Per- and Poly-Fluouryl Alkyl Substances (PFAS) are the highest profile emerging contaminant on the planet. They are extremely persistent in the environment and highly mobile, are being associated with more varied land uses, and are being identified at more and more locations. Due to the current limitations in toxicological data, the perceived risks to human health and the environment are assumed to be high, which is driving conservatism in remediation and management.
The presentation will provide a succinct summary of PFAS chemistry, where to expect these compounds to be present, and the current limitations in assessment methodologies that feed into management decision making. The current state and national framework for PFAS assessment and management will be discussed, with particular focus on the nexus between different jurisdictions, which is common for PFAS impacts. Risk drivers for remediation and management, and the hierarchy of remediation options currently preferred by regulators will discussed. An overview of current PFAS treatment technologies and management options will be presented and their overall sustainability will be evaluated.
Current PFAS treatment and management options are energy intensive, have a large carbon footprint, and are costly. As public perception and media coverage apply pressure on proponents to manage PFAS contamination, we will move into a phase of more active remediation on impacted sites, while serious questions of sustainability remain over the options currently available. This presentation will question the validity of conventional approaches to managing this complex and high profile contaminant.
About the Speaker
James Gibson, Principal Environmental Scientist - Western Environmental Pty Ltd
James Gibson is the Managing Director and Principal Environmental Scientist at Western Environmental, a specialist site contamination and remediation consultancy which services clients around Australia. After spending his early career working in industry and for the WA environmental regulator, James entered into specialist environmental consultancy in 2007. Since then, he has worked as both a Project Director and Technical Lead, successfully delivering a vast array of projects across the infrastructure, construction, defence and land development sectors. In addition, James also provides strategic client-advice and technical peer review of consultant reports for high risk projects.
James has a considerable amount of experience in the assessment and management of PFAS, having been involved with site investigations, risk assessment and remediation options appraisal for major infrastructure, aviation and defence projects where PFAS is a primary contaminant of concern. James is the Panel Director for Western Environmental’s position on the Department of Defence National PFAS Panel, and provides client-side advice to multiple airport authorities and government agencies and across Australia.
James is a member of Environmental Health Australia (EHA) and the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ), where he held an Executive position on the WA committee from 2009 – 2016. James is also a Certified Environmental Practitioner, having attained certification in 2015.
Please note timings for this event are 5.30pm start, with refreshments 6.30-7.00pm