Addressing Environmental Challenges One Project at a Time

For many years, industry marched to its own drumbeat, producing products and resources for the business and consumer markets with little care or forethought regarding the environmental consequences of its actions. All that changed in 1978, with Love Canal, a region near Niagara Falls, New York, made infamous when residents of the area, living near an dump containing over 20,000 tons of chemicals, attracted international recognition in their fight for site remediation and a safer environment. The Love Canal battle, played out on the front pages of newspapers across North America, represented a sea of change with respect to environmental contamination and clean up. It also precipitated the creation much stricter environmental protection laws and helped to raise our collective social consciousness about the environment and the need to protect our fragile ecosystem from industrial contamination.

Established in 1983, GeoSyntec Consultants is a specialized consulting and engineering firm focused on solving the complex problems involving our environment, natural resources and civic infrastructure. The firm's 1000+ engineers, scientists and technologists, located in offices around the world -- including Waterloo Region -- serve a broad spectrum of clientele, including many Fortune 500 companies, from industries including oil and gas, refining, chemical and petrochemical, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, diversified manufacturing, power utility and solid waste management sectors, to local governments, regional authorities, state agencies and US federal department and agencies.

"The environment business has its unique challenges", says Dr. David Major, Principal at GeoSyntec Consultants and a founding member of the firm's Canadian office."Every one likes to make dinner, but no one wants to clean up. Within the sector, our clients continue to deal with a lot of historical legacy issues, related to environmental contamination and cleanup." Major explains that over the last couple of decades, stricter environmental regulations - especially in the United States - have put industry's collective feet to the fire, driving businesses to seek out remediation solutions that are both thorough and cost effective.

GeoSyntec, with its strong track record for innovation, scientific/engineering bench strength (25% of staff have PhDs and 50% have Masters many in cross disciplines), and close research collaborations with academic institutions such as the University of Waterloo have set the firm up to be a leader in environmental clean up and prevention. Areas of specialization include ground water assessment and remediation, industrial water supply and wastewater management, vapour intrusion, brownfield redevelopment planning and design, and geohazard response and mitigation. Clients include such brand names as Amgen, BP, Boeing, DuPont, General Electric, NASA, and Lockheed Martin.

While helping its clients to address their most pressing environmental concerns, GeoSyntec also takes a spoonful of its own environmental medicine in its approach to remediation. The firm has adopted a green remediation strategy, incorporating options to minimize the environmental footprints associated to clean up of contaminated sites. This green approach addresses the investigation, design, construction, operation and monitoring phases of a site remediation and looks for opportunities for CO2 emission reduction, water preservation, use of renewable resources and other measures to minimize environmental impact and protect the health and safety of workers and the surrounding community. "It is important that in conducting our business, we also lead by example through our own environmental stewardship," says Major.