I had a clone so I could be in five places at once – a clone equipped with an external data drive to hold all the information I’m itching to learn.
“What’s so intriguing about this particular conference?” you may ask.
Well, getting the latest intel on emerging contaminants, vapor intrusion, addressing challenging site conditions, and site remediation technology developments are the topic sessions that I’m most anticipating. Emerging contaminants is an enormous issue right now. The risk factors involved in public health and the negative effects on property values from found contaminants affect the work I do for clients. PFAS (per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances), which are chemical compounds formally known as PFCs, are now classified as emerging contaminants. Used for decades in everything from fire retardant coatings and industrial processes to fabric and food packaging, PFAS are pervasive. People are beginning to monitor for it, see how it behaves, and examine if it can be remediated because we aren’t sure what ill effects it has and, frankly, it’s everywhere.
Vapor intrusion is another topic session that grabs my interest. A lot of sites that I work on need to consider whether vapor intrusion impacts the health of the building occupants as well as the property value. I’m looking forward to learning what’s new in this arena.
Big Stars in the Remediation Field
Of course, I’ll be at sessions that address challenging site conditions as well as site remediation research and application. Getting involved in stimulating discussions about the latest improvements in field-remediation technologies and comparing notes on things we’ve encountered in our projects will no doubt be a personal highlight of the conference. Plus, I’ll see all the big stars in the remediation field and environmental industry, including Scott Fulton (president of the Environmental Law Institute) as he speaks about future environmental regulatory challenges locally and worldwide.
If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I’m extremely social too. I’ll hobnob with the 1,600 environmental professionals from academia, government agencies, global industries and my professional colleagues. I’m excited to hear firsthand about the challenges they face, solutions they’re exploring and build some new relationships in the process.
Yes, it’s in Palm Springs. Honestly, though, I don’t think I’ll ever see the sun. I can’t imagine leaving the conference for one moment. See. I told you I was a bit of a nerd.