New Year – New format for the ESAA Weekly News.
AER: Invitation for Feedback on Revisions to Directive 067
We are seeking feedback on a new edition of Directive 067: Eligibility Requirements for Acquiring and Holding Energy Licences and Approvals. The proposed changes include requiring additional information, particularly financial information, at the time of application and throughout the life cycle to enable us to
assess licensee eligibility, assess the capabilities of licensees and approval holders to meet their regulatory and liability obligations throughout the energy development life cycle, administer our liability management programs, and ensure the safe, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of energy resources in Alberta throughout their life cycle.
These changes support the Government of Alberta’s new Liability Management Framework and are enabled by rule changes announced in our Bulletin 2020-26.
To provide feedback on the proposed revisions to Directive 067, complete the comment form available on our website and email it to Directive067@aer.ca, or mail it to the Alberta Energy Regulator, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 0R4. Feedback will be accepted through Sunday, February 14. All feedback received will be reviewed and may be used in finalizing the directive.
Personal information provided with comments will be collected, used, and disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The AER may use the personal contact information you provide for follow-up communication related to your feedback. The draft edition of Directive 067 is available on our website, www.aer.ca > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives > Directive 067 (Draft).
Energy firms misled Alberta regulators on cleanup of well sites
(Source: Globe and Mail) Close to 60 natural gas well sites near the hamlet of Jenner, in southern Alberta, are supposed to have been shut down, cleaned up and the land returned to its natural state. Instead, scattered equipment, holes in the earth, dead vegetation and divots deep enough to swallow the wheel of a pickup truck dot the landscape, evidence of what one regulator called a “really serious case of falsification of documents.”
The 59 wells belong to one Calgary-based company. Another, an environmental services provider, applied to the provincial regulator for reclamation certificates that affirmed all the sites had been returned to natural prairie. But after local landowners complained, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) launched a two-year investigation and cancelled every certificate.
Aeraden Energy Corp. owns the wells and a company called CEPro Energy & Environmental Services Inc. signed off on the cleanup of the sites.
The AER investigation found that Aeraden had left groundwater monitoring wells, fences and berms on sites, failed to fix slumping soil and dead vegetation, and – in one case – filed for a reclamation certificate for a site that was still active.
The probe also included an audit of all reclamation certificate applications lodged by CEPro since 2016. It found the company had submitted site photos that weren’t of the wells being reclaimed, and signed off on cleanups at many sites despite holes in the ground and various infrastructure left behind.
But neither company will face financial penalties, despite the breadth and seriousness of their contraventions of Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and regulations governing conservation and reclamation. Instead, each company received a warning letter from AER, calling the matter “very serious.”
“With additional time and investigation, it is likely that a more significant enforcement action would have been taken by the AER,” the letters noted. But a two-year time limit imposed by the EPEA on investigations meant the two companies were simply warned, and notes added to their enforcement histories. That time limit and the sheer volume of information meant the regulator could only investigate a handful of the 59 sites.
Aeraden was also ordered to complete remediation of the sites. However, the case will have no implications for several other oil and gas sites Aeraden operates across Alberta and Saskatchewan, the AER said.
Matthew Oliver is deputy registrar and chief regulatory officer of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), which regulates the practices of engineering and geoscience in Alberta. It’s the largest association of self-regulated professionals in Western Canada, but Mr. Oliver said he has never seen such an egregious case since he was licensed in 1991.
“This is a really, really serious case of falsification of documents” amounting to “more than a casual slip,” he told The Globe and Mail.
But the AER said it has no evidence of a deliberate attempt by either company to mislead regulators. It’s also standing by OneStop, the online system used for reclamation applications.
The OneStop program removes the requirement for inspectors to even lay their eyes on sites before issuing certificates saying land has been returned to its pre-well state. Instead, it relies on energy companies and those that sign off on their cleanup work – agrologists and engineers, for example – to attest the information attached to their applications is true and correct.
Legislation that governs APEGA prevents Mr. Oliver from confirming whether an investigation into CEPro and its president, Lian Zhao, is underway, but he said “this is exactly the sort of case that would result in a complaint being filed with [APEGA’s] investigative committee.”
Ms. Zhao did not want to answer questions or provide information about the case when reached by The Globe by phone, saying only it was a “complex story.”
The AER says neither CEPro nor Aeraden have appealed the warning letters, and Ms. Zhao would not confirm whether her company plans to take that route.
Aeradan doesn’t list any employees on its website, but its office manager Wendy Ma – who is named in the AER penalty letter – did not return repeated phone calls and e-mails asking for comment. Nor did the company’s owner, Vancouver-based Saliance Global Holdings Co. Ltd.
According to Saliance’s website, it owns Aldesta Hotels Group, which runs a range of luxury hotels and resorts in British Columbia and Australia. It’s also an affiliate of Shanghai SanDun Auto Parts Co. Ltd. – which supplies auto parts for various companies out of its manufacturing facilities in Shanghai – and an Australian property development and management company called G&Q Real Estate.
Aeraden first came to the attention of Kris Bower, co-founder of an advisory firm called Welltraxx, about four years ago when Aeraden bought a collection of natural gas wells from Magnum Energy Inc. Welltraxx helps landowners across Western Canada manage their oil and gas holdings, and is assisting a group in Jenner.
For years, Aeraden has failed to pay those local farmers and ranchers the money they’re contracted to receive for the leases on their land, Mr. Bower told The Globe. He has worked on the land agent side of oil and gas for close to 20 years, but said the Aeraden-CEPro case was “certainly an oddball” owing to the sheer volume of breaches.
“Most of those sites were not anywhere close to being [reclamation certificate] ready,” he said. “There was still much work needed, but just how that got so far off the rails, well, I’m not really sure.”
Mr. Bower said landowners started raising red flags when they received reclamation certificate packages in the mail that indicated they had signed off on cleanup work. They hadn’t.
Mr. Oliver of APEGA, the engineering association, says it goes “right to the core of who we are are professionals” if and when members flout the rules that govern them.
“One count of falsifying a document is immensely serious. [The AER] felt there were grounds there to cancel 59 reclamation certificates, which is huge,” he said.
“We know times are tough in the industry right now, but that moves me to say we need to be focused even more on people not cutting corners and not falsifying things, because the protection of the public is even more critical.”
Canada Summer Jobs Program
Remediation Technology News and Resource
Upcoming Live Internet Seminars
- SERDP- ESTCP Decision Support Tool for Vadose Zone Remediation of Volatile Contaminants – January 20, 2021, 1:00PM EST (18:00 GMT). This webinar will discuss the updated SVEET2 spreadsheet software developed under project ER-201731. Dr. Jovan Popovic from Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) and his team will discuss the updated SVEET2 software to convey the basis, software interface, and application of the software to support remedial decisions. For more information and to register, see https://www.serdp-estcp.org/Tools-and-Training/Webinar-Series/01-20-2021.
- ITRC Remediation Management of Complex Sites – January 21, 2021, 1:00PM-3:15PM EST (18:00-20:15 GMT). This training course and associated ITRC guidance: Remediation Management of Complex Sites (RMCS-1, 2017), provide a recommended holistic process for management of challenging sites, termed “adaptive site management.” By participating in this training course we expect you will learn to apply the ITRC guidance document to: identify and integrate technical and nontechnical challenges into a holistic approach to remediation; use the Remediation Potential Assessment to identify whether adaptive site management is warranted due to site complexity; understand and apply adaptive site management principles; develop a long-term performance-based action plan; apply well-demonstrated techniques for effective stakeholder engagement; access additional resources, tools, and case studies most relevant for complex sites; and communicate the value of the guidance to regulators, practitioners, community members, and others. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org or https://clu-in.org/live.
- ITRC Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM-2) Update Training Modules, Session 1 – January 26, 2021, 1:00PM-3:15PM EDT (18:00-20:15 GMT). The newly updated Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) training is a series of six modules providing an overview of ISM and presenting five sections from the ITRC guidance document (ISM-2, 2020). After this series, you should understand: Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM) is a statistically supported technique for assessing the unbiased mean contaminant concentration in soil, sediment, and other solid media which can afford an economy of effort and resources; how the ISM structured composite sampling and processing protocol reduces data variability and provides for representative samples of specific soil volumes by collecting numerous increments of soil (typically, 30 to 100 increments) that are combined, processed, and subsampled according to specific protocols; the key principles regarding heterogeneous soil sampling errors and how ISM reduces those errors to have more confidence in sampling results; and h ow to use the new ITRC Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM-2) guidance document to learn the principles and approaches of the methodology to improve representative, reproducible, and defensible data to improve decision-making at your sites. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org or https://clu-in.org/live.
- ITRC Issues and Options in Human Health Risk Assessment – A Resource When Alternatives to Default Parameters and Scenarios are Proposed – January 28, 2021, 1:00PM-3:15PM EST (18:00-20:15 GMT). After participating in this ITRC training course, the learner will be able to apply ITRC’s Decision Making at Contaminated Sites: Issues and Options in Human Health Risk (RISK-3, 2015) document when developing or reviewing site-specific risk assessments by: identifying common issues encountered when alternatives to default parameters and scenarios are proposed during the planning, data evaluation, toxicity, exposure assessment, and risk characterization and providing possible options for addressing these issues; recognizing the value of proper planning and the role of stakeholders in the development and review of risk assessments; and providing information (that includes links to additional resources and tools) to support decision making when alternatives to default approaches, scenarios and parameters are proposed. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org or https://clu-in.org/live.
- Advances in Modeling Groundwater Flow and Transport with MODFLOW – February 3, 2021, 1:00PM-2:30PM EST (18:00-19:30 GMT). MODFLOW is a popular open-source groundwater modeling software program developed, supported, and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. The MODFLOW program, first released over 35 years ago, has evolved into rich suite of software programs for the simulation of groundwater flow, solute transport, and a wide range of other groundwater related processes. In 2017, the U.S. Geological Survey released a new core version of the MODFLOW program. This new version, called MODFLOW 6 (the sixth core version), extends the core MODFLOW capabilities to include robust solutions for complex water table problems, support for generalized meshes with focused resolution within areas of interest, and support for multiple models and multiple types of models within the same simulation. In addition to the Groundwater Flow Model, MODFLOW 6 now contains a Groundwater Transport Model, which can run simultaneously with the flow model or as a separate simulation using the results from a previous groundwater flow simulation. The purpose of this presentation is to describe the MODFLOW suite of programs and highlight some of the new capabilities currently available and under development for MODFLOW 6. For more information and to register, see https://clu-in.org/live.
New Documents and Web Resources
- EPA Releases Interim Guidance on Destroying and Disposing of Certain PFAS and PFAS-Containing Materials. 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 https://www.epa.gov/pfas/interim-guidance-destroying-and-disposing-certain-pfas-and-pfas-containing-materials-are-not
- NAVFAC Guidance on Sediment Dredging in Areas Known or Suspected of Containing MEC/MPPEH. A new guidance document released in August 2020, is available for Department of the Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) who are managing and executing sediment dredging projects in areas known or suspected of containing munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and/or material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH). Properly accounting for MEC/MPPEH in areas where dredging will occur is an important aspect of managing restoration projects to ensure the safety of workers, the public, and dredging/process equipment. View or download from https://clu-in.org/NAVFAC-Dredging-MEC-MPPEH-Guidance
- 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 https://clu-in.org/products/tins/.
New ESAA Webinar
Panel Discussion on Climate Change and the Important Role that Indigenous Knowledge Plays in Alberta’s Sustainable Future
11am – 12pm
January 21st, 2021
Overview: Learn about the opportunities for environmental science to support Indigenous Knowledge in our strive for climate solutions and energy management. Hear from experts in the field on the important role that Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge has in addressing the impacts of climate change.
Join our panel discussion to hear how braiding Western Science with Traditional Knowledge provides a strengthened and holistic framework to guide climate solutions within Canada, with an emphasis on Alberta.
- Improve the Understanding: what does Indigenous-led climate action really mean? Discussion of relevant, tangible, local, community-based examples.
- Identify the Challenges in using only a western lens to approach climate solutions for Alberta’s future
- Discuss Strategies and Solutions: real, tangible, solutions based on our expert’s experiences that braided these two knowledge systems together, and the strengthened outcome in this unique approach.
- Identify Future Opportunities: learn how can governments, Indigenous Nations, academic institutions, industries, NGO’s and others collaborate with Indigenous Science/Knowledge better, where to find opportunities, and how to make a start.
Brad Spence – Indigenous and Community Relations Specialist at ECO Canada
Desmond Bull – Elected Councillor for Louis Bull Tribe of Maskwacis Nation in Treaty 6 is truly a leader and steward in the are of climate change and energy management. Desmond has created impact within his local Nation, nationally and globally through the implementation of many climate and energy related projects, 100% owned and developed by the tribe. Desmond sits on the Green Party as an Indigenous Relations Advisor, works within the federal government’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, and has recently started his own corporation to provide avenues for further engagement and collaboration for Indigenous groups in the growing energy industry.
Paul McLauchlin – President of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. Paul has over 25+ years of experience in the environmental industry and Indigenous consultation, supporting communities in projects related to environmental impacts, climate change, energy management having worked within many Indigenous nations throughout Alberta. He has developed national and regional guidelines for the management, performance, and development of community infrastructure and industrial projects for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and is currently President of Rural Municipalities of Alberta.
Registration is free!
Recycling Council of Alberta Webinar: Extended Producer Responsibility 101 Webinar – Back to Basics
Tuesday, January 26, 2021, from 10:00 am to Noon Mountain Time
Late last year, the Government of Alberta announced plans to advance engagement on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in early 2021. Further details on the planned engagement are anticipated shortly, as well as the release of a discussion paper on the topic.
In the meantime, there are many questions about what EPR could mean for Alberta. What role does EPR have in advancing a circular economy in the Province? The RCA and the Plastics Alliance of Alberta look to answer the critical questions with knowledge from EPR experts from across the country. The webinar will review the basics of EPR policy to establish a common understanding, share examples from successful implementation in other jurisdictions and discuss Alberta’s future EPR policies.
- Jodi Tomchyshyn London (RCA) – EPR 101
- Glenda Gies (Glenda Gies and Associates) – A History of EPR in Canada
- Bob McDonald (BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy) – Implementing EPR in BC
- David Lefebvre (Recycle BC) – How EPR for PPP works in BC
- Alda Nicmans (BC Product Stewardship Council) – The EPR Experience for Municipalities
Sign up for this informative session today!
$75/person RCA members
Please note that registration is for individuals, not groups, and each person attending the webinar/s must register separately.
A portion of the cost of the webinar goes directly to supporting the sustainability of the RCA and our goal to advance a circular economy in Alberta. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to host our largest revenue generating, and most popular event – our annual conference. We look to continue to advance education and engagement opportunities online until we can meet again.
Subsoil Salinity Tool (SST) Version 3.0 Upcoming Course Dates
The Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) Subsoil Salinity Tool (SST) Version 3.0 is a software tool used to generate Tier 2A and 2B Subsoil Remediation Guidelines (SRGs) for chloride, SAR and sodium. Details of SST training courses are shown below, both for a full 3.5-day certification course (for not-yet-certified practitioners) and for a 1.5-day update course (for previously certified practitioners). It is not mandatory for practitioners who are already certified in a previous version of the tool to retake the full certification course / exam, though it is highly recommended to take at least a 1.5-day update course (or audit the full course as a refresher but with no exam).
Full 3.5 day certification course
This 3.5 day course includes three days of instruction on theory, software tool operation, and case studies, with the exam on the morning of the fourth day morning (four-hour comprehensive exam). Students achieving a passing mark (80%) will obtain AEP certification and a certificate number registered at AEP for submitting SST derived SRGs. The course will include instruction on the newest Version 3.0 including the subsoil SAR/sodium module, along with some comparisons to Version 2.5.3 to provide context for the numerous updates/upgrades in Version 3.0. Successful completion of the course including passing the exam will result in an SST certificate applicable to Version 3.0 as well as Version 2.5.3.
Dates: Tue Jan 26 – Friday Jan 29 -or-
Tue April 13 – Friday April 16
Cost: $1100 + GST (full course including certification exam)
$700 + GST (previously-certified practitioners wishing to retake the full course as a refresher (no exam since already certified))
1.5-day update course
This 1.5-day update course provides a description of changes to chloride guideline calculations from the previous version (v2.5.3), and also describes the SAR and sodium guideline calculations introduced into Version 3.0. The course will include a combination of theory, software tool operation, and case studies. This course does not include an exam and will not provide SST certification. This course is for previously certified SST practitioners only.
Dates: Thur Jan 21 – Friday Jan 22 -or-
Thur April 8 – Friday April 9
Cost: $550 + GST (first time taking a Version 3.0 update course)
$325 + GST (practitioners who have already taken a Version 3.0 update course)
For further information, please email SSTInfo@eqm.ca or contact Equilibrium Environmental at 403-286-9374 or visit www.eqm.ca for a copy of the registration forms or future course dates (likely fall 2021). Also please contact Equilibrium for information about government rates or courses for individual organizations.
SMART Virtual Remediation Seminar Series 2021
We are very excited to announce the SMART Remediation series speaker line up for the virtual 2021 seminars! Check out the terrific line up of expert speakers below.
Registration is also now open! Sign up today to gain access to all four sessions for one low price!
Speakers and Topics:
February 4, 2021 Seminar:
At the Intersection of Environmental Science and Liability: How do you Manage your Professional Practice? by Marc McAree, Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP
Triad-approach (LIF/MIP/MWs/SVPs) for LNAPL and PHC Delineation at a Fuel Station on Pelee Island by Laura Jones, Golder Associates Ltd.
Technology Update & Review – Activated Carbon for Contaminant Control and Site Remediation by Jean Paré, Chemco.
Waterfront Toronto – Risk Management Measures for the New River Valley by David Bertrand, Geosyntec Consultants International Inc.
February 11, 2021 Seminar:
New Excess Soil Regulations and Reasonableness of Damages by Michael Herbert, Mann Lawyers LLP
Ex Situ Smoldering Combustion (STARx): Treatment of Contaminated Soils at the Port Lands Food Protection and Enabling Infrastructure (PLFPEI) Project by Dave Liefl, Savron Solutions
Successful Bioremediation of Long Chain Hydrocarbons in the Arctic by Robert Lacey, Delta Remediation Inc. (Dominion Diamond Mines)
PFAS, Total Organic Precursors (TOPs) and Total Organic Fluorine (TOF): “What’s the difference and when to use one over the other?” by Taras (Terry) Obal, Bureau Veritas Laboratories
February 18, 2021 Seminar:
Peace of Mind Against Unwanted Intruders: Case Study on Sub-Slab Vapour Intrusion Protection Measures by Paresh Patel, Pinchin Ltd.
Unlocking the Secrets of Fractured Bedrock Injection by Bill Brab, AST Environmental, Inc.
In-Situ Soil Reagent Mixing Technologies for Integrated Remediation and Restoration of Contaminated Sites by Vito Schifano, 30 Forensic Engineering
STAR and STARx – Smoldering Remediation of PFAS-Contaminated Soils by Laura Kinsman, Savron Solutions
February 25, 2021 Seminar:
Your Credibility is on the Line: Examining your Role as an Expert Witness by Marc McAree, Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP
A Treatment Plant in Your Building Basement? The Evolution of Groundwater Treatment for New Constructions by Nathan Lichti, Vertex Environmental Inc.
Remediation of the Marwell Tar Pit, Whitehorse, Yukon by Ric Horobin & Paul Inglis, SLR Consulting & Government of Yukon
Advantages of Passive Sampling as a Decision-Making Tool and its Application to Contaminated Groundwater Upwelling by Brent Pautler, SiREM
Abstract summaries for the presentations are being posted to the SMART website. Be sure to check them out at www.smartremediation.com.
Click the Register Now button below to purchase tickets for the 2021 SMART Virtual Event Series.