ESAA Weekly News – Week ending February 12th, 2021

This issue sponsored by: THINK Envirotechnical Services

AER: New Edition of Directive 020: Well Abandonment

Today we released a new edition of Directive 020: Well Abandonment. Section 5 has been updated to allow for select routine abandonment of commingled wells that involve qualified subsurface geological strata in corresponding geographic locations. Information on qualified pools is available on the Directive 020 webpage. We will update this information as we evaluate more pools. We continue to accept all nonroutine requests related to commingled abandonments. 

A draft of the directive was released November 4, 2020, and public feedback was accepted through December 4, 2020 (see Bulletin 2020-23). A summary of the feedback, including our responses, is available on the directive’s webpage.

Additional amendments to Directive 020 have also been made as part of our contributions towards the Government of Alberta’s Red Tape Reduction Act. Please refer to Bulletin 2020-07 and the directive’s “What’s New” section for further information.

The revised edition of Directive 020 is available on our website, > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives > Directive 020.  If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Alberta’s 1976 coal policy reinstated

Alberta’s government is reinstating the 1976 coal policy after hearing concerns raised by Albertans about surface mining in the Eastern Slopes.

This includes reinstating the four coal categories, which dictated where and how coal leasing, exploration and development could occur.

Further, the Minister of Energy has issued a directive to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) so that:
No mountaintop removal will be permitted and all of the restrictions under the 1976 coal categories are to apply, including all restrictions on surface mining in Category 2 lands. 

All future coal exploration approvals on Category 2 lands will be prohibited pending widespread consultations on a new coal policy.

“Albertans have spoken loud and clear and we have heard them. Not only will we reinstate the full 1976 coal policy, we will implement further protections and consult with Albertans on a new, modern coal policy. Alberta’s government is absolutely committed to protecting the majestic Eastern Slopes and the surrounding natural environment.” – Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

Quick facts
Applying for or obtaining a coal lease in no way allows for exploration or development. It merely gives a company the ability to “stake a claim” to the minerals below.
All proposed coal projects continue to be subject to stringent review by the AER. In many cases, federal impact assessment and joint federal-provincial review also occur. Projects can only proceed if approved through these rigorous regulatory processes and adhere to all existing laws and regulations.

Current exploration on Category 2 lands will continue, as per the 1976 coal policy. Of the six coal projects currently being explored on Category 2 lands, four began exploration under the 1976 coal policy. Two applications were approved after the 1976 coal policy was rescinded.
Coal lease sales on Category 2 lands remain paused.

Alberta creates world’s largest contiguous protected boreal forest area

Alberta’s government is planning a massive expansion of protected forest in the the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland.

The expansion will add about 143,800 hectares of land to the protected area in northeastern Alberta – almost three times the size of Waterton Lakes National Park.
The expansion aligns with the Alberta Crown Land Vision, which guides our management of Alberta’s rich, natural heritage of Crown lands. Expanding the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland will:

  • Help protect the landscape, watersheds and wildlife in the area, including bison and woodland caribou.
    Support Indigenous Peoples’ traditional activities, including the exercise of treaty rights.
  • Create recreation opportunities for Albertans
    Backcountry recreation opportunities will be available in the area and the landscape would keep its wild, undeveloped character. Recreation opportunities would be wilderness-oriented, such as remote backcountry experiences, hunting and fishing, and connecting with nature. In the future, trails and backcountry campsites may be provided to support safe and sustainable recreation opportunities.

“Alberta’s northern boreal forests are an important wildlife habitat. Today’s announcement creates the largest protected forest area in Alberta history. This will protect an important ecosystem for generations to come, allowing for backcountry recreation and Indigenous communities to practice traditional activities, like hunting, trapping and fishing. This is a classic Alberta partnership between industry, First Nations and government.” – Jason Kenney, Premier

“Alberta’s government is committed to a common-sense approach to conservation planning that recognizes the importance of collaboration between government, Indigenous communities and industry. The proposed expansion of Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland is yet another example of that commitment – and will add to the largest contiguous area of boreal protected land in the world once completed. I look forward to working closely with industry partners, land users and Indigenous communities to make this fantastic project a reality.” – Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“The expansion of Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park is part of our vision for protecting the Peace Athabasca Delta and important resources like caribou and wood bison. We applaud the collaborative effort that brought us to this point, including the broad support from our partners in the energy and forestry sectors, the provincial and federal governments and other Indigenous nations. This is a big, shared achievement.” – Chief Peter Powder, Mikisew Cree First Nation

The Government of Alberta has worked toward this expansion since the establishment of the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland in 2019. Mikisew Cree First Nation led collaborative work on a potential expansion, and discussions have occurred with other Indigenous communities, industry stakeholders, and the Government of Alberta.

Industry stakeholders, including Athabasca Oil Corporation, have contributed to the proposed expansion plans by agreeing to surrender their Crown mineral agreements in the area.

“We are pleased to contribute leased land to this important collaborative conservation effort between government, Indigenous communities and industry. Sustainability leadership is a core element of Cenovus’s strategy, and with our contribution to the proposed Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park expansion, we are progressing two key sustainability priorities – engagement with Indigenous communities and land stewardship, including the protection of caribou.” – Rhona DelFrari, chief sustainability officer and senior vice-president, Stakeholder Engagement, Cenovus

“Since 2019, Athabasca Oil has been collaborating with the Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Government of Alberta to expand the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Park. Athabasca Oil has relinquished over 95,000 hectares of mineral rights to help make this park expansion a reality. The expansion of the park will help the province meet its biodiversity and conservation goals in this culturally and ecologically significant area. This represents a significant success for Indigenous communities, industry and Albertans.” – Rob Broen, president and CEO, Athabasca Oil Corporation

Albertans can provide their feedback on the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland through a public survey, which will be available online until March 15.

  • Quick facts  
    Kitaskino means “our land” in Cree and Nuwenëné means “our land” in Dene.
  • In 2019, the Government of Alberta established the Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland – over 160,000 hectares of land just south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
  • The expanded area is located between the Birch River Wildland Provincial Park and existing Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland, south of Wood Buffalo National Park.
  • Almost all of the proposed expansion overlaps with woodland caribou habitat.
  • The expansion area overlaps a small portion of the Ronald Lake bison herd range.
  • Both woodland caribou and wood bison are identified as species at risk.


B.C. accepting applications for funding to clean up dormant oil and gas wells

(Source: CBC News) Second half of $100-million pool set to be disbursed by province.

B.C. is receiving $120 million in federal funds after Ottawa pledged $1.7 billion to help western provinces clean up thousands of inactive and so-called orphan oil and gas wells.

The latest round of applications is now open under a $100-million fund aimed at cleaning dormant oil and gas wells in British Columbia.

B.C. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says the second half of the funding is set to be disbursed in the coming months after the first $50 million supported about 1,000 jobs and reclamation activities at nearly 1,900 sites.

He says the first round included $15 million worth of work on sites in B.C.’s agricultural land reserve and dormant well sites located in habitat that is critical to the at-risk northern mountain population of woodland caribou.
The province is receiving $120 million in federal funds after Ottawa pledged $1.7 billion in April to help B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan clean up thousands of inactive and so-called orphan oil and gas wells.

Ralston says he expects the latest funding will create a similar number of jobs as the first, with priority going to local and Indigenous workers.

He says field service workers will be matched with sites nominated for cleanup by Indigenous communities, local governments and landowners.

“By aligning the nomination and the application processes, we’re able to ensure that local knowledge and concerns get first priority,” Ralston told a news conference Thursday, adding the reclamation work supports jobs during the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bulk of B.C.’s $120-million share of the federal funding is aimed at cleaning up more than 8,500 dormant wells, which are sites that have been inactive for five years and aren’t likely to return to service.

The program provides eligible companies up to $100,000 or 50 per cent of the cost of a site cleanup, whichever is less.

B.C. has also earmarked $15 million to address 770 orphan wells, or sites owned by companies that are insolvent, can’t be located or no longer exist.

Another $5 million is set aside to address legacy sites and the impacts of historical oil and gas activities on communities and wildlife.

Learn More:

  • For information on the site nomination process visit:
  • For information on the Dormant Sites Reclamation Program, visit:
  • To find out more about the BCOGC’s management of orphan sites in B.C., visit:
  • For more information on the Comprehensive Liability Management Plan, visit:

CCME: Guidance Document on Achievement Determination for Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone

CCME has posted the Guidance Document on Achievement Determination for Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone.

CCME has established Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for ozone for 2015, 2020 and 2025. This document outlines guidance on the monitoring, procedures and methodologies to use to help ensure that reporting on CAAQS achievement status for this pollutant is comparable among provinces and territories.
Please click here for details.

Remediation Technology News and Resources

Upcoming Live Internet Seminars

  • ITRC Connecting the Science to Managing LNAPL Sites a 3 Part Series – February 11, 18, March 9. The newly updated LNAPLs (Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids) 3-part training course series is based on the ITRC guidance: LNAPL Site Management: LCSM Evolution, Decision Process, and Remedial Technologies (LNAPL-3, 2018) and focuses on connecting the science to managing LNAPL sites and helping you: build upon your understanding of LNAPL behavior in the subsurface (Part 1), develop your LNAPL conceptual site model and LNAPL remedial goals (Part 2), and select/implement LNAPL technologies (Part 3). After this training series, the expectation is that you will have the skills and understanding to use ITRC science-based resources to improve decision making at your LNAPL sites. For regulators and other government agency staff, this improved understanding can hopefully be incorporated into your own LNAPL programs. It is expected that participants will attend this 3-part training series in sequence. For more information and to register, see or
  • ITRC Optimizing Injection Strategies and In situ Remediation Performance – February 16, 2021, 1:00PM-3:15PM EST (18:00-20:15 GMT). ITRC developed the guidance: Optimizing Injection Strategies and In Situ Remediation Performance (OIS-ISRP-1) and this associated training course to identify challenges that may impede or limit remedy effectiveness and discuss the potential optimization strategies, and specific actions that can be pursued, to improve the performance of in situ remediation by: refining and evaluating remedial design site characterization data; selecting the correct amendment; choosing delivery methods for site-specific conditions; creating design specifications; conducting performance evaluations, and optimizing underperforming in situ remedies. The target audience for this guidance and training course is: environmental consultants, responsible parties, federal and state regulators, as well as community and tribal stakeholders. This training will support users in efficiently and confidently applying the guidance at their remediation sites. An optimization case study is shared to illustrate the use of the associated guidance document. For more information and to register, see or
  • SERDP/ESTCP Managing Chlorinated Solvents in Groundwater Using Biological Treatment – February 25, 2021 12:00PM-1:30PM EST (17:00-18:30 GMT). SERDP and ESTCP launched this webinar series to promote the transfer of innovative, cost-effective and sustainable solutions developed through projects funded in five program areas. The webinar series targets Department of Defense and Department of Energy practitioners, the regulatory community and environmental researchers with the goal of providing cutting edge and practical information that is easily accessible at no cost. For more information and to register, see

 New Documents and Web Resources

  • Updated CLU-IN Fractured Rock Focus Area. This focus area identifies resources that can help environmental practitioners with developing strategies for the characterization and remediation of fractured rock, where groundwater flow and the fate and transport of contaminants are influenced by the characteristics of the rock. The remediation section is broken into various technologies with references on how they are used in fractured rock situations and provides example sites where the technology has been applied. View and use at
  • Reminder – Interim Guidance on Destroying and Disposing of Certain PFAS and PFAS-Containing Materials available for public comment. On December 18, 2020 EPA released for public comment new interim guidance that will help protect the public from exposure to these emerging chemicals of concern. Specifically, the new interim guidance outlines the current state of the science on techniques and treatments that may be used to destroy or dispose of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products, including aqueous film-forming foam (for firefighting). This interim guidance will be available for public comment until February 22, 2021. View or download from
  • ITRC Guidance: Technical Resources for Vapor Intrusion Mitigation. This guidance document is designed to aid state regulators in understanding various mitigation strategies, how they are installed and fundamentally work, and what factors to consider as part of the review process. This training and web document are intended to guide regulators and project managers through the critical elements of selection, design, implementation, and operation of vapor intrusion mitigation (VIM). This document provides an overview of the various processes, steps and critical elements of VIM, including detailed fact sheets, technology information sheets and checklists. View and use at
  • Technology Innovation News Survey Corner. The Technology Innovation News Survey contains market/commercialization information; reports on demonstrations, feasibility studies and research; and other news relevant to the hazardous waste community interested in technology development. Recent issues, complete archives, and subscription information is available at The following resources were included in recent issues:
    • Final Remedial Design Report Soil Vapor Extraction and Treatment System and In Situ Bioremediation Bandera Road Ground Water Plume Superfund Site Bexar County, Texas
      2019 Annual Summary Report Dartmouth College, Rennie Farm Site Hanover, New Hampshire
    • Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System, “Habitats”
      Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) Update
    • Treatment Well (HRX Well®) for Managing Contaminant Plumes In Complex Geological Environments
    • Nonpoint Source Success Story: Treatment Of Mine Drainage Improves Hubler Run
      Abandoned Hardrock Mines Information On Number Of Mines, Expenditures, And Factors That Limit Efforts To Address Hazards
  • Remediation Management for Local and Wide-Spread PFAS Contaminations. The German Environment Agency published this report 2020. PFAS -as group of substances- are becoming increasingly important in the treatment of contaminated sites and harmful soil changes. Due to the different substance properties of PFAS, the possible remediation procedures must be evaluated on a substance-specific basis. The advantages and disadvantages, the technical and approval requirements as well as their sustainability are shown for the possible remediation methods. View or download from

ESAA Member News

AGAT Labs Announces New Senior Vice President

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Fishback as Senior Vice President.

Tony Fishback is an experienced and accomplished leader of analytical testing laboratories. With over 21 years of experience in the laboratory sector, he has a passion for team development and process improvement that promotes a culture of productivity, quality, safety and regulatory compliance that enriches both the employee and client experience.

Tony completed his 17-year career at Maxxam Analytics (BV Labs) in 2019 as VP of the Food Science and Safety Services Division. He then joined Labstat/Labs-Mart as Chief Operations Officer where he was responsible for developing and executing strategic operational goals required to sustain ongoing profitable growth.

Prior to his executive roles, Tony worked as a Forensic Analyst at the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto. He joined Maxxam Analytics in 2001 where he worked and managed in a variety of different laboratory settings, including the Animal DNA and the Human Toxicology Laboratories. Through this experience, Tony developed his skills in people management and process improvement in order to deliver value to clients. Consequently, he was trained as a 6-Sigma Black Belt and afterwards took a role in the Continuous Improvement Department where he was supporting the Food Microbiology group of laboratories to improve quality and productivity. Over time, Tony took on various management roles within the Food group and eventually became responsible for business development, client services, and laboratory operations for the Food Science and Safety Services Division.

In his new role, Tony will be focused on fulfilling the company’s purpose of “Service Beyond Analysis”. With his strength and experience in both team engagement and lean operational strategies, Tony will be instrumental in working with our teams to optimize operations, enhance corporate culture and elevate the overall client experience. As a key member of the senior executive team, Tony will support strategic decision-making across the full spectrum of our service offerings.

Tony holds an M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Guelph and a 6-Sigma Black Belt from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Tony will be working out of the AGAT Mississauga location at 5835 Coopers Avenue.


Upcoming Events

Overview of Saskatchewan’s Accelerated Site Closure Program
11am – 12pm
February 26th, 2021

Register Now

This presentation will provide an overview of Saskatchewan’s oil and gas Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP).  The Program is a federally funded $400 million dollar economic stimuli package that specifically target’s the Saskatchewan oil and gas service sector.  The program is estimated to abandon and reclaim approximately 8,000 inactive wells/facilities, while sustaining more than 2,000 Saskatchewan jobs.

Ian Wilson
Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)

Ian Wilson is a business unit manager, in the Environment and Biotech Division, at the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), where he leads inter-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and project managers tasked with the assessment and remediation of 37 former Cold War legacy uranium mine and mill sites, and the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Accelerated Site Closure Program (ASCP).  Ian has more than 18 years of environmental remediation experience and has successfully managed more than 100 assessment, remediation and site decommissioning projects around the world.

Registration is free! 

 Register Now

SustainTech 2021 – Registration Now Open


SustainTech continues to be a well-attended conference that promotes sustainability and environmental responsibility and brings together industry, academia, consultants, and regulators to share ideas on new developments and technologies that help us make a better and more sustainable world.

The conference highlights the latest environmental practices and technologies from industry, consultants, and regulators to address sustainability issues over the lifecycle of Saskatchewan’s principal resource sectors, including: agriculture, mining, and oil and gas.

This years event will be condensed to 12 speakers.  All sessions will be available for viewing live as well as post conference through the conference platform to all registered attendees.

Sponsorship and Exhibit opportunities are also available.  Contact the office at [email protected] to learn more!

The Full Conference Program will be announced next week
Register –

McLennan Ross Webinar:  
Public Lands Appeal Board: 2020 A Year in Review

Over the last several weeks, the COVID-19 news reel has been punctuated by stories of the thousands of Albertans, including country musician Corb Lund, voicing their concerns about potentially opening up use and development of public lands, particularly on the eastern slopes of the Rockies. We have seen lawn signs expressing concern over the closure and privatization of provincial parks pop up in our neighbourhoods, and discussions on these issues trending on social media. 

Working away, far from the limelight, is the Public Lands Appeal Board (“PLAB”). PLAB is a regulatory body tasked with hearing appeals of decisions made by Alberta Environment and Parks as those decisions relate to access and use of public lands. PLAB hears appeals regarding:
the granting or refusal of leases on public lands (ie: for campgrounds, grazing or storage of industrial equipment);
orders directing public lands be vacated, improvements to be removed, and/or activities to be suspended; and
administrative penalties related to the [mis]use of public lands.

In 2020, the PLAB issued 21 decisions, which included the PLAB hearing its first ever general appeal. 

Join Jessica Proudfoot as she provides a brief introduction to the PLAB, its functions and its purpose, highlights some of the more interesting and significant decisions issued by the PLAB in 2020, and comments on what we can expect from the PLAB in 2021. 

Who Should Attend: This webinar is designed for anyone who has an interest in the use of public lands, including tourism operators, trappers, First Nations, agricultural landowners, and the energy sector.

Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Cost: Complimentary

Register —>

ESAA Job Board

Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board.  Members can post ads for free.

Current Listings:
  • Business Development Manager – Remediation Services – Clean Harbors
  • Health & Safety Coordinator – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Environmental Engineer / Scientist / Technologist – Nichols Environmental (Canada)
  • Journeyman Plumber – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Mechanical Engineer / Project Manager – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Summer Students / Seasonal Staff – Vegetation Management – North Shore Environmental Consultants
  • Executive Director – Iron & Earth
  • CEO – Iron & Earth
  • National Quality Manager – ALS Environmental
  • Environmental Technician – McCue Engineering Contractors
  • Senior Aquatic Ecologist – SLR Consulting
  • Environmental Scientist – SLR Consulting
  • Principal Hydrogeologist – SLR Consulting
  • Senior Environmental Assessment / Environmental Planning Professional – SLR Consulting


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