New Chair Named – Alberta Environmental Appeals Board
AER: Update to Alberta Energy Industry Water Use Performance Report
Today, we updated our Alberta Energy Industry Water Use Performance Report. The report shows how water is allocated to and used by the energy industry.
Across Alberta’s energy industry, companies use less water than what is allocated to them to produce oil and gas. In 2020, the energy industry only used about 26 per cent of their allocation. Of the water used for oil, gas and bitumen extraction, 77 per cent of it was recycled water.
The report falls under our Industry Performance Program which strives to hold companies accountable for their decisions and actions, improve their performance, and share more information with Albertans.
AER: Geothermal Resource Development Act (GRDA) Proclamation
On December 8, the Government of Alberta proclaimed the Geothermal Resource Development Act (GRDA). This establishes the AER as the primary regulator for deep geothermal energy developments in Alberta; amendments to other supporting acts to manage geothermal resources were also included.
We are working to finalize the details of the regulatory framework, including the application process and technical requirements for development of geothermal resources. We will implement the application process with the release of the rules, directives, and guiding documents. We plan to publish the final requirements in spring 2022.
While we are not able to accept geothermal applications until the rules and associated regulatory instruments are drafted and in force, we will work with industry and other stakeholders to answer any questions about the regulatory system, application processing, timelines, or procedures.
Questions about geothermal resource development, including application submission, licences, and transfers, can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions may also be sent to our inquiries line at 1-855-297-8311.
Calling all Canadian Environmental and Resource Professionals!
We are hoping to better understand the employment landscape in Canada, as it pertains to the gig economy and fractional employment.
Please follow the link:
Next phase of homes on former Domtar site could come in 2023: developer
(Source: Edmonton Journal) The former Domtar site in northeast Edmonton could see the next phase of residential development begin in 2023 now that Alberta Environment and Parks has laid out the soil remediation criteria.
Meanwhile, a study into elevated rates of cancer among area residents still hasn’t been completed more than two-and-a-half years after it was announced by Alberta health officials.
In 2018, residents of the Homesteader neighbourhood, which included the former Domtar Inc. wood-treatment operation, received letters warning their homes were near contaminated land.
A large fence was put up with signs warning the land was contaminated, primarily with dioxins and furans. These contaminants could lead to an increased risk to human health over a long period of time or in large amounts, Alberta Health Services said at the time.
In the report published Friday , Michael Lapointe, the government’s director of the contaminated sites and remediation section, said that for residential land use the soil remediation criteria for dioxins and furans is set at 330 parts per trillion.
He said he based that number on the amount of the contaminants a toddler could be exposed to.
Developer Cherokee Canada, which owns the infill site including where Domtar operated called Verte Homesteader, and has already built about 85 homes on one smaller parcel of the property, has long maintained that the community is safe.
The company said Monday that soil testing confirms none of its existing developed community is affected, and that only a small amount of the undeveloped section may have levels over the criteria.
“These findings confirm what we have been saying all along,” managing partner John Dill said in a statement.
“In advance of any development in this area, we reviewed some 800 different third-party soil samples which were part of the development process. We would have never embarked on this project had we not been absolutely certain of the safety of the area.”
Dill told Postmedia the company has already provided a remediation plan to the government for the undeveloped land and hopes that work can happen in 2022 with construction of homes in 2023.
The plan is to dig up the small amounts of remaining contaminated soil, place it at the base of a berm, cap it, and cover it with clean landscaping.
About 700 to 800 single-family homes could go up on the remaining 80 acre piece of the property, he said.
“It’s a great example of taking something that has had very little benefits, well, no benefits since it was closed, and turning it into a new productive asset that’s going to only do one thing, and that’s help people get housing and enhance the community,” he said.
Gunda Murray, president of the Homesteader Community League, said she’s glad that the remediation criteria have been set.
Compared to the large fences and significant public attention that came with the news of potential contamination, the recent good news was released relatively quietly, she said.
“We want to see the area developed,” she said.
Officials have also been quiet when it comes to a study announced in March 2019 aimed at finding out why people living in the neighbourhood are experiencing higher rates of breast, endometrial and lung cancer.
In 2019, chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said it would take up to a year before results of the health study are publicly available but nothing has been released.
Murray said that she is not personally concerned about the cancer risk but that having the question remain unanswered is frustrating.
“You would have thought by now that we would have some answers. Even if something is inconclusive, just even let us know what’s going on. But we haven’t heard anything,” she said, adding that she recognizes officials have been busy due to COVID-19
Alberta Health did not respond to questions from Postmedia by deadline.
For his part, Dill said he’s not concerned about what the health study is going to say, pointing out the report will cover things well beyond Domtar.
“There’s a million ways you can get cancer and to try and suggest that it might be from one particular site within an area is like trying to find a needle in a haystack,” he said.
Cost estimate for cleanup of abandoned N.S. mines still ‘a few years’ away
(Source: CBC News) An estimate of the cost of cleaning up 68 potentially contaminated historical mine sites in Nova Scotia is still a few years away.
The province announced plans in 2018 to clean up two sites that were contaminated by historical gold mines. The cleanup of Montague Gold Mines and Goldenville was initially estimated to cost $48 million, but that estimate has since grown to $60 million, and is expected to rise further.
There are 66 other sites still awaiting assessment and a cost estimate for cleanup.
“Realistically, it’s going to be a few years before we work through enough of those sites that we will be at that stage,” Peter Geddes, a senior staffer with the Natural Resources Department, told the legislature’s public accounts committee on Wednesday morning.
Geddes said staff need to visit each site and determine how much contamination, if any, is present, and how it may impact the surrounding areas. He said the team plans to conduct an assessment on a few sites each year, and use the information to develop a system for estimating all remaining sites.
A gold rush in the late 1800s — long before environmental legislation was introduced — led to arsenic and mercury contamination at sites throughout Nova Scotia. The tailings, the material left over after the ore was processed to extract gold, still remains at many sites, and along with it, the risk of contamination.
Provincial Auditor General Kim Adair raised concerns in her December report that insufficient site investigations and environmental testing pose a potential risk to human and ecological health, as well as an unknown financial liability.
Those concerns were echoed Wednesday by NDP MLA Claudia Chender, who called the sites “a massive Pandora’s box environmentally but also financially,” and PC MLA Trevor Boudreau, who said it’s “really concerning that we don’t have the understanding of risks and liabilities.”
Donnie Burke, the executive director of Nova Scotia Lands, the provincial Crown corporation responsible for remediating Crown properties, said while only Montague and Goldenville have been costed out, staff are making progress on the other sites, visiting 28 this year and using drones to get a better understanding of them.
Each site is being evaluated based on the size of the contaminated site, the chemistry, the risk to public health and the locale, including whether there’s human interaction with the site. The team has developed a system to rank each site as low, medium and high risk.
So far, 12 sites have been ranked as low risk, 24 are high and the remainder are medium risk, though some may move from one category to another, Burke said.
Burke said the human health risk from the Montague site is low, and some sites on the list may not even be contaminated, or may only need relatively simple remediation steps.
“I haven’t seen any that would alarm me to being toxic that I wouldn’t walk on it myself without PPE,” Burke said. “I don’t want to alarm the public in Nova Scotia that these are significantly toxic.”
Initially, there were 69 sites on the list of Crown properties with contaminated mine sites, but Burke said in an interview that one was recently removed. That site, located at Atlantic Gold’s operating Touquoy gold mine, was taken off the list last month because it was determined to be included under the company’s bond and remediation plan.
The ownership of Edwards Pond in Sydney Mines is in the process of being transferred to the Atlantic Memorial Park Society. That site, which was contaminated by the Princess Colliery, was remediated years ago but was never taken off the list, Burke said.
About 12 other sites will likely be able to come off the list with “fairly minimal effort,” Burke said. For example, a former limestone quarry in Cape Breton has already been reclaimed, but may only require some soil and water samples to be removed from the cleanup list.
As the province has dug deeper into the issue of contaminated former mine sites, it discovered “a new wrinkle we hadn’t contemplated,” Burke said.
At some locations, the source of contamination — such as a stamp mill, where ore was crushed in historical operations — may be located on private property, but the contamination moved onto Crown land, or vice versa.
“So of course that poses the risk, who’s responsible for that waste? Is it the property owner or is it the province? It really put us in a bit of a conundrum.”
The Goldenville site, identified as one of the two most contaminated former mine sites, is one such site. The province doesn’t own the site where the stamp mill was located, and hasn’t been able to determine who does.
ESAA Member News
Matrix Solutions announces merger with Ecosystem Recovery Inc.
Leading Canadian environmental consulting, water, and engineering design firm Matrix Solutions has announced a merger with Ontario-based Ecosystem Recovery Inc. (ERI). ERI specializes in helping clients effectively assess, manage, and restore built and natural infrastructure with the goal of protecting communities from flood and erosion hazards. The merger further expands Matrix’s water resources presence and reputation in Southern Ontario and bolsters the firm’s national community of technical practitioners.
“The recent flooding in B.C. and Atlantic Canada highlights the direct link extreme climate events have to water and associated infrastructure,” said Matrix Solutions President and CEO Matthew Sutton. “This merger strengthens Matrix’s position as a dominant water resources market player that can meet the need as communities and industries look to assess climate risks and increase the resilience of critical infrastructure to a changing climate.”
ERI was founded in 2013 and has progressively grown in market position and size to a team of approximately 20, comprised of consulting engineers, geomorphologists, ecologists, water quality experts, and technologists.
“We’ve built a strong reputation over the past eight years, by focusing on client service, technical proficiency, and cost value,” said ERI CEO Jeff Prince. “I’m enthusiastic about what the future holds for Matrix and the important solutions our combined team will provide to our clients.”
Based in Kitchener and London, Ontario, ERI’s professionals are experienced in the assessment and detailed design of watercourse works/restoration, stormwater management, and structural flood mitigation measures.
“I envision that our collective resources will learn from each other to strengthen expertise in water resources, geosciences, and ecology and work together to develop not only more diverse opportunities, but to ultimately advance the state of practice,” said ERI President Wolfgang Wolter.
The merger closely follows Matrix Solutions announcing Quentin Chiotti, Ph.D. as the firm’s Climate Risk and Resilience Practice Lead. Matrix’s Vice President, Operations Sam Bellamy says the company is focused on being a leading provider of climate adaptation and related water resources solutions.
“These recent moves support our business strategy and reflect the critical importance of water and climate resilience to Canadian people, communities, and businesses,” Bellamy said. “The ERI merger results in an even stronger team who have the right integrated skills to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
ABOUT MATRIX SOLUTIONS
Matrix Solutions is a 100% employee-owned pure play environmental consulting and engineering design firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. For nearly 40 years, the company has developed innovative, pragmatic, and sustainable solutions for public and private sector clients operating across North America. Core markets include infrastructure, renewable energy, oil and gas, midstream, and mining. Visit matrix-solutions.com to learn more about the project services and solutions the company provides.
For more information contact email@example.com
June 1-3, 2022
Call for Abstracts
June 1-3, 2022
Learning and Celebration at ECO Canada’s 5th Annual ECO Impact Event
ECO Canada’s highly anticipated and unique learning series and awards gala, ECO Impact, is back and this year ECO Canada are excited to return to learning, networking, and celebrating in person, in Calgary!
The theme for the upcoming ECO Impact event is Driving Sustainability to Invest in a Greener, More Resilient and Inclusive Future. There will be presentations from experts across industries on ESG and how Canada’s environmental workforce is involved.
Sessions include ‘The Evolution of ESG’, ‘Making It Meaningful: Indigenous Workplace Inclusion’ and ‘Climate Tech: Putting Canada on the Map’.
As always, there’ll be great networking opportunities with environmental professionals from across the country and plenty of celebrations as we find out who Canada’s latest leading environmental professionals are.
Date: 2 & 3rd February, 2022
Location: Hyatt Regency, Calgary, AB
2022 SWANA Canadian Symposium – Registration is Open!
The Northern Lights Chapter is very excited to be hosting the 2022 SWANA Canadian Symposium at the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff, Alberta. This is where municipalities, industry, suppliers, and consultants from across Canada and the US come together to share experiences, new ideas and meet (in person!) with colleagues and network.
When: April 4 – 7, 2022
Where: Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel & Conference Centre
Registration for delegates as well as exhibitors is now open, and you can make your hotel reservations as well. Visit https://swananorthernlights.
COVID-19 health restrictions: This event, as well as the venue, is following the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) and proof of vaccination is required. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel follows current AHS rules and is checking all guests for vaccination proof upon entry to the meeting space on a daily basis. Wearing masks while moving around is mandatory in all locations, except when seated for dinner or standing at high cocktail tables to eat and drink.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in Banff!
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Environmental Project Manager –
- Environmental Scientist (2) –
- Principal Hydrogeologist –
- Project Controller –
- Senior Air Quality Scientist –
- Senior Geotechnical Engineer – SLR Consulting
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Remediation Specialist/Environmental Engineer – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist (Multiple) – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Labourer (2) – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Lead Crew Hand –
- Reclamation Specialist –
- Intermediate Environmental Professional –
- Junior Environmental Professional –
- Environmental Scientist (Biology) –
- Business Development Representative – Environmental –
- Spill Response Supervisors and Reclamation Supervisors –
- Intermediate-Senior Reclamation Project Manager –