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.