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January 21, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

| $25


  • 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)In recent years, the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on human health and the environment have become a topic of concern for both the waste industry and the general public. Significant information exists on the basics of PFAS and their possible health hazards. But what are the implications specifically for the waste industry?

During this session, a panel of solid waste experts will weigh in with their perspectives on PFAS and the challenges faced. This includes perspectives on:

  • The waste industry’s role in PFAS management as it relates to health and environmental protection
  • The challenges they have faced in the past and where PFAS ranks in severity
  • Top concerns related to PFAS and what information is needed to make appropriate decisions
  • End points most impacted by PFAS (i.e. recycling, composting, landfill, WTE)
  • How waste management companies are dealing with the PFAS issue

Speakers:Joe Benco, PE
Joe Benco is the Director, Engineering for Republic Services. In this role, Joe supports the Engineering Department with all technical challenges regarding landfill construction, environmental remediation, compliance resolution and regulatory strategy. Joe has been with Republic Services for over 20 years, in various roles, starting as an Environmental Manager for a predecessor company, Allied Waste.

Joe also serves as the Project Committee Chair for the Environmental Research & Education Foundation, a foundation which annually funds over $1 million of scientific research and educational initiatives for solid waste management practices to benefit industry participants and the communities they serve.

Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in multiple states.Samuel Nicolai, PE
Sam Nicolai is Vice President of Engineering & Compliance for Casella Waste Systems, a regional solid waste, recycling and resource management services company headquartered in Rutland, Vermont. He leads the team that manages the company’s engineering, permitting, construction, and environmental compliance programs at solid waste facilities throughout Casella’s Northeast footprint. His expertise includes developing technical and financial solutions for complex environmental management systems, including facility development projects, environmental monitoring programs, and risk management strategies. His nearly 25 years of industry and consulting experience includes managing engineering, EHS compliance, and due diligence programs for a wide variety of solid waste and industrial facilities.

Sam holds civil/environmental engineering degrees from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech University, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in several states. He resides in Weybridge, Vermont with his wife and three daughters.David Pepper
David Pepper serves as Vice President–Post Collections for US Solid Waste Operations at GFL Environmental and has 33 years of experience in the solid waste industry. In this capacity, he has been involved in all elements of landfill operations including construction, daily operations, environmental monitoring and compliance, as well as landfill gas to energy project development. Additionally, he has been involved in Transfer Station permitting and development along with other development projects.

Pepper currently serves as GFL’s representative to the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) Board of Trustees and as a member of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation’s Research Council.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Geology from Louisiana State University.Moderator:Bryan Staley, PhD, PE
Dr. Bryan Staley currently serves as President and CEO of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), one of the largest sources of research funding and graduate scholarships related to solid waste management. He joined EREF in 2008, where he started as Vice President of Environmental Programs, and has over 20 years’ experience in the environmental engineering field.

He is recognized nationally as a technical expert in sustainable solid waste management issues, and obtained a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University, where his research focused on understanding microbiological mechanisms for waste decomposition and methane generation from solid waste. He also holds a Master’s degree in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Tennessee, and a B.S. in Biological & Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Staley is a licensed professional engineer who has held key positions in consulting firms as a Project Manager and Vice President of Engineering, where he managed projects ranging from solid waste management, wastewater treatment system design, to retail/commercial land development and environmental management of large-scale livestock operations.


January 21, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST


EREF Education Program
(919) 861-6876
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