EnviroTech is Evolving
EnviroTech is now the ESAA Environmental Summit
April 12-14, 2023
May 30 – June 1, 2023
Sponsorship Opportunities / Exhibit Space Now Available
The Environmental Services Association of Alberta (ESAA) is pleased to announce that in partnership with the Ontario Environment Industry Association (ONEIA) that RemTech East is returning to the Fallsview Casino – Niagara Falls: May 30th – June 1st, 2023.
A number of sponsorship opportunities are now available for RemTech East, including:
Full event details can be found online at: www.esaa.org/remtecheast
ESAA and ONEIA look forward to seeing you at the Falls!
October 11-13, 2023
Call for Abstracts / Early Bird Registration
ESAA is pleased to announce that early bird registration is open for the 22nd edition of RemTech. RemTech 2023 will feature an out door tailgate party to start the conference, 55 exhibits, technical talks, networking opportunities, a Thursday night reception featuring Canadian comedy legend Ron James and three great keynotes.
Full conference details can be found at: https://esaa.org/remtech/
Registration: Early bird registration is now open – visit: https://esaa.org/remtech/register/ to register early and save.
Sponsors / Exhibitors: Previous sponsors and exhibitors will be contacted in the next week to secure your previous sponsorship level and exhibit space.
Hotel Reservations: The Fairmont Banff Springs is now accepting reservations for the conference. The conference rate starts at $254 per night per night depending on the type and occupancy of the room. (rates do not include taxes, fees and surcharges). Rate also includes 2 free drinks (per room) in the Rundle Lounge. (Drink vouchers valid during October 11-13, 2023). Make your reservation via: https://esaa.org/remtech/hotel-travel/
Call for Abstracts
ESAA invites you to submit technical abstracts focusing on technologies for the remediation of contaminated soil. Abstracts are encouraged in, but not limited to, the following areas:
The preliminary selection of presentations will be based on submitted abstracts and reviewed by a panel of peers.
Abstracts should be no longer that 500 words (not including bio), should include a presenter biography and be submitted as a Word Document by no later than July 21st, 2023.
Before submitting your abstract, ensure that client approval has been obtained.
Notification of acceptance will be given by August 31st.
For instructions on how to submit an abstract visit: https://esaa.org/remtech/call-for-abstracts/
Full presentations must be submitted no late than one week prior to RemTech 2023.
Thank you for your continued support!
Alberta to pilot oil and gas royalty breaks for legally required well cleanup
(Source: Canadian Press) The Alberta government is moving ahead with a plan that would give oil and gas companies a tax break for meeting their legal obligations to clean up old well sites, inviting a select group of landowner organizations to a meeting to discuss a pilot project.
On Thursday, Alberta Energy Minister Peter Guthrie is scheduled to host those groups to discuss “a concept for a royalty credit program to incent accelerated oil and gas site closure,” indicates a government document that outlines the proposed pilot program, obtained by The Canadian Press.
That pilot program, previously known as RStar and now called the Liability Management Incentive Program, would issue $100 million in credits that qualified companies could use to apply against royalties earned from new production. Credits would be earned by cleaning up well sites that have been inactive for at least 20 years.
Opposition New Democrat energy critic Kathleen Ganley said there should be a conversation about the pilot project happening with the public.
“They’re taking public money and giving it to oil companies to do work they are already legally obligated to do and they’re doing it at a time of high oil prices,” Ganley said.
The idea has been widely panned by economists, environmentalists, rural municipalities and analysts within Alberta Energy. Critics call the program risky, opaque and a violation of the polluter-pay principle.
“For some reason, we’re incentivizing future royalties to eliminate liabilities when profits are high,” said Paul McLauchlin of Rural Municipalities Alberta. “It’s very confusing to a lot of people.”
Alberta landowners dealing with the 170,000 unreclaimed sites on their properties aren’t crazy about the idea but need to get those wells cleaned up, said Daryl Bennett of Action Surface Rights, which will attend the meeting.
“It’s somewhat regrettable that the taxpayer is left to fund these programs and that royalties will be reduced,” Bennett said. “However, landowners are dealing with lots of abandoned wells. It’s kind of a catch-22 situation that was never in the social contract.”
Not all landowners groups have been invited to the meeting with Guthrie.
Dwight Popowich of the Polluter Pay Federation said his group made repeated requests to attend the session, but have instead been told to meet with department officials.
“If you happen to be a dissenter of any kind, you definitely won’t be invited,” he said.
Alberta Energy spokeswoman Gabrielle Symbalisty said further consultations are planned.
“Indigenous groups, municipalities, industry associations, oil and gas companies, landowners and other groups have been asked to provide feedback on the proposed criteria,” she said in an email.
The government document says the program is still in development and no final decisions have been made.
However, some feel the United Conservative Party government has already made up its mind.
“It’s moving a lot faster than we expected,” said McLauchlin, who has had what he described as “some engagement” on the pilot project.
The proposal has been pushed for years, including by Premier Danielle Smith when she was a business lobbyist. A former RStar lobbyist now works in Smith’s Calgary office. The program was part of Guthrie’s mandate letter when Smith named him to cabinet.
“I very much get the feeling the fix has been in on this program,” said Ganley. “It sounds to me like this (program) was always going to go forward.”
Other suggestions to address Alberta’s huge abandoned well program exist.
“They could say, ‘You’re not allowed to drill any more unless you clean up a well,'” Bennett said.
Timelines are another option, said Popowich.
“If a well is shut for 12 months, you’ve got 18 months to clean it up,” he said. “Most jurisdictions have that timeline. Alberta has none.”
McLauchlin said other taxes on oilpatch activity have been lifted and wonders why further incentives are needed at a time of record industry profits.
“This is designed by industry,” he said. “The engagement with landowners is going to be a day, and then the pilot’s going to roll out.
“This (program) hasn’t been built from the ground up on what is the big picture liability conversation.”
A wider conversation on the issue is needed, Ganley said.
“At minimum, the UCP should be talking to not just friends and insiders, but to the entire public.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.
The AER Issues an Environmental Protection Order for Imperial’s Kearl Oil Sands Project
An Environmental Protection Order (EPO) was issued February 6, 2023, by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to Imperial Oil Limited (Imperial) in response to two containment incidents at the Kearl Oil Sands Project (Kearl). Kearl is an Imperial owned and operated oil sands site in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta, 45 kilometres northeast of Fort McKay.
The AER has issued the EPO ordering Imperial to contain the releases and develop and submit plans for wildlife protection, environmental remediation, and public notification. The EPO can be found here.
The first incident, reported earlier in 2022, involves industrial wastewater seeping from the External Tailings Area in four locations both on and outside the boundaries of the Kearl site. At this time, there are no public impacts.
Prior to the issuing of the Order, the AER issued two notices of non-compliance, conducted site inspections and assessments and required Imperial to monitor and sample wastewater and submit results to the AER. The AER also worked with Imperial to commence the installation of additional seepage wells and delineation groundwater wells along the perimeter of the site.
In a separate, second incident, also at the Kearl site, Imperial reported an uncontrolled release of industrial wastewater from an overflow drainage pond, that occurred on Saturday, February 4, 2023. The spill volume initial estimate is 5,300 m3.
Provisions in the EPO address both incidents.
At this time, no impacts to wildlife have been reported in relation to either incident.
An EPO is a compliance order designed to prevent, stop, or mitigate adverse environmental impacts or risks to public safety, and ensure responsible resource development and must be completed within prescribed deadlines.
It is Imperial’s responsibility to manage these incidents and prepare action plans according to EPO stipulations. The AER will hold the operator to account in completing the work, including effective measures for wildlife deterrents, cleanup, and remediation of any impacts to the environment.
Alberta’s Energy Regulator will enforce both the mitigation and remediation actions required to fully resolve these issues. The Government of Alberta sets standards and conditions of approval for licensees and the AER’s mandate is to ensure that companies operate within those requirements. Imperial is accountable to now complete and publicly communicate their strategy to attend to this matter.
The AER has investigations underway, and no further statements will be made at this time.
Environmental protection order cites multiple issues at Kearl oilsands project
(Source: CBC News) Alberta’s energy regulator has given Imperial Oil until the end of the month to figure out how to deal with ongoing seepage at a tailings pond at its Kearl oilsands mine.
On Monday, the regulator issued an environmental protection order to Imperial to clean up ongoing seepages of industrial wastewater at the mine, located in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
The company also needs to submit plans for wildlife protection, environmental remediation and notifying the public.
The order covers two separate contamination incidents that took place over nine months.
The most recent incident took place on Saturday, when Imperial reported an uncontrolled release of about 5,300 cubic metres of industrial wastewater from an overflow drainage pond.
Another incident, which dates back to May 2022, resulted in industrial wastewater seeping from the external tailings area in four locations both on and outside the boundaries of the Kearl site.
The regulator says there was no impact on the public or wildlife from either incident.
Prior to this week’s order, the regulator had already issued two notices of non-compliance, conducted site inspections and assessments, and required Imperial to monitor and sample wastewater and submit its results.
The regulator has worked with Imperial on measures such as installing seepage wells and marking the boundaries of groundwater wells along the site’s perimeter.
Imperial is still investigating the cause of that release, spokesperson Lisa Schmidt said in an statement to CBC.
“We regret this incident and are making every effort to learn from it and apply preventative measures,” she said.
“Some of the actions that we plan to implement are additional monitoring and control measures, including water catchment features, and additional monitoring and pumping wells. Based on our monitoring to date, there are no reported impacts to wildlife and no measurable impact to local waterways.”
The regulator has told Imperial to submit a final report within 60 days of completing the actions contained in the environmental protection order.
The Calgary-based Imperial is about 70 per cent owned by U.S. industry giant Exxon Mobil.
AER:New Edition of Directive 071 and New Manual
Today we released a new edition of Directive 071: Emergency Preparedness and Response and its new companion Manual 026: Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide.
This edition of Directive 071 and the creation of Manual 026 reflect our ongoing commitment to public safety and protection of the environment and is a step towards modernizing and aligning with the best practices for emergency management. We have made the following revisions to the directive:
- Duplicated requirements and requirements that are no longer needed have been removed.
- The directive now applies to operations regulated under the Geothermal Resource Development Act.
- The directive has been restructured to improve its organization.
- Content relating to emergency preparedness and response guidance has been removed from the directive and placed in Manual 026.
Manual 026 also includes information concerning considerations when consulting with appropriate authorities that previously resided in Bulletin 2010-48.
Directive 071 and Manual 026 will undergo further revision as we continue modernizing and aligning with the best practices in emergency management.
The revised edition of Directive 071 is available on our website at www.aer.ca > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Directives. The new edition of Manual 026 is available on our website at www.aer.ca > Regulating Development > Rules and Directives > Manuals.
If you have any questions, contact [email protected].
TC Energy Corp. says cleanup of a massive crude spill from its Keystone Pipeline into a creek in Kansas last December will cost US$480 million.
The Calgary-based company announced Feb. 9 that a third-party analysis into what caused the leak is still underway, but it has been determined that the spill on Dec. 7 occurred because of a combination of factors, including “bending stress” on the pipe and a weld flaw attributed to work completed at a fabrication facility.
The update included a revised figure for the volume of the spill in Washington County, Kansas. The company said 12,937 barrels of crude oil were released in the rupture along Mill Creek; previously TC Energy had estimated 14,000 barrels.
“Although welding inspection and testing were conducted within applicable codes and standards, the weld flaw led to a crack that propagated over time as a result of bending stress fatigue, eventually leading to an instantaneous rupture,” the company said in a release.
“The cause of the bending stress remains under investigation as part of the broader third-party root cause failure analysis.”
The company said a metallurgical analysis identified no issues with the strength or material properties of the pipe or manufactured fitting. “The pipeline was operating within its operational design and within the pipeline design maximum operating pressure,” it said.
The spill, which prompted a nearly month-long shutdown of the critical cross-border pipeline, will cost the company an estimated US$480 million for investigation and remediation work. The company said it was working with insurers to maximize cost recoveries.
Keystone, which carries crude 4,324 kilometres from Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the U.S. Gulf Coast, was granted a special permit in 2017 enabling it to operate in the U.S. at a higher stress level than is otherwise allowed under federal pipeline regulations.
The special permit process is currently the subject of an independent review launched by the U.S. federal pipeline regulator in response to concerns raised about Keystone’s safety in a 2021 U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
“A bad weld from a fabrication facility is troubling – it adds to the list of manufacturing and construction issues that have plagued this pipeline,” Bill Caram, executive director of Pipeline Safety Trust, a U.S. advocacy group against pipeline hazards, told Reuters.
Land movement likely caused a bad weld to break and bending stress on the pipe, said Caram, adding that Keystone’s permit requires it to mitigate such threats.
Canada does not have a special permitting system for its pipelines crossing inter-provincial or international boundaries. Each Canadian pipeline is certified to a particular maximum operating threshold, according to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).
TC Energy has voluntarily reduced operating pressure across the entire Keystone line since flows resumed at the end of December.
“Our focus continues to be the safe operation of the pipeline system,” the company said. “Additional operational mitigations, such as reduced operating pressure, are in place to support the safe operations of our system while we continue our response and investigation. Our team is progressing a remediation plan, including an analysis of other areas with potentially similar conditions, the use of additional in-line inspections, and further operational mitigations.”
New ESAA Member
ESAA welcomes the following new members. If you are not a member of ESAA you can join now via: https://esaa.org/join-esaa/
Pacific Rim Laboratories Inc.
#103 19575 55A Ave
Surrey, BC V3S 8P8
Phone: (604) 532-8711
David Hope, CEO
Email: [email protected]
Pacific Rim Labs is a ISO 17025 accredited lab based in Surrey British Columbia specializing is low level detection or organic contaminants. With over 20 years of experience, the lab has worked with a wide range of clients from government agencies, regulatory bodies, and corporations across the globe that require consistent and reliable solutions. We test for a range of persistent organic pollutants (POP) to ultra trace levels such as dioxins, PCBs, PAHs, TBT and PFAS and more. We are also always developing new methods for emerging contaminants while still tailoring our results to each customers needs.
Upcoming Industry Events
Registration is now open!
We are excited to be heading to Yellowknife for the SWANA Northern Lights Chapter Annual Conference! We decided to host the conference in June this year to get us close to the summer solstice and the never setting sun.
We are planning to change up our schedule this year and kick off the conference with a midnight golf tournament and our agenda will take advantage of the local sites and activities. Expect great presentations, an interactive tradeshow, abundant networking activities and the ability to “Network until the sun sets”.
When: June 13-16, 2023
Where: Explorer Hotel Yellowknife
Registration for delegates as well as exhibitors is now open, and you can make your hotel reservations as well. Visit https://swananorthernlights.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in Yellowknife!
Delta Saskatoon – March 22-23, 2023
Upcoming Soil Science Courses
Introduction to Soil Science (SOIL220 Wi23)
March 4 to 19, 2023 (Saturdays and Sundays online with one-day in-person practicum)
Soil Classification (SOIL410 Wi23)
March 29 and 30, 2023 (online)
Soil Mapping (SOIL420 Wi23)
April 5 and 6, 2023 (online)
Pedology Field School (SOIL230 Sp23)
May 29 to 31, 2023 (in-person in the Edmonton area)
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist –
- Environmental Technician Intern –
- Intermediate Environmental Project Manager –
- Summer Students and Seasonal Staff –
- Senior Environmental Scientist (Salt Specialist) –
- Lead Crew Hand –
- Environmental Planner – Team Lead –
- Environmental Scientist (Biologist) –
- Intermediate Environmental Specialist –
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist –
- Environmental Analyst –
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist –
- Environmental Specialist (Summer Student) –
- Environmental Inspector Consultant –
- Business Development Representative –
- Senior Environmental Professional, Reclamation & Remediation –
- Senior Environmental Professional, Planning –
- INTERMEDIATE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST OR TECHNOLOGIST –
- INTERMEDIATE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST/TECHNOLOGIST –
- Environmental Project Supervisor –
- Account Manager Waste Services –
- Senior Regulatory Planner, Lands –
- Sustainability Engineer Waste and Recycling –
- Intermediate Environmental Field Technician –
- Senior Hydrogeologist –
- Environmental Technologist –
- Lead, Reclamation and Remediation Services –