Week ending November 3rd, 2023


AER publishes 2022 State of Fluid Tailings Management for Mineable Oil Sands Report

Today, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) published the 2022 State of Fluid Tailings Management for Mineable Oil Sands report.  

This report summarizes Alberta’s eight oil sands mine operator’s tailings management reports (TMR) including fluid tailings volumes, water volumes stored in tailings facilities, tailings volumes reaching ready to reclaim (RTR) status, whether operators are within approved fluid tailings profiles, site wide tailings management activities, alignment with approved tailings management plans (TMPs), and continual
improvement of tailings treatment technologies.

These individual TMR reports were published on the AER website in their entirety on May 30, 2023. This annual reporting is a requirement under AER Directive 085: Fluid Tailings Management for Oil Sands Mining Projects

Report highlights include: 

  • The total volume of fluid tailings* (new and legacy tailings combined) on oil sands mine sites increased between 2014 and 2022, apart from a slight decrease in 2021. The increase in the total regional volume of fluid tailings was expected based on approved tailings profiles.
  • The total volume of water in fluid tailings ponds in the region varied from 2014 to 2022. From 2014 to 2017, the total volume of water in the tailings ponds decreased, then increased between 2018 and 2020. The total volume of water in tailings ponds in the region decreased from 2020 to 2022.
  •  From 2014 to 2019, bitumen production  increased, as did the number of operating mines. This was followed by a decrease in production in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated drop in global oil demand. Bitumen production then increased from 2020 to 2022. 


Between May and October each year, AER technical specialists conduct a comprehensive review of each operator’s TMR submission and then provide an evaluation of each operator’s tailings management,
highlighting any regulatory actions taken, evaluating regional performance against the tailings management framework outcomes and objectives, and identifying the fluid tailings management level each approval holder is operating at as per the TMF and Directive 085.

The AER is committed to transparently sharing information related to tailings and tailings  management. Although there is data contained on Imperial Oil’s Kearl mineable oil sands project in this report, information and updates on AER’s ongoing oversight of the Kearl Environmental Protection Order (EPO) and Imperial’s management and response can be found on our website.   

For questions arising from the operator reports, please contact the specific operator directly. 

For questions related to the AER report, please contact [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact [email protected].  

* Fluid tailings are categorized as legacy fluid tailings (fluid tailings stored before January 1, 2015) and new fluid tailings (fluid tailings stored after January 1, 2015).  


Alberta: Guilty plea for environmental charges

Bravo #1 Aerial Application Ltd. (Bravo) has pleaded guilty to not following pesticide regulations and  environmental legislation.

In Alberta, pesticide must be applied in a safe and effective manner that does not affect other people or the environment. The pesticides are not allowed to be sprayed where the drift could reach human habitation. Buffer zones between target and non-target locations are required, and windspeed limits apply.

On Aug.30, 2021, Bravo was observed performing aerial pesticide application of Roundup Transorb HC and Heat LQ. The aircraft was not registered as required under the pesticide regulations. A nearby farmer saw the Bravo plane pass over a neighbour’s field and felt a mist on her face. She later sought medical attention and noticed vegetation damage on her property.

Bravo pleaded guilty to one count of commencing or continuing any activity that is designated by the regulations as requiring a registration without holding the required registration contrary to Sections 61 and 227(j) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. All remaining charges were withdrawn.

Bravo was sentenced to pay a $10,000 penalty inclusive of the victim surcharge.


AER: New and Enhanced Functionality Moving to OneStop

Pipeline Licensing

The pipeline licensing module has been updated to align with revisions made to Directive 056: Energy Development Applications and Schedules, Directive 077: Pipelines – Requirements and Reference Tools, Manual 012: Energy Development Applications; Procedures and Schedules, and the Government of Alberta’s Pipeline Rules

These updates include changes to the following OneStop activities:

  • Pipeline discontinuance, abandonment, removal, and resumption
  • Alberta Boilers Safety Association (ABSA) registration
  • External protection
  • Product blending (now natural gas stream blending)
  • Level designation changes


Pipeline Forms

Effective November 16, 2023, applicants will be required to complete the appropriate form(s) when providing information on pipeline pressure testing using gaseous test media or liquid test media other than fresh water, and temporary surface pipelines (TSPs) for well testing, bypass, or water conveyance. 

The new forms can be found under the “Forms” tab on the OneStop landing page. For more information, refer to Directive 077: Pipelines – Requirements and Reference Tools.

Public Lands

General fixes and enhancements have been completed in the public lands module. See “What’s New in OneStop” for details.

Water Act

A new borrow pit activity has been added to the water approvals module which includes the following: 

  • A single shapefile for borrow pit applications
  • New screens for borrow pit applications


Enhancements include the ability for reviewers to change expiry dates for water approvals, and new options available for wetland assessment and impact form (WAIF) mitigation.

Other Enhancements and Fixes

We will release enhancements and fixes to the OneStop platform and provide details in “What’s New in  OneStop,” which will be posted on the OneStop Help page on November 16. 

We will schedule a system outage to implement these latest changes and post the notice on the Systems and Tools page on our website and the OneStop Help page. 

Training and Support Materials

After the release, we will hold information sessions to review new Water Act functionality and  enhancements. Registration details can be found on the AER Events page. 

We will also post new and updated quick reference guides (QRGs) on the OneStop Help page to support pipeline licensing and borrow pit approval applications. 

If you have questions about OneStop or this bulletin, contact the AER’s Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403-297-8311 (1-855-297-8311 toll free) or by email at [email protected].


Cochrane stems sewage leak into Bow River, Calgary unaffected, say officials

(Source: Calgary Herald) A contractor struck water and wastewater pipes, sending both waste and treated water into the river on Saturday

Crews work on a main sewer line break causing a overland sewage discharge into the Bow River at the intersection of Griffin Road and Highway 22 in Cochrane which resulted in a Alberta Emergency Alert on Sunday, October 22, 2023. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

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:

Olivier Berreville
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 or https://www.clu-in.org/live.

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/live/archive/. To learn more about each session and to register for part 3, see https://www.clu-in.org/live.

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 or https://clu-in.org/live.

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/


Full Members:

Rhodium Digital

320 Stanley Park Place, 4649 Macleod Trail SW
Calgary, AB T2G 0A6
Phone: (780) 993-3536


Craig LaFranchise, Managing Partner

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/.

Contact [email protected] for information or visit https://ce3c.ca/.


Grassland Restoration Forum November Events

The Grassland Restoration Forum is hosting two in-person events in November 2023. 

Registration for November events can be found at: www.grasslandrestorationforum.ca 
Or, you can register via email by contacting Donna at: [email protected] 

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

Cost: $40.00

*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.microsoft.com/event/e8d5aae0-8f2d-419d-9407-39e2d58ac829@b2bb2713-1bbb-453d-bdd8-640c1565430e



ESAA Job Board

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

Current Listings:
  • Environmental Specialist – Summit
  • Regulatory Advisor – Trace Associates Inc.
  • Junior Environmental Consultant – Ridgeline Canada Inc.
  • Senior Environmental Consultant – Ridgeline Canada Inc.


Subscriptions are free and open to members and non-members.

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