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Update On Site Rehabilitation Programs In Alberta, British Columbia And Saskatchewan

Written by Anna Fitz and JoAnn Jamieson, McLennan Ross LLP

On April 17, 2020, the federal government announced $1.7 billion in funding to clean up oil and gas sites in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. The goal of the federal funding was to create immediate jobs in the three provinces while helping companies avoid bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All three provinces were quick to announce programs in the hopes of creating jobs and getting people back to work. This article provides an update on the programs in each province.

Alberta

Alberta received $1.2 billion, the bulk of the federal funding. On April 24, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced its “Site Rehabilitation Program,” which provides up to $1 billion in grants to oil field service contractors to perform well, pipeline, and oil and gas site closure and reclamation work.

The goals of the program are to:

  • immediately get Alberta’s specialized oil field workforce back to work,
  • accelerate site abandonment and closure efforts, and
  • quickly complete a high volume of environmentally-significant work.

Inactive oil and gas sites may be nominated by landowners and Indigenous communities. Landowners can nominate inactive sites by emailing the required information (including the legal description of the land, landowners on the land title, and contact information) to the government. Indigenous communities can also nominate inactive sites by email; required information includes the name of the First Nation or Métis settlement, the legal description of the site, and the licensee information sign at the site. A detailed overview of the nomination process can be found here.

In order to be eligible for funding to do the work, service contractors must be located in Alberta and must offer jobs to Albertans. Eligible work includes closure on inactive wells and pipelines, Phases 1 and 2 environmental Site Assessments, remediation, and reclamation. Interested parties can apply on the Site Rehabilitation Program website.

The Alberta government will provide funding for the Site Rehabilitation Program in multiple increments. The first increment, which has now ended, reportedly received significant interest. The second increment is currently on-going, and will close for applications on June 18, 2020. Third and later increments will also become available.

In addition to the Site Rehabilitation Program, the government of Canada has extended a $200 million repayable loan to the existing Orphan Well Association (“OWA”). Under the OWA, an orphan site is “a well, pipeline, facility or associated site that does not have a legally responsible and/or financially viable party to deal with its decommissioning and reclamation responsibilities.”

The OWA has a procurement process through which it selects from a list of prime contractors, who are then normally responsible for choosing their own subcontractors. However, with the new federal funding, the OWA is planning to collaborate with its prime contractors to select subcontractors (interested parties will be able to apply) for the additional work. The OWA anticipates allocating the new funding through a “staged process.” After further planning, OWA will be providing information about the process on its website.

British Columbia

On May 13, 2020, the Government of British Columbia (“BC”) announced its “Dormant Sites Reclamation Program” with which it is channeling its $100 million in federal funding toward cleaning up dormant sites. In BC, well sites are deemed “dormant” if they do not reach a threshold of activity for five years consecutively, or if they have failed to produce for at least 720 hours yearly.

The program is specifically for B.C. companies and contractors with experience in environmental contracting and/or oil and gas infrastructure abandonment. Applicants must have a valid contract with a BC-based oil and gas activity permit holder for a dormant site.

Eligible applicants can apply online, where the information they will need to provide includes the company details, permit holder name, well authorization number, and estimated cost of each work component.

The B.C. government will provide its funding in two increments, the first from May 25, 2020 to October 31, 2020. Funding for this first increment is up to $50 million. The second increment will commence on November 1, 2020 and run to May 31, 2021.

In both funding increments, the B.C. government will provide financial contribution up to 50% of the total estimated or actual costs (whichever is less), up to a total of $100,000 per application and per closure activity. The program has already received significant interest; in a news release, the province noted it received over 1,100 applications on the first day, which means the program was nearly fully subscribed.

B.C. landowners, local governments, and Indigenous communities can nominate dormant oil or gas sites on their land through an online process beginning June 15, 2020. The BC government noted that such nominations will be a priority in the second increment of funding.

Saskatchewan

On May 22, 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan initiated the “Accelerated Site Closure Program” (“ASCP”). Through this program, the Ministry of Energy and Resources will manage $400 million from the federal government for the abandonment and reclamation of inactive oil and gas wells and facilities.

The ASCP involves multiple phases, the first for up to $100 million (the future funding and applicable phases have not yet been announced). In order to be eligible, licensees must be in good standing regarding debts owed to the Crown as of March 1, 2020 (e.g. the Oil and Gas Administrative Levy, the Orphan Well Levy, etc.). Eligible licensees will receive a minimum of $50,000 toward their abandonment and reclamation projects.

The program provides that licensees nominate their wells and facilities through the IRIS system (Integrated Resource Information System). Service companies, interested in performing the work, must apply through SaskTenders beginning in the first week of June 2020. Further details on the application process, and who to contact with questions, can be found in the following bulletin.

The Saskatchewan government anticipates that up to 8,000 wells and facilities will be abandoned and reclaimed through the ASCP, which in turn will support approximately 2,100 full-time jobs. Saskatchewan plans to develop an Indigenous procurement strategy further into the program.

The first phase of the ASCP is now complete, and eligible licensees have received notice of their allocation.

Moving Forward

The federal funding is a welcome boost to cleaning up inactive oil and gas sites in Western Canada. This is a significant step to subsidize old, inactive sites and lower the associated environmental risks. As the three programs also create jobs and contracting opportunities for local parties, the federal funding appears to be a big win for both the energy industry and the environment in all three provinces during these difficult times.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


About the Authors

JoAnn P. Jamieson’s practice is dedicated to environmental, regulatory and Aboriginal law matters. With over 20 years of experience, she has worked on major resource development throughout western and northern Canada including oil sands, oil and gas, coalbed methane, pipelines, co-generation, hydro, petrochemical, diamond and uranium mining, in situ coal gasification, power, renewables and clean energy technology. JoAnn has extensive experience in environmental impact assessment, land and water regulation, municipal planning, climate change, species at risk, corporate social responsibility and regulatory compliance issues.

Anna Fitz is a student-at-law in the Edmonton office of McLennan Ross LLP.  Anna completed her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa, where she graduated cum laude. She also received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at McGill University and graduated with distinction.

Canadian Government Awards Contract for clean-up of KELSET Creek Pond, British Columbia

The Canadian government recently announced that it had awarded a contract to complete the second phase of the ḰEL¸SET (formerly Reay Creek) Remediation Project that will remove sediments with elevated levels of metals from this 200 metre long pond. Last summer, the first phase of creek sediment remediation was completed within the Victoria Airport boundary.

The pond clean-up work will begin this summer and is expected to be complete by fall 2020.  The remediation work will be restricted to a short window of time between the cutthroat trout and coho salmon’s critical spawning timeframe in the ḰEL¸SET (Reay) Creek.

The clean-up work involves diverting the creek around the pond area, excavating contaminated sediment in the pond, transporting the sediment to an approved facility for treatment/disposal, and backfilling the pond. It is estimated that approximately 3,900 cubic meters of sediment will be removed from the pond, which is about seven times more than the volume excavated during last year’s work.

The contract awarded to QM Environmental for $1,144,350 will be closely monitored by Transport Canada to ensure the safety of workers and the community. The work will be conducted in accordance with all federal and provincial guidelines, including those addressing COVID-19. Construction and environmental monitoring will be conducted throughout the project to ensure that clean-up activities comply with Town of Sidney bylaws and do not adversely impact the surrounding environment.

Reay Creek is also known by the Sencoten name ‘Kelset,’ (pronounced “KWAL-sit”). It is a relatively small creek originating both on the east side of the Victoria International Airport and the northeast slope of Mount Newton. It drains into Bazan Bay near Sidney.

A healthy waterway is essential for the well-being of fish who live there. Fish health is threatened when high concentrations of metals that don’t break down remain in the environment, threatening the marine food web.

The ḰEL¸SET (Reay) Creek Remediation Project is funded through Canada’s Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP). FCSAP provides funding to assess and remediate federal contaminated sites and is coordinated by Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Marc Garneau, the federal Minister of Transport stated, “Completing this phase of the ḰEL¸SET (Reay) Creek remediation project demonstrates our government’s commitment to remediating contaminated sites and protecting the environment. Cleaning-up the pond will reduce threats to the pond ecosystem and the food web, in addition to providing a healthier home for cutthroat trout and coho salmon.”

The initial phase of the remediation project, conducted in 2019, removed and treated 923 tonnes of contaminated sediment from portions of the creek bed located on the Victoria Airport.

Soil Contamination: Changing Perspectives on Road Salt

Written By Kyla Hoyles, P. Geo, QP, Premier Environmental Services Inc.

Road salt in Canada, especially where I’m from in Southern Ontario, is a daily part of our lives in the winter months. It keeps us safe and is applied to paved surfaces on most days when frozen precipitation is expected. From an environmental perspective, road salt leaches into our soils and can affect plant growth, and eventually to the groundwater where the sodium and chloride can be tasted in our drinking water. For that reason, it has been considered a soil and groundwater contaminant, and subject to site condition standards when completing environmental site assessment work.

In Ontario, this has been a tricky situation for many years, and I have had many clients ask me why their property value or development plans are being affected by the application of road salt to parking lots, walkways and road ways for safety purposes. I have sympathized because road salt use has been socially acceptable and relatively unregulated for so long, that treating this as a contaminant is counter- intuitive. But as a consultant and qualified professional (QP), there has been little I could do, particularly in situations where regulatory approvals such as a Record of Site Condition (RSC) were needed.

But there is good news on this front! On December 4, 2019, the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) amended O. Reg. 153/04 governing RSCs. Among a number of changes provided by this amendment, was the ability for QPs to consider elevated concentrations of road salt related parameters in soil and groundwater to not be exceedances if it is determined that the road salt was applied solely for the purpose of vehicular or pedestrian traffic safety under conditions of snow or ice. This does not pertain to bulk storage of road salt, or snow dumps.

This will simplify the RSC process for many properties, and hopefully allow many developments to proceed that were stalled due to unforeseen remedial or risk assessment costs. This regulatory amendment contained several other common- sense changes, and has been well received by many of us in the environmental consulting profession.


About the Author

Kyla is a professional geoscientist licensed in Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba. She has extensive consulting experience specializing in Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, soil and groundwater remediation, risk assessment / risk management, and Designated Substance / Hazardous Materials Surveys and abatement. She has conducted, supervised, and trained staff on all stages of the environmental site assessment process, assessing hundreds of properties. In the process, Kyla has assisted a wide variety of clients by assessing risk related to property purchase and divestment, financing and re-development. Kyla is a Qualified Person for filing Records of Site Condition (RSC) as specified in O. Reg. 153/04 as amended.

A Review of the Emerging Treatment Technologies for PFAS Contaminated Soils

Two researchers from Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia recently published a review of emerging treatment technologies for PFAS contaminated soils in the Journal of Environmental Management (255:109896[2020]). The article provides a comprehensive evaluation of existing and emerging technologies for remediating PFAS-contaminated soils and provides guidance on which approach to use in different contexts. The functions of all remediation technologies, their suitability, limitations, and the scale applied from laboratory to the field are also presented in the article as a baseline for understanding the research need for treatment in soil environments.

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are very stable manmade chemicals that have properties that allow them to repel both water and oil.  Chemicals in this class of more than 5,000 substances are found in products like nonstick pans (e.g. “Teflon”), waterproof jackets, and carpets to repel water, grease, and stains.  PFAS don’t easily break down, and they can persist in your body and in the environment for decades. As a result of their pervasiveness, more than 95 percent of the U.S. population has PFAS in their bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The article states that remediation of soil contaminated with PFAS is extremely challenging.  The most widely used method to manage PFAS contaminated soil is the immobilization method.   Immobilization methods that are generally less expensive and disruptive to the natural landscape, hydrology, and ecosystems than are conventional excavation, treatment, and disposal methods. The article concludes that PFAS immobilization methods need further study to assess their long-term efficiency.

The article also examines the use of soil washing methods for the remediation of PFAS in soil.  Soil washing is an ex-situ remediation technique that removes contaminants from soil by washing the soil with a liquid (often with a chemical additive), scrubbing the soil, and then separating the clean soils from contaminated soil and washwater.  The article concludes that further work to determine the efficacy of the washing solvents.

The article also discusses other soil remediation methods that have been tested effectively in lab trials including thermal treatment techniques, chemical oxidation, ball milling, and electron beams.

 

 

Canada Environmental Damages Fund – Call for Proposals

The Canadian Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) is a specified purpose account administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to direct funds received from fines, court orders and voluntary payments to priority projects that will benefit Canada’s natural environment.

ECCC recently issues a call for proposals for funding of projects.  The deadline for submission of proposals is February 18th, 2020.

Groups eligible for funding include non-governmental organizations, universities and academic institutions, Indigenous organizations, and provincial/territorial & municipal governments.  Although private companies are not eligible for funding, they are encouraged to partner with eligible groups to apply for funding.

Eligible Projects

When allocating funds, ECCC gives priority to projects that restore the natural environment and conserve wildlife, followed by environmental quality improvement initiatives, research and development on environmental restoration and improvement, and education and awareness on issues affecting the health of the natural environment.

There is no maximum project duration. The average length of a project is approximately two years.

EDF funding is available for projects that meet the following criteria:

  • address one or more of EDF’s four priority areas noted above
  • satisfy all fund use requirements as listed on the EDF Available Funds page
  • are scientifically sound and technically feasible
  • are cost-effective in achieving goals, objectives and results
  • can measure results using EDF performance indicators
  • show that the environment will benefit from the project
  • demonstrate that the applicant possesses or has access to necessary partnership, experience, knowledge and skills required to undertake the project

While matching funds are not required, evidence of other funding sources such as matching contributions and the respective amounts, or demonstration of the applicant’s ability to raise funds from sources other than the federal government in a past project will be considered as an asset at the proposal evaluation stage.

In addition, your project must include at least one of the EDF’s performance indicators.  The EDF Applicant Guide contains the complete list and explanation of indicators and is available upon logging into the Grants and Contributions Enterprise Management System (GCEMS).

Available funds

Available funding varies according to the number of court awards and voluntary contributions directed to the EDF. In its sentencing decision, the court may recommend the recipient, location and scope of a project funded by the fine. This information is considered in the assessment of the fine and in the definition of the appropriate fund use requirement. Funding is currently available in the following provinces and territories:

British Columbia

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: British Columbia
Funds Available: $275,033.06

Fund use requirement: For projects related to the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat in any watershed in the Province of British Columbia with priority for projects in the Bulkley River watershed, Fraser River watershed (Cariboo-Chilcotin Central Region), or the Campbell River watershed, or near the city of Powell River, British Columbia. Minimum funding request is $100,000.

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: British Columbia
Funds Available: $90,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at waterfowl, bird and fish habitat conservation and restoration in British Columbia with priority for projects in or around the Fort St. John area, British Columbia. Minimum funding request is $90,000.

Alberta

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: Alberta
Funds Available: $269,950.17

Fund use requirement: For projects related to the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat in the Province of Alberta, with priority for projects in the North Saskatchewan River watershed. Minimum funding request is $100,000.

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: Alberta
Funds Available: $35,227.65

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at managing and/or conserving and protecting fish and/or fish habitat in the Lesser Slave Lake watershed. Minimum funding request is $35,227.65.

Northwest Territories

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: Northwest Territories
Funds Available: $32,765.08

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at protecting, conserving or restoring the environment or promoting the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat in the Northwest Territories with priority for projects within the Yellowknife watershed, Northwest Territories. Minimum funding request is $32,765.08.

Saskatchewan

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: Saskatchewan
Funds Available: $40,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at promoting the proper management and control of fisheries or fish habitat or conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat in the Province of Saskatchewan with priority for projects in the Moose Jaw watershed, Saskatchewan. Minimum funding request is $40,000.

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: Saskatchewan
Funds Available: $104,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at protecting, conserving or restoring the environment in the Province of Saskatchewan, with priority for projects in the west-northwest region of Saskatchewan. Minimum funding request is $104,000.

Yukon

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020

Location: Yukon
Funds Available: $20,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at protecting, conserving or restoring the environment in the Yukon Territory with priority for projects near Whitehorse, Yukon. Minimum funding request is $20,000.

Ontario

Application Deadline:  February 18, 2020
Location: Ontario
Funds Available: $75,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat or the restoration of fish habitat within the municipal boundaries of the City of Kawartha Lakes. Minimum funding request is $75,000.

Québec

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: Quebec
Funds Available: $404,199

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at promoting the conservation, protection and restoration of the habitat of Lac Mégantic and the Chaudière River. Minimum funding request is $100,000.

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: Quebec
Funds Available: $380,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at scientific research, improvement and/or restoration of fish habitat or the conservation and protection of fish or fish habitat in the region of la Capitale-Nationale or the Chaudières-Appalaches. Minimum funding request is $100,000.

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: Quebec
Funds Available: $1,126,627

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at promoting the protection, conservation, recovery or restoration of the environment in the Province of Quebec, more specifically in the Montreal region. Minimum funding request is $200,000.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020

Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Funds Available: $200,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at protecting, conserving, or restoring the environment in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Preference will be given to projects in coastal locations. Minimum funding request is $100,000.

New Brunswick

Application Deadline: February 18, 2020
Location: New Brunswick
Funds Available: $50,000

Fund use requirement: For projects aimed at promoting the conservation and protection of fish and fish habitat, or the restoration of fish habitat in the Province of New Brunswick. Minimum funding request is $50,000.

Application process

Step 1: Confirm available funds and project eligibility

Review funding opportunities, and confirm funds are available in your project’s location. Review fund use requirements associated with each available fund and ensure your project’s activities satisfy those requirements.

Log into GCEMS to access the EDF Applicant Guide. Refer to the Applicant Guide to ensure all proposed project activities are eligible EDF expenditures. For questions or clarification, please contact an EDF office in your region.

Step 2: Prepare your funding application using GCEMS

Visit the GCEMS application instructions page for technical assistance documents, tutorials, and support throughout your application preparation.

If desired, contact the EDF office in your region prior to the application deadline to discuss your project application with an EDF Program Officer. Officers can also help provide advice/information on:

  • the EDF program
  • the funding process
  • official languages requirements

Step 3: Submit your application

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an acknowledgment of receipt email confirming successful submission.

Following the project review phase, you will receive notification on the status of your funding application.

Illegal dumping results in $190k remediation in Grande Prairie, Alberta

In May of last year, there was an incident in which hydrocarbon was illegally disposed into a curbside drain that contaminated a popular fishing pond in the County of Grande Prairie, Alberta.  The pond was closed for two months during the clean-up and remediation.  The final bill for the clean-up and remediation was recently tallied at $184,125.

Investigators from Alberta Environment Parks and Recreation (AEP) estimated that approximately five cubic metres (1,320 U.S. gallons) were released into the pond.  Although a determination was made that the release of hydrocarbons was intentional, fines have not been laid and AEP has closed the file.

After the initial response to contain the oil waste and prevent further contamination, the County’s environmental consultants conducted extensive remediation work along the shoreline, including removal of approximately two-thirds of the cattails surrounding the pond.

“The County along with Alberta Environment have been monitoring the wildlife in the area since the incident occurred and there is no known impact to the health of animal or aquatic life,” said Christine Rawlins, parks and recreation manager. “Out of an abundance of caution, however, we will continue to operate the pond on a catch and release basis only.”

In response to the incident, the County has reviewed its own internal processes for environmental emergency response and have made updates to the health and safety management system. Action steps include updating the Standard Operating Procedure, coordinating response through the Incident Command System, and ensuring an up-to-date list of qualified environmental contractors who can respond to similar events. The key is prompt detection and notification that leads to a quick response when these types of events occur.

“We are grateful to the member of the public who reported the sheen in the pond, which alerted us to the fact that there was an illegal dumping of hydrocarbon into a nearby drain,” said Daniel Lemieux, Director of Community Services for the County of Grande Prairie. “Vigilance is an important part of our early detection and mitigation strategy, so we ask that the public contact the Alberta Environment’s 24-hour Emergency Response Line at 1-800-222-6514 or Alberta Environmental and Dangerous Goods Emergencies at 1-800-272-9600 immediately if they see anything unusual, including someone dumping materials into the drains. This incident was costly to the County, the community, and the environment and was entirely preventable.”

 

 

Thermally enhanced bioremediation for DNAPLs

In the fall of 2019, a group of researchers from CDM Smith, the U.S. Army Core of Engineers, TRS Group, and the U.S. EPA presented a paper on the implementation and performance of thermally-enhanced bioremdiation for targeted dense non-aqueous phase liquid (NDAPL) source treatment at the Northwest Remediation Conference in Tacoma, Washington.
In the paper, they describe a multi-component remedy, including in situ thermal remediation (ISTR) and enhanced anaerobic biodegradation (EAB), was implemented at a Superfund site in Tacoma, Washington. The goal of ISTR and EAB was to reduce mass discharge from the source areas by 90%.
EAB was implemented over a large area of the site containing a thin silt unit with residual chlorinated solvent mass and two localized areas above containing DNAPL (predominantly 1,1,2,2-PCA and TCE). Following implementation, dissolved-phase concentrations increased in the DNAPL areas due to enhanced dissolution. Reductive dechlorination products increased, but at a slower rate than desired.
Thermal enhancement by electrical resistance heating (ERH) was designed to increase the rate of dissolution of the DNAPL and to increase the biodegradation kinetics. The ERH treatment zone was created using an array of electrodes around each DNAPL area, with temperature monitoring in the center of each array.
The ERH system was maintained at a target temperature between 45-50°C throughout most of the 12-month operation. Monitoring data indicated that the smaller DNAPL source was substantially depleted during the first six months of operation, while the larger DNAPL source exhibited declining concentrations after 12 months of operation.
Monitoring indicated only minimal biodegradation occurred at the DNAPL-impacted locations. Rapid reductive dechlorination occurred in areas immediately surrounding the electrode array, where temperatures were slightly lower and more favorable for enhanced biological degradation. Since the implementation of ERH, PCA and TCE concentrations in the DNAPL source wells have declined between 80 and 99%.

Green Remediation: Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently updated a set of analytical workbooks known as “SEFA” (Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis) to help decision-makers analyze the environmental footprint of a site cleanup project, determine which cleanup activities drive the footprint, and adjust project parameters to reduce the footprint. Information to be input by the user may be gathered from project planning documents, field records and other existing resources. Automated calculations within SEFA generate outputs that quantify 21 metrics corresponding to core elements of a greener cleanup.

 

Environmental Footprint Summary

Core Element Green Remediation Metric Unit of Measure
Materials & Waste M&W-1 Refined materials used on site tons
M&W-2 Percent of refined materials from recycled or waste material percent
M&W-3 Unrefined materials used on site tons
M&W-4 Percent of unrefined materials from recycled or waste material percent
M&W-5 Onsite hazardous waste generated tons
M&W-6 Onsite non-hazardous waste generated tons
M&W-7 Percent of total potential onsite waste that is recycled or reused percent
Water Onsite water use (by source)
W-1 – Source, use, fate combination #1 millions of gallons
W-2 – Source, use, fate combination #2 millions of gallons
W-3 – Source, use, fate combination #3 millions of gallons
W-4 – Source, use, fate combination #4 millions of gallons
Energy E-1 Total energy use MMBtu
E-2 Total energy voluntarily derived from renewable resources
E-2A – Onsite generation or use and biodiesel use MMBtu
E-2B – Voluntary purchase of renewable electricity MWh
E-2C – Voluntary purchase of RECs MWh
Air A-1 Onsite NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissions lbs
A-2 Onsite HAP emissions lbs
A-3 Total NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissions lbs
A-4 Total HAP emissions lbs
A-5 Total GHG emissions tons CO2e
Land & Ecosystems

Qualitative description

SEFA was first released in 2012 and updated in 2014. In 2019, SEFA was updated to incorporate new default footprint conversion factors for additional materials, diesel or gasoline engines of various sizes, and laboratory analyses. The 2019 update (Version 3.0) also provides additional areas for entering user-defined footprint conversion factors.

Instructions for SEFA Users

  • SEFA comprises three internally linked workbooks (files) in a standard spreadsheet (Excel) format; the files should be saved in a single directory to assure accurate/complete data exchange.
  • Optimal functioning of the workbooks relies on use of Microsoft Office 2013 or higher.
  • An “Introduction” worksheet (tab) in the “Main” workbook provides an overview of SEFA, including its data structure.
  • Technical support in using SEFA is not available outside the Agency; other parties interested in using or adapting the workbooks may wish to obtain technical assistance from qualified environmental or engineering professionals.

Supporting Methodology

EPA’s “Methodology for Understanding and Reducing a Project’s Environmental Footprint” report provides a seven-step process for quantifying the 21 metrics associated with a site cleanup. The report also addresses the value of footprint analysis; discusses the level of effort and cost involved in footprint analysis; details interpretative considerations; provides illustrative approaches to reducing a cleanup project’s environmental footprint; and contains related planning checklists and reference tables.

Fukushima: Lessons learned from soil decontamination after nuclear accident

Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities carried out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covered more than 9,000 square kilometres ( 3,470 square miles). On Dec. 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, researchers provided an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness in the Scientific Journal Soil.

Of primary concern after the Fukushima nuclear incident was the release of radioactive cesium in the environment because this radioisotope was emitted in large quantities during the accident,  it has a half-life of 30 years, and it constitutes the highest risk to the local population in the medium and long term.

This analysis in the journal provides new scientific lessons on decontamination strategies and techniques implemented in the municipalities affected by the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima accident. This synthesis indicates that removing the surface layer of the soil to a thickness of 5 cm, the main method used by the Japanese authorities to clean up cultivated land, has reduced cesium concentrations by about 80% in treated areas.

The removal of the uppermost part of the topsoil, which has proved effective in treating cultivated land, has cost the Japanese state about $35 billion (Cdn.).  This technique generates a significant amount of waste, which is difficult to treat, to transport and to store for several decades in the vicinity of the power plant, a step that is necessary before it is shipped to final disposal sites located outside Fukushima district by 2050. By early 2019, Fukushima’s decontamination efforts had generated about 20 million cubic metres of waste.

Decontamination activities have mainly targeted agricultural landscapes and residential areas. The review points out that the forests have not been cleaned up -because of the difficulty and very high costs that these operations would represent – as they cover 75% of the surface area located within the radioactive fallout zone.

 

U.S. EPA Green Remediation Best Management Practices

Excavation and Site Remediation

Excavation of soil, sediment or waste material is often undertaken at contaminated sites to address immediate risk to human health or the environment; prepare for implementation of remediation technologies and construction of supporting infrastructure; and address contaminant hot spots in soil or sediment.

The excavation and subsequent backfilling processes rely on use of heavy earth-moving machinery and often involve managing large volumes of material. Many opportunities exist to reduce the environmental footprint of the various cleanup activities and improve ultimate restoration of the disturbed land, surface water and ecosystems.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Fact Sheet outlines specific best management practices (BMPs) that can be used to minimize the environmental footprint concerning emission of air pollutants and use of water, energy, and other resources at excavation sites. The refined set of BMPs is based on recent experiences reported by regulators, property owners, cleanup service contractors and other stakeholders in the cleanup community.

Sites with Leaking Underground Storage Tank Systems

The U.S. EPA estimates that approximately 65,450 releases of petroleum or hazardous substances from federally regulated underground storage tanks (USTs) had not yet reached the “cleanup completed” milestone as of September 2018.  The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) estimates that in 2017, alone, state cleanup funds collectively spent approximately $1.113 billion in cleaning up UST releases.

Use of green remediation best management practices (BMPs) can help minimize the environmental footprint of cleanup activities at UST-contaminated sites and improve overall outcomes of the corrective actions. In accordance with the EPA Principles for Greener Cleanups, BMPs outlined in the updated “Green Remediation Best Management Practices: Sites with Leaking Underground Storage Tanks” fact sheet are intended to complement federal requirements for corrective actions at UST-contaminated sites and may enhance state-administered UST program requirements.

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