ESAA Participating at CE3C
Next week a number of executives from our membership will be attending the Canadian Environmental & Engineering Executives Conference (CE3C). This annual conference is an exclusive forum for executives in our industry to discuss key issues facing the industry and hear from experts in a number of business related fields.
Topics covered include: Cybersecurity, Diversity, Ownership Transition, Strategic Challenges, Contractor Challenges and much more. The full program for the event can be found at: https://ce3c.ca/program/.
ESAA President, Rob Traynor and ESAA Executive Director, Joe Chowaniec will also be in attendance to represent our membership. If you are a member we encourage you to reach out to us in advance with any question or thoughts you may have and we will do our very best to discuss common themes or ideas.
Please forward any comments or questions to email@example.com.
- Sole Proprietor ($400 + GST) – Any unincorporated company with no more than one employee, or any self-employed person who provides an environmental product or service, is eligible to be a Sole Proprietor Member. Sole Proprietor Members shall be entitled to receive notice of, and to attend, all meetings of the Members and shall be entitled to one vote each at such meetings. Sole Proprietors Members receive all the benefits of a Full Member
- Student Member ($25 + GST) – Any individual who is registered as a student in a post-secondary institution with an interest in environmental studies, products and/or services is eligible to be a Student Member. Student Members shall be entitled to receive notice of, and to attend all meetings, of the Members but shall not be entitled to vote at such meetings.
If you are currently a Full Member of ESAA and meet the definition of a Sole Proprietor as outlined above, you are entitled to a refund of a portion of your 2023 membership fees. Please contact Joe Chowaniec (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the ESAA Office, to make the change in your membership.
Not a member of ESAA, now is a great time to enjoy and take advantage of a wide array of membership benefits.
May 30 – June 1, 2023
Call for Abstracts and Early Bird Registration
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 in 202 to the Fallsview Casino – Niagara Falls: May 30th – June 1st.
The two and a half day technical program will consist of presentations grouped into sessions chaired by leaders in environmental remediation research and application.
The event will feature great keynote speakers, lots of networking opportunities and an amazing reception at Table Rock House Restaurant.
Call for Abstracts – Deadline to submit an abstract is February 17th, 2023. Full details at: https://esaa.org/remtecheast/
Early Bird Registration Now Open
EnviroTech is Evolving
EnviroTech is now the ESAA Environmental Summit
April 12-14, 2023
Lead-contaminated well near central Alberta gravel mine triggers investigation
(Source: Canadian Press) Alberta Environment is investigating how a family’s water well near a gravel mine became so contaminated by lead it’s no longer drinkable.
The investigation comes as Red Deer County considers expanding mine operations that Jody Young suspects are the source of the lead she and her family may have been drinking for months.
“We have it in our blood,” said Young. “My son’s levels are actually higher than mine.”
Young, who lives just south of Red Deer near the banks of the Red Deer River, has lived within a few hundred metres of the county’s gravel mine for more than a decade.
She grew used to the slight murkiness of her once-clear well water as the mines near her central Alberta home stepped up production. Tests a few years ago showed the water was OK and she preferred the tap to a plastic bottle.
But the water kept getting worse.
“We’ve gone from just seeing it in a bathtub to being able to see it in a glass of water,” she said.
So last summer she asked Alberta Health Services to test her family’s well water. Within days, she got a call.
“They told us to immediately stop drinking our water,” she said. “We weren’t to cook with it. We were advised not even to brush our teeth with it.”
Lead — which can cause anemia, weakness, kidney and brain damage — was above levels fit for human consumption. So was aluminum.
Both metals were subsequently found in blood samples from her family.
“It was deeply concerning to learn of well water contamination in Red Deer County,” said Alberta Environment spokeswoman Carla Jones in an email. “The source of these metals is under investigation.”
On Feb. 7, Young plans to appear at a public hearing hosted by Red Deer County to oppose proposed changes to a county land-use bylaw. The changes would permit gravel mines on land virtually adjacent to her water well.
The proposed expansion site, privately owned, is also on land considered environmentally significant by provincial regulators.
“We are in full compliance with Alberta Environment on our pit,” said Dave Dittrick, Red Deer County’s assistant manager. Private operators would have to follow the same regulations, he said.
“Everything they do will have to be in compliance.”
Dittrick said although the county is co-operating with Alberta Environment, it hasn’t seen the data that prompted Alberta Health’s concern.
“We have not seen any information to substantiate these claims,” he said.
Gravel, or aggregate, mines are needed for everything from paving roads to building houses. Although they’re everywhere in Alberta, data on them is hard to find.
Mines larger than five hectares must be registered and come under provincial regulation. Mines that go below the water table or involve significant water use require a Water Act licence.
“Alberta has a robust regulatory approval process to manage environmental impacts of gravel pits,” said Alberta Environment spokesman Miguel Racin.
Smaller mines — the expansion near Young’s well would be about three hectares — are largely regulated by local land-use bylaws.
But observers say such mines are an increasing concern as Alberta continues to grow.
“It’s a problem in every county,” said Vivian Pharis, an environmentalist who has been involved in previous conflicts over such mines.
“We don’t have any good provincial regulations. The primary decision is made at the municipal level and, as soon as the zoning gets changed, then it seems Alberta Environment’s hands are tied.”
Hydrogeologist Jon Fennell, who has consulted on several mine projects, said gravel mines run the risk of exposing and releasing chemicals formerly held stable.
“If you’re opening [a mine] up and exposing things to oxygen, they can weather and oxidize and get mobilized,” he said. “Any time you disturb the earth, things change.”
While municipalities are in charge of much of the gravel mine permitting process, Fennell points out they are also heavy gravel users.
“They’re very pro-gravel in some parts of the province,” he said.
Red Deer County’s previous attempt to expand its aggregate operations near Young’s home was thrown out in 2022 by a Court of King’s Bench judge over an unfair process.
Enforcement is lax even for mines that do come under provincial rules, Fennell said. Operators may be required to monitor water levels, but not water quality.
“It’s not required,” he said. “If you don’t look, you don’t find.”
Gravel mines are necessary, said Dittrick.
“Aggregate is needed for development and development is ongoing,” he said.
Some sources may be more appropriate than others, said Fennell.
“We have to get [gravel] from somewhere. The question is, from where?”
Young wonders how long her family has been drinking lead-contaminated water. And she wonders why she has to wonder about that at all.
“I’ve had some real moments with this,” she said. She recalls learning about some of her son’s computer searches.
“I found he was Googling about lead poisoning. He was researching potential impacts to himself.”
BC hits pause on electrical connections for cryptocurrency mining
To preserve British Columbia’s supply of clean electricity to support the Province’s climate action and economic goals, BC Hydro will suspend electricity-connection requests from cryptocurrency mining operations for 18 months.
The temporary suspension will preserve B.C.’s electricity supply, while giving government and BC Hydro sufficient time to engage with industry and First Nations, and develop a permanent framework for any future cryptocurrency mining operations.
“Cryptocurrency mining consumes massive amounts of electricity to run and cool banks of high-powered computers 24/7/365, while creating very few jobs in the local economy,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “We are suspending electricity connection requests from cryptocurrency mining operators to preserve our electricity supply for people who are switching to electric vehicles and heat pumps, and for businesses and industries that are undertaking electrification projects that reduce carbon emissions and generate jobs and economic opportunities.”
B.C.’s clean, affordable electricity has attracted unprecedented interest from cryptocurrency miners. Currently, 21 projects are requesting a total of 1,403 megawatts that will be temporarily suspended. That is equivalent to the energy needed to power approximately 570,000 homes, or 2.1 million electric vehicles, per year in B.C.
If these connections were to continue unchecked, much of BC Hydro’s available energy to use strategically in support of British Columbia’s CleanBC goals could be eroded by cryptocurrency mining projects, with little remaining to electrify projects that have greater jobs, economic development and greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
To preserve B.C.’s clean and affordable electricity, the Province has directed the B.C. Utilities Commission to accept an application from BC Hydro for temporary relief from its obligations to provide service to new cryptocurrency mining projects for 18 months while government develops a permanent framework.
New cryptocurrency mining projects may not initiate the process of connection with BC Hydro, and projects at early stages of the connection process will also be halted. Cryptocurrency mining projects that are operational, and a small number of projects that are well advanced in BC Hydro’s connection process, will not be affected. The connection of other types of projects that do not mine cryptocurrency will not be affected.
- BC Hydro provides service to seven cryptocurrency mining operations, with six more in advanced stages of connection to the system, totalling 273 megawatts.
- In November 2022, the Manitoba government suspended new connections to the electricity grid for cryptocurrency mining while it analyzed the potential for a regulatory framework for approving large connections to the grid.
- After suspending cryptocurrency mining connection requests to study its effects on electricity supply, Hydro-Québec implemented a new framework for cryptocurrency service that includes higher rates and a cap on the amount of electricity available for cryptocurrency mining.
To learn more about the potential implications of unchecked growth of cryptocurrency mining operations, read a new report from BC Hydro titled Crypto conundrum: Why cryptocurrency mining could challenge B.C.’s clean transition:
Teck Metals Ltd. ordered to pay a $2.2 million fine for unlawful deposit of effluent into the Columbia River
January 10, 2023 – Rossland, British Columbia
Canadians value clean water and a sustainable environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with laws and regulations that protect Canada’s natural environment.
On January 10, 2023, in the Provincial Court of British Columbia, Teck Metals Ltd. was ordered to pay a total of $2.2 million after earlier pleading guilty to two charges laid under the federal Fisheries Act and one charge laid under the provincial Environmental Management Act. The charges stem from a 2019 release of effluent into the Columbia River. The federal fine of $2 million will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In relation to the provincial charges, Teck Metal Ltd. was ordered to pay a total fine of $200,000.
On February 26, 2019, Teck Metal Ltd. employees reported a spill of low pH effluent from the company’s Trail Operations in Trail, British Columbia to Environment and Climate Change Canada and Emergency Management British Columbia. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers conducted a thorough investigation and determined that the discharge of approximately 2.5 million liters of low-pH effluent into the Columbia River resulted from numerous operational errors. The company’s failure to exert due diligence contributed to the duration and extent of the spill. In this case, the low pH effluent was caused by a leak of an acidic solution from the company’s fertilizer operations in Warfield, BC. Much of the discharged effluent was below pH 4, which is deleterious, or harmful to fish.
In addition to the Fisheries Act offences, the company pleaded guilty to having contravened s. 120(6) of the British Columbia Environmental Management Act by failing to comply with their permit, which specifies acceptable pH levels for discharges and prohibits acutely lethal effluent discharges.
As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.
Areas where Teck Metals Ltd. failed to exert due diligence include: inadequate training, lack of protocols and procedures, lack of awareness and knowledge, and non functioning equipment.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.
The Columbia River is “water frequented by fish” as defined under the Fisheries Act. The river contains mountain whitefish, rainbow trout, walleye, brook trout, bull trout, cutthroat trout, white sturgeon, sculpin, redside shiner, as well as other species of fish.
Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund helps ensure that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife. The Fund receives and redirects the money from court penalties and settlements, usually investing in areas where the environmental damage occurred.
No funds to remediate orphaned contaminated sites: N.B. deputy minister
Heidi Liston, deputy minister for the department, said the fund for orphaned contaminated sites was eliminated in 2009 after responding to questions by Liberal MLA Rene Legacy.
“There’s no funds?” Legacy asked.
“There is no specific fund to deal with that,” Liston said.
Orphaned sites are properties where the owner either cannot be located or can’t pay for remediation. Along with cancelling the budget, the province also stopped tracking them, meaning it’s now impossible to know how many there are in the province.
Back in November, Paul Martin, the province’s auditor general, revealed the province had a backlog of 1,046 contaminated sites, some of them orphaned.
At the time he said the files stretch back 35 years, with three-quarters being more than 10 years old. The province doesn’t implement remediation timelines and consistently fails to follow its own processes outlined in the remediation program.
New Brunswick is the only Atlantic Canadian province not to have any regulation or legislation on contaminated sites.
Liston said there was about $250,000 set aside for remediation in the department last year.
“Yeesh, OK, so nothing,” said Legacy.
The province has added 66 new contaminated sites to its long list, but only closed 60, according to Liston – a net improvement of just six sites. It can take up to two years to fully remediate a site that is considered contaminated.
She said a site cannot be closed until it is tested to be sure the contaminants are fully eradicated.
She said the department is in Phase 2 of a plan that will come before legislators sometime this year, but when asked for a more specific timeframe, Liston only reiterated it would be sometime this year.
“We may be looking at some of the highest priority areas,” she said.
Only 180 of the 1,046 sites are owned by the province. Liston said tracking down the owners can be a difficult process.
Prioritization is the second phase, listing sites based on proximity to water sources and residential areas, as well as how old the site is.
Liston said remediation cannot be done through the Environment Trust Fund or Climate Change Fund, as it does not meet the current criteria for projects that would fall under its umbrella.
She said the department is looking at its budget, which could include asking the government for more money, to deal with sites of the highest priority.
Upcoming Industry Events
BEST 2023 – Call for Abstracts Now Open!
May 10-12, 2023 | Fairmont Chateau Whistler | Whistler, BC
Presenters Receive 50% Off Registration Price
The British Columbia Environment Industry Association invites submissions of papers and technical presentations for its eighth annual Bettering Environmental Stewardship and Technology Conference (BEST 2023) to be held in beautiful Whistler, BC, May 10 – 12, 2023.
Abstracts must include a presenter biography, with the combined length of both the abstract and bio not exceeding 500 words. Submissions that do not include a speaker biography will not be considered. Abstracts must be received by February 6th, 2023. Please send submissions via e‐mail to email@example.com.
Registration for the Methane Leadership Summit is now open!
Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada is pleased to announce that registration for the Methane Leadership Summit being held on April 26 and 27 at the Fairmont Banff Springs is now open.
This captivating 2-day event will continue the momentum generated from our annual methane forum launched in 2018, and bring together a multitude of stakeholder groups operating within the oil and gas industry, including government organizations, regulatory bodies, oil and gas producing companies, service and supply companies, research centres, and academic institutions, and will focus on the significant challenges facing the global oil and gas industry related to methane emissions reductions targets.
To register for the conference, please visit the PTAC Shop and use the registration tool at the bottom of the page.
We strongly encourage all members to register as soon as possible, as space for the venue is limited, and early bird pricing will only be available until January 31, 2023.
Hotel reservations at the Fairmont Banff Springs will be available starting at an exclusive rate of $249.00 per night (plus $16 resort fee and taxes).
To book a room, please visit the Fairmont Banff Springs exclusive link, or contact the hotel directly at 1-833-762-6866 (Toll-Free line) or 403-762-6866, and use the group code 0423PTAC when making your reservation.
We hope to see you next year at the Methane Leadership Summit in April, as we drive innovation, promote progress, and break boundaries within the methane emissions reduction space!
Element Environmental Seminar
Friday, February 3, 2023
Hyatt Regency Calgary
1. Predictive Contaminant Trend Analysis (PCTA) by John Banks, SWAT
2. Use of Artificial Intelligence in Spill Response and Assessment by Parker Banks, SWAT
3. Vegetation response to a natural gas pipeline rupture fire in Canada’s montane cordillera by Sonja Leverkus, Shifting Mosaics Corporation
4. Digital Transformation of the Site Closure by Ryan Tulloch, Prodelta
5. Carbon Markets – an Essential Component of the Energy Transition by Dani Urton, Vertex Resource Group Ltd
6. ESG- An Introduction to the current state of the movement. Defining ESG, examples of ESG actions , and a summary of what Element is doing by Randy Neumann, Element Materials Technology Inc.
7. Regulatory Update by Tyrel Hemsley, Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA).
8. Why you Need to Fingerprint PAHS and how to do it + Automated Data Tabulation in Statvis from Element E-Services by Paul Fuellbrandt, Precision Liability Consulting
9. Extraction of PFAS from Soil and Other Solids: Better Recovery Using Accelerated Solvent Extraction by Matthew MacLennan, Pacific Rims Labs
Delta Saskatoon – March 22-23, 2023
Webinar: Recent advances in the mine environmental management toolkit: isotopic, geochemical and DNA/omics analyses
InnoTech Alberta is pleased to invite you to a MiCA-sponsored workshopentitled “Recent advances in the mine environmental management toolkit:isotopic, geochemical and DNA/omics analyses” to be heldfrom 8am to12noon MST on 15 Feb. 2023. This is a virtual event.
The event is intended to provide anintroduction to the mine environmental toolkit and then will feature an openforum for discussion of ideas, caveats, opportunities and challenges of workingwith these techniques in the mining sector as well as cross-applications,hybridization, potential monitoring strategies etc. We believe thissession will be of particular interest to stakeholders, mine environmentprofessionals and government water practitioners. Because the meetingspans both metals mining and oil sands, we expect diverse discussions todevelop. Overall, we hope the meeting will be a robust scientificbriefing and exchange session.
Please feel free to pass on the Eventbrite registration link (https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/mine-environmental-management-toolkit-isotopic-geochemical-and-omics-tickets-490460258837) to colleagues and stakeholders that might be interested to attend.
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist –
- Practice Area Lead, Hydrogeology and Water –
- Environmental Technician Intern –
- Soil Handling Monitor –
- Intermediate Soil Specialist –
- Junior Soil Specialist –
- Intermediate Vegetation Ecologist –
- Junior Vegetation Ecologist –
- Intermediate/Senior Hydrogeologist- Water Resources –
- Seedling Coordinator –
- Environmental Engineers/Scientists/Technologists –
- Environmental Technologist –
- Environmental Specialist –
- Intermediate Environmental Project Manager –
- Summer Students and Seasonal Staff –
- Sustainability Data Advisor –
- 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 –