ESAA Photo Contest – Submission Deadline – August 18th
The ESAA photo contest has returned. Do you work for an ESAA Member company? If so, they you are eligible to enter the 2023 ESAA Photo Contest.
The ESAA photo contest has returned. The theme for 2023 is ‘Main Street of Your Town’. Show us the heart and soul of your City, Town or Village when it wakes up or goes to sleep. Where did it all begin. Full details below. Submission deadline – August 18th, 2023.
- 1st Place – $200 Local Restaurant Gift Certificate – Winners choice
- 2nd Place – $100 MEC Gift Certificate
- 3rd Place – $50 Starbucks
- The top 12 photos will be included in the second annual ESAA calendar.
Full contest details, rules, submission upload link and more can be found at: https://esaa.org/membership/esaa-photo-contest/
Get out and get snapping!
“Today, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson released a paper reannouncing a host of new investment tax credits and programs for renewable electricity projects and technology upgrades.
“Under normal circumstances, this would be welcome news. Unfortunately, the federal government has a track record of announcing tax credits and programs and then failing to follow through.
“The amount of funding announced today, approximately $40 billion, is also a pittance compared with the estimated $1.7 trillion in funding that would be required to fully transition the grid by 2035.
“Alarmingly, reports indicate that Minister Wilkinson and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada Steven Guilbeault are considering prohibiting access to these funds, should they ever become available, to provinces that will not commit to their unrealistic 2035 timeline. This would obviously penalize the provinces most in need of assistance in transitioning to a carbon-neutral grid, including Alberta.
“Alberta will not recognize any target that will massively drive up the cost of Alberta power bills while simultaneously risking the integrity of Alberta’s grid.” – Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas
“We are rapidly reducing emissions, but Ottawa’s goal for net zero by 2035 is overly ambitious and poses significant challenges for electricity reliability and affordability. Not to mention, their upcoming Clean Electricity Regulation and other policies are driving instability and uncertainty.
“I am pleased that the federal government acknowledges the need for natural gas-powered electricity to back up intermittent renewable power from wind and solar. Alberta is committed to reducing emissions while still maintaining a safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity system.
“Alberta is Canada’s leader in renewable electricity development. However, there are many concerning issues around the rapid pace of development, which is why we have recently paused approvals to review how renewable projects move forward. We know that renewables will play a key part in Alberta’s electrical grid, but it is essential that we do this right so Albertans are able to count on reliable electricity without intermittency.
“Alberta’s unique grid is disproportionately impacted by these federal ambitions. There must be careful consideration for the competitive, deregulated aspects of Alberta’s system to minimize economic impacts on Alberta families and businesses.” – Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Affordability and Utilities
AER: Increasing Number of Incidents of Pipeline Contact Damage During Ground Disturbance
Over the last three years, we have noted a 69% increase in the number of pipeline incidents related to contact damage during ground disturbance (26 incidents in 2020 to 44 incidents in 2022). Of particular concern in 2022 is a 243% year-over-year increase in licensees contacting their own pipelines (from 7 incidents to 24; known as a “first party incident”). Further information on pipeline safety can be found in the AER’s annual Pipeline Performance Report.
All persons conducting ground disturbance, including those not regulated by the AER, must do so in accordance with Part 5 of the Pipeline Rules, including taking “all precautions reasonably necessary to ascertain whether a pipeline exists before commencing any work, operation, or activity.” Unsafe ground disturbance practices can be very dangerous; they can result in serious injury, cause significant environmental damage and outages, and become very costly.
All pipeline contact damage in Alberta must first be reported to the pipeline licensee and then to the AER, even if no product is released. The incident must be investigated to determine the cause of the incident and what measures must be implemented to prevent future occurrences. Reburying a pipeline that has damage to the coating or the pipeline without fixing the damage appropriately is not permitted and could result in a serious pipeline failure in the future.
Below is a list of some of the things a person conducting a ground disturbance must do:
- Familiarize yourself with Part 5 of the Pipeline Rules and sections 32, 33, and 35 of the Pipeline Act.
- Thoroughly search for pipelines within 30 metres of the perimeter of the area you are planning to disturb.
- Contact Utility Safety Partners (formerly Alberta One-Call) and request a locate be done to identify the location of any pipelines and buried utilities before conducting any ground disturbance.
- Not all pipelines may be registered with Utility Safety Partners. Additional research may be needed, and one must always be aware of surroundings while digging.
- Take extra precautions when digging in congested areas with multiple pipelines to ensure all pipelines have been identified appropriately, including extra hydrovacing if necessary.
- Contact the licensees of any identified pipelines. Clear communication between the licensee and those conducting the ground disturbance is critical.
- In cases where there may be no responsive licensee for a pipeline, contact us at [email protected] for further instructions.
- Once located, if mechanical excavation equipment will be used within 0.6 metres of the pipeline, the disturbance must be directly supervised by the licensee.
- Ensure the competency and training of the personnel conducting the ground disturbance is appropriate, current, and meet the requirements of the Pipeline Rules.
- Keep all pipeline warning signs or markers visible and legible for the duration of the ground disturbance.
- Sufficiently hand expose the pipe for positive identification before using any mechanical equipment.
- When installing another pipeline by directional drilling methods, ensure that the drill path is known at all times, that the pipelines that are being crossed are sufficiently exposed, and that the activity is properly supervised to avoid contact.
Additionally, licensees are reminded that the Pipeline Act and the Pipeline Rules require that the risks related to ground disturbance and contact damage be managed through safety and loss management systems and integrity management programs that meet the latest edition of Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z662: Oil and Gas Pipeline Systems—see specifically clauses 3.1.2, 3.2, 3.3, and Annex N.
For additional information regarding working around pipelines see our website, aer.ca > Providing Information > By Topic > Pipelines > Working Around Oil and Gas Pipelines. If you have any questions, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 1-855-297-8311 or by email at [email protected].
The Government of Canada invests $6.7 million to support 22 environmental projects across Canada
The Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada funding program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Built on the premise that environmental good must follow harm, the program provides an effective way of responding to environmental damage by directing funds received from fines, court orders, and voluntary payments from environmental violations, to carry out projects that benefit our natural environment.
The Fund supports projects that help to restore natural resources that are similar to those damaged by the original incident, and are located at or near the location where environmental damage occurred.
The most recent round of allocated funding, announced on August 8, 2023, will support 22 projects to be carried out in seven provinces and territories across Canada—five projects in Alberta, one in British Columbia, one in New Brunswick, two in Newfoundland and Labrador, one in Nunavut, five in Ontario, and seven in Quebec.
These projects aim to:
- Provide restoration and management actions for more than 1,029 hectares of habitat.
- Reduce and divert over 30,800 kilograms of toxic or harmful waste.
- Implement environmental quality activities on 772 hectares of habitat.
- Monitor, assess, and direct studies carried out on more than 19 million hectares of habitat.
- Engage over 1,166 participants and 252 partners and provide opportunities for community members, including Indigenous peoples and youth, to increase environmental awareness and capacity.
Province confirms poor water quality in Washington state river is coming from B.C.
(Source: CBC News) The province has confirmed water of poor quality flowing through the Nooksack River in Washington state is coming from multiple sources in B.C.
This comes a month after Washington farmers and officials called upon B.C. to investigate and address high levels of fecal bacteria coming from the Canadian side of the border.
A joint letter sent in June from the Whatcom Family Farmers and the North Lynden Watershed Improvement District addressed to B.C. Premier David Eby and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said routine water quality testing done by Whatcom County and the state’s agriculture department found bacteria at levels over 200 times higher than the water quality standard.
In a statement to CBC News, B.C.’s environment ministry said there are “multiple sources of poor water quality,” including an Abbotsford compost facility.
The province did not respond to specific questions about the other sources of contamination.
The ministry said it’s reviewing permits for discharge limits for various operations in that watershed, including the compost facility, which it identified as Consolidated Envirowaste Industries Inc., operating under the name The Answer Garden Products.
“We are working with [Consolidated Envirowaste] and they have appealed their discharge requirements,” the statement said.
B.C.’s Environmental Appeal Board confirmed the facility has an ongoing appeal, with a hearing scheduled for April 2024.
Consolidated Envirowaste declined to comment to CBC News on the matter.
The province said in its statement it’s working with several groups to address the problem.
“It is important to note there are multiple potential sources of the poor water quality in the Nooksack tributaries, and we continue to monitor and address water quality in these shared waterways in collaboration with state and federal U.S. agencies,” it said.
Fred Likkel, executive director of farmer advocacy group Whatcom Family Farms, told CBC News in June he suspected the bacteria was due to dumping upstream.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Counts that high are a direct flow of sewage or manure going directly into the stream,” he said at the time.
Erika Douglas from Whatcom County’s natural resources division said water samples near the border have shown “much lower” levels of fecal bacteria since May. However, she said higher bacteria levels are usually only seen in the late fall and winter.
“We will be continuing to work with B.C. partners on response systems if acute discharges are observed again in this upcoming wet season,” Douglas said.
Scarlet Tang from Washington’s department of ecology said they are in contact with B.C.’s environment ministry, but have not received any information about specific sources of pollution.
(Source: CorporateKnights.com) Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” has focused new attention on the legacies of the Manhattan Project – the World War II program to develop nuclear weapons. As the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9, 1945, approach, it’s a timely moment to look further at dilemmas wrought by the creation of the atomic bomb.
The Manhattan Project spawned a trinity of interconnected legacies. It initiated a global arms race that threatens the survival of humanity and the planet as we know it. It also led to widespread public health and environmental damage from nuclear weapons production and testing. And it generated a culture of governmental secrecy with troubling political consequences.
As a researcher examining communication in science, technology, energy and environmental contexts, I’ve studied these legacies of nuclear weapons production. From 2000 to 2005, I also served on a citizen advisory board that provides input to federal and state officials on a massive environmental cleanup program at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state that continues today.
Hanford is less well known than Los Alamos, New Mexico, where scientists designed the first atomic weapons, but it was also crucial to the Manhattan Project. There, an enormous, secret industrial facility produced the plutonium fuel for the Trinity test on July 16, 1945, and the bomb that incinerated Nagasaki a few weeks later. (The Hiroshima bomb was fueled by uranium produced in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at another of the principal Manhattan Project sites.)
Later, workers at Hanford made most of the plutonium used in the U.S. nuclear arsenal throughout the Cold War. In the process, Hanford became one of the most contaminated places on Earth. Total cleanup costs are projected to reach up to US$640 billion, and the job won’t be completed for decades, if ever.
Nuclear weapons production and testing have harmed public health and the environment in multiple ways. For example, a new study released in preprint form in July 2023 while awaiting scientific peer review finds that fallout from the Trinity nuclear test reached 46 U.S. states and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Dozens of families who lived near the site – many of them Hispanic or Indigenous – were unknowingly exposed to radioactive contamination. So far, they have not been included in the federal program to compensate uranium miners and “downwinders” who developed radiation-linked illnesses after exposure to later atmospheric nuclear tests.
On July 27, 2023, however, the U.S. Senate voted to extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and expand it to communities near the Trinity test site in New Mexico. A companion bill is under consideration in the House of Representatives.
The largest above-ground U.S. tests, along with tests conducted underwater, took place in the Pacific islands. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union and other nations conducted their own testing programs. Globally through 2017, nuclear-armed nations exploded 528 weapons above ground or underwater, and an additional 1,528 underground.
Estimating how many people have suffered health effects from these tests is notoriously difficult. So is accounting for disruptions to communities that were displaced by these experiments.
Nuclear weapons production has also exposed many people, communities and ecosystems to radiological and toxic chemical pollution. Here, Hanford offers troubling lessons.
Starting in 1944, workers at the remote site in eastern Washington state irradiated uranium fuel in reactors and then dissolved it in acid to extract its plutonium content. Hanford’s nine reactors, located along the Columbia River to provide a source of cooling water, discharged water contaminated with radioactive and hazardous chemicals into the river through 1987, when the last operating reactor was shut down.
Extracting plutonium from the irradiated fuel, an activity called reprocessing, generated 56 million gallons of liquid waste laced with radioactive and chemical poisons. The wastes were stored in underground tanks designed to last 25 years, based on an assumption that a disposal solution would be developed later.
Seventy-eight years after the first tank was built, that solution remains elusive. A project to vitrify, or embed tank wastes in glass for permanent disposal, has been mired in technical, managerial and political difficulties, and repeatedly threatened with cancellation.
Now, officials are considering mixing some radioactive sludges with concrete grout and shipping them elsewhere for disposal – or perhaps leaving them in the tanks. Critics regard those proposals as risky compromises. Meanwhile, an estimated 1 million gallons of liquid waste have leaked from some tanks into the ground, threatening the Columbia River, a backbone of the Pacific Northwest’s economy and ecology.
Radioactive trash still litters parts of Hanford. Irradiated bodies of laboratory animals were buried there. The site houses radioactive debris ranging from medical waste to propulsion reactors from decommissioned submarines and parts of the reactor that partially melted down at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979. Advocates for a full Hanford cleanup warn that without such a commitment, the site will become a “national sacrifice zone,” a place abandoned in the name of national security.
As the movie “Oppenheimer” shows, government secrecy has shrouded nuclear weapons activities from their inception. Clearly, the science and technology of those weapons have dangerous potential and require careful safeguarding. But as I’ve argued previously, the principle of secrecy quickly expanded more broadly. Here again, Hanford provides an example.
Hanford’s reactor fuel was sometimes reprocessed before its most-highly radioactive isotopes had time to decay. In the 1940s and 1950s, managers knowingly released toxic gases into the air, contaminating farmlands and pastures downwind. Some releases supported an effort to monitor Soviet nuclear progress. By tracking deliberate emissions from Hanford, scientists learned better how to spot and evaluate Soviet nuclear tests.
In the mid-1980s, local residents grew suspicious about an apparent excess of illnesses and deaths in their community. Initially, strict secrecy – reinforced by the region’s economic dependence on the Hanford site – made it hard for concerned citizens to get information.
Once the curtain of secrecy was partially lifted under pressure from area residents and journalists, public outrage prompted two major health effects studies that engendered fierce controversy. By the close of the decade, more than 3,500 “downwinders” had filed lawsuits related to illnesses they attributed to Hanford. A judge finally dismissed the case in 2016 after awarding limited compensation to a handful of plaintiffs, leaving a bitter legacy of legal disputes and personal anguish.
Currently active atomic weapons facilities also have seen their share of nuclear and toxic chemical contamination. Among them, Los Alamos National Laboratory – home to Oppenheimer’s original compound, and now a site for both military and civilian research – has contended with groundwater pollution, workplace hazards related to the toxic metal beryllium, and gaps in emergency planning and worker safety procedures.
As Nolan’s film recounts, J. Robert Oppenheimer and many other Manhattan Project scientists had deep concerns about how their work might create unprecedented dangers. Looking at the legacies of the Trinity test, I wonder whether any of them imagined the scale and scope of those outcomes.
rofessor emeritus of communication at North Carolina State University.
New ESAA Members
ESAA welcomes the following new members. If you are not a member of ESAA you can join now via: https://esaa.org/join-esaa/
Burns & McDonnell
1100 1 St SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1B1
Phone: (403) 708-3145
Ayo Oladiran, Project Manager
Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 13,500 engineers, construction and craft professionals, architects, and more to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities from a 100% employee-owned team.
Suite 1930 520 – 5th Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2P 3R7
Phone: (403) 200-6800
Closure specializes in offering Asset End of Life consulting and advisory services. Our company stands out for developing software that revolutionizes the way oil and gas wellsite liabilities are appraised, prioritized, and efficiently reclaimed.
West Lake Energy Corp.
700, 600 – 3rd Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 0G5
Phone: (403) 216-5829
Heather Whelan, Environmental Coordinator
Upcoming Industry Events
Upcoming ESAA Events for the Remainder of 2023
ESAA Calgary Mixer – SOLD OUT
September 12th, 2023
ESAA Lethbridge Mixer – 20 SPOTS REMAINING
September 13th, 2023
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Blanco Cantina, 319 – 6th Street, Lethbridge
ESAA Grande Prairie Mixer – 5 Spot Remaining
September 27th, 2023
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Latitude 55, 10030 102 Avenue, Grande Prairie
ESAA Lloydminster Mixer – 10 SPOTS REMAINING
October 3rd, 2023
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Three Trees Tap + Kitchen, 8120 – 44 Street, Lloydminster
ESAA RemTech 2023 – Early Bird Registration end August 11th
October 11th to October 13, 2023
Fairmont Banff Springs
Hotel and Conference Centre
404 Spray Avenue, Banff
ESAA PFASA Symposium – Program Coming Soon…
December 6th, 2023
8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fairmont Palliser Calgary, 133 – 9th Avenue SW, Calgary
ONEIA PFAS Symposium – Click the Image to learn more or register
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist – Summit
- Environmental Specialist –
- INTERMEDIATE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST –
- SENIOR ECOLOGIST –
- Senior Environmental Professional Planning (Various Locations) –
- Lead, Reclamation and Remediation Services –
- Environmental Engineers/Scientists/Technologists Regina, Saskatchewan –
- Labourer (Various) – Summit
- Geoscientist –
- Manager of Engineering & Environment –
- Senior Hydrogeologist –
- Environmental Specialist –