Liz van Warmerdam is a Senior Principal Environmental Scientist based in British Columbia with more than 30 years of experience focused on assessing and delineating contamination in soil, groundwater, and sediment, including at industrial sites in urban and remote locations and in permafrost.
Liz assesses contaminants from metals to organics on complex and heavily contaminated sites. She develops risk management solutions and remediates soil, groundwater, soil vapor, and sediment. Liz leads technical teams with varied disciplines on these projects to identify contaminants and develops and executes sampling and monitoring programs, while also managing the regulatory environment. With her experience working with these diverse teams, Liz is adept at translating complex technical components of projects into clear and precise language for government, clients, and other stakeholders. She forges collaborative relationships between technical specialists, clients, First Nations groups, and others to build consensus and find the best path to closure for each project and community.
In the Yukon, Liz often supports the Territorial government, helping to manage environmental liabilities at airports, landfills, nursing stations, highways maintenance yards, and areas occupied by military operations during construction of the Alaska Highway. Many of these projects have Indigenous Communities as stakeholders. Important considerations include the presence of permafrost, how it might affect contaminant migration, and how climate change could affect future site conditions. She works with specialists in many fields to identify historical activities, develop site models, and resolve logistical challenges inherent to remote sites. In the process, she informs First Nations communities about technical work in straightforward, nuanced, and honest terms with communication that respects protocols, acknowledges specific land uses and aspirations, and builds lasting solutions with community support. She constructs remediation projects that preserve existing permafrost, maintain natural features, and, when possible, use passive methods for remediation. Because of her Yukon experience, she has become adept at working at sites with fly-in only access, as well as at those with changing and extreme weather conditions.
Within Carcross-Tagish First Nation Territories, Liz led a team that assessed the Arctic Gold and Silver Mine and Venus Gold Mine. Funded by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, she developed closure plans for the each abandoned mine sites, both with acutely toxic levels of arsenic. In addition to her technical work, Liz developed strong working relationships with First Nation Stewards to underpin the project while supporting recovery from trauma resulting from residential schools, one of which was also located in the Carcross community. The Canadian Brownfield Network recognized the project with the 2018 Reach Out Brownie Award for Communications, Marketing, and Public Engagement.
Contaminant Hydrogeology, Site Investigation and Remediation; Soil, Groundwater, and Sediment Assessment; Conceptual Site Models; Northern Investigations
Contaminated Site Assessment and Cleanup, Water and Natural Resources, Facility Hazards, Environmental, Social, and Governance
B.S., Geology, M.Sc. University of Waterloo, 1991, 1995
Registered Professional Geologist in BC, AB