Engineering Now .: Volume 4 - Edition 8 .: May and June 2008

Geotechnical Research Centre hosts first annual Symposium for NAPLs Research and Groundwater Studies

The entire SyNRGS group poses for a picture in front of Spencer Engineering Building.

Tuesday, May 27 and Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 2008 saw the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering’s Geotechnical Research Centre host the first Symposium for NAPLs Research & Groundwater Studies (SyNRGS) at Western Engineering on May 27 and 28.

Organized by professors Jason Gerhard and Denis O’Carroll, the symposium was developed to provide an opportunity for Ontario communities and researchers interested in groundwater contamination and remediation to share ideas, collaborate and build bridges. The event was also an opportunity for students to practice presenting their research to colleagues. Professor O’Carroll says they saw a need for such an event in the academic community.

"There is significant expertise in southern Ontario related to groundwater flow and contamination,” he says. “In talking to our colleagues at different universities we marvelled that there was no opportunity for us all together. We often meet at conferences in different countries on different continents but rarely in Ontario. We thought it best to have a student focused symposium as the students don’t always get to travel with us. It is a good opportunity for them to present their research.”

The two day event was jam-packed with student presentations and social activities designed to allow discussion and collaboration. The symposium was well attended with approximately 80 people on-hand, from places such as the University of Waterloo, Carleton University, the University of Toronto, McGill, McMaster, and others. Representatives from industry, Ontario Centres of Excellence and Ministry of Environment were also in attendance.

The organizers were very pleased with how the first-time event turned out.

"The symposium was a success in all aspects,” says Professor O’Carroll. “The student volunteers, led by Alex Dolson, and Cindy Quintus, the GRC admin, made holding the symposium very easy. The symposium met its primary objectives, which was to get Ontario groundwater researchers together and allow students to network and present their projects in a friendly, relatively low stress environment.”

O’Carroll added that the feedback they received from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and that bodes well for the event to become a yearly occurrence.

“Our colleagues are really impressed with the symposium and are glad we held it here first as Western set a great tone for the meeting. The symposium will become an annual event. In the long term we are thinking of rotating universities. People were really excited about the symposium and want another next year.”

SyNRGS was sponsored in part by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, The Johnson Company, Geosyntec Consultants, GRC Western and the Government of Ontario.


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.: Becky Blue
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808