Open House October 3rd 2019

Join us for an afternoon of networking and exploring careers in the enviormental field. Meet the Hemmera team, ask your burning questions, and learn more about the Hemmera Way.

Hemmera at the 2018 Canadian Wind Energy Association Spring Forum

Hemmera proudly sponsored the 2018 Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) Spring Forum. This annual forum gathers together industry peers, policy makers, and key stakeholders to discuss the growth of Canada’s wind sector in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and other provinces.

View Hemmera’s featured video to learn about our wind energy development services and how our experts can assist you with your project needs.

Hemmera’s Technical Experts at RemTech 2016

Hosted in Banff, Alberta, the 2016 Remediation Technologies Symposium (RemTech) was a success for Hemmera’s Alberta team. Many Hemmera technical experts presented a range of scientific and innovative topics.

Dr. Doug Bright, an environmental toxicologist and risk assessment specialist, with almost 30 years of experience assessing and managing environmental risks and impacts, presented a case study validation of the new Alberta Reclamation Criteria for Wellsites and Associated Facilities for Peatlands. Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) recently published peatlands reclamation criteria that focused on upstream oil and gas releases and activities. Doug and his team used data obtained between 2007 and 2015 for several Alberta and British Columbia boreal wetland sites to critically evaluate the AEP peatlands reclamation criteria. This presentation highlighted the strong alignment between the AEP peatland reclamation criteria and Hemmera’s practical experience assessing ecological risks at produced water and hydrocarbon release sites. The presentation also highlighted issues and approaches that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainty about returning to equivalent land capacity on a site-specific basis.

Elizabeth Vincer, an experienced terrestrial ecologist with an educational background in natural resource management and wildlife ecology, presented on Environmental DNA – A Revolutionary Sampling Technique for Aquatic Ecological Studies. Elizabeth explained the success of eDNA as a robust, efficient, and budget-saving method for reliably detecting species presence in both lotic and lentic systems. Her presentation focused on how eDNA studies are used to better inform decision-making and guide effective mitigation efforts during the baseline, permitting, construction, and operational phases of resource development and infrastructure projects. Elizabeth also describe how eDNA can be used to meet regulatory monitoring requirements and assess the effectiveness of reclamation efforts. Since 2014, Hemmera has delivered over 20 eDNA projects across Western Canada for a range of clients including government agencies and resource development companies. Hemmera has also recently developed a provincial sampling standard for collection of eDNA for the BC Ministry of Environment.

Hemmera’s Jake Gossen discussed the aquifer solid phase and the profound influence aquifer mineralogy has on the mobility of organic and inorganic contaminants in aquifer systems. Jake’s presentation focused on the effects of reactive minerals on the success of remedial design strategies. He discussed three main scenarios in which reactive minerals determine success or failure for remedial design, in addition to the long-term stability of reactive minerals and recommendations for assessing, monitoring, altering, and mitigating their reactivity. Jake linked specific case studies to each of the three scenarios to show what can go wrong when reactive minerals are not considered in design. He also present best-case examples to show how understanding the presence of reactive minerals can result in remedial success, and offered novel remedial approaches for manipulating groundwater geochemistry to dissolve or precipitate reactive minerals, as well recent analytical techniques to characterize the aquifer solid phase.

Diane Zorn presented on the challenging technical issues and unique solutions associated with the redevelopment of a major shopping mall in Victoria, BC. Diane described the site assessment and remediation project and its myriad “legacy” environmental issues, including three former service stations, one former automobile repair facility, an historical leaking fuel oil UST beneath the mall, a dry cleaners, an area of historical infilling with contaminated material, and a former brick factory. Diane described the challenging site-specific technical issues that have required careful navigation of the regulations and innovative thinking, in addition to the challenges and solutions reached to position this high-profile mall for redevelopment under a tight schedule and budget.

Shannon Bard Presents at the Salish Sea Conference

Hemmera’s Dr. Shannon Bard, Practice Leader for Biological Risk Assessment, presented at this year’s Salish Sea Conference in April 2016. Shannon explored the recovery of intertidal communities in BC’s Howe Sound region, and presented the results of over 25 years of intertidal community monitoring. The presentation focused on the impacts of historic effluent from Woodfibre and Port Mellon pulp mills as well as the Britannia Mine on intertidal communities. In the presentation Shannon posed some challenging questions, including: what are the dynamics of recovery at the sites with different impact levels; what are the major factors impairing recovery; what key species could facilitate the successional recovery; and can we accelerate the recovery of intertidal communities though physical and biological habitat enhancement? Shannon also discussed the analysis and data modeling used to illustrate recovery of marine communities in multi-stressor environments and the development of management practices to facilitate successful marine ecosystem recovery following pollution abatement.

For more information about this project and our risk assessment team at Hemmera, contact Shannon Bard (

Innovative Use of Rail Shoring

A success story presented at the SMART Remediation Toronto 2016 Conference on January 28, 2016.

While sliding rail shoring has been used for many years to excavate soils on industrial job sites, Hemmera and Claybar Contracting Inc. have adapted the use of these shoring systems to facilitate excavation of contaminated soil and groundwater during remediation projects. This past January Gerry Parrott, Regional Vice President of Hemmera’s Ontario Region, delivered a presentation at Toronto’s SMART Remediation Conference. The focus of his presentation was on the challenges, adaptations, and unique strategies employed by the Ontario team, in partnership with Claybar, at a challenging site in southern Ontario.

Excavating impacted soil and entrained groundwater along property lines with adjacent underground utilities can be complex and often requires access to adjacent off-site properties. Gerry’s presentation focused on a recently completed Hemmera project that involved the field team’s use of sliding rail shoring to remediate impacted soil and entrained groundwater along the property line of the site, as well as up to 6.5 metres below the surface between two buildings positioned approximately 15 metres apart. He demonstrated how the sliding rail shoring system was modified to enable installation of a contiguous vertical liner situated directly on the property line. Gerry explained the advantages of this unique liner installation method, its successful implementation at multiple job sites, its low cost in relation to traditional shoring systems, and how often complex technical and legal issues associated with accessing off-site properties can be avoided entirely. Gerry’s presentation also identified the limitations of this modified use of sliding rail shoring systems.

Gerry also showed how the team underpinned the building and uniquely excavated approximately 1.5 m under the building and 5 m below ground surface while using horizontal rods to hold up soil behind the foundation wall.

To demonstrate the benefits of this application, Gerry then contrasted the time and cost of conducting this work with traditional shoring systems, discussed property line implications, and outlined the options and outcome if no shoring was employed on the property.

Interested in learning more? Click here to view the full presentation.

Monitored Natural Attenuation in Qualitative Geochemical Assessments

Jake Gossen Presents at ESAA WaterTech

Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) has become a proven and viable approach to treat dissolved metals contamination at former industrial facilities. Following Hemmera’s recent development of a conceptual site model for metal release and attenuation, analytical results from sentinel wells indicate attenuation mechanisms are functioning and this model is consistent with field observations, offering significant time and cost savings during site closures. Thanks to MNA, multi-million-dollar remedial programs have been reduced to budgets in the order of $50,000.

At one confidential site where Hemmera’s geochemical assessment teams recently applied MNA, a dissolved-phase plume comprising several different metals was situated adjacent to a tidally influenced river, where water quality periodically fluctuates between fresh and saline conditions. A large industrial complex is located at this site, which was historically used for steel processing and manufacturing. Site investigations identified dissolved metal plumes (Al, B, Cd, Cu, Ni, Zn) related to a metal cleaning process utilizing sequential sulphuric acid, zinc phosphate, and borax dip baths. Analytical results indicated groundwater metal concentrations at the site were greater than federal and provincial guidelines and standards for freshwater and marine aquatic life.

Hemmera proposed a risk-based approach to achieve site closure. Following a review of historical analytical results, a fate and transport assessment was conducted involving a geochemical desktop study of the behaviour and mobility of the metals identified in groundwater at the site. Groundwater concentration contour figures indicated that the extent of cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc coincided with the extent of the dissolved aluminum plume. Field parameters collected during groundwater sampling also indicated a zone of low pH that coincided with the dissolved aluminum plume, which appeared to originate at the metal cleaning baths. In addition, the floor below the metal cleaning baths was cracked, and sulphuric acid had infiltrated into groundwater, reducing the pH considerably (~7 to less than 4); gibbsite had dissolved and an aluminum plume had formed. Gibbsite is an adsorbent and its dissolution released the adsorbed divalent cations into the solution (cadmium, copper, and nickel).

Advection, dispersion, and rainwater infiltration subsequently diluted the groundwater and pH began to rebound back to neutral conditions. In addition, tidal fluctuations in river elevation periodically recharged the river bank at the site, creating a physical and geochemical barrier for further down-gradient migration of dissolved metals. Hemmera’s successful implementation of an MNA solution addressed site contamination issues at a fraction of the cost of conventional site remediation practices.

For more information about this project, contact Jake Gossen (, an engineering hydrogeologist at Hemmera. This story was developed from a presentation for the 2015 ESAA Watertech Conference that took place on April 20 to 22 in Kananaskis, Alberta.