NORDROCS 2016 – lessons learned

6th Joint Nordic Meeting on Remediation of Contaminated Sites was held at Aalto University in Otaniemi, Espoo. This nicely organized lively meeting gathered over 200 participants. Biggest crowds outside Finland came from Sweden (45), Denmark (38) and Norway (28). There was a few participants even from Japan and US. Difference to “ordinary” scientific meetings was the large number of participants and presenters from private sector and authorities. I think that that people representing academia were a minority. However, that was not a problem, but offered a good chance to catch up the current status of the environmental management and remediation. Therefore, below you can find a list of lessons learned during the conference.

  1. Retuperän WBK is still going strong.
  2. PFAS-compounds are more problematic than previously thought. They tend to accumulate also to remote areas.
  3. Remediation of contaminated soils is serious business. This observation is based on the high number of consultancy companies and diverse presentations about different types of soil remediation methods.
  4. Remediation of contaminated sediments is not serious business. However, there is an exception to every rule. Except to the previous rule, which stated that remediation of contaminated soils is serious business, there’s no exceptions. But in the case of sediments, Norway is the exception. There they invest quite a bit of public money to remediate contaminated sediments, whereas soils are more land owner’s problem.
  5. The reason why remediation of contaminated sediments is not a big thing is simple. No-one forces us to do anything. We have tools for risk assessment and also small number of methods to remediate, but steering from above is still missing. EU level does not have such regulation (at least not yet) and at the current economic situation makes sure that we won’t do anything extra at national level.
  6. After a cruise to see Espoo and also part of Helsinki from another angle legendary “Kalastajatorppa” offered a great venue for conference dinner with live music and everything. The food was great. The welcome toast, ice-cold Koskenkorva with one lingonberry in the bottom, raised some questions among people. We are pretty much used to sparkling wine or something like that. Well, empty stomach and that was quite a combination. On the other hand someone said that it is not a drink but traditional Finnish berry salad. Luckily the organizers had organized the schedule so that I had my talk in the next morning, so I left early.
  7. Philomela choir is also great.

To sum up, the conference was really worth to participate.