Metro Toronto Convention Centre
255 Front St West, North Building, Toronto Ontario
June 13-15, 2018
This panel discussion will provide international perspectives on regulating and managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The panel is comprised of speakers from Canadian and international governmental agencies, providing a broad perspective on PFAS policy, regulation and risk management as seen from their individual jurisdictions. Topics addressed include: current status and future vision on approaches to regulation, risk management and remediation; and regulatory/financial/technical challenges and lessons learned.Panelists:
- Rita Mroz, Environmental Scientist – Contaminated Sites, Environmental Protection Operations Directorate, Atlantic Region, Environment and Climate Change Canada
- Gunnhild Preus-Olsen, Norwegian Environmental Agency
- Representative TBC, United States Environmental Protection Agency
- Luke McLeod, Australian Department of Environment and Energy
Ginny Yingling, Senior Hydrogeologist, Environmental Health Division of the Minnesota Department of Health
- John Santacroce , Senior Geologist and PFAS Practice Lead in AECOM's Latham NY
On May 3, 2016, a rapidly spreading wildfire near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta sent 88,000 people fleeing their homes, offices, hospitals, schools, and seniors’ residences. Residents left so quickly that they were gone before the government declared a provincial state of emergency. Thick smoke turned day into night. Embers rained down on cars and trucks as people headed south to the city of Edmonton or north to the safety of oil sands camps and First Nations communities. In the days that followed, world leaders such as the Pope, the Queen and the president of Russia offered their prayers, their condolences and their support.
By the time rains and cooler temperatures helped firefighters contain the inferno, 2,800 homes and buildings were destroyed. Nearly 1.5 million acres burned. Insurance losses were expected to amount to $3.77 billion. The total cost of the fire, including financial, physical, and social factors, is likely to be $8.86 billion. The fire ended up being the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.
Firefighters named the fire “the Beast,” because it acted like a mythical animal, alive with destructive energy and unpredictable in the way it attacked forest stands and buildings. They hoped never to see anything like it again. In light of all that has happened since then, it’s not a stretch to imagine we will all soon live in a world in which fires like this are commonplace. There is too much fuel on the ground, too many people and assets to protect, and no realistic plan to deal with the challenges.
The Beast was unquestionably a devastating fire. But many other fires have had a bigger, longer lasting impact on cities and towns, on public health, on industry and forest ecology. There is still a lot that we do not know about wildfire. Some wildfires have the potential to release toxic substances such as asbestos and arsenic that have been emitted by mines operating in times when environmental regulators were unaware of the risks. Others have the potential to knock out water treatment plants with soot and ash that choke rivers and lakes. Smoke from wildfires in the remotest parts of northern Canada can exacerbate air quality in southern cities such as Houston.
In this presentation, author Edward Struzik will identify and describe the twelve wildfires that he believes have had the biggest impact on how we perceive and deal with wildfires in a world where fires are now burning bigger, hotter, faster and more often. He will talk what communities that can do to make themselves more resilient to devastating impacts of fire. And he will end the presentation with predictions about where the next big fires are likely to burn.