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Peter Davey

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On March 1, 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued a news release stating that Valero Energy Inc. was ordered to pay a total fine of $500,000 after failing to comply with a directive following an 2008 crude oil spill.

Valero Energy Inc. – Jean Gaulin Refinery, in Lévis, Quebec, pleaded guilty to six counts, and it was sentenced to pay the sum of $500,000 on February 24, 2017. The company was ordered to pay a $120,000 fine for failing to comply with an order issued by an officer, thereby committing an offence under paragraph 40(3)(g) of the Fisheries Act. The court also ordered the company to pay the sum of $380,000, pursuant to paragraph 79.2(f), for the financial benefits it obtained through these violations.

The investigation conducted by ECCC found that Valero Energy Inc. – Jean Gaulin Refinery had committed the following violation six times:

  • Failure to comply with a directive requiring rehabilitation and environmental monitoring work issued following the deposit of a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish.

According to Valero Energy’s Canadian Director of Public and Government Affairs, Louis-Philippe Gariépy,  the 2008 spill was fully cleaned up and remediated with no danger to human health. The directive that Valero did not comply with, related to follow-up fish habitat monitoring ordered by ECCC.

The total fine will be deposited in the Environmental Damages Fund, which is administered by ECCC. Gariépy said Valero Energy negotiated with the Ministry to direct the funds into work that will benefit fish habitats in the Quebec City region.

For more information, visit: www.canada.ca/en/news

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Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced on March 10, 2017, that Air North Charter and Training Ltd. will pay a penalty of $80,000 after it acknowledged responsibility for a diesel spill near the Porcupine River in Old Crow, Yukon.

On February 23, 2017, Air North and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada entered into an alternative measures agreement, after a charge was laid by ECCC, under the Fisheries Act.

Following an investigation by ECCC’s enforcement officers, Air North was charged with a violation of the Fisheries Act related to the deposit of a substance harmful to fish, in an area where it could have entered fish-bearing waters. The spill took place on September 23, 2014.

As part of the agreement, Air North will:

  • Pay a total penalty of $80,000, which will be used to remediate or improve the environment in the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s territory, with the balance donated to the Environmental Damages Fund, for environmental restoration, improvement, or education in the Yukon;
  • Publicly acknowledge and accept full responsibility for the fuel spill;
  • Improve their training, practices and procedures for fuel delivery, including spill responses, to meet the industry standard, at a minimum;
  • Carry out clean up and remediation of the spill site and confirm that it has been completed to the satisfaction of Environment Yukon.

For more information, visit: www.ec.gc.ca

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March has seen a number of infrastructure announcements across Canada as 2017 budgets are released. Read on to learn about funding for water, wastewater and environmental protection infrastructure in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

British Columbia – Hullcar Valley

British Columbia announced on March 3, 2017, that it is providing $950,000 to support alternative drinking water sources, fund treatment for domestic wells, and support environmentally sound farming practices in the Hullcar Valley.

Steele Springs Water District, which draws on the Hullcar aquifer, serves approximately 150 residents, through 57 connections. BC Interior Health says it is also aware of an additional 22 private water wells, which draw water from the aquifer.

hullcar-aquifer-map
Map of the Hullcar aquifer. Photo: BC Government.

Due to high levels of nitrates, residents within the Steele Springs Water District drawing water from Hullcar Aquifer 103 have been under a Water Quality Advisory since July 2014. Sampling showed nitrate levels increasing from 8.8 mg/l in January 2014 to 13.3 mg/l in February 2016. The Canadian Drinking Water standard for nitrates is 10 mg/L.

According to the provincial government, nitrate pollution is coming from several sources. The Ministry of Environment issued Pollution Prevention and Pollution Abatement Orders to several local agricultural operations last year after water quality results and inspections concluded there are reasonable grounds to believe they are contributing to the high nitrate levels.

An inter-ministry working group, established in 2016, is working with agricultural operators to improve nutrient management practices.

For more information, visit: www.news.gov.bc.ca

British Columbia – continued

On March 11, 2017, the British Columbia government announced over $87 million in combined provincial and federal funding for 26 new infrastructure projects, 13 of which deal with water, wastewater and solid waste.

These projects are:

Project title Total eligible cost
Cove Bay Water Treatment Plant $5,835,550
Comox Strathcona Waste Management Regional Organics Composting Facility $8,312,617
Schikurski Pump Station Upgrade $1,115,000
Duncan / North Cowichan Joint Utilities Board Wastewater Outfall Relocation $27,733,000
Full Service Transfer Station at the Mackenzie Regional Landfill $2,302,000
Upper Gar Creek Water Project $321,196
Queensway Sewage Lagoon Erosion Protection –  Phase 1 $1,123,001
Lantzville Phase III Sanitary Sewer Collection System $6,560,000
Skaha Estates & Kaleden Sewering Project – Phase 1 $9,909,336
Peachland Creek Water Treatment Plant $10,440,000
Pitt Polder Pump Station Replacement $6,975,000
Trobak Hill Water Reservoir $2,493,200

For more information, visit: www.canada.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador

As part of its 2017 budget, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced on March 13, 2017, a new three-year municipal infrastructure program and call for applications from communities.

According to Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, funding will support the government’s priorities of “strengthening municipal infrastructure, providing better access to higher quality water and wastewater systems, and enhancing disaster mitigation.”

The province said it will invest $100 million in infrastructure in the next three years, in addition to previously announced federal funding under the Small Communities Fund. Combined with already approved or submitted projects, NFLD is expecting $209 million in infrastructure project expenditures this upcoming fiscal year.

Municipal “priority projects”, i.e., water, wastewater and disaster mitigation, will be funded on a 90/10 cost-share basis for small communities (less than 3,000 population) with the province shouldering 90% and the municipality responsible for 10%. For municipalities with a population between 3,000 and 7,000, their share is 20%, and for those with a population greater than 7,000 the share is 30%.

For more information, visit: www.releases.gov.nl.ca

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Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) recently announced that it is in the process of finalizing new federal Environmental Emergency Regulations designed to improve emergency management for 49 additional substances.

The regulations, which are expected to be completed by late 2017, will require companies or persons who own or manage specified toxic and hazardous substances to provide required information on the substance(s), their quantities, and to prepare and implement environmental emergency plans.

In addition, the proposed regulations will contain strengthened provisions requiring that the public and public safety organizations be notified of the possibility and potential consequences of an environmental emergency and the measures that would be taken by the regulated party to protect human health and the environment.

For more information, visit the Proposed Environmental Emergency Regulations, 2016.

Article courtesy of Canadian Environmental Regulation & Compliance News (CERN). For more information, or to subscribe, visit: www.templegateinfo.com/canadian-environmental-regulation-compliance-news/

Related Event

To learn more about the latest spill and environmental emergency requirements, you are invited to attend – on May 2, 2017 in Mississauaga, Ontario – a special Canadian Environmental Conference and Tradeshow (CANECT) professional development course on Preparing for, and responding to, spills and environmental emergencies. For more information, visit: canect.net/air-nod-and-ghg-emissions-regulation-compliance-2017/

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© Stockr - stock.adobe.com

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) recently announced its decision to proceed and finalize Ontario’s comprehensive new Excess Soil Management Policy Framework.

According to the MOECC, the final framework embraces two key goals to:

  1. Protect human health and the environment from inappropriate relocation of excess soil.
  2. Enhance opportunities for the beneficial reuse of excess soil and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the movement of excess soil.

The final framework includes:

  • Principles to guide policy and program development;
  • Recognition that excess soil should be treated as a resource;
  • A description of existing policy and current roles and responsibilities;
  • Policy needs, actions and priorities.

Overall, the framework – part of a package of brownfields reforms – will shift more responsibility onto the generator of excess soil (the source site) to better plan for appropriate re-use of soil and to track and record excess soil from “source to re-use.”

You can access the decision posting here: www.ebr.gov.on.ca

Article courtesy of Canadian Environmental Regulation & Compliance News (CERCN). For more information on CERN, or to subbscribe, visit: www.templegateinfo.com

Related Event

For more information, including MOECC presentations on the new excess soil framework, draft regulations, new standards and reform amendments to O. Reg. 153/04, you are invited to attend – on May 1, 2017 in Mississauga, Ontario – a special Canadian Environmental Conference & Tradeshow (CANECT) professional development course on Brownfields – The New Rules. For more information, visit: www.canect.net/brownfields-regulations-compliance

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SUEZ announced on March 8, 2017 that, together with Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), it has entered into a binding agreement to purchase GE Water & Process Technologies (GE Water) from General Electric Company for €3.2 billion ($4.54 billion CAD) enterprise value in an all‐cash transaction.

The deal will see SUEZ and CDPQ acquiring 100% of GE Water in a 70/30 joint venture. According to Reuters, the new business will operate under the SUEZ brand.

According to a press release issued by SUEZ, the company’s board unanimously approved the transaction.

Jean‐Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ, said: “I am very proud to announce the acquisition of GE Water, which will accelerate the implementation of SUEZ’ strategy by strengthening its position in the promising and fast‐growing industrial water market. This combination will create further value for both our employees, clients and shareholders.”

SUEZ said the integration of GE Water will widen its systems and service offerings, optimize its operations in manufacturing supply chain, engineering and service deliveries, and assist SUEZ’s other businesses, notably in the areas of recycling and resources, and energy recovery.

CDPQ is a long‐term institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public and para-public pension and insurance plans. As of December 31, 2016, it held $270.7 billion in net assets, with investments in private equity, infrastructure and real estate.

The transaction is expected to close by mid-2017 and is subject to regulatory approval.

For more information, visit: www.suez-environnement.com

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On February 9, 2017, Fibrek S.E.N.C. pleaded guilty to two charges, and it was fined $125,000 for violating the Pulp and Paper Effluent Regulations thereby committing offences under the Fisheries Act.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Fibrek S.E.N.C., which is located in Saint-Félicien, Quebec, deposited deleterious substances in the Mistassini and Ashuapmushuan rivers. Both rivers drain into Lac Saint-Jean.

The investigation conducted by ECCC revealed that Fibrek S.E.N.C. had committed several offences contrary to the Regulations and to the Act, namely:

  • Depositing acutely lethal effluent from its water treatment system;
  • Failing to file the required report in the case of depositing deleterious substance in waters frequented by fish.

Part of the fine ($112,500) will be paid into the Environmental Damages Fund, which is administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. As well, Fibrek S.E.N.C. will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

For more information, visit: www.ec.gc.ca

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Enviro-Stewards meeting with Dextran representatives
Enviro-Stewards Inc. worked closely with Dextran Products Ltd. to identify opportunities for retrofit projects in their plant.
By Alyssa Cerbu and Eric Meliton

The manufacturing sector in Canada faces many challenges related to international competition. To remain competitive, companies must seek viable solutions while still complying with industry standards, such as Good Manufacturing Practices for food and beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers. One such challenge is the rising costs of production due in large part to the costs of inputs, such as energy and water.

For a small to medium sized business especially, these strains can hurt profit and overall security. Therefore, it becomes more important to try to minimize costs and maximize resource productivity in a way that is feasible for the business, remains in line with their existing operations and ensures compliance with their industry’s regulations.

Partners in Project Green, a group within the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, works with businesses in the Greater Toronto Area to help customize solutions for their various environmental challenges. It has been developing a series of capital projects to showcase best practices in water stewardship and what is feasible for any set of operations.

Partners in sustainability programming

Partners in Project Green works with the Region of Peel, York Region and City of Toronto to increase the effectiveness of existing municipal water efficiency programs. Through enrollment in these municipal programs, commercial and industrial manufacturers can obtain capital efficiency recommendations they can implement to realize savings on their utility bills. Frequently, however, businesses do not know where to start and find that water efficiency is not a concern for all internal stakeholders. Through the Innovative Water Technologies Program, member organizations can gain access to a network of experts and vendors that support the implementation of process water and wastewater efficiency technologies.

Through a series of workshops and its municipal partnership with the City of Toronto, Partners in Project Green was put in touch with Dextran Products Ltd., which used over 13,000 m3 of water per year. As part of the vendor network, Enviro-Stewards Inc. worked closely with the company to identify opportunities for retrofit capital projects in their plant that would add up to efficient water and energy savings.

Dextran Products have been operating in their Toronto production facility for over four decades, manufacturing bulk dextran powders and liquids for sale and export through an international network of human and animal health product distributors. They are primarily used to treat anemia in pigs as well as for biological and biochemical research. Derivative applications include: adjuvants, emulsifiers, carriers and stabilizers in pharmaceutical and cosmetic preparations.

The company was paying extremely high water bills, upwards of $230,000 on average per year. Although this excessive cost was a primary motive for their capital project installation, they also wanted to promote themselves as a greener, more ethically responsible company which complied with regulations and participated in programs with the City of Toronto (i.e., Sewer Use By-Law, Industrial Water Rate and Sewer Surcharge Rebate). Through its retrofits, Dextran Products wanted to also capitalize on monetary incentives available from Partners in Project Green, as well as Enbridge, for reducing water and natural gas usage in their processes.

The installed reverse osmosis system
As part of the retrofit projects, a reverse osmosis system was installed to filter process water for reuse as scrubber make-up.

Additionally, these efforts would ensure Dextran Products were compliant with water quality pharmacopeia standards for its products around the world, thereby allowing them to ship globally.

How Dextran’s system works

According to different global pharmacopeia standards, Dextran Products, as a compliant pharmaceutical manufacturer, cannot reuse water in their product. By customizing their manufacturing process, however, they are able to reuse water in other processes within their operations (i.e., boilers, rinse systems and systems that do not require freshwater), without directly impacting the purity of the final products. They are, therefore, able to cut down on their resource use and save money while still maintaining and complying with industry and sector standards.

A customized solution to process water and wastewater challenges can really work with an organization’s existing infrastructure needs, which, in this case, involved compliance with restrictive pharmaceutical manufacturing regulations. Their intricate system went through several design phases with Enviro-Stewards Inc. and is incredibly interconnected. It is a good example to showcase that several small changes in one’s manufacturing process can equate to large, overall water and energy cost savings. Details of their overall system retrofits are provided in Table 1.

Table 1. Water and energy saving retrofits

Retrofit InstallationBeforeAfter
Temperature regulating valve for vacuum pump: The process utilizes a sludge machine that filters out iron from wastewater utilizing a vacuum pump, which requires cooling water.System did reuse some water, but a large volume of water going down the drain had additional cooling capacity.A new temperature regulating valve allows the flow to be regulated to remove only the necessary amount of heat from the vacuum pump. Cooling water is now sent to a storage tank to be reused by the scrubbers, thereby halving the amount of water going down the drain.
Connecting reactors to cooling tower: The reactor vessels are where production takes place and require cycles of heating and cooling.Municipal water went straight down the drain after cooling phase.Through connecting three reactors to the cooling tower, they will be reducing water consumption associated with cooling tower.
Cooling tower sump: Water utilized for their cooling tower.Cooling tower was using a large volume of make-up water and sump was constantly overflowing.Working to increase blowdown setpoint to reduce the volume of make-up water used by their cooling tower. Float valve was fixed to stop overflow of the cooling tower sump.
Resin regeneration: A resin tank is used in a production step that utilizes water in various stages.A lot of the water was unsuitable for reuse and sent down the drain due to its acidic or basic properties.Through installing controls and piping, acceptable water will be sent to the scrubber water make-up tank for reuse.
Condensate recovery system: Reactor vessels in the process are heated with steam that is generated in a boil and, later, condenses.Condensed water was sent to drain at each reactor.The hot, condensed water is used to preheat the make-up water for the boilers thereby reducing energy and water consumption.
Reverse osmosis system: A significant step in production process is distillation.Process water, a mixture of water and sugar, was sent to drain after distillation.A reverse osmosis system filters the water and sugar so that water can be reused as scrubber make-up and the remaining, concentrated sugar can be potentially sold.
Pump cooling: A pump in the boiler room requires water for cooling and to maintain a seal.Cooling water was going to the drain.Cooling water will be sent to the scrubber water make-up tank for reuse.

Overall, through closing these loops and adjusting their process, Dextran Products are able to save 45,450 m3 of water annually, which had an equivalent cost savings in 2016 of $109,760. They also directly benefited from an additional $10,000 worth of natural gas saving and $600 in cooling tower treatment chemicals. Should they be able to filter some of the sugar from the water, they will be able to benefit from an approximate $8,800 from the sale of concentrated fructose.

Lessons learned

Partners in Project Green and Enviro-Stewards Inc. presenting a cheque to Dextran Products Ltd. at the Water Innovation in Action 2.0 conference in October 2016.
Partners in Project Green and Enviro-Stewards Inc. presenting a cheque to Dextran Products Ltd. at the Water Innovation in Action 2.0 conference in October 2016.

Through customizing their system, Dextran Products were able to directly benefit from small process changes that had low costs and risks associated with implementation that added up to a larger water and energy cost savings impact. And, these retrofits are still in compliance with industry regulations for the pharmaceutical sector.

Partnerships were also critical to the success of this project. Partners in Project Green played an educational role to help key stakeholders at Dextran Products understand the importance of and potential results from water efficiency. Additionally, implementation of the Innovative Water Technologies project was facilitated through the support of the vendor network.

The ultimate goal is to utilize Dextran Products’ success to showcase to other manufacturers in the Greater Toronto Area that it can be beneficial to enroll in municipal water efficiency programs. Also, this project can help encourage other businesses to explore water reuse and energy efficiency improvements within their own facilities.

Process water and wastewater effluent improvements in a facility do not have to be complex and expensive to add up to large savings for an organization. Simplistic solutions to these manufacturing challenges can help organizations reduce costs, showcase their competitiveness and grow their business.

Alyssa Cerbu and Eric Meliton are with The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. This article appears in ES&E Magazine’s February 2017 issue.

 

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Infrastructure funding was recently announced for water and wastewater projects in south central Saskatchewan and Montebello, Quebec.

Saskatchewan funding

saskatchewan-flag

The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan, along with the WCRM158 Wastewater Management Authority Inc., have announced support and funding, for a new wastewater treatment facility in the Regional Municipality (RM) of Edenwold in south central Saskatchewan.

The provincial and federal governments are each contributing up to $7,303,333 for this project. WCRM158 Wastewater Management Authority will be responsible for all remaining costs of the project, which has a total eligible cost of $21,910,000.

The WCRM158 Wastewater Management Authority was created by the Town of White City and the RM of Edenwold No. 158 to deliver wastewater utility services to the communities of White City and the Emerald Park areas. The new plant will serve both areas.

According to the government of Saskatchewan, this new treatment plant will use an effective and low-energy treatment process. By improving treatment services, these communities will be able to handle wastewater from the current population, as well as accommodate future residential and commercial development.

For more information, visit: www.saskatchewan.ca

 

Quebec funding

Quebec-flag

On February 24, 2017, Quebec and the government of Canada announced an investment of $655,700 for the implementation of a new drinking water reservoir in Montebello, Quebec.

The Government of Canada is investing $395,000 in this project and the Government of Quebec is providing $260,700, for a total joint contribution of $655,700. The municipality will provide the remainder of the funding.

According to Infrastructure Canada, the approval of these projects was made possible by the signing of a bilateral agreement between Canada and Quebec in July 2016, which made funding available for water projects across the province.

For more information, visit: www.infrastructure.gc.ca

 

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Up to half of oil-based polypropylene can be replaced with paper industry side streams. Two Finnish companies have made a trial batch of floor tiles and storage containers, of which side streams accounted for 30%.

As part of the European Union’s Reffibre project, Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre (VTT) examined whether new industrial applications could be developed for various types of sludge and fly ash generated by the paper and board industry.

Large quantities of various side streams are created during the manufacture of paper and cardboard. Part of these can be used instead of natural aggregates as a raw material in concrete or asphalt, or in construction. Large amounts of side streams still end up in landfills and incineration.

However, laboratory tests showed that these side streams can replace up to 50% of oil-based polypropylene. They can be used as a raw material in plastic composites, which are made using injection moulding and extrusion. They could also be used to lower composite manufacturing costs, reduce the environmental impacts of production, and lower the total amount of waste. This would also reduce the production of oil-based plastics.

Laboratory tests showed that 50% of the raw materials in injection-moulded composite could come from paper and board industry side streams. The amount of side streams has an effect on the product’s properties: strength, stiffness, heat resistance, appearance and the texture of the surface.

During the project, companies produced floor tiles and storage containers, of which side streams accounted for 30%. According to a press release from VTT, new applications are continually being sought, which could include pallets and crates, for example.

However, the press release did say that possible legal restrictions still have to be explored prior to the product-specific use of side streams in composites. There was no mention of how these side streams might be used in Canada or North America.

For more information, visit: www.vttresearch.com