ESAA Weekly News – week ending September 16th, 2022

RemTech 2022: Call for Auction Items

October 12-14, 2022
Fairmont Banff Springs 

RemTech 2022 will not only be a great learning and networking event but it will also be one of the largest charity fundraisers supported by the environment industry.  Since its inception 21 years ago, RemTech delegates have raised over $750,000 for charity.  In fact, ESAA events and member activities have raised over $1.1 million for a variety charities.

At this time ESAA is requesting auction items for the silent auction being held during the opening reception and Thursday’s reception.  In addition, the auction will be held via an online auction platform / app and will be to all delegates and anyone else interested in supporting the 2022 charities.  All auction interactions will be electronic, no paper bid sheets.  

Suggested donations include: sporting event tickets, hotel stays, electronics, golfing, spa packages, gift cards for local business, unique experiences, etc. Be creative!  ESAA may combine items into packages.

All donors will be highlighted on the conference website, on site and on the auction app.

Proceeds raised from the auction will be donated to two organizations: Ilsa Mae Research Fund at Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Jane Goodall Institute Canada – Roots and Shoots Program, and the Calgary Zoo – Burrowing Owl Conservation Program.

The RemTech 2022 auction is sponsored by McLennan Ross LLP

To donate an item, contact Joe Chowaniec at the ESAA Office, [email protected]

Thank you for your support in advance!

Full event details:


CCME: Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants: 2019–2020 Progress Report

CCME has posted the Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants: 2019–2020 Progress Report.

In 2006 CCME endorsed Canada-wide Standards for Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Electric Power Generation Plants (CWS). The CWS set targeted caps for each signatory jurisdiction for the year 2010. This report presents information for 2019-2020 on the attainment of 2010 emissions caps under the CWS.

The caps have been achieved and represent an 82% reduction in total emissions from 2003 compared to the 2010 emission caps which were expected to produce a 52–58% reduction in total emissions. CCME has continued to report on progress after the goal for emissions reduction had been achieved, and this will be the final report.

The publication can be found here or through CCME’s searchable resource browser.


Alberta joins court challenge against feds listing plastics as toxic

(Source: Calgary Herald)  Alberta will intervene in two court challenges against the federal government’s plans to list plastic products as “toxic” and phase out a number of single-use items by 2030.

Ottawa intends to ban several plastic products, including straws, takeout containers and cutlery, by the end of the decade through a phased approach. However, a group of plastic-makers, calling themselves the Responsible Plastic Use Coalition, has filed a court challenge against the federal government to put an end to the plan. They have also filed a court challenge of the government’s plan to label plastic as a “toxic substance.”

Premier Jason Kenney announced Thursday the provincial attorney general has filed a notice to the Federal Court of Canada that Alberta plans to file submissions in that challenge, arguing that labelling plastic as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act was unconstitutional.

“What they’re trying to do there is to pull a fast one . . . there’s no doubt the federal government has exclusive constitutional authority to legislate on criminal matters, so they’re using that exclusive constitutional authority to effectively engage in what is normally provincial environmental regulatory authority,” said Kenney. “They are getting out of their lane. In that case, it’s environmental regulation dressed up as a criminal law matter.”

Kenney said the plans present a “serious threat” to the province’s economic interests, mainly to the petrochemical industry. He said his government has attracted $18 billion in investments to low-emitting petrochemical projects and is expecting an additional $30 billion in further investments.

He said the federal government’s plans would pose a threat to the industry.

“If Canada is the only country in the world that says that market products are the equivalent of arsenic, then it begs the question of why would the industry invest here when they can go anywhere else in the world?” said Kenney.

Kenney said he has sent a letter to other provinces advising them of Alberta’s plans to intervene and asked them to do the same.

Responding to the court challenge last month, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said he believes the government’s regulations will be upheld in court and that he would prefer to work with plastic producers to improve recycling than to fight in court.


Guilbeault issued a statement Thursday saying Canadians are demanding the government address the “plastic pollution crisis.” He said it’s disappointing to see politicians using the courts to oppose federal efforts to address the issue.

“Instead of taking positive action for cleaner air and water, it’s disappointing to see Conservative politicians once again running to the courts to oppose our efforts to keep plastics out of our landfills and environment. We’re confident that the courts will uphold the ban on harmful single-use plastics,” said Guilbeault.

Irfan Sabir, justice critic for Alberta’s NDP, said Kenney has taken the federal government to court in the past and has nothing to show for those efforts. He said the premier should instead be focused on issues Albertans are facing.

“Instead of, I guess, creating these political dramas, the premier should be focused on what matters to Albertans,” said Sabir. “Albertans are facing a cost of living crisis, the worst cost of living crisis in 40 years, Alberta. hospitals are in chaos, Alberta’s EMS system is in chaos, there are many things facing our communities.”


BC: Contamination discovered at old Kelowna Tolko site

(Source: Penticton Western News) Plans to redevelop the old Tolko Industries mill in Kelowna’s north end have hit a bit of a speed bump.

The company’s latest environmental report, released on Sept. 7 and submitted to B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, indicated that contamination was found at a test hole approximately 150 metres from the lakeshore. Laboratory testing revealed that it is consistent with lubricating oil.

The report adds that the contaminant was found in trace amounts around two nearby holes.

The mill closed in January 2020, citing reasons like logging costs, market conditions and policies.

Since its closure, work has been done to determine the future of the site, with the public being given the opportunity to have their say on redevelopment.

Some other forms of contaminant were also found in isolated areas, though they were discovered to primarily be hydrocarbons and Tolko says they do not pose a risk to the surrounding environment.

The report finishes off by saying that for such a large and complex site, these results are often typical.


NS: Province faces ‘conundrum’ of mine contamination on private property

Some landowners have not been notified of potential contamination

(Source: CBC News)  The Nova Scotia government has not notified some landowners of potential contamination on their properties from historical gold mines, despite being required to do so by provincial regulations.

Gold mines that operated in Nova Scotia dating back to the 1800s left a legacy of contamination, most notably from arsenic and mercury. 

In many cases, the original source of the contamination is on one property, but the material flowed — often through water — to surrounding properties over time.

The government has committed to cleaning up contamination on Crown lands only, but is required under the Environment Act’s contaminated sites regulations to immediately notify “the owner or occupant of any parcel of land to which contaminants have migrated or are likely to migrate from the contaminated site.”

In at least some cases, that hasn’t been done.

The issue of third-party notification is a thorny one for government, which is grappling with questions about liability and responsibility for remediation. It’s also a potentially worrisome issue for property owners, who could be affected by cleanup requirements on or near their land.

Anita Baltas has lived on Montague Mines Road near Waverley, N.S., for 48 years.

Her property borders the Crown parcel that contains a significant quantity of contaminated tailings from the historical Montague gold mine, one of the two most contaminated former mine sites in the province, along with Goldenville near Sherbrooke.

She said although there are signs posted up and down her road warning of danger, she’s never received information from the province about what the danger is. 

“We don’t even understand what these signs are all about. Yeah, we can see it’s not good, but we don’t really know why it’s not good and what are they going to do to fix it,” she said. “I think they should tell us what we should be doing.”

Baltas said when her kids were younger, they played on their bikes in the nearby “sand flats” — what she now knows is contaminated mine tailings, the material left over after the gold is extracted from the ore. She said people still ride motorbikes in the tailings most weekends.

“Do the parents realize it’s not safe? I didn’t know it wasn’t safe when my kids went down there.”

For most of her nearly five decades living on Montague Mines Road, Baltas lived in one house, but when she and her husband built a new house across the road eight years ago, they had to drill a new well.

A water test found the arsenic levels vastly exceeded the acceptable limit, which was 10 micrograms per litre. Their water had 376 micrograms of arsenic per litre — “unreal” levels, according to Baltas.

Baltas had a top-of-the-line filtration system installed, and said when she called the company recently to arrange maintenance, they told her the same system today would cost about $10,000.

“How many people have that kind of money? Does the government realize it’s costing us that much money?”

She said she’s worried about people who live nearby and drink the water and don’t know they should be testing it.

There are 68 potentially contaminated former mine sites on the provincial government’s cleanup list, and Montague and Goldenville are at the top of that list. The estimated cleanup cost for the two sites was last set at $60 million, but is expected to rise further.

Nova Scotia Lands, the province’s environmental cleanup agency, is conducting human health risk assessments for the Montague and Goldenville sites. 

An assessment for Barrys Run, which is downstream from the Montague site, found that the risk of negative health consequences from arsenic during activities such as swimming or consuming fish caught there is low. However, residents have been warned not to partake in those activities.

In drinking water, high concentrations of arsenic over a short period of time can cause sickness such as nausea and diarrhea, and over the long term, exposure can cause cancer.

A December 2021 study of Montague obtained recently by CBC News through a freedom-of-information request showed that recent sampling found the highest concentration of arsenic in the soil was 18,000 milligrams per kilogram, and the average was 1,075 mg/kg. Nova Scotia’s guidelines for soil for agricultural use call for no more than 17 mg/kg, and no more than 31 mg/kg for residential use.

In groundwater at the site, arsenic was found in concentrations up to 90 milligrams per litre. The provincial standard is 10 mg/l.

The report only assessed Crown property at the site, not private land. But maps included in the report show where tailings may have spread onto several parcels of private property. Similarly, a 2019 report on Goldenville outlines where tailings areas abut property lines of private landowners.

A spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said in a statement that the department is “working to understand the full scope of contamination issues on Crown lands first.”

“We have and will continue to engage with third parties as we continue our work to assess and address potential contamination.”

Donnie Burke, the executive director of environmental assessment and remediation at Nova Scotia Lands, told CBC News in late June that the government hasn’t done third-party engagement yet because it’s still trying to determine what the liability for government is.

“You know, is it the taxpayer’s responsibility or the property owner’s responsibility? So there are all the conundrums that we’re faced with,” said Burke.

Nova Scotia Lands declined a more recent interview about third-party notification and who would bear responsibility for cleaning up contamination from old gold mines. A statement from a spokesperson simply noted that in some cases, the source of the contamination is on Crown land, and in others it is on private land but affects Crown land.

In a separate statement from Nova Scotia Environment, a spokesperson said the determination of responsibility for managing contamination depends on the circumstances and evidence at each site, and that the Environment Act “provides for a range of persons responsible.”

The statement said if someone believes their property may be contaminated, they should contact an environmental consulting company or the Environment Department, which can help the property owner determine what needs to be done next.

Some of the private properties that may be contaminated belong to individuals, while others are owned by corporations.

Mike Yari is the president of Pinnacle Properties, a developer that hopes to build 400 units of housing on land nestled between Montague Road and the Forest Hills extension of Highway 107. Part of the 46-hectare property is likely contaminated, but Yari said any construction would take place on a different part that is not contaminated.

He said he’s paid for a consultant’s study that proved the original source of the contamination is not on his land. But when he asks the province who will be responsible for cleaning it up, he doesn’t get answers.

“We don’t know — that’s the truth. Nobody told us what to do and nobody is really talking to us yet,” he said. “They said we are working on it, but working on it for a long time. There’s nothing happening.”

CBC News contacted Clayton Developments, another company that hopes to develop land affected by tailings near Montague, but no one responded.

The Halifax Regional Water Commission, which owns two large parcels of land near Montague that likely have tailings traces, said monitoring wells were installed on its properties in 2019, and that any risk to water quality is low if the area is left undisturbed.

CBC News has spoken with two other private landowners whose properties may be contaminated. Both said they have not been notified by the province about the issue.

While the maps don’t indicate there are tailings on Baltas’s property, she said she’d like more information from the government.

“Nobody’s been knocking on my door telling us anything and I think that’s a big concern for all of us,” she said. “We don’t know. That’s the thing. We don’t know anything.”

Canada: Seeking Input on the proposed Management Plan for Greenish-white Grasshopper in Canada

We are writing to let you know that Environment and Climate Change Canada is developing a Management Plan for Greenish-white Grasshopper (Hypochlora alba) in Canada, an insect listed as Special Concern under the federal Species At Risk Act (SARA). In Canada, the Greenish-white Grasshopper is found in southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where it’s only host plant, the White Sagebrush (Artemisia ludovician) can be found, and which the grasshopper relies on for multiple life stages.

For each species of Special Concern, Environment and Climate Change Canada must develop a Management Plan that provides information on the species and its habitat, establishes a management objective, identifies threats, and recommends broad strategies and conservation measures to address those threats and achieve the management objective.

The proposed Management Plan for Greenish-white Grasshopper was posted on the Species At Risk Public Registry on September 1, 2022 for a 60-day public comment period that ends on October 13, 2022.  Following this, we will consider all comments received and work to finalize the document.   We invite your review of the content of the proposed Management Plan for Greenish-white Grasshopper during this 60-day period. Your support will help to make this recovery document a success.  We have attached the proposed Management Plan as well as a Summary of the document.  The proposed Management Plan can also be viewed/downloaded here:

You may submit your comments or questions by contacting our office at:

        Email:    [email protected]

        Mail:      Canadian Wildlife Service, 115 Perimeter Road, Saskatoon, SK   S7N 0X4

        Phone:       1-855-245-0331 (toll free)


Satellites now get full-year view of Arctic sea-ice

(Source: BBC News)  Traditionally, spacecraft have struggled to determine the full state of the floes in summer months because the presence of surface meltwater has befuddled their instruments.

But by using new “deep learning” techniques, scientists have pushed past this limitation to get reliable observations across all seasons.

The breakthrough has wide implications.

Apart from the obvious advantage to ships, which need to know those parts of the Arctic that will be safe to navigate, there are significant benefits to climate and weather forecasting.

At the moment, there is considerable variation in the projections for when the polar ocean might be totally free of ice in an ever warmer world.


Having an improved insight into the melting processes in those key months when floes are being reduced, in area and thickness, ought now to sharpen the output from computer models.

“Despite excellent efforts by many researchers, these climate models’ predictions of when we’ll see the first fully ice-free Arctic Ocean in summer – they vary by 30-plus years,” Dr Jack Landy, from UiT The Arctic University of Norway, told BBC News.

“We need to tighten those predictions so we’re a lot more confident about what’s going to happen and when – and how the climate feedbacks will accelerate as a consequence.”

The extent of Arctic sea-ice cover has been in decline for the entire period that satellites have been monitoring it, which is more than 40 years – a reduction running at an average rate of 13% per decade.

But it’s only really since 2011 that spacecraft have been able to consistently measure its thickness – and thickness (or more properly, volume) is the true measure of the floes’ health.

That’s because the extent of sea-ice cover is heavily dependent on whether the winds have spread out the floes or pushed them together.

To measure thickness, scientists use satellite altimeters.

The European Space Agency’s (Esa) pioneering Cryosat-2 mission carries a radar to measure the difference in height between the top of the marine ice and the top of the water in the cracks, or leads, that separate the floes.

From this difference, scientists can then, with a relatively simple calculation, work out the thickness of the ice.

The approach works well in winter months, but in summer, when the snows on top of the ice, and the ice itself, start to melt, pooling water effectively dazzles the radar. Scientists can’t be sure if the echo signal that returns to Cryosat is coming from the open ocean or from the surface of a meltpond sitting on the ice.

May through to September – the key melt season – has been a blind period for the spacecraft.

To solve the problem, researchers used an artificial intelligence (AI) technique in which an algorithm was able to learn and identify reliable observations from a vast library of synthetic radar signals.

Prof Julienne Stroeve, from University College London (UCL), explained: “We simulated what would be the echo shapes that we would get for different ice surface types – whether they had meltponds; whether it was flooded ice; or ice of different roughnesses; or simply leads. We created this huge database of physically based estimates of what the radar return should look like, and then we matched those to the individual radar pulses from the instrument to find echoes that matched the best.”

Esa has kept in its data archives all the Cryosat May-to-September measurements, even though for the past decade they’ve been of next to no use. But now, thanks to this new approach, Dr Landy’s team has been able to go back through the records to recover full-year ice thickness measurements for the entire time the satellite has been operational.

Dr Rachel Tilling worked extensively with Cryosat data before transferring her studies to the US space agency’s recently launched Icesat-2 laser altimeter mission.

She applauded the innovation.

“Summer is when sea-ice extent in the Arctic is seeing its most rapid decline, and having this extra dimension will help us understand more about how the ice pack is changing,” the Nasa scientist told BBC News.

“Icesat-2 has its own unique difficulties in summer but we’re lucky that its photon-counting technology means we can still measure the height of sea-ice, water and melt ponds year-round.

“Having said that, Cryosat-2 will always be my first love so I’m really excited to see it being used in this novel way.”

A chief beneficiary of the new thickness measurements would be Inuit populations in the Arctic, said Dr Michel Tsamados, also from UCL.

“[They] have identified sea-ice roughness and slush (melted snow and ice) as a key impediment for safe travel on the ice with the changing climate already negatively affecting these characteristics and causing increased travel accidents and search-and-rescues,” he explained.

“Both are related to the thickness of the ice. Therefore, measuring throughout the full year the sea-ice thickness from space from Cryosat-2 but also Icesat-2 and other satellite sensors will eventually help provide better maps to the Inuit populations for safe travel over this rapidly changing terrain.”

Dr Landy and colleague have published their new Cryosat approach in the journal Nature.

Presentational grey line

How to measure sea-ice thickness

How Cryosat measures sea-ice volume - graphic
  • Cryosat’s radar has the resolution to see the Arctic’s “floes” and “leads”
  • Some 8/9ths of the ice tends to sit below the waterline – the draft
  • The radar senses the height of the freeboard – the ice above the waterline
  • Knowing this 1/9th figure allows Cryosat to work out sea-ice thickness
  • The thickness multiplied by the area of ice cover produces a volume
  • Icesat-2 does exactly the same as Cryosat but with a laser instrument
  • The biggest uncertainty for both is the covering of snow on the ice

 Upcoming Events


RemTech 2022

October 12-14, 2022
Fairmont Banff Springs

Program Now Available

40 Delegate Passes Remaining

ESAA is pleased to announce that program for 21st edition of RemTech is now available.   The program will feature 80 talks on variety of topics including: 
  • Alberta Environment and Parks Updates
  • Alberta Energy Regulator Updates
  • Bioremediation
  • Business Growth and Support
  • Emerging Contaminants
  • Groundwater
  • Indigenous Engagement and Consultation
  • In-Situ Treatment and Management
  • Interesting Projects
  • Legal / Regulatory
  • Natural Attenuation of Petroleum NAPLs (NSZD)
  • PTAC Reclamation and Remediation Research Update
  • Research and Technology
  • Risk Management
The complete program can be found online at:  
RemTech 2022 will also feature an out door tailgate party to start the conference, the Magic of RemTech Reception on Thursday, and Introduction to Indigenous Engagement and Consultation Workshop, 52 exhibits, technical talks, networking opportunities and four great keynotes, featuring:
  • Mark Hineline, Author, How Editors, Booksellers, Publishers, and Other Bookish Types Helped Craft the Environmental Movement in North America
  • Dr. Dave Williams, Former Canadian Shuttle Astronaut, ER Doctor and 
  • A conservation update from the Wilder Institute (Calgary Zoo)
  • Peter Mansbridge, Former Chief Correspondent for CBC News and Anchor of The National
Full conference details can be found at:
Registration:  40 delegate passes still available.  Registration capped at 650 people – visit: to register.

CBN Webinar: Strategies for Utilizing Brownfields in the Delivery of Affordable Housing

This webinar will use case studies to explore how municipalities and the private sector are working together to deliver affordable housing while supporting the reuse of brownfield properties, addressing two important public policy objectives. The lessons learned will benefit the spectrum of stakeholders working to deliver affordable housing, as well as, brownfield practitioners, including municipal leaders, developers, and the range of consultants that collectively work to achieve the desired outcomes.

Website Link To Register:

Brownie Awards 2022

November 14, 2022

The Brownie Awards recognize the builders, innovators and visionaries who are dedicated to the rehabilitation of brownfield sites that were once contaminated, under-utilized and undeveloped into productive residential and commercial projects that contribute to the growth of healthy communities across Canada.

Website Link To Register:


Alberta’s Energy Future: An Environmental Perspective

October 4th, Calgary

Returning in-person with a bang! The Fall Environmental Forum agenda includes four dynamic 20-minute speaker presentations. The morning will finish with a moderated panel discussion. The speakers come from a variety of backgrounds offering different views on the topic of Alberta’s Energy Future: An Environmental Perspective. Registration includes coffee and pastries.

Member companies receive a discounted rate for this event. If you are unsure if your company is a member, please visit

Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. Please contact [email protected] for more details.

Details at:


ESAA Job Board

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

Current Listings:
  • Intermediate Environmental Scientist – Trace Associates Inc.
  • Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist – Summit, An Earth Services Company
  • Environmental Analyst (2) – Summit, An Earth Services Company
  • Senior/Intermediate Emissions Specialist – North Shore Environmental Consultants Inc
  • Field Project Manager – Clean Harbors
  • Project Manager- Assessment, Remediation & Risk – Arletta Environmental Consulting Corp.
  • Environmental Scientist (Biology/Biologist) – Summit, An earth Services Company
  • Junior Environmental Specialist – Evotek Consulting Inc.
  • Intermediate Environmental Specialist –Evotek Consulting Inc. (2)
  • Environmental Engineers/Scientists/Technologists – Nichols Environmental (Canada) Ltd.
  • Intermediate Environmental Science/Field Technologist – Stantec Consulting
  • Crew Truck Lead Hand (2) – Summit, An earth Services Company
  • Field Robotics Technician – Copperstone Technologies Ltd
  • Field Supervisor/Field Team Lead – Robot operator – Copperstone Technologies Ltd
  • Practice Area Lead, Natural Sciences – Trace Associates Inc.
  • Intermediate Environmental Scientist – Trace Associates Inc.
  • Project Coordinator – Summit, An Earth Services Company
  • Senior Technical Specialist – Summit, An earth Services Company
  • Intermediate Environmental Specialist – Summit, An Earth Services Company
  • Environmental Permitting Officer – Natural Resources Conservation Board




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