At the close of the 2013 Solinst Symposium, a round-table, moderated by Gary Wealthall, was held with the attendees and guest speakers. A common theme in the discussions was education.
First, it was mentioned that there are not enough educational opportunities for practitioners in the groundwater industry. This Symposium, and other events like it, are needed within our industry.
Another major point of discussion was the perceived gap between research findings, and implementing successful techniques in practice. There are very few guidance documents that educate practitioners on the best methods to perform depth-discrete groundwater investigations.
Practitioners attending the conference also agreed that it is hard to sell high resolution monitoring methods to their clients, as it is difficult to get across the cost/benefit analysis of these techniques. Clients need to be educated on what positives these methods, such as using multilevel systems, can provide, for what appears to be a huge monetary investment. More case studies and findings from research need to be made available to practitioners in order to also educate their clients.
It was discussed that regulators in Canada need to take a more active role in determining where guidance documents are needed, and making these best practice documents available to practitioners. It would also be helpful if a regulator created an example case study that showed how they successfully worked with a client using high resolution groundwater monitoring techniques.
The question “why is there such a knowledge gap” was asked. A troubling answer was that fewer people are working in the hydrogeology field, as field work has become much more expensive to perform.
Addressing the issues discussed during the round-table will be key in keeping the industry moving forward.