Week ending June 7th, 2024


Restoring caribou habitat with Indigenous communities

Alberta is partnering with two Indigenous communities to help restore caribou habitats in Northern Alberta.

Alberta’s government has a long-term recovery plan in place to help stabilize and recover caribou populations. However, caribou require specific habitats and there are more than 200,000 kilometres of legacy seismic lines needing restoration in caribou ranges. This is also complex, specialized work and local expertise is often required.

To help, Alberta’s government is investing $1.25 million into working with Fort McKay First Nation and the Athabasca Landing Métis Community Association to replant trees and restore critical caribou habitats in Northern Alberta. This will help ensure caribou populations can continue to grow while incorporating more Indigenous values and perspectives into Alberta’s caribou approach.

“By restoring caribou habitat, we are setting caribou populations up for recovery. This work takes time, but through replanting and reforesting habitats we are supporting caribou populations and creating job opportunities for Albertans, all while also supporting traditional Indigenous land-uses.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

Fort McKay First Nation has received a $1-million grant to reforest legacy seismic lines and restore caribou habitats. Maintaining landscape intactness is a government commitment under the Moose Lake Access Management Plan.

The First Nation will develop a treatment plan and conduct restoration work that supports traditional use and improves caribou habitat recovery in parts of the Moose Lake planning area that overlap with the Red Earth caribou range in northeast Alberta. The treatment plan will assess areas in need of restoration and prioritize them based on biophysics and priorities of the First Nation. Restoration work will include preparing areas for tree planting, planting the trees and managing access to improve chances of long-term restoration success.

The Athabasca Landing Métis Community Association has also received a $250,000 grant over two years to conduct habitat restoration to support the Wandering caribou herd. With this grant, the group will expand their knowledge in all aspects of restoration, including planning, treatment delivery and monitoring in the Wandering River sub-region. This will help build their capacity to undertake and lead more caribou habitat restoration work in the years ahead.

“Athabasca Landing Métis Community Association is thrilled to be part of the Wandering River Pilot Seismic Line Restoration Project to improve environmental sustainability practices within our traditional territory. This opportunity will create employment for our members, develop skills and acquire organizational capacity for ongoing participation in the Caribou Habitat Recovery Program.”

Athabasca Landing Métis Community Association
Quick facts
  • Alberta’s woodland caribou population is listed as a threatened species.
  • Budget 2024 allocated $38.1 million for caribou recovery planning and actions in 2024-25, including:
    • $24.5 million in caribou habitat and recovery funding outlined in agreements with the federal government.
    • $13.6 million in provincially funded caribou recovery activities.
    • More information on other caribou funded activities will be shared later this year.
  • In total, $8.5 million has been earmarked for caribou habitat restoration in the Moose Lake area.
  • More than $70 million has been invested into replanting and restoring caribou habitat through the Caribou Habitat Restoration Program.
  • More than 1,000 kilometres of abandoned seismic lines have been replanted and restored in caribou ranges as of 2022, with the province aiming to have more than 2,500 kilometres restored by 2026-27.


AER: 2023 Operator Tailings Management Reports Published

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has published the 2023 Annual Fluid Tailings Management Reports, submitted by oil sands operators. Under Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects (D085), part of the regulations that govern fluid tailings from oil sands mining, operators have an obligation to report annually on the performance of their fluid tailings management. These reports are submitted to the AER by April 30 and published by May 31 each year. The list of matters the reports must contain is comprehensive and, among other areas, covers approved new and legacy fluid tailings volumes, profiles, and thresholds. All requirements for these reports are outlined in section 6 of Directive 085.  

Previous years’ reports can be found in the Products and Services Catalogue under Tailings Management Reports for Oil Sands Mining Schemes

At this stage, the operators’ reports are published on the website without commentary or interpretation of the data they contain. Following the submission by the operators of their fluid tailings management reports, technical specialists at the AER conduct a comprehensive review of all submissions.  

The AER publishes an annual report on the state of fluid tailings management for mineable oil sands by October 30. This report summarizes the evaluation of operators’ performance reports, highlights regulatory actions taken, evaluates regional performance against the Tailings Management Framework for the Mineable Athabasca Oil Sands outcomes and objectives and identifies operators that are performing well and those who need to make improvements.  

Last year’s AER report can be found here: State of Fluid Tailings Management for Mineable Oil Sands, 2022

Operators are required to hold annual forums with Indigenous communities and other stakeholders to enable discussion of tailings management. Details of these forums are included in the operators’ reports to the AER.  

In addition to reporting under D085, operators have reporting requirements for environmental monitoring, dam safety, and incidents.   


Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. fined $250,000 for Fisheries Act offence in New Brunswick

Canadians value a safe and clean environment. Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers strive to ensure that businesses and individuals comply with laws and regulations that protect the natural environment in Canada.

On May 30, 2024, Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. was fined $250,000 in New Brunswick Provincial Court after pleading guilty to one charge of contravening subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act by permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance, namely pulp and paper process water called groundwood white water, into the Madawaska River. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

On March 10, 2021, during a routine inspection at Twin Rivers Paper Company Inc. in Edmundston, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers noted that a pipeline owned and operated by the company had failed, resulting in the deposit of groundwood white water into the fish-bearing Madawaska River.

An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada into the cause of the pipeline failure later determined that it was due to extensive external corrosion, resulting in the release of an estimated 102,000 litres of groundwood white water into the Madawaska River for a period of approximately 24 hours. Testing of the groundwood white water samples determined the substance to be deleterious or harmful to fish.

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 for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.


Grassy Narrows First Nation files lawsuit against Ontario, federal governments over mercury contamination

(Source: CBC News)    A First Nation in northwestern Ontario that has faced decades of mercury poisoning is suing the provincial and federal governments, arguing they’ve failed to protect its treaty rights.

Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek First Nation — known as Grassy Narrows — filed the lawsuit in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice on Tuesday morning.

It argues the governments have violated their duties under Treaty 3 by failing to protect against or remedy the effects of mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system.

The allegations in this lawsuit haven’t been tested in court.

Contamination of the river system dates back to the 1960s and ’70s when Dryden’s paper mill in northwestern Ontario dumped an estimated nine tonnes of mercury into the water.

Generations of people have consumed fish from the river. According to a previously reported study by medical specialists, about 90 per cent of the community of roughly 1,000 people experience symptoms of mercury poisoning. They include Chief Rudy Turtle.

“Our mercury nightmare should have ended long ago, but it has been longer and worse because of the government’s failure to live up to its obligations,” Turtle said in a news release on Tuesday.

For years, environmental advocates have called for the river to be cleaned up and the mill to be shut down.

In late May, a new study from Western University in London, Ont., revived these demands with a report suggesting mercury contamination in the river system has been made worse by ongoing industrial pollution.

“Dryden Fibre Canada took over operations for the mill last August. We operate in compliance with extensive environmental regulatory requirements,” said Dianne Loewen, a spokesperson for Dryden Fibre Canada, in an email to CBC News late Tuesday afternoon. “Regarding this morning’s announcement by Grassy Narrows — we have not yet seen the filing and will not be commenting.”

Judy Da Silva, environmental health co-ordinator for Grassy Narrows First Nation, says years of inaction and ‘environmental racism’ are behind the lawsuit against Ontario and Ottawa. 

“The government has egregiously violated its obligations to Grassy Narrows by failing to ensure that Grassy Narrows people could safely practise their right to fish — a cornerstone of Grassy Narrows’ sustenance and Indigenous way of life,” says a statement from the First Nation that was also issued Tuesday.

“This case will be a test of Ontario’s and Canada’s commitment to truth, reconciliation and justice following one of Canada’s worst environmental and human rights catastrophes.” 

During a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday morning, Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa said the lack of government action is perpetuating the effects of colonialism on Grassy Narrows people.

“When we talk about environmental genocide, this is what it looks like,” Mamakwa said.

Judy Da Silva is a Grassy Narrows grandmother and the community’s environmental health co-ordinator. She says she also experiences symptoms of mercury poisoning, which include loss of co-ordination, trouble swallowing, and a loss of sensation in her hands and feet. 

“Our people were proud fishermen and land users and hunters, and then this poison came and took all that away,” Da Silva said in an interview with CBC News.

She thinks back to summer 2000, when the Walkerton water crisis made national headlines after seven people died and about 2,300 others became ill from Canada’s worst E. coli contamination.

“They got compensated so quickly and then Grassy’s been going through this for decades, and still there’s no resolution,” she said. “I think it’s environmental racism.”

In 2017, the federal government committed to building a Mercury Care Home in Grassy Narrows. The same year, the Ontario government committed $85 million to fund mercury cleanup and remediation efforts in the English-Wabigoon River system.

About seven years later, the river remains toxic. Construction on the Mercury Care Home is expected to start this summer and take two to three years to complete.

In Ottawa on Tuesday, Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu told reporters she understands the frustration that has led Grassy Narrows to go through the courts.

“I’m sure they’re seeing it as a part of a broader effort to ensure that this kind of environmental racism doesn’t continue,” Hajdu said.

Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Indigenous services minister, responded to questions from reporters about Grassy Narrows First Nation’s lawsuit against the Ontario and federal governments over mercury contamination. ‘Far too often this poisoning happens for First Nations communities first,’ she said.

Ottawa has now committed $146 million for the construction and operation of the Mercury Care Home, she said. While the protection of water falls under provincial jurisdiction, Hajdu did point to Bill C-61, an act respecting water, source water, drinking water, wastewater and related infrastructure on First Nation lands, as a key way of preventing future harm.

CBC News reached out to the Ontario government for comment on the lawsuit and received an emailed response from Keesha Seaton, spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General, late Tuesday afternoon.

“As this matter is subject to litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment,” Seaton said.

A spokesperson for the federal Office of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change also provided CBC News with an emailed statement on behalf of Hajdu and Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault.

“We cannot comment on the legal case as it is before the courts. It is extremely important to the government of Canada to do its part in responding to this crisis, and we will be there to work with Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemong Independent Nations every step of the way,” wrote spokesperson Kaitlin Power.

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also reacted to the Grassy Narrows lawsuit while addressing reporters on Parliament Hill.

“It’s an ongoing example of Indigenous communities receiving second-class treatment,” Singh said of the persisting mercury poisoning.

“This is Canada’s fault and Canada must step up.”

Grassy Narrows, about 150 kilometres from Dryden near the Ontario-Manitoba border, is being represented by both Toronto-based firm Cavalluzzo LLP and Ratcliff LLP out of Vancouver.

At this point, there is no set dollar amount for how much compensation the First Nation is seeking. However, the types of remedies relate to restoring the environment, “upon which their health, and their livelihoods and their treaty rights depend,” Adrienne Telford, co-lead legal counsel with Cavalluzzo LLP, said in an interview with CBC News.

“Grassy Narrows is a community in crisis,” Telford said. “They require significant financial, and socioeconomic and health supports to allow community members to restore their health, and their well-being and their way of life.”

“If this was Ontario cottage country, the river would have been cleaned up decades ago, the pollution would have stopped and the harms properly compensated.”

When pressed by Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa during Monday’s question period in the Ontario Legislature, the minister of the environment, conservation and parks, Andrea Khanjin, said the government is committed to remediating the mercury contamination.

Technical experts with the ministry have met with First Nations leaders and those who led the Western University study — though additional work is needed before the researchers’ report is finalized, Khanjin said.

NDP MPPs accused the Ontario government of inaction following the release of a report showing ongoing methylmercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon River system in northwestern Ontario. But the Environment Minister says the province has been working to support Indigenous communities on the issue.

Sandy Shaw, MPP for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas and NDP environment, conservation and parks critic, called that answer “disappointing.”

“This is a human and ecological disaster and it has been going on for generations. For heaven’s sake, Speaker, the time for studies has well passed,” Shaw said.

Khanjin responding by pointing to the work being done with Ontario’s English and Wabigoon Rivers Remediation Panel.

“We’re taking the politics out of this and referring to the science because this government remains committed to correcting this historic wrong.”




ESAA Member News

Montrose Environmental Group Acquires Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. & EDMONTON, Alberta, June 05, 2024–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Montrose Environmental Group, Inc. (“Montrose” or “the Company”) (NYSE: MEG), a high-growth global environmental solutions company, today announced the acquisition of Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting, Inc., a leading environmental consulting firm in Canada. Paragon’s senior leadership team, including President Lee Waterman, will join Montrose’s Consulting and Engineering services within the Company’s Remediation and Reuse segment. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting is a consulting firm that provides services for clients in the oil sands, pipeline, mining and power sectors. Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Paragon’s work spans across western Canada, further bolstering Montrose’s current presence in the region while adding additional environmental expertise in select soil and reclamation services, in particular.

The acquisition of Paragon also includes Paragon’s active limited partnership, Paragon Infinity. The limited partnership is operated in conjunction with Infinity Métis Corp., a wholly owned Indigenous corporation with the McMurray Métis Local 1935 community in the Wood Buffalo region in northeast Alberta.

“Lee and his team provide an expansion of our current environmental consulting and engineering services in Canada, while strengthening our support of clients in the energy and energy transport sectors,” said Vijay Manthripragada, President and Chief Executive Officer of Montrose Environmental Group. “Paragon’s partnership with Infinity Métis Corp. is aligned with our commitment to Indigenous relations in the communities where we live and work. We look forward to future involvement with projects in Alberta that provide a material benefit for the local Indigenous community.”

Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting’s President Lee Waterman added: “Preserving and protecting natural resources across western Canada by balancing responsible land stewardship with resource utilization is paramount for the Paragon team. We are excited to partner with Montrose to expand our capabilities and resources to serve clients with services rooted in science, stewardship and safety. We appreciate the strong technical reputation of the Montrose team in Canada and are thrilled to formally join the team.”

F&M Management Ltd. acted as lead M&A advisor to Paragon. Birdsell Grant LLP acted as legal advisor to Paragon.



Remediation Technology News and Resource

(The following are selected items from the US EPA’s Tech Direct – http://clu-in.org/techdirect/)

Upcoming Live Internet Seminars

Federal Facilities Online Academy: Resolving Issues before Formal Dispute – June 12, 2024, 1:00PM-3:00PM EDT (17:00-19:00 GMT). This webinar is a two-hour course that identifies less formal options to address conflict before going to dispute under a federal facility agreement and provides project management tips and techniques to address disagreements early in the process. For more information and to register, see https://www.clu-in.org/live.

ITRC PFAS Beyond the Basics: PFAS Treatment Technologies Training – June 13, 2024, 1:00PM-3:00PM EDT (17:00-19:00 GMT). This training class builds on the earlier information for treatment technologies presented in the PFAS 101 CLU-IN training. It provides more in-depth information regarding considerations for implementing integrated PFAS treatment technologies and remediation strategies. This training introduces the concept that achieving site remedial objectives will likely necessitate the implementation of multiple treatment technologies and remediation strategies (i.e., an integrated remedial strategy). Specifically, this training uses a hypothetical conceptual site model to frame the discussion of remedial approaches for PFAS impacted source area soil, source area groundwater, and more dilute groundwater plumes. The training concludes with a discussion of select field implemented and developing disposal and destructive technologies for managing treatment residuals. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org or https://www.clu-in.org/live.

New Documents and Web Resources

Research Brief 353: Engineering Hydrogel Beads to Enhance Bioremediation of Groundwater Contaminant. Oregon State University scientists and engineers developed an approach to cleaning polluted groundwater that uses tiny beads containing chemical-eating bacteria. In this study, funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP), the team identified a formula to maximize bead durability and bioremediation, or the removal of contaminants using bacteria. For more information, please visit https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/srp/researchbriefs/view.cfm?Brief_ID=353

Tracking Groundwater Remediation Efforts Using Rare Earth Elements. The May 28, 2024 edition of EPA’s Science Matters Newsletter highlights research from the EPA Center for Environmental Solutions & Emergency Response (CESER) . Groundwater remediation is commonly done with a permeable reactive barrier (PRB), which is a wall created below the ground that allows groundwater to flow through it. EPA scientists developed a new method to use patterns of rare earth elements to understand whether the contaminated groundwater interacted with the PRB as intended. For more information, please visit https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/tracking-groundwater-remediation-efforts-using-rare-earth-elements,

Technology Innovation News Survey Corner. The Technology Innovation News Survey contains market/commercialization information; reports on demonstrations, feasibility studies and research; and other news relevant to the hazardous waste community interested in technology development. Recent issues, complete archives, and subscription information is available at https://www.clu-in.org/products/tins/. The following resources were included in recent issues:

    • Standardizing Sediment Porewater Passive Samplers for Inorganic Constituents of Concern
    • Guide to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Sampling Within Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
    • Evaluation and Review of Best Management Practices for the Reduction of Polychlorinated Biphenyls to the Chesapeake Bay


Upcoming Events


Call for Abstracts – Submission Deadline June 14th

  Limited Sponsorships Remaining 

RemTech 2024 will feature technical talks, 2 receptions, 55 exhibits, networking opportunities and three great keynotes. 

Lyndon J Linklater
Traditional Knowledge Keeper and Storyteller

Timothy Caulfield
Professor of Health Law and Science Policy, University of Alberta

Bill Weir
Chief Climate Correspondent, CNN

The Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould
Former Member of Parliament, Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada,
Bestselling Author

Early Bird registration details are available at: https://esaa.org/remtech/register/  and available until May 31st.  RemTech is already 45% sold out.  Register Early and Save.

Call for Abstracts

Complete details for the 2024 call for abstracts is available at: https://esaa.org/remtech/call-for-abstracts/.   Submission deadline is June 14th, 2024.

Limited Number of Sponsorship Opportunities Remaining 

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are remaining for RemTech 2024.  Full conference details can be found at: https://esaa.org/remtech/

Sponsorship with an Exhibit Space (2 Remaining) 

  • Exhibit space
  • Highest level priority booth location
  • 3 delegate passes
  • Full page ad in program
  • Logo on website, app, event screens, program
  • Corporate profile in program and app
$7,850 + GST
  • Exhibit space
  • 2 delegate passes
  • Half page ad in program
  • Logo on website, app, event screens, program
  • Corporate profile in program and app
$6,650 + GST

Sponsorships (No Exhibit Space)

  • 1 delegate passe
  • Half page ad in program
  • Logo on website, app, event screens, program
  • Corporate profile in program and app
  • $3,800 + GST


  • Third page ad program
  • Logo on website, app, event screens, program
  • Corporate profile in program and app
  • $1,900 + GST
For additional information contact Lorrine Hamdon.

Hotel Reservations

The Fairmont Banff Springs will be accepting reservations shortly.  Accommodations for RemTech™ 2024 delegates start at $265 per night plus $16 resort fee (tipping of bell and housekeeping not required) per night depending on the type and occupancy of the room. Rates do not include taxes and surcharges.  Rate also includes 2 free drinks (per room) at any Fairmont Banff Springs bar (valid during RemTech, October 16-18, 2024). Full details available at: https://esaa.org/remtech/hotel-travel/

Full RemTech 2024 details can be found at: https://esaa.org/remtech/

Thank you for your continued support!

2024 Federal Contaminated Sites Regional Workshop


The 2024 Federal Contaminated Sites Regional Workshop will be held June 26-27 at The JW Marriott in Edmonton, Alberta and online! In-person and virtual attendees will be able to engage with each other, listen to speakers, participate in activities, and network.

The RPIC Federal Contaminated Sites Workshop is the leading professional development workshop for federal and industry environmental professionals involved in the management and remediation of federal contaminated sites. It will provide a forum for the contaminated sites community to learn about technical, scientific, and organizational innovations and best practices.

This year the theme of the event will be Contaminated Sites Management on Northern and Remote Sites

Registration is now OPEN.


ESAA Job Board

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

Current Listings:
  • Senior Environmental Planner –Stantec
  • Site Investigation & Remediation (SIR) Team Lead –Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
  • Senior Project Manager – TRIUM Environmental Inc
  • Business Development Representative – TRIUM Environmental Inc
  • Intermediate Biologist/Wetland Ecologist – North Shore Environmental Consultants Inc.
  • Intermediate Wildlife Biologist – North Shore Environmental Consultants Inc.
  • Project Manager / Technical Advisor – North Shore Environmental Consultants Inc.
  • Senior Hydrogeologist (Casual) – AtkinsRéalis
  • Junior – Intermediate Ecologist –SOLSTICE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
  • Intermediate Environmental Scientist – SOLSTICE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
  • Senior Environmental Scientist – SOLSTICE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
  • Senior Solid Waste Management Engineer – AtkinsRéalis
  • Environmental Scientist – Trace Associates Inc.
  • Reclamation Specialist – Nichols Environmental (Canada) Ltd.
  • Contaminated Sites Project Manager – Western Canada – Triton Environmental Consultants
  • Chair and one Acting Board Member – Natural Resources Conservation Board
  • Intermediate Hydrogeologist – Trace Associates Inc.


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