Firefighting Foam Policy seminar – final programme

Published:  20 February, 2017

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection of Queensland, Australia has published the final programme for its foam policy implementation seminar taking place this week in Brisbane.

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 aims to 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.

Speakers & presentations

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 21-23 February 2017

Day 1 - Tuesday 21 February

The Honourable Dr Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, the Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef

Introduction and background to the Environmental Management of Firefighting Foam Policy.

Dr Erika Houtz, Arcadis USA

The world directions on the use of persistent organic compounds, legacy issues, analyses methods for the hidden compounds and remediation challenges.

Andrew Connor, Executive Director, Industry, Development & South Queensland Compliance Qld Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection

The regulatory framework and satisfying existing regulatory obligations. The emergence of legacy issues as a catalyst for change and the implications for environmental, social and economic values.

Nigel Holmes, Principal Advisor Incident Management, Qld Dept. of Environment & Heritage Protection

Overview of key environmental issues associated with the use of fluorinated organic compounds and their significance in firefighting foam use. Components of environmental significance, their characteristics and behaviour in the environment (including soil & water mobility, dispersibility, persistence, toxicity and bioaccumulation).

Dr Jimmy Seow, Manager Pollution Response, WA Department of Environmental Regulation

Baseline information for products that is essential for assessing the potential environmental risks and impacts. What should be available or should be sought by the user from SDS and/or product information.

Nigel Holmes, Principal Advisor Incident Management, EHP

Understanding key environmental issues for foam and relating them to risk (Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), Chemical oxygen demand (COD), assessing biodegradability, acute toxicity, persistent toxic compounds, chronic toxicity).

Dick Gillespie, Principal Fire Engineer, Fire Engineering Solutions

Putting the theory into practice. Legal, O&M procedures, maintaining performance, cleaning to meet the Operational Policy requirements, disposal of contaminated waste.

Dr Roger Klein, Cambridge, UK

Principles of risk assessment and its application to the use of firefighting foam. Consideration of the aspects of contaminant type, environmental sensitivity and the pathways for contaminants to cause impacts.

Mike Short, Chief Advisor Incident Management, EHP

Contingency planning for incidents at industrial facilities. Integrating safety, property protection and environmental protection measures. Procedural Guides for Contingency Plans.

The Hon. Justice Brian J. Preston SC, Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales

The Precautionary Principle and environmental decision-making. The Precautionary Principle arising from the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development has been adopted across Australia through early inclusion in environmental policy and legislation including the Inter-Governmental Agreement on the Environment (IGAE) involving all levels of government. The Precautionary Principle is a key consideration in decision making by proponents as well as regulators on sustainable long-term development including the use of persistent, dispersive pollutants.

Dr Roger Klein, Cambridge, UK

Lifetime Cost of Foam. Direct and indirect costs from cradle to grave including purchase, insurance, third-party liability, legacy issues, clean-up, regulatory action, reputation and brand image.

Rory Ross & Peter Shannon, Shine Lawyers

Legal responsibilities, liabilities & precedents for legacy issues & the ongoing use of PFAS foam. The Queensland context & potential legal claims arising from use of PFAS foam. Legal implications of scientific uncertainty. Considerations relevant to addressing community concerns via class action litigation. Local lawyers’ perspectives.

Keir Bielecke, Risk & Disaster Management Advisor, Insurance Council of Australia

Insuring for incidents. What insurance coverage is adequate and the need for specific environmental pollution insurance coverage.

Day 2 - Wednesday 22 February

John Watson AFSM, Assistant Commissioner, Specialist Capability and Planning Queensland Fire & Emergency Services

Fire service expectations of site owners/managers for responsibility, preparedness, on-site resources, information, contingency plans and systems for managing foam use at incidents.

Dr John Gorrie, Senior Environmental Officer, EPA Tasmania

Maximising collaboration between responders and environmental advice agencies prior to and during incidents to achieve a common understanding, high level preparedness and managing for the best possible environmental outcomes.

Dr Erika Houtz, Arcadis USA

The development and basis of the total oxidisable precursor assay (TOPA) as a method for detecting the “dark matter” in fluorinated foams and case studies.

Dr Bob Symons, National Technical Manager, Eurofins, MGT Laboratories

The Australian experience so far in the detection of the diversity of fluorinated organic compounds in foams, wastewaters and soils.

Marc Centner, National Technical Manager, Environmental Australian Laboratory Services

Analysis of PFCs in soils and water, what the method is revealing about our soils and waters, interpreting the TOPA method results.

Mike Short, Chief Advisor Incident Management, Qld Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection

Strategies for management of port and on-water incidents and foreign shipping incidents. Containment of firewater and waste disposal.

Dr Niall Ramsden, LASTFIRE Coordinator

Challenges facing large atmospheric storage tank (LAST) Fire Hazard Management and the current challenge in achieving best practice in foam and foam system assurance.

Dr Axel Meßling, AHU AG, Aachen, Germany; Ingo Valentin, Umweltamt Düsseldorf, Germany, (German Environment Agency)

PFC Contamination at Airports and Industrial Premises - legacy issues and the continued use of firefighting foam; a European regulator's point of view

Nigel Holmes, Principal Advisor Incident Management, Qld Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection

New generation products. Ongoing use of C6-pure fluorinated foams, standards and containment measures. Non-persistent foam acceptability. Managing unavoidable releases and essential testing of systems. Waste management options.

Dr Ian Ross, Arcadis

The legacy issues of large-scale firefighting foam use at airports and fires. The contamination implications and costs of remediation. Case studies.

Day 3 - Thursday 23 February

Kelly Gleeson, Manager, Industry Development & Assessment, Qld Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection

Contaminated sites legislation requirements and expectations for legacy contaminated sites.

James Rooney, Principal – Process Engineer, Beca Consulting

The consultant’s perspective on legacy contamination issues, site assessment, management and remediation challenges. Transition to best-practice.

Professor Ravi Naidu, Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

Recent developments in availability and effectiveness of soil and water remediation technologies. Challenges for site remediation for PFCs under different scenarios.

Dr John Gorrie, Senior Environmental Officer, EPA Tasmania

Working with environmental regulators to achieve better outcomes for industry, the environment and the general community - Case studies to demonstrate where it worked and why it sometimes goes wrong.

Martin Cornelsen, Managing Director, Cornelsen Umweltechnologie Essen (Germany)

Portable groundwater remediation technologies for on-site treatment of PFC contaminated water.

Dr Richard Stewart, Ziltek Pty

Soil remediation and fixation technologies for PFC contamination. Case studies.

Tony Bradshaw, Technical Specialist, Qld Dept of Environment & Heritage Protection

Assessing and managing the on and off-site impacts of fluorinated organic site contamination on environmental, social and economic values.

Robert Schiller, Technical Manager, Geocycle (Cement Australia)

Methods for PFC waste disposal and effectiveness by of high temperature destruction in cement kilns. Fate of fluorinated organics in cement kilns and emissions monitoring.

Andrew Connor, Qld Dept. of Environment & Heritage Protection

Wrap-up of issues arising across the seminar.

Dean Ellwood, DD-G, Qld Dept. of Environment & Heritage Protection

Where to from here.

The official programme is available to download below (not available on mobile site).

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