The Remediation Technology Summit

February 26-28, 2019

Colorado Convention Center
Denver, CO

newellCharles J. Newell, Ph.D., P.E.
Vice President 
GSI Environmnental Inc.

Dr. Charles Newell is a Vice President of GSI Environmental Inc. of Houston, Texas. He is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, a NGWA Certified Ground Water Professional, and an Adjunct Professor at Rice University in Houston. He has co-authored five EPA publications, 12 environmental decision support software systems, numerous technical articles, and two books. His professional expertise includes site characterization, modeling, risk assessments, natural attenuation, bioremediation, long-term monitoring, and software development. He has also served as a technical facilitator for groups trying to reach consensus regarding complex environmental issues. He has served as a nationwide Risk-Based Corrective Action (RCBA) trainer for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). He has taught graduate level groundwater courses at both the University of Houston and Rice University.

He has served as a Principal or Co-Investigator for ten Department of Defense SERDP and twenty ESTCP projects since 2003 and has extensive experience working with research teams comprised of mixed academic, industrial, and consulting members. Dr. Newell has been awarded the Hanson Excellence of Presentation Award by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Outstanding Presentation Award by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the 2001 Wesley W. Horner Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers; the 2008 Outstanding Alumni Award from Rice University; and Strategic Research and Development Program (SERDP) 2014 Project of the Year as a Co-PI. (713 522 6300;

PLATFORM PRESENTER - Thought Leadership Around Remediation Decision-Making

Remediation in the Year 2025: An Attempt at Forecasting Our Future

The groundwater remediation field has changed significantly over the past 30 years, with several dramatic “paradigm shifts” that reshaped the fundamental thinking about how we remediate contaminated groundwater sites. This talk will present one person’s perspective on how the remediation field in the United States evolved over time, with an emphasis on relatively rapid changes in the underlying way people think about sites and the accompanying changes in the way that remediation is performed. Then, based on this rich history of our field, a cautious forecast of the future of remediation will be made to the year 2027 from a technical and business perspective. To provide a basis for the forecast, a short summary of forecasting techniques in other fields such as business and geopolitics will be presented, such as:

  • Shell’s Scenario Analysis where they present an “array of plausible futures…of how the future will unfold.” Shell’s “New Lens” Scenarios includes Oceans, where “competing interests and the diffusion of influence are met with a rising tide of accommodation” and its counterpart scenario, “Mountains.”
  • The University of Pennsylvania’s Good Judgment Project (of which the author is a participant) where researchers devised an on-line tournament system to evaluate over 150,000 geopolitical forecasts over a two year period, and found a small set of “Superforecasters” who “were better at inductive reasoning, pattern detection, cognitive flexibility, and open-mindedness” (Mellers et al., 2015).
  • Mathematical forecasting rules, such as “Moore’s Law” which are used to understand exponential changes in underlying processes The forecast will be presented in the spirit of telling a potential story about what we in the remediation field may be doing in the next 10 years and will include:
  • A simple application of the forecasting concepts described above to attempt to forecast the future of remediation;
  • An analysis of potential technological, social, and business model changes that could impact our field;
  • A discussion of potential key game changers emerging in our industry today, such as the internet of things, remote monitoring, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), order of magnitude remediation performance (OoM); new tech transfer trends; data-driven remediation decision making; petroleum metabolites; demographics; and other factors.

Numerous alternate outcomes will be discussed, all with acknowledgement of the uncertainty that accompanies any long-range forecast into the fog of even the near future.