Posted by Paul Bandler on Sep 24, 2018
Past President and proud father, Mike Bandler introduced his son, Paul Bandler(pictured here with his brother, Andrew) as today's guest speaker.  Paul is a senior scientist with BluMetric Environmental, having graduated from Queen's with a Bachelor of Science degree in toxicology and pathology.  Paul and his wife proudly presented grandpa Mike with his first grandchild 8 weeks ago.
 
BluMetric Environmental Inc. is a diverse water, earth, and energy company providing solution-oriented consultation, design, products, and construction services to clients with complex environmental issues in more than 60 countries. They provide the finest effective and sustainable solutions to environmental challenges. BluMetric is a publicly traded Canadian company (TSX-V: BLM), headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario.  Paul advised that he would scratch the surface in his presentation to share a little bit about the tools of the trade with respect to environmental management in today's world.  It came to light in the 60's and 70's that some developmental projects that were never completed and basically filled in with landfill that contained chemical waste contributed to diseases and contamination.  This resulted in environmental management to put an end to illegal dumping, reduce neighbourhood crime in abandoned areas, lessen the decline of property values of surrounding buildings and provide employment opportunities and renewed tax revenue.  The benefits of brown fields if managed properly included parks, walkways, sports fields and re-purposing industrial sites into condos.  The first step or Phase 1 is an ESA, environmental site assessment, a desk exercise where consultants look at plans, diagrams and aerial historical photography to establish facts on property and surrounding area.  In addition, a site visit is done to see if there are signs of contaminants some of which are obvious such as tanks or cuts in pavement which might indicate the location of an old gas station property.  An old rail line, invisible to the eye now as a parking lot, still contains contaminants.  The dirty dozen of such contaminant contributors include dry cleaners, fuel terminals, gasoline stations, car dealerships, auto repair and body shops, marinas, utilities, machine shops, scrap yards, industrial sites and orchards.
 
On to Phase 2 that includes collecting and testing samples and conducting in-ground testing.  Some contaminants such as fuel, diesel, heating oil float along the water table and are dissolved.  Solvents on the other hand sink in water, through soil and continue to sink and migrate down and no longer seep through.  This requires deep investigation such as drilling with a backhoe to collect ground and soil samples. These samples are sent to a lab for testing.  A risk assessment is a tool of the trade that is used to estimate potential for adverse effects that could arise from the presence of contaminants.  A chemical hazard poses greater risk to humans, ie., the elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities, etc.  If there is no exposure, there is no risk and environmental management is not such a high priority.  For instance, if a site is being considered as a walkway, contaminants do not need to be entirely removed.  They can be capped which removes exposure and this results in a relatively simple risk assessment.  There are remediation strategies used such as chemical and heat injections.  Sometimes these strategies take many years and may be only partially successful at a relatively high cost.  Paul spoke about a current project in the NWT, Canol Heritage Trail, 222 miles into the Yukon, built during WW II.  His company was commissioned to look at the situation as the area was being considered as a provincial park.  The original property contained an airstrip, hangars, pipeline, pumping station, a mess hall and stables, infirmary, maintenance buildings and vehicles and barges were left behind, scattered around this huge area.  Several hotspots were identified and this project is on-going.  Remediation will be difficult as it is the intent to preserve some of the buildings.
 
Bernie Ouellet thanked Paul for his presentation and said if an environmental company is on the scene of an area that has some environmental concerns.......you won't have to worry.  He knows from personal business experience.