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.


Current Topic: PFAS & Emerging Contaminants

Our current series will cover a number of topics relating to PFAS and emerging contaminants. Expected topics include:

  • Health implications (e.g. exposure pathways, epidemiology, toxicology)
  • Impact of PFAS/emerging contaminants on the waste industry
  • Sources and sinks of PFAS/emerging contaminants in waste management
  • Inventory of detected compounds in leachate, landfill gas, and gas condensate
  • Characterization and measurement techniques
  • And more!
Looking for continuing education credits? EREF offers a Certificate of Attendance when you attend a Science Session! Certificates of Attendance will be provided via a follow-up e-mail after each session.


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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