Seminar on the implementation of Queensland’s Environmental Management of Firefighting Foam Policy

Published:  13 January, 2017

The Department of Environment and Heritage of Queensland, Australia confirms a seminar for end users will take place in Brisbane 21-23 February 2017.

In July 2016 the state of Queensland published its long-awaited operational policy on the environmental management of fire-fighting foam, including explanatory notes.

The seminar's content will provide guidance for those transitioning from older foam formulations to best-practice modern AFFFs or fluorine-free products; and also those needing to establish and verify their current foam risk profile and status or the challenges of legacy site contamination by fluorinated organics of soils and groundwater.

The three-day seminar will take place at the Brisbane Convention Centre. Details are being finalised based on the responses received from the call for expressions of interest earlier.


Day 1

  • Regulatory and Policy framework;
  • World-wide drivers and trends in environmental considerations;
  • Meeting the challenges of fire systems transition and cleanout;
  • Risk assessment, contingency planning and insurance for incidents;
  • Legal obligations and liabilities.

Day 2

  • Fire service expectations;
  • Sampling and analysing for PFCs and interpretation of results;
  • Maritime issues, ports and fire-fighting tugs;
  • Risk to downstream environmental, social and economic values;
  • Worldwide perspective on site contamination;
  • Policy implementation discussion panel.

Day 3

  • Contaminated sites assessment;
  • Contaminated sites management;
  • Waste management and disposal;
  • Regulators’ satellite forum (closed session).

The full programme will be available shortly.

Keynote speakers

  • His Honour Justice Brian Preston, Chief Judge of the New South Wales Land & Environment Court, a world authority on the jurisprudence associated with the application of the Precautionary Principle to environmental decision making within the framework of Environmentally Sustainable Development;
  • Dr. Erika Houtz now of Arcadis USA but formerly of the University of California at Berkeley, the developer of the TOPA (total oxidisable precursor assay) method together with Dr David Sedlak.  This method reveals the previously hidden fluorinated organics content of foams, wastes and contaminated materials allowing more accurate characterisation and risk assessment.
  • Martin Cornelsen, MD of Cornlesen Umwelttechnologie GmbH, Essen, Germany, a leading expert in the chemical engineering of groundwater and soil remediation technology including mobile treatment systems for water purification and soil vapour extraction.
  • Axel Meßling and Ingo Valentin, Environment Agency, City of Düsseldorf, Germany, experienced in regulatory issues involved in assessing and remediating PFC contamination caused by firefighting foam and wastes use across a wide range of sectors including airports, industry and agriculture.

Other speakers include representatives from the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, other State environmental regulators, the Fire Service, plus fire engineering consultants, leading legal counsel specialised in environmental issues, the Insurance Council of Australia, Maritime Safety Queensland, Biosecurity Queensland, the petrochemical industry, as well as remediation, analytical and waste disposal specialists.

Existing registrations of interest will be notified of seminar details and further registrations are also being accepted.

Registration for the seminar will open shortly but further information can be obtained by contacting Nigel Holmes at

The registration fee will be A$450, which will cover the three days including lunch and refreshments.

The official pdf leaflet of the event is available to download below (not available on mobile).

  • Operation Florian

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