EREF Science Sessions are brief virtual presentations during which attendees learn about a particular topic in a convenient amount of time.  Topics may include current research findings, data, case studies or similar content of a technical nature.

Your time is valuable – that’s why our EREF Science Sessions are only 45 minutes to one hour, listen over lunch or during a workout break. But don’t worry, we’ve packed each session with quality content.

Upcoming Sessions – See Scheduled Sessions Tab for Available Information

  • October 28 – Storage Wars: Sequestering PFAS Using Polymer Chemistry
  • November 4 – How to (Accidentally) Destroy a Forever Compound
  • December 9 – Future Tech: Treating PFAS using AC and DC


Upon successful completion of a Science Session, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from EREF with relevant number of Professional Development Hours shown on the certificate. This Certificate does not automatically qualify you for professional continuing education credits. It is your responsibility to verify that that the PDHs from this event are eligible for continuing education purposes for your specific credentials.  

Storage Wars: Sequestering PFAS Using Polymer Chemistry
October 28, 2021
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Speaker: Todd DeJournett, PhD, PE, Senior Engineer, Geosyntec Consultants
Moderator: Craig Benson, PhD, PE, NAE, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Geosyntec, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, is studying the use of commercially-available polymer flocculants to improve PFAS removal in landfill leachate management operations. Polymer flocculants are water-soluble polymers which cause particles to aggregate, making them easier to filter out of a liquid.

During this Science Session, DeJournett will cover the following:

  1. The conceptual model for this method and its value proposition
  2. Some of the technical challenges associated with this method
  3. Results available so far and the researchers’ next steps

How to (Accidentally) Destroy a Forever Compound
November 4, 2021
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Speaker: Michael Wong, PhD, Professor and Department Chair, Rice University
Moderator: Craig Benson, PhD, PE, NAE, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been detected in landfill gas and leachate due to their widespread applications in commercial, industrial, and household products, including surfactants, firefighting foams, and even drinking straws. In this Science Session, Dr. Michael Wong with Rice University will share how boron nitride and ultraviolet light can be combined to degrade PFAS compounds.

PFAS in Waste-derived Compost
May 13, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
Speaker: Youn Jeong Choi, PhD, Analytical Chemist, Purdue University
Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

During this Science Session, Dr. Choi will discuss PFAS in compost, why PFAS is being detected, what types of compounds are present, the fate of PFAS in compost and PFAS in biosolids.

Emerging Contaminants in Organics
April 15, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
Speaker: Jean MacRae, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Maine
Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

During this Science Session, Dr. Jean MacRae of the University of Maine will discuss emerging contaminants in food waste, what facility operators view as primary concerns and what efforts are needed to address them.

Rock Solid: Evaluating Solidification of PFAS in RO Concentrate
March 11, 2021, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm ET

  • Paul Ruehl, U.S. Environmental Remediation Specialist, LafargeHolcim
  • Ryan Schipper, PE, Senior Engineer, Golder Associates
  • Patrick Stanford, General Manager, Rochem Americas, Inc.

Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) present a challenge for typical treatment strategies and technologies due to their strong chemical bonds and our limited knowledge of the nearly 5,000 types of PFAS. As a result of these strong bonds and their resistance to breaking down, they have earned the name “forever chemicals”. Given this, only a few conventional treatment strategies (e.g. reverse osmosis) have demonstrated the ability to provide significant removal of PFAS from landfill leachate. Thus far, such technologies serve to concentrate rather than destroy PFAS, which leaves a residual that must be managed. One strategy that is currently being evaluated to deal with residuals containing PFAS concentrations is called solidification/stabilization. How does this strategy work alongside existing technologies and what do the experts have to say about them?

Weighing the Options: Current Strategies for Managing PFAS in Leachate
February 25, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET
Stephanie Bolyard, PhD, Research and Scholarship Program Manager, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)
Moderator: Liz Bothwell, Head of Content and Marketing and NothingWasted! Podcast Host, Waste360

There have been numerous presentations and articles that touch on currently available technologies, or “off-the-shelf” options, as well as innovative technologies. But why is the science behind PFAS compounds and the treatment technologies so important? If the goal is to remove these abundant compounds from the environment, we need to fully understand the implications of these treatment options relative to the chemical make-up of these compounds and what this means for the solid waste industry.

Unnatural Selection: Evolution of PFAS Policy
February 11, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

  • Anne Germain, PE, COO and SVP of Regulatory Affairs, National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA)
  • Sean McGinnis, Partner, The COEFFICIENT Group

Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

While research is still needed to fully understand the impacts and treatment methods for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), regulations have been implemented at the federal, state and local level to manage these man-made chemical compounds. What are these regulations and how do they impact the solid waste industry?

In the Room When It Happened: Industry Perspectives on PFAS
January 21, 2021, 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

  • Joe Benco, PE, Director, Engineering, Republic Services
  • Samuel Nicolai, PE, Vice President of Engineering & Compliance, Casella Waste Systems
  • David Pepper, Vice President, Post Collections for US Solid Waste Operations, GFL Environmental

Moderator: Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, President and CEO, Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)

During this session, a panel of solid waste experts weighed in with their perspectives on PFAS and the challenges faced.

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