Grain News - February 26
The map shows soil moisture levels heading into the winter. That's what you have in your soil right now. Most of Alberta is still dry, including the usually well-watered central corridor from Calgary to Edmonton. Once again much of western Saskatchewan and Alberta will have to rely on timely rains during the big water use period of about June 10 to July 20. Most of the province is dry due to the lack of rain before the ground froze in the fall, explains Ralph Wright, a Soil Moisture Specialist with ARD. In southern Alberta, soil moisture is low along the foothills between Calgary and the U.S. border, and through the northern portion of Vulcan and Newell Counties. Click here to read more.
Pincher Creek Echo - February 23
The tough economic climate is making councillors at the Town of Pincher Creek seriously consider a regional water strategy with its neighbours in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and Village of Cowley. Town council is yet to make a decision on whether to share its water treatment facility.
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Edmonton Journal - February 21
An examination of stream and creek crossings built by forestry and oilpatch companies revealed problems with 44 per cent of them, Alberta Environment says. The inspection of 97 sites was conducted last August in the Edson and Hinton areas. As a result, Shell Canada, Talisman Energy, and West Fraser Mills were ordered to fix the problems. Click here to read more.
An examination of stream and creek crossings built by forestry and oilpatch companies revealed problems with 44 per cent of them, Alberta Environment says. The inspection of 97 sites was conducted last August in the Edson and Hinton areas. As a result, Shell Canada, Talisman Energy, and West Fraser Mills were ordered to fix the problems.
Edmonton Journal - February 18
New and tougher rules for water use in the oilsands are being proposed by the Energy Resource Conservation Board in response to growing public concerns. Draft regulations, to be released today, call for in-situ operators -- which use water and steam to push deep bitumen deposits to the surface -- to limit their use of fresh water to 10 per cent of volume and up to 25 per cent of brackish water (if no fresh water is used) from saline groundwater in their operations. The balance must come from recycling. As well, improved measurement and formal reporting will be required, all subject to inspections and enforcement by the ERCB and Alberta Environment. Click here to read more.
Rocky View Weekly - February 17
The MD of Rocky View may soon address the chronic water contamination that has kept Bragg Creek under a boil-water advisory for years. The breakthrough could come in the form of a recently announced joint provincial/federal grant. Under the Building Canada Fund, the MD could receive a maximum of $6 million. Together with $4.1 million already allocated by a provincial infrastructure program Rocky View would have the necessary $10 million to build water and waste water infrastructure.
Slave Lake Journal - February 10
Alberta Environment has 120 compliance officers split between the Northern, Central and Southern regions of the province. However, monitoring water across Alberta uses a “multi-party” approach. This basically means the government relies on industry and the public to help them monitor water pollution. Click here to read more.
The Slave River hydro project, if it ever gets off the ground, would be a key part of a NWT-wide hydro power resource exporting energy to southern markets. Click here to read more.
Calgary Herald - February 5
Alberta Environment is investigating the discharge of hundreds of thousands of litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca river from an oilsands plant's cooling water retention pond. The exact quantity isn't known, because it's not clear when the water began exceeding environmental standards for oil and grease. Alberta Environment spokesman Jason Cobb said Suncor Energy realized it had a problem when sample results came in early Tuesday. The approved allowable discharge is five parts per million of oil and grease, and the company had readings ranging from 0.02 ppm to 42 ppm. The water is runoff from the operations site, as well as cooling water. It is not tailings water. Suncor and AENV are testing downstream water to make sure there are no issues resulting from the discharge. Click here to read more.
Rocky View Weekly - February 3
The MD of Rocky View has broken off negotiations with EPCOR for the construction of a water system for east Balzac. Rocky View said the decision was the result of an assessment of the long-term financial impact of an agreement with EPCOR Water Services Inc. In spite of the impasse, municipal officials said they are confident the MD will be able to have water running when a large Balzac mall currently under construction opens its doors in August.
Government of Alberta News Release - February 3
Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes requires operators to: (i) Prepare tailings plans and report on tailings ponds annually; (ii) Reduce the accumulation of fluid tailings by capturing fines and placing them in a deposit that is trafficable and, (iii) Specify dates for construction, use and closure of fluid tailings ponds deposits and file these dates with the ERCB by September 30, 2009. “Tailings” is a term used to describe waste from oil sands extraction processes. This waste is generally composed of water, sands, silt, clay and residual bitumen. Alberta’s inventory of fluid fine tailings that require long term containment is now 720 million cubic metres. Click here to read more.
Western Economic Diversification Canada and Alberta Transportation - January 30
Under the Canada-Alberta Building Canada Fund - Communities Component, the federal and provincial governments provide up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs. Partnering municipalities provide the remaining project funding. The projects announced today will improve local roads, water, wastewater, cultural and green energy infrastructure. Click here to read more.
Alberta Environment - January 26
After issuing a yellow, low flow warning for the Athabasca River last week, recent measurements indicate water levels have returned to the normal range. Measurements taken on January 21 indicated that levels had returned to the green or normal flow rate, when a reading of 168 m3 per second was taken. While a green condition allows for normal operations, Alberta Environment will continue to monitor the situation closely, and encourages users to be watchful of the flow condition and their withdrawals. While it is not uncommon for flow rates to vary on a weekly basis through the year, they tend to be steadier through the winter. Click here to read more.
Edmonton Journal - January 22
City council voted 7-6 vote Wednesday to approve the sale of the Gold Bar sewage treatment plant to Epcor. Under the deal, Epcor says it will give the city $75 million over seven years, plus an additional $115 million in dividends by 2018. The city-owned utility expects the transfer will provide it with the expertise needed to boost its business managing sewage systems. Click here to read more.
Fewer trees will die to make the streams of paper used by the City of Edmonton once a new eco-friendly recycling facility opens in two years. The plant, to be built and operated by Greys Paper Recycling, will turn waste paper, cardboard, old cotton cloth and blue jeans into 100-per-cent recycled writing paper and paper products in a process that uses no chemicals and one- twentieth the water used by traditional paper mills. The city has entered into a partnership with Greys Recycling, which will see 40 million sheets of waste office paper it produces yearly turned into recycled paper products for sale back to the city. Click here to read more.
Rocky View Weekly - January 20
The MD of Rocky View has joined municipal and provincial agencies in an effort to protect one of the main watercourses bisecting its territory. On Jan. 13, Rocky View council endorsed the Elbow River Basin Water Management Plan as a document providing guidance when making planning decisions that could impact the river. The plan recommends measures to keep the river healthy by, for example, reducing development near the Elbow, especially in the alluvial aquifer, where pollutants can be easily carried to the river.
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Alberta Environment - Information Bulletin - January 20
Alberta Environment has directed industry to reduce water withdrawals from the Athabasca River as a result of a naturally occurring low water flow in the region. Statistics show water flow levels have dropped into the yellow warning zone as determined by the Water Management Framework introduced in 2007. Under the framework, a yellow flow condition means the river is experiencing low flows, which occur naturally about 20 per cent of the time. When this happens, water withdrawals may increase stress to the aquatic ecosystems. This is the first time yellow flow levels have been reached since the implementation of the framework. Alberta Environment staff will continue to monitor water levels and restrict further withdrawals until further notice. As part of the framework, each operator is required to have its own action plan, which is
Calgary Herald - January 12
The Bingham Crossing proposal (located kitty-corner from Calaway Park, north of Highway 1) is at the early stages before the M. D. of Rocky View, and Alberta Environment is seeking public input until mid-January on an allocation licence transfer from Allen's Trout Farm to supply water to the development. Click here to read more.
Sunny South News - January 12
The town of Picture Butte is set to meet with Alberta Transportation to discuss the town’s application for a regional water line which would twin the existing County of Lethbridge water line from the City of Lethbridge. In addition to serving the Town of Picture Butte, the line would also serve as a backup for the county line. The project proposes to run parallel to the current line.
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Edmonton Journal - January 9
Bruce Power has temporarily withdrawn its application to prepare a site for a nuclear power plant near Peace River, and is now considering a second site. In a letter to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the nuclear power company says a new site was chosen partly because concerns were raised about an aquifer near the first location. Click here to read more.
CNW - January 8
According to a survey released today by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, when considering oil sands environmental issues, concern about impacts on freshwater supply was cited as the single most significant oil sands environmental issue by respondents. In addition, 50% of respondents do not believe what oil and gas executives say in the media, compared with only 13% who do. Similarly, 44% of respondents do not believe information provided by oil and gas companies. Only 20% agree that they do believe such information. Click here to read more.
Westcoaster - January 8
Environmentalists have launched a private prosecution against one of Canada's largest oilsands producers over the much-publicized death of 500 ducks in a toxic tailings pond last spring. Click here to read more.
Alberta Government - News Release - January 6
Communities of less than 100,000 across Alberta can now apply to the Building Canada Fund - Communities Component. The nine categories of infrastructure that are eligible for funding are water, wastewater, solid waste, local roads, culture, sports, connectivity, green energy, and collaborative projects. Projects will be evaluated by a federal-provincial committee through a competitive application-based process. The intake closes on March 15, 2009. Click here to read more.
Central Peace Signal - January 6
Glacier Power Ltd. received notice that the Joint Review Panel determined the Dunvegan Hydroelectric Project to be in the public interest. The project is for a 100 megawatt, low head, run-of-river hydroelectric project on the Peace River near Dunvegan. This will produce power from the flow of the river without significant storage of water and does not regulate the downstream flow. It includes a spillway, a powerhouse with 40 turbine units, a headpond, boat lock, ramp fishways, a 4.3 km, 144 KV transmission line and a plant substation. Click here to read more.
Alberta Government - News Release
The Government of Alberta has established the first Regional Advisory Council under Alberta’s new Land-use Framework. The council will provide strategic advice to the government in the development of a land-use plan for the Lower Athabasca Region, which covers an area from the town of Bonnyville to Alberta’s northern border and includes Fort McMurray, Cold Lake and Lac La Biche. Click here to read more.
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