Prepare for Increasing Flood Contamination Risk: insights from Tom Agar

Tom Agar

Tetra Tech Coffey’s Associate Scientist, Tom Agar presented at the 2023 ecoforum/SustRem, the flagship event for the Australasian Land & Groundwater Association (ALGA2023) held in Melbourne, Australia.

Here Tom details what his presentation addresses and what the latest research into flooding tells us.

What challenges is your paper addressing?

2022 saw a series of major flooding events across eastern Australia, indicative of changing climates and a trend towards more frequent and more severe flood events. Floodwaters intersecting contaminated land give rise to a variety of risks which disrupt the ‘business as usual’ approach to environmental management.

At Ecoforum 2023 I’ll be discussing some important lessons learned from a recent project assessing the aftermath of flooding in northern Victoria, to help contaminated land managers prepare for the next flood event.

What innovative new approaches are you seeing when it comes to the intersection of contaminated land management with flood events?

Flood events often require a rapid response from land managers. An innovative approach we foresee as eliminating unnecessary delays would be for land managers to engage with environmental consultants before the next flood occurs, to avoid procurement delays and allow baseline conditions and mitigations to be established ahead of time.

What is a recent career highlight project for you?

During our recent project investigations on the banks of the Murray River, we engaged with local First Peoples representatives who attended the site with us and identified a culturally significant freshwater shell midden in the area. We were then able to adapt our soil sampling approach to avoid damage while meeting our clients project objectives without delay – a great result for all stakeholders!


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