Keynote Address: "From floating golf greens to burning cities — Some reflections on the past, present, and future of stray gas identification"
by Dr. Dennis Coleman, Isotech Laboratories, Inc.
Biographical Sketch for Keynote Speaker: Dennis D. Coleman received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He completed an M.S. at the University of Arizona in Tucson and finally a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. From 1970 until 1995 he was on the staff at the Illinois State Geological Survey where he held various research and administrative positions. His interest in stray-gas identification began during his dissertation research when he learned that you could use stable isotope analysis of methane to identify natural gas that had leaked from underground gas-storage reservoirs and that carbon-14 analysis provided a way of identifying landfill methane. Collaboration with researchers at the German Geological Survey (BGR) demonstrated that combined carbon and hydrogen isotope analysis of methane could be used to differentiate the various forms of bacterial methane that occur in nature. That research collaboration also resulted in identifying the changes in carbon and hydrogen isotopic compositions that occur when methane is oxidized by bacteria. To provide analytical support for his consulting activities in the area of stray-gas identification, in 1985 Coleman and 3 colleagues founded Isotech Laboratories, Inc. In 1995, he retired from the Illinois State Geological Survey to devote full time to the operation of Isotech. Over the past 35 years Dennis has been involved in numerous investigations and law suits involving stray-gas identification. Some of the more interesting case histories and the lessons learned from them will be presented.