24Mar / 2016
With the aim of sharing UK developments and best practice, Ground-Gas Solutions’ (GGS) Managing Director, Simon Talbot, was recently invited by the Australasian Land and Groundwater Association (ALGA) to run a series of seminars and technical workshops on ground-gas continuous monitoring, risk assessment and protection in Australia and New Zealand. Run in collaboration with Peter Atchison of PAGeotechnical Ltd (PAG), the training courses took place in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland.
The Melbourne training session quickly sold out with delegates flying in from Perth, Darwin, Brisbane and Tasmania as well as from the local area. Delegates from notable firms, such as Gilbert and Sutherland, Golder Associates and SGS Leeder Consulting, brought a rich source of knowledge to the sessions, with many delegates already converted to using continuous ground-gas monitoring. The feedback from delegates was excellent, with comments such as, ‘Fantastic! I was looking for the latest in UK experience. The opportunity to discuss ideas and apply them to the Australian situation has been invaluable.’
Prior to presenting to ALGA’s annual Contaminated Land Conference in Auckland, Simon provided continuous ground-gas monitoring and risk assessment training to New Zealand’s regulators and consultants. Feedback was once again very positive with most delegates saying how helpful and valuable the training had been. An environmental scientist from Aecom commented, ‘The training was excellent, especially the data collection techniques.’
The Auckland waterfront skyline provided a dramatic backdrop to the third training event. While continuous ground-gas monitoring has been carried out in New Zealand, it is still a relatively novel technique as equipment is difficult to access. However the training session succeeded in strengthening the ever increasing belief that continuous monitoring is a valuable tool for providing additional lines of evidence over conventional spot monitoring techniques.
CEO of ALGA, Elisabethe Dank, commented, ‘Our thanks go out to Simon and Peter for delivering extremely well-received workshops and conference presentations. It is always a pleasure working with professionals.’
Simon concluded his trip with a meeting with the Government of Western Australia’s Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) in Perth to discuss environmental monitoring of onshore petroleum sites and the value of continuous monitoring. Simon was invited to run a technical workshop on the UK’s experience of environmental monitoring of shale gas sites at DMP. Over twenty regulators attended including guests from the Department of Water
Natural gas is increasingly important to Western Australia as a fuel for power generation and desalination as well as an export commodity. The states’ large shale gas resources are beginning to be explored, however it is important that these operations are tightly regulated in order to protect local communities and precious water resources.
Many of the Australian exploration sites are located on traditional land owners’ property and operators are successfully training up and using local people to carry out environmental monitoring. Some operators are beginning to use continuous monitoring techniques, resulting in more robust data; an innovation that is welcomed by the DMP.
The value of this experience is drawn not only though the successful delivery of training, but also the development of a solid relationship with Australian and New Zealand environment authorities and specialist professionals.
Simon comments, “The strong Australian and New Zealand urban growth means that more and more of its brownfield and former landfill sites are now being considered for development. Asa a consequence ground-gas contamination is a growing problem that needs proper monitoring with the risk assessed and suitably managed. Continuous monitoring techniques have an important role to play and I was delighted to be asked to run these training events.”
Discussions are now taking place with a view to making these events an annual occurrence.