A sewer line break in Cochrane that dumped a significant amount of wastewater into the Bow River has been halted, but crews continue work to refill the town’s water reservoirs, which officials say are at “critical levels.”
The town says its drinking water remains safe after the Saturday evening sewer line break, caused when a contractor struck water and wastewater pipes while working for the municipality, sending both waste and treated water into the river. Downstream communities including Calgary and Rocky View County say there has been no change in water quality.
“We appreciate that emergencies such as this one have massive impacts and are far reaching outside the site itself,” Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung said during a news conference in council chambers Monday. “I’m thankful for the co-operation and support we’re seeing from our neighbouring municipalities, local businesses and the provincial government, as response efforts continue.”
As of Monday afternoon, town officials said the discharge into the river had stopped but couldn’t comment on how much waste flowed into the river, only describing it as a “significant amount.”
“We haven’t yet been able to do calculations that would allow us to give an accurate number . . . It’s fair to say that it’s been a significant amount but we’re not prepared to give any specifics at this time,” said Cochrane CAO Mike Derricott.
Derricott said the town’s main goal is to maintain the safety of the community’s drinking water and restore its depleted reservoirs.
Local reservoirs suffered significant losses as a result of the break. The town has implemented public water restrictions to help mitigate the situation.
The town’s water restrictions expanded Monday, restricting water to hotels and a vehicle dealership located directly northwest of the site. Officials have urged the town’s largest water users to cut back as much as possible — resulting in a temporary closure at the Spray Lake Sawmills Centre.
“We are currently engaging a major water hauling operation to help stabilize the water reservoirs and maintain their levels,” said Cochrane fire chief and emergency management director Shawn Polley.
Derricott said the timeline is unclear on when repairs will be complete on the affected pipes, but water restrictions will likely continue for most of the week.
“Our crews are very effective. Once they can isolate and access the break and stop the flow of water, repair can typically be done quite quickly,” he said. “We do think we are going to be in a state of water conservation measuring at least into the days. It does take some time to recharge those stores once they’ve been depleted.”
Cochrane residents are urged to avoid the area, and all pathways along the river remain closed. Derricott said the town is collaborating with the provincial and federal governments to minimize the effect on the river and the surrounding environment.
“We don’t have a visibility yet on what site remediation might look like in terms of opening that back up to our residents to enjoy,” said Derricott.
The contractor was performing work on a “critical project” meant to twin the sanitary sewer line they struck, Derricott said.
“Obviously, this is an unfortunate way to confirm how critical this infrastructure is for our community,” he said.
Cochrane officials would not say where the responsibility for the issue would fall, noting that the focus remains on the response.
The City of Calgary says its water services response team is monitoring the situation and working closely with counterparts in Cochrane.
“We are conducting extra water quality sampling of the Bow River and, as of Monday morning, Calgary’s water remains safe to drink. We will provide further updates as they are available,” the city said in a written statement.
Ryan Fournier, press secretary to Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz, told Postmedia that provincial officials are working with both municipalities to ensure drinking water remains safe.
CCME: Public Review and Comment: Canadian Soil Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Environmental and Human Health for Trivalent, Hexavalent and Total Chromium
October 30, 2023 in Public Review
Draft Canadian soil quality guidelines for the protection of environmental and human health for trivalent, hexavalent and total chromium and its scientific criteria document are available for public review and comment until December 8, 2023. The documents are available in English and French.
Chromium occurs in the environment in two forms: trivalent chromium, Cr(III), and hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI). In soils, it occurs primarily as Cr(III), unless the soils have been polluted with Cr(VI)-contaminated wastes. Since Cr(III) and Cr(VI) have different effects on human health, human-health-based soil quality guidelines should be derived for each form; however, current practices favour the analysis of Cr(T) in soil, while Cr(VI) is only measured in cases where there is a known or suspected Cr(VI) source. On this basis, human-health-based soil quality guidelines were derived separately for Cr(III) and Cr(VI). Under this approach, it may be possible to measure Cr(T) in soil and compare the results to the SoQGHH for Cr(III), while analytical measurement of Cr(VI) in soil would be strongly recommended for any site potentially contaminated by activities involving Cr(VI).
Please submit comments to:
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment
360 – 123 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 1A3
Email: [email protected]
Remediation Technology News and Resource
(The following are selected items from the US EPA’s Tech Direct – http://clu-in.org/techdirect/)
TRC Microplastics – November 7, 2023, 1:00PM-3:15PM EST (18:00-20:15 GMT). In response to one of the biggest emerging environmental concerns, ITRC formed the Microplastics Team in 2021 to develop the Microplastics Guidance Document. Plastics have become pervasive in modern life and are now used in a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. Microplastics may result from the degradation and fragmentation of larger plastics, or they may be intentionally produced for specific applications and products. Regardless of their origin, microplastics are now ubiquitous in our environment. Because of their small size and pervasiveness in the environment, microplastics, along with any other contaminants which are adhered to the microplastics, may be inadvertently consumed by humans and other organisms. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org
Tools for PFAS Site Characterization Webinar Series Session III – November 8, 2023, 2:00PM – 4:00PM EST (19:00-21:00 GMT). The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is sponsoring a Risk e-Learning webinar series, hosted by CLU-IN, focused on research efforts to develop tools for sampling, monitoring, detecting, and characterizing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The three-part series will feature SRP-funded researchers and collaborators whose research focuses, in part, on understanding the distribution and fate of PFAS in the environment. Parts 1 and 2 have been archived and are available at https://www.clu-in.org/
ITRC 1,4-Dioxane: Science, Characterization & Analysis, and Remediation – November 9, 2023, 1:00PM-3:15PM EST (18:00-20:15 GMT). 1,4-Dioxane has seen widespread use as a solvent stabilizer since the 1950s. The widespread use of solvents through the 1980s suggests its presence at thousands of solvent sites in the US; however, it is not always a standard compound in typical analytical suites for hazardous waste sites, so it previously was overlooked. The U.S. EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” Some states have devised health standards or regulatory guidelines for drinking water and groundwater standards; these are often sub-part per billion values. These low standards present challenges for analysis, characterization, and remediation of 1,4-dioxane. The ITRC team created multiple tools and documents that provide information to assist all interested stakeholders in understanding this contaminate and for making informed, educated decisions. This training is a series of six (6) modules. The six individual modules will be presented together live, and then archived on the ITRC 1,4-Dioxane training webpage for on demand listening. For more information and to register, see https://www.itrcweb.org
New Documents and Web Resources
ITRC PFAS Document Update. This update includes more content across multiple sections including discussions on biosolids, recent claims of PFAS use and occurrence in products, AFFF replacement and clean-out, and PFAS inhalation toxicology. Other sections of the document have also been selected for additional content, including lysimeters, health effects of AFFF, and air emissions treatment. In addition, multiple external tables have been updated, including the Regulatory Programs Summary, the Analytical Methods Tables, and the Treatment Technology Table. For more information, please visit https://pfas-1.itrcweb.org/.
Persistent Chemicals: Detecting, Limiting Exposure To, and Treating PFAS Contamination (GAO-23-106970). The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released this report on September 27, 2023. According to GAO, examples of how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) enter the environment include: Manufacturing plants: Industrial processes can discharge PFAS-containing wastewater or emit PFAS into the air; Wastewater treatment plants: Effluent discharged from plants can contain PFAS; Agricultural lands: Biosolids used as fertilizer can contain PFAS and contaminate soil and water; Military or civilian airports: PFAS-containing firefighting foams can contaminate soil and water; and Landfills: PFAS-containing products (e.g., food packaging) disposed of without proper controls can contaminate soil and water. View or download from https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-23-106970
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/
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Rhodium Digital is a technology advisory practice, and Deltek Premier Partner, built to empower project-centric businesses with contemporary applications and processes – creating streamlined, future-resilient firms that achieve a great return on their investments toward the systems they rely on everyday. Blending our experience as both end-users and business owners running our own project-centric consultancies for the past 20 years, our team of implementers, engineers, and operationalists combine to facilitate the transformative journey that effectively implemented software can deliver. Having been a part of the Deltek End-User and Partner community since the early 2000s, Rhodium proudly wears the moniker of Techno-Functional Deltek geeks. Intimate Technical knowledge of multiple Deltek ERP database structures paired with years of hands-on Functionality experience combines to deliver what is both feasible in a client’s system and practical from an end-users’ perspective.
Upcoming Industry Events
Canadian Environmental and Engineering Executives Conference (CE3C)
January 24-25, 2024
Wosk Centre for Dialogue, Vancouver
The Canadian Environmental and Engineering Executives Conference (CE3C) was specifically created as an exclusive forum for executives at the highest level of the environmental engineering and consulting industry in Canada. Since the inaugural conference in October 2018 demand has been high for this event; Presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, senior executives, and owners from across the country have attended.
The panel discussions provide a comprehensive overview of the current trends and challenges within the environmental and engineering consulting domain, strategic business development, and the evolving landscape of Human Resources, particularly in enhancing employee engagement. These sessions are designed to equip attendees with practical insights and strategies to effectively navigate the intricacies of the industry.
On the second day, the conference agenda highlights the “Keynote Forum” where notable figures, Michael Campbell and Nik Nanos, will examine the economic, political, and international factors impacting Canadian business, with a specific focus on the environmental and engineering consulting industry.
CE3C is not merely a congregation of professionals, but rather a catalyst for industry evolution, and an incredible platform for networking and collaboration. Witness the confluence of ideas, strategies, and professional camaraderie, all set against the serene backdrop of Vancouver. Join us and be part of the narrative driving the future of the Environmental and Engineering Consulting sector in Canada.
Detailed program at: https://ce3c.ca/program/.
Grassland Restoration Forum November Events
The Grassland Restoration Forum is hosting two in-person events in November 2023.
November 16th, 2023: GRF Annual Fall Information Session
Location: Claresholm Community Centre, 5920 8th Street West, Claresholm, AB.
Time: 8:30 – 16:30
Cost: $100.00 per person Students and Agricultural Producers: $50.00
*Fees include beverages, snacks, a catered lunch, topical booths, and plenty of opportunity to visit and network.
There is a $50 administration fee for registration cancellations up to 48 hours in advance of an event no cancellations after that.
November 17th, 2023: New Workshop for the Southern Alberta Native Seed Collaborative
Location: Claresholm Community Centre, 5920 8th Street West, Claresholm, AB.
Time: 8:30 – 15:00
*Fees include beverages, snacks, a catered lunch, and plenty of opportunity to visit and network.
November 2023 Wetland Knowledge Exchange Webinar
November 27th, 2023
Cassandra Chabot-Madlung, County of Grande Prairie presents – Wetland Replacement Program: How it Started & Who Can Participate
This is a Municipal viewpoint of Alberta Environment and Protected Areas’ Wetland Replacement Program and how it came to be. Learn the basic of what the program is about, what is included, how to participate, and the requirements. Take a look at some of the County of Grande Prairie’s projects from 2020 to now and gain an understanding of project diversity and some of the unique partnerships that have occurred.
Contact: Leanne Mingo
Website Link To Register: https://events.teams.
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Environmental Specialist –
- Regulatory Advisor –
- Junior Environmental Consultant –
- Senior Environmental Consultant –