SiREM is excited to announce our new webinar series starting November 17th, 2016.

These webinars will feature guest speakers who are subject matter experts to provide the latest information on technology advances in environmental remediation and site characterization. The webinars will combine recent research and development activities for new and emerging contaminants and technologies with real word applications to characterize and remediate contaminated sites.

We hope you will join us for our first webinar:

Looking Inside Microbial Dechlorinating Communities

Dr. Elizabeth Edwards (Professor, University of Toronto) will discuss what we know about microbial dechlorinating communities, the importance of different bacteria in these dynamic systems and areas where more research is required. Jeff Roberts (SiREM) will provide a real world case study where what we learned from this research has been successfully applied to cleanup a contaminated site.



Groundwater contamination is a serious threat to global health and prosperity. Chlorinated solvents are widely used as industrial degreasers, dry-cleaning agents and precursors in chemical synthesis, and therefore are common groundwater contaminants. Owing to their toxicity, even small spills render groundwater unsuitable for use, and cleanup is typically a costly and long-term undertaking.

A fascinating group of subsurface microorganisms, called Dehalococcoides, has been discovered that can dechlorinate the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethene and the common industrial solvent trichloroethene to the benign product ethene. Remarkably, these organisms obtain energy for growth from dechlorination and several successful demonstrations of bioaugmentation, where an aquifer is inoculated with culture, have lead to the development of a commercial market for such dechlorinating cultures.

Dehalococcoides and similar organisms are strict anaerobes and live as part of a larger community of microbes, where the activities of the whole far exceeds the sum of the parts. New molecular biology and metagenomic tools are helping us understand how these microbial communities cooperate so effectively, and how we can better take advantage of their abilities to help clean up the environment.

The Presenters:

Elizabeth A. Edwards, PhD, P. Eng., Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, and Cell and Systems Biology (Status only), University of Toronto.
Dr. Elizabeth Edwards holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University, Montreal, and a PhD degree (1993) in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She is internationally known for her work on anaerobic bioremediation, the application of molecular biology and metagenomics to uncover novel microbial processes, and the transition of laboratory research into commercial practice to develop bioremediation and bioaugmentation strategies for groundwater pollutants. She is also the founding director of BioZone, a Centre for Applied Bioscience and Bioengineering Research at the University of Toronto and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Anaerobic Biotechnology. In 2016, she was awarded the Canada Council of the Arts Killam Prize in recognition of outstanding career achievements.

Jeff Roberts, M.Sc. Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo.
Jeff is a Senior Manager at SiREM with extensive technical experience in the laboratory assessment and field implementation of soil, sediment and groundwater remediation technologies at sites containing contaminants including chlorinated solvents, petroleum hydrocarbons and other recalcitrant compounds. Over the past fifteen years he has conducted and managed hundreds of bench-scale batch and column treatability studies. He also has technical experience in the growth, scale up and field implementation of several anaerobic microbial cultures for bioremediation remedies.

To view previously recorded webinars click here.