Project: Tetrachloroethene (‘PERC’) was used by a past dry-cleaning tenant at a commercial strip-mall in suburban Calgary and released to the environment, causing localized soil and groundwater impacts. Third-party assessment work had been conducted, but remediation was not complete. The client had inherited the property and wanted to understand the environmental conditions from the release, their obligations, and any potential risks to neighbours and tenants.
Services: Reviewed third-party technical documents and historical correspondences. Explained to the client the contaminant situation, involvement of past stakeholders, potential source areas, migration pathways, and past efforts in assessment and remediation. Identified new potential rationale for contaminant migration pattern. Guided client through Alberta regulations, explained their obligations and potential risks to receptors (human and environmental), and recommended next steps that would fit within their budget.
Project: Marine sediments had been dredged from a
recreational marina on east Vancouver Island and stockpiled on land for 10
years. The marina wished to remove the stockpile to free the land for other
uses. A developer had interest in the stockpiled sediments for use as fill in a
residential development. The marina wished to have the sediment quality
assessed to determine if it met the provincial standards for residential land
Services: Study of third-party environmental
assessment reports from the time the sediments were dredged in the context of
the updated BC Contaminated Sites Regulation. Interview with marina manager and
site visit for visual inspection and collection of sediment samples for
laboratory analysis. Preparation of a concise report to document the analysis
and interpretation of laboratory results and provide an opinion regarding
compliance of sediment for use as fill for low-density residential development.
Project: Limited environmental site assessment /
preliminary site investigation for a pending commercial property purchase for
redevelopment in Sicamous, BC.
Services: Spoke was subcontracted to a small consulting
company for technical guidance and review of the limited-scope ESA/PSI. Spoke
reviewed information from aerial photos, interviews, historical documents,
search results from the BC contaminated site registry, site profiles, and
technical information on the natural setting (hydrology, soils, groundwater)
and provided comment regarding the potential for soil or groundwater
contamination from human use of the land.
Project: Client was proposing an industrial wastewater
treatment hub to recycle water used by the petroleum industry in Alberta. In
support of the regulatory application process, Spoke was subcontracted by a
third-party environmental consulting company to assess baseline soil and
groundwater conditions and recommend soil and groundwater monitoring programs
in alignment with the applicable regulations.
Services: Desktop review of publicly-available information to understand and document regional soil and groundwater conditions. Site visit to collect site-specific information on soils and groundwater. Interpretation of all information to create a concise report fulfilling the regulatory requirements and to document baseline site information. Considered the proposed facility layout and operations in conjunction with baseline soil and groundwater conditions to provide comment on potential contaminant pathways and design suitable soil and groundwater monitoring programs.
Project: Client was
proposing capture of surface water runoff from an area with primarily organic
soil (peat) for industrial use at an energy project in northeastern British
Columbia. A regulatory review committee had responded with questions regarding
potential interactions with groundwater.
Services: Met with
the lead water resources engineer to understand the project, proposed
diversion, and reviewers’ concerns. Provided technical advice regarding
theoretical hydraulic conductivity, water storage, and discharge potentials of
peat. Proposed a basic shallow groundwater/water-table monitoring program to assess
groundwater flow direction and potential changes in groundwater levels within
the peat due to water diversion.
Project: Client was developing a large bitumen
mine in northern Alberta. A condition of their project approval was a proposal
for a groundwater monitoring program, and then implementation of that program
following regulatory approval of the monitoring plan.
Services: Prepared a proposal for the groundwater monitoring program, including selection and placement of groundwater monitoring wells, choice of laboratory and field-analyzed chemical parameters, frequency of monitoring, and consideration of phases in mine development for long-term applicability. Included modelling and dewatering aspects provided by colleagues. Following approval of the program with no amendments, analyzed the annual monitoring data and prepared reports for regulatory compliance.
Project: Project application for expansion of a
private, industrial railway in Edmonton, Alberta.
Services: Provided opinion regarding potential
impacts to local groundwater and surface waters from the proposed railway expansion.
Provided technical communications support (terminology, concepts, and
regulations) to the environmental planning team during liaison with the
subcontracted civil engineers that designed the stormwater management system.
Project: An industrial property within inner-city Calgary had been used as a metals recycling facility since the 1950s. During redevelopment of environmental operating approvals with the Alberta government, the operator declared bankruptcy. The regulator expressed concern for worker and public safety based on 10-year-old soil quality information and mandated an update to site characterization to assess soil and groundwater quality, and to follow-up with remediation, if necessary.
Services: Reviewed historical environmental site assessment and remediation documents. Met and fostered a positive relationship with the environmental regulator, on behalf of the client. Planned and managed a phase 2 environmental site assessment to delineate impacts to soil and groundwater quality to the satisfaction of the regulator. Developed risk-based remediation objectives and gained regulator approval for those objectives and the remediation plan. Managed the schedule, budget and technical aspects of the remediation program to remove contaminated near-surface soils at Site, remove a source area, and document soil quality at the property periphery. Challenges to the project were the need to complete the remediation work under frozen conditions to meet client schedule, and discovery of buried materials and soil conditions not identified as part of the assessment program. Spoke continued to monitor groundwater quality at the site post-remediation to document changes (improvements) over time and provided advice regarding preventing further land and water contamination once the property was leased to a new industrial tenant.
Project: Historical operation of flare pits near Whitecourt, AB in the 1960s through 1990s had resulted in soil and groundwater contamination at 28 natural gas well sites. Industry operators were partnered to delineate and mitigate the contamination.
Services: Provided client with liaison between several stakeholders of asset liability, improving client communication and overall relationship. Designed soil and groundwater assessment programs in line with Alberta Tier 1 and 2 soil and groundwater remediation guidelines and with stakeholder interests. Interpreted technical data from field and laboratory testing on soil and groundwater quality to identify potential secondary sources and co-mingled impacts, to demonstrate delineation of impacts evaluated against Alberta Tier 1 or Tier 2 risk-based remediation guidelines, and to identify any remaining data gaps. Provided detailed reports on extent of contamination and recommended next steps for assessment and mitigation within the context of Alberta regulatory guidelines for contaminated sites.
Project: A nitrate plume had been identified in groundwater, migrating off-site via a gravel paleo-channel, towards a major river in Calgary, AB. Regulators were involved and had expressed concerns regarding potential contaminant discharge to the river.
Services: Installed temporary, direct-push piezometers at the river’s edge to collect shallow groundwater samples during low river stage. Measured groundwater heads against river level to assess for groundwater discharge. Field work was completed discretely within public recreational areas adjacent to a residential subdivision, after obtaining the necessary permits. Field data collected demonstrated a narrow zone of groundwater discharge affected by nitrate. The presence of a golf course between the client’s site and the discharge location complicated the appraisal of responsibility for the nitrate impacts.