This paper was presented by Ventia's Charles Grimison at the 2022 Australasian Land & Groundwater Association (ALGA) EcoForum Conference.

Theme: Challenging the status quo or challenging conventional practices

Topic: Cross-disciplinary opportunities in land and groundwater OR Scientific leadership - people, processes, and projects


Science is a fundamental element of contaminated land investigation and remediation. However, most of the work undertaken by the industry does not challenge or progress our scientific knowledge of contaminated land. This is possibly because its quicker and easier not to "challenge" or "progress". So, adopting what has been done previously is often the typical path forward for contaminated land investigation and remediation. 

Ventia has increasingly undertaken more collaborative, scientific research. Originally this focus was to develop new remediation solutions or de-risk existing ones. However, as the breadth of research has developed many more benefits have emerged and the true value of the research has materialised. 

This paper aims to describe the breath of research projects undertaken - from short-term, one-off projects, to three-year million-dollar projects - and the tangible outcomes that have been generated both for Ventia and the contaminated land industry.

The research Ventia has undertaken includes:

  1. Three Australian Research Council (ARC) Special Research Initiative (SRI) Linkage Projects, investigating per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) remediation technologies including soil washing, stabilisation, thermal desorption and air plasma undertaken with University of Queensland, University of Newcastle and University of Sydney 
  2. Australasian Land and Groundwater Association (ALGA) Research and Development Grant to conduct an inter-laboratory assessment of the PFAS total oxidisable precursor (TOP) assay (read more here)
  3. Short-term laboratory trials with several universities including University of Queensland, University of Newcastle, University of Adelaide and University of Technology Sydney.



Results/ lessons learned

The primary benefits for a contractor, such as Ventia, of conducting rigorous collaborative research include the development of novel remediation technologies and more frequently de-risking and expanding knowledge of existing technologies. Further, through research facilitated by ALGA's Research and Development Grant, short-term collaborative style research tested particular limitations of the TOP assay, which was referenced in PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP) 2.0 and Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) documents. 

Through this presentation, Charles conveyed the tangible benefits of research to both the individual organisations undertaking the research but as importantly the benefits to the broader contaminated land community. 

ALGA members can watch a playback of the presentation here.

Speaker biography

Charles is a Technical Manager at Ventia with 16 years' experience in the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. Charles currently leads Ventia's PFAS team, which is focused on development and delivery of PFAS remediation solutions driven through internal and external research, laboratory trials and university partnerships. Charles holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) and a Masters of Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management.


EcoForum Conference 2022 

Solving complex environmental challenges with innovative and sustainable engineering solutions is our speciality at Ventia. 

At this year's ALGA EcoForum Conference several of the Ventia team presented including Charles Grimson, Ventia's PFAS Manager on the importance of collaborative scientific research to reduce the uncertainty of applying innovative remediation technologies; Ian Brookman, GM - Environmental Services on remediation challenges associated with the energy transition and Matthew Clutterham on remediation technology trends.