Contaminants in freezing ground conference

Hobart was the venue for the Third International Contaminants in Freezing Ground conference, held in April 2002. The first two such meetings at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge (UK) focused mainly on the Arctic. In the Hobart conference we aimed to widen the audience to encompass people involved in Antarctic contaminated sites issues.

In both the Arctic and Antarctic, we need to know how best to manage a legacy of contaminated sites, abandoned facilities and waste disposal sites in freezing ground. We often lack the technical capability to remediate these sites because of environmental challenges unique to cold regions. This was the focus of the Hobart meeting, where we promoted exchange of information between Antarctic Treaty nations and learnt from Arctic experiences.

The meeting focussed on fundamental properties of contaminated soils (physical, chemical and biological), processes of contaminant transport and dispersal (especially hydrology), contaminated sites assessment procedures, legal, policy and compliance issues, environmental impacts (especially the impact of contaminants on biota), application of remote sensing in assessment, monitoring and remediation of contaminated sites, and new strategies and techniques for contaminated site management and remediation.

Participants had a scientific or practical interest in contaminants in cold climates, including scientists, engineers, remote sensing specialists, hydrologists and environmental managers. Organisations represented included universities, corporations, government, military and the environmental consulting industry.

Ian Snape, Human Impacts Program, AAD