Saturday, August 17, 2013

May 01, 2009-----Environmental Defence maintains the Alberta government is choosing to ignore the problem of tailings pond leakage. “We certainly don’t believe that the current measures in place, like the recapture methods and monitoring methods, have had a meaningful effect in mitigating the environmental impact,” says the Toronto agency’s policy director, Aaron Freeman. “It’s very clear that we have toxic tailings leaking into the Athabasca River and into the broader basin. That’s a serious environmental issue and it is also a serious health issue for the communities living downstream.

Looking at the newspaper reports of the CNRL spill at Cold Lake makes me feel that there definitely needs to be a cross-disciplines inquiry into this technology because this is a oil spill without boundaries.

In other words because the oil is coming out of the ground for months in a continuing incident rather than a regular oil spill where you have the dump and then cleanup--this is very messy environmental problem once the technology backfires as it has done at Cold Lake--for two incidents that we know of.

When we understand that the industry plans to use this technology in a ramped up fashion so that eventually 80% of our bitumen will be extracted in this way, this means that statistically speaking the chances of such ongoing oil spills will be a guaranteed matter in our future in Alberta.

Why haven't we had any sort of request by the government of Alberta to investigate this incident --not just with the useless AER but with the NEB plus an independent group of oil sands scientists? What are they afraid of finding out? Will the investigation by other agencies and outside independent scientists assure the Alberta public that we have a real problem with this technology? Will the findings of an independent scientific investigation find that the technology is precarious in specific areas of Alberta--and may not be used safely without such toxic side effects? Are we --the public---willing to tolerate such massive spills in order to get the bitumen money? And if there are expensive clean ups of the environment when these continuous spills occur does this not make the profit margins of the companies using this technology rather dicey?

 What will shareholders think about a company that is non-transparent as CNRL has been and has only under --the most direct international pressure--even said anything to Albertans? What will shareholders have to say about pollution-related profits? Or does no one care that we are spilling bitumen in an area where there was previously no bitumen pooling on the surface?

Is it all business above everything else?

Here is the report by the local newspaper--the Cold Lake Sun:







News Local

Media’s first look at Primrose’s bitumen leaks

Jordan Small
CNRL says this bitumen leak at Site 2-22 has been untouched for two weeks. Jordan Small/Cold Lake Sun
CNRL says this bitumen leak at Site 2-22 has been untouched for two weeks. Jordan Small/Cold Lake Sun
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) opened its doors to the media to see the bitumen seepages at affected sites.  The tour of Primrose operations on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range on August 8 visited two of the four affected areas, Site 2-22 and Site 9-21, the latter being the most impacted site discovered on June 24, 2013. 
All incidents continue to leak and were reported to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) the day they were discovered. To date, 7,300 barrels of bitumen have been collected on all sites.

CNRL President Steve Laut addressed the media at Site 9-21 and said CNRL has been very transparent reporting everything that has happened but in hindsight they weren’t “communicating quickly enough” to the public.

 Laut says now with the amount of data they’ve collected in their investigation of the spills, he’s pretty confident natural fractures in the wellbore are the cause of the bitumen seepage on all four sites. 

Laut explains that the steam is injected in the bitumen to heat it up and it can flow through a wellbore.  There is cap rock above the Clearwater that keeps steam in the ground. 

Above that is a Grand Rapids zone full of salt water and on top of that is a thick cap rock for shale called Colorado Shale.  Over that shale is called an Upper Colorado that occasionally has natural fractures in it.  This can happen in wells that are in use or have been abandoned.

“You can have a failure in the wellbore and that failure will take you up the wellbore or through the silent sheet that holds it in the ground and once you get high enough in that Upper Colorado will inject horizontally through the shale,” Laut said.   “Occasionally, like we think we see here, is it will hit an actual fracture in the Upper Colorado and present itself to surface and it will start to seep to surface.  That’s why you see it happening not by the wellbore because it goes through horizontally and up so we’re pretty confident that’s the cause.”

The spills do not have a valve that can be turned to stop seepage at any moment.  Laut says once the leak occurs they just have to manage it until it depressurizes itself.

The current deceased wildlife number are: 27 birds, 23 mammals and 71 frogs as a result of the impact.  There are currently two beavers, five birds and two muskrats at a rehabilitation centre.  About 200 cleanup workers on all sites and the main priority for the 120 workers at Site 9-21 is wildlife and water.  Wildlife deterrents are set up around each affected site, including fencing, effigies, air horns and speakers, owl kites, wind socks and pennant flagging.

The seepage has been made national headlines with Canadians and amongst the most vocal are the Cold Lake First Nation people.

Council Member Cecil Janvier of the Cold Lake First Nation says given the importance of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range for the continuing meaningful exercise of our Treaty and Aboriginal Rights, “there is no way to calculate the damage inflicted upon us” by this latest blow out.

“Our Nation has taken all necessary steps before the Regulator to inform the Board of our major concerns,” Janvier said.  “There has been inadequate consultation and accommodation. We are seeking immediate answers, inclusion on the safe restoration of our lands, compensation and accommodation due to the damage of our Dene lands and water.”

On behalf of CNRL, Laut apologized for the seepage and took full responsibility and says they are “totally in line” with the First Nation people.

“We do not want to see any damage occur [and] we’re sorry it’s happened,” Laut said.  “We’re going to do everything we can in order to make sure this has been cleaned up to the best possible standards but more importantly we’re going to take every step we can in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

It will cost an estimated $40 million for proper cleanup on all four sites.  Initially, bitumen seepage affected 20.7 hectares through the sites.  Currently, bitumen affects 11.9 hectares on Site 9-21 and 377 cubic metres of oily vegetation have been recovered.  Impacted areas on the three remaining sites (2-22, 10-01, 10-02) are 1.6 hectares.


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So let me try to understand the nonsense explanation given to us by the folks at CNRL:





  Laut says now with the amount of data they’ve collected in their investigation of the spills, he’s pretty confident natural fractures in the wellbore are the cause of the bitumen seepage on all four sites. 

Laut explains that the steam is injected in the bitumen to heat it up and it can flow through a wellbore.  There is cap rock above the Clearwater that keeps steam in the ground. 

Above that is a Grand Rapids zone full of salt water and on top of that is a thick cap rock for shale called Colorado Shale.  Over that shale is called an Upper Colorado that occasionally has natural fractures in it.  This can happen in wells that are in use or have been abandoned.

“You can have a failure in the wellbore and that failure will take you up the wellbore or through the silent sheet that holds it in the ground and once you get high enough in that Upper Colorado will inject horizontally through the shale,” Laut said.   “Occasionally, like we think we see here, is it will hit an actual fracture in the Upper Colorado and present itself to surface and it will start to seep to surface.  That’s why you see it happening not by the wellbore because it goes through horizontally and up so we’re pretty confident that’s the cause.”

 **********************************************************************
1) Laut says that there is a failure in a wellbore. Let us pretend there is.
2) The bitumen leaks out of the wellbore and then goes to a fracture (naturally existing he says).
3) Then the bitumen shows up in the marsh water or surface.


Now that is an imaginative story because it avoids neatly the other scenario that he doesn't want us to think about which is that the bitumen did not travel up a well bore but up a fracture--natural or created by the process that CNRL is using.
If the bitumen comes up by this non-wellbore path this means that there is a side effect of the process that will be causing future spills in this area at least if not in other areas where this process will be used--because the injections of steam --at high pressure are fracking the hell out of the architecture of the land and creating the pathways for the bitumen to seep out to the surface.

CNRL will not ever say that this is a possibility because this would mean it's technology is like a sock with a giant hole in it and is unusable.

What we have here is a problem folks.
We have a company that is paddling like mad underground as it shows a calm demeanor to the world.
We are to believe this oil company----- like we have believed big oil---- about sour gas emissions not being a health hazard--- like we have believed them about the tailings ponds not leaking toxins into the Athabasca River------ like we have believed them that the seepage from the tailings ponds were to be expected and happens--but hey--their recapture systems remove the seepage so we never get it in the Athabasca River proper.

Then after they found that there was still toxins in the water with their seepage and recapture fairy tale not solving the problem they come up with the most fantastic fairy tale of them all. They tell us that the Athabasca River is at fault!!!   They tell us---that even if the seepage happens----you have to understand that the Athabasca River flows through these bitumen filled lands--and is NATURALLY ---contaminated.

We have had so many fairy tales told to us that I have to leave the CNRL fairy tale to go over the tailings ponds fairy tales. I will return to the CNRL fairy tale as it continues to be told to us--because this is not going to be a small story--the spill is going on for months--and so this will be a Scheherazade story.

I have spent today looking at some of the fairy tales I have read that were told to the public --over decades--as I do the research about the tailings ponds leaking into our waterways.
I imagine that I could believe CNRL ---I could just suspend my thinking brain--- --but there's also that matter of trust that has been entirely blasted by Dr. Schindler's findings of mutated fish, contaminants on snow and yes, that report that was given as a memo to the Joe Oliver guy about poisons in the Athabasca River that we would never have heard about except for a journalist telling us the good news of some toxins in the river:



Oilsands tailings leaking into groundwater, Joe Oliver told in memo













Photo of part of CNRL\'s Horizon Oil Sands site 70 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta on July 27, 2011. Photo by Rick MacWilliam, Edmonton Journal
Photo of part of CNRL's Horizon Oil Sands site 70 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta on July 27, 2011. Photo by Rick MacWilliam, Edmonton Journal


Published: February 17, 2013, 2:00 pm
Updated: 6 months ago
A A A
OTTAWA — Tailings ponds from oilsands production are leaking and contaminating Alberta’s groundwater, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was told in an internal memo obtained by Postmedia News.
The memo, released through access to information legislation, said that federal government scientists, including Quebec City-based research geoscientist Martine Savard, had discovered evidence of the contamination in new research that rejected longstanding claims that toxins in the region of the Athabasca River were coming from natural sources.
“The studies have, for the first time, detected potentially harmful, mining-related organic acid contaminants in the groundwater outside a long-established out-of-pit tailings pond,” said the memo from deputy minister Serge Dupont, dated June 19, 2012.
“This finding is consistent with publicly available technical reports of seepage — both projected from theory, and detected in practice.”
The study was published by Savard and 18 other co-authors and posted to an online government database in December. It concluded that some acids from the tailings ponds “may be reaching the river, but only in very small amounts (non-detectable).”
Environment Canada describes groundwater contamination as a serious problem since aquifers can remain contaminated for decades or centuries, leaking into lakes, rivers or streams, while potentially creating costly water supply problems.
Other peer-reviewed research, published last fall, has also found evidence that contaminants from oilsands air pollution are collecting on the bottom of lakes that are up to 100 kilometres away, raising concerns about anticipated expansion over the next decade.
Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the information about leaks from tailings ponds was not a surprise, adding that the new research confirmed these contaminants had not reached the river.
“Their study isn’t new in any way other than perhaps the laboratory methods and detection limits,” Davies said in an email, adding that the industry association supports science-based monitoring and peer-reviewed research. “We also know and report on the chemistry of groundwater from our monitoring wells that surround tailings facilities. So again, (there’s) no surprise.”
Prior to the memo’s release, the association’s oilsands website said the existing monitoring programs had “not detected impacts from tailings ponds seepage on surface water or to groundwater.”
Jennifer Grant, the oilsands program director with the Alberta-based Pembina Institute, an environmental policy research organization, noted that Environment Canada says prevention is the best solution to groundwater contamination.
“It’s really challenging to assess the impact and it’s expensive to clean up a contaminated aquifer, if it can be done at all,” said Grant in an interview.
The federal scientists from Natural Resources Canada who did the study were not immediately available for interviews, a spokeswoman said.
When asked whether it attempted to inform the general Canadian public about the new research, the department said the researchers presented their findings at two science conferences in Montreal and Niagara Falls, before publishing the study “through the normal channels in December 2012.”
Environment Canada told Postmedia News in a statement that it has guidelines in place for many contaminants and that it continuously reviewed them to determine if new ones were needed, such as in cases where no guidelines existed for specific contaminants.
Spokesman Mark Johnson also said that Environment Canada was pleased with early results of a new monitoring program of the oilsands, in partnership with the Alberta government, and would use new information and data gathered to determine what action may or may not be required.
The oilsands – natural deposits of bitumen in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan – are estimated by Natural Resources Canada to hold the world’s third largest reserve of crude oil.
While the Natural Resources Department estimates the oilsands industry represents two per cent of the Canadian economy, the companies face intensive scrutiny over their environmental footprint since extraction requires massive amounts of energy and water that have made it Canada’s fastest growing source of the heat-trapping pollution that warms the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.
The Pembina Institute and Toronto-based Environmental Defence have both issued reports in recent years warning that tailings ponds were leaking billions of litres of toxins every year into the ground.



  • Mike De Souza
    Will the oil and gas industry lobby group now update its website to say that oilsands tailings ponds are contaminating Alberta groundwater, but that this is no surprise?

  • Karen Dedosenco · Top Commenter
    I guess one could consider the contamination of the aquifer some of that unreported crime Harper was talking about.

  • Ron Faris · Top Commenter · University of Toronto
    How long will the Tory and corporate friends cover-up continue?

    • John Moors · Top Commenter · Calgary, Alberta
      What cover up. That statement is absurd. 4 environmental oil sands studies ( and god knows how many others ) were released in a period of less than 6 months and you call that a cover up ?

  • John Meech · Works at University of British Columbia
    There are actually a number of positive conclusions in this research that have not been reported in the story. The fact that no metals have been found from oil sands tailings in the Athabaska River is also a significant finding. Why is the focus always on the negative and the positive elements suppressed? Oil sands tailings research has recently developed new methods to dewater the material in-situ that will reduce significantly any seepage pollution from the extremely low levels that currently are well-known to exist. We will have to continue to monitor and remediate the old dams, but the newer ones will be much less of a problem.

    • Mike De Souza
      In the fifth paragraph, we quoted the study's findings that "some acids from the tailings ponds 'may be reaching the river, but only in very small amounts (non-detectable).'" We also reported that other separate peer-reviewed research has found contaminants from oilsands air pollution are collecting in lakes and bodies of water up to 100 km away from the industry. Thanks for all of your insightful comments.

    • John Meech · Works at University of British Columbia
      But the headline is negative when many of the findings are positive. Please try to be balanced.

    • Carter Apps · Top Commenter · CEO Newmarket-Aurora EDA at Federal Green Party
      The expectation is of safe water and accountability. That only a few of the toxins are leaking does not make this a good news story that's just foolish, any seepage of toxins is a crime that's going unreported and unpunished by our oil loving Government. Next you'll be saying that a medical report saying only 2 organs have cancer is good news.

  • Kevin Lord · Top Commenter · Brazosport College · 106 subscribers
    I've heard little about the evidence, but anyone who's seen the pictures knows that crap's washing into the rivers. Knock it the hell off, Canada! You're messing up lives all across the USA with this poisonous crap and the pipelines that somehow supercede our property rights here in Texas. btw, our leaky, dangerous old refineries can't handle what you're planning on pumping down here, and Texas idiot lawmakers refuse to make them abide by Federal Clean Air and Water rules already. We lose federal funding because of that crap, too, badly needed to handle all the cancer and other poison related maladies we have here. wake up and go green. stop the Keystone XL NOW!

    • Shannon O'Hara · Morinville, Alberta
      Throw out your computer, quick! Stop typing on your plastic keyboard! Go green! We don't need no stinkin' oil!

    • Kevin Lord · Top Commenter · Brazosport College · 106 subscribers
      Oh, goody, a troll followed me home. You'll have to do better than that lame shit if you want a debate with me.

    • Shannon O'Hara · Morinville, Alberta
      Sorry muffin, I don't with people who have nothing but rhetoric to fall back on. You're obviously not in possession of any facts, but that often seems to be the case with greenies.

  • Mike De Souza
    The Harper government has now asked me to submit a list of questions before deciding on whether I get an interview with one of the Natural Resources Canada scientists who contributed to this study.

    • Cheryl Gladu · Concordia Canada
      I would suggest putting together some quality questions such as the ones found here: http://www.conservative.ca/?page_id=2653

    • Mike De Souza
      Interesting questions in there. you make a good suggestion for me to forward these to NRCan.

    • Pierre Knox · Top Commenter
      Just like the good old days... in the Soviet Union. I sure miss the good old days of the Cold War when we used to point our fingers at them and say we're better than them because we don't muzzle the press - or have government minders for our scientists or hide the truth from our citizens. We are DEVO.

  • Cobblestone Creek · Vacation Home Rental Experience Specialist at Cobblestone Creek Cottage and Lodging Co.
    Ok, so this is the news?"may be reaching the river, but only in a very small amounts (non-detectable)"...so if they "may" be reaching the river and they are "non-detectable" what is the story? I'll tell you what it is, FLUFF for lack of another word...a "non" story...This story sounds like another extreme environmental lobby group trying once again to stoke the fire they are continually trying to light...but it just isn't quite catch on, though they will continue to try...a waste of a read! The study was published by Savard and 18 other co-authors and posted to an online government database in December. It concluded that some acids from the tailings ponds “may be reaching the river, but only in very small amounts (non-detectable).”.

  • Shannon O'Hara · Morinville, Alberta
    So, since this "news" was already known and published, this would make this what? Un-news?

    • Greg Blee · Tofino, British Columbia
      So you're unconcerned with this contamination of Alberta groundwaters, Shannon?

    • Shannon O'Hara · Morinville, Alberta
      I'm curious where in my reply you read those words? What I think I pointed out was that this was reported weeks ago, and this writer seems a bit behind the 8-ball with his "breaking news", but you seem to know more about my mind than I do.

    • Mike De Souza · Works at Postmedia News
      Thank you for your comments. The details from the memo to Stephen Harper's natural resources minister from last June were not reported to the public and it took the Natural Resources Department about eight hours to answer a question about whether it had been published and how to search for it and find it on an online government database. And when we contacted them, the industry lobby group's website didn't seem to have the information about peer-reviewed evidence that oilsands tailings ponds were leaking into groundwater. Otherwise, most readers today have told Postmedia News that this was useful information to report.

    • John Moors · Top Commenter · Calgary, Alberta
      The researchers presented their findings at two science conferences in Montreal and Niagara Falls, before publishing the study “through the normal channels in December 2012.”. The study was published by Savard and 18 other co-authors and posted to an online government database in December. Studies by scientists from Environment Canada, Queen’s University and the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association were also published last month. Your telling me the Minister should have released this memo to the public before all of these stuidies were published and before all of the relevent information was available to the government and the public. Your presenting a very biased and narrow viewpoint in my opinion.

    • Mike De Souza
      John Moors, thanks for highlighting some of the details that were included in our report. When cities detect evidence of contamination in drinking water supplies, do they usually alert the public right away or do they wait for a peer review to confirm the findings? Our report does not suggest what the government should do, but highlights the facts about what the government did with the information it was given and how it chose to share this information with the public.

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So here was a memo that the Joe Oliver guy got when?



The memo, released through access to information legislation, said that federal government scientists, including Quebec City-based research geoscientist Martine Savard, had discovered evidence of the contamination in new research that rejected longstanding claims that toxins in the region of the Athabasca River were coming from natural sources.
“The studies have, for the first time, detected potentially harmful, mining-related organic acid contaminants in the groundwater outside a long-established out-of-pit tailings pond,” said the memo from deputy minister Serge Dupont, dated June 19, 2012.
“This finding is consistent with publicly available technical reports of seepage — both projected from theory, and detected in practice.”

 ******************************************************************************

This report was given to the Joe Oliver guy on June 19, 2012.
Not a word was reported to the public--because you know how stay at home mummies are about water contamination. We tend to get rather steamed up about it. 

So they didn't say anything.
When did this journalist write this story?


 Published: February 17, 2013, 2:00 pm

 *********************************************************************************

 Between June 19, 2012 to February 17, 2013 (and before this) they were telling us that heck the Athabasca River was contaminated by its own jolly self. In other words, the river travels and it goes through bitumen and so..... it picks up toxins.

What was the situation in 2011?





News Local

Leaking Suncor pond given government warning over 2011 incident


By Vincent McDermott
The Suncor oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray in 2011. Suncor is one of the largest oilsands producers in Alberta. QMI AGENCY
The Suncor oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray in 2011. Suncor is one of the largest oilsands producers in Alberta. QMI AGENCY

The province has given Suncor one month to fix problems at a waste water treatment pond, two years after investigators first discovered the problem. The reprimand came almost a week after 350,000 litres of process-affected water leaked into the Athabasca River. It was also revealed that toxic water flowed into the river from the same site for three days in 2011.
Aboriginal communities, including Fort McKay and Fort Chiewyan, are downstream from Suncor.
Alberta’s Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development issued the order over the 2011 incident. The accident was discovered after investigators found dead fish during a monthly test for toxic waste in water bodies near oilsands sites.
During the test, at least 50% of rainbow trout used in the experiment had to survive a sample of treated industrial water taken from a pond that discharges into the river. When most of the fish died, Suncor began diverting the waste water to a tailings pond.
Since 2011, the pond has failed 39 fish tests. The Thursday order said Suncor must regularly report problems to the government, continue to keep the pond closed, identify the source of the toxic elements and conduct an engineering audit of its waste water treatment process.
The company did not publicize the event, nor have any details about the incident been made public. It is unclear why the investigation took so long.
“Notwithstanding that, the release of any water that does not meet appropriate regulated standards in not acceptable,” said Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal.
The provincial reprimand came at the end of a bad week for Canada’s oil industry. On Friday, An ExxonMobil pipeline carrying Albertan crude burst, spewing thousands of barrels of oil into an Arkansas neighbourhood. In Minnesota, a train carrying 30,000 gallons of crude derailed, spilling its contents.
As for the most recent toxic water leak at Suncor, environmentalists, landowner groups and downstream aboriginal communities say a recent media release from Suncor has created more unanswered questions.
Suncor has assured residents there was no bitumen in the water and damage to the river should be “negligible.” However, the province and Suncor have asked independent laboratories to run their own toxicology tests, which will take several days to complete.
“We know that the process-affected water was mixed with treated water at a ratio of 6:1, prior to entering the river,” said Seetal. “That’s why we believe that the release would have had a short-term, negligible impact.”
The statement also admitted the water included “fine particulates” and “inorganic and organic compounds.” However, Suncor has not revealed if these compounds or particulates were toxic.
“That would be a part of what comes out through the course of the investigation,” said Seetal. “Typically, it’s a combination of things. We are hoping to get a more detailed breakdown.”
vincent.mcdermott@sunmedia.ca
 ****************************************************************************
So Suncor had a leak for three days in 2011!
And it only got a slap on the wrist in 2013!

Man, I have to go look at the ERCB site and see if they have anything there about these sorts of unreported (to the public) incidents.
The ERCB is of course now the AER (just like the influenza virus the regulatory agency mutates often and with lethal consequences for us).



What we do
What is the Alberta Energy Regulator responsible for?
- See more at: http://www.aer.ca/#sthash.Q8OwgIPo.dpuf

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The short answer to this question is: NOTHING.

Their  decisions are here:

To find the investigations is a big job --it is here--in publications:



What we do
What is the Alberta Energy Regulator responsible for?
- See more at: http://www.aer.ca/#sthash.Q8OwgIPo.dpuf




Publications

The AER publishes several manuals and reports and even a newsletter to help keep interested parties apprised of AER requirements, updates, reference tools, and other relevant information.
Across the Board
Across the Board is a newsletter published by the AER. Information in this publication may be reproduced or quoted without permission as long as the AER is credited.
Manuals 
The AER’s manuals are a consolidation of existing requirements and do not set out new or amended requirements. Manuals are primarily designed as reference documents for AER staff to ensure consistency in pursuing regulatory compliance.
Reports
These reports are usually of a technical nature and are issued as unique documents with unique numbers (year-letter) for classification: (e.g., Report 90-A).
This section also includes unnumbered AER reports and reports published by other agencies that are distributed by the AER’s Information Product Services Section as a convenience for AER customers.
Investigation Reports
An investigation of an incident is a process that determines the facts leading to an incident. This assesses root cause, identifies controls to eliminate or mitigate risks, contributing factors and the sequence of events leading to the failure. The process may identify required action by the licensee, non-compliance against regulations and may include recommendations to mitigate the risk of future occurrence. The findings are included in a report that is published on the website.

Maps and Map Viewers
The AER distributes a selection of maps related to energy and energy resource development in Alberta.
Construction and Topographical Information: The polyconic-projection method of construction is employed wherever possible. Topographical information is obtained from planimetric maps issued by the Alberta Department of Energy, Department of Sustainable Resource Development, and the Province of Alberta.
Size: Map sizes are noted in centimetres
Prices: Purchase price is given per map unless stated otherwise
How to Order: Maps are ordered from the AER’s Data and Distribution Section. See details in How to Order section.
The AER supplies pipeline maps digitally. The following standards apply:
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Central Meridian = -115
Scale 0.9992
False Easting +500,000 m
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You can also download and print a full version of the Products & Services Catalogue.
- See more at: http://www.aer.ca/data-and-publications/publications#sthash.Y4N0yWaT.dpuf




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They sure haven't done very much investigation in Alberta.
I guess they leave that to the journalists and to environmental groups:





Investigation Reports

An investigation of an incident is a process that determines the facts leading to an incident. This assesses root cause, identifies controls to eliminate or mitigate risks, contributing factors and the sequence of events leading to the failure. The process may identify required action by the licensee, non-compliance against regulations and may include recommendations to mitigate the risk of future occurrence. The findings are included in a report that is published on the website.
Investigation Report 2013-02-26: Pembina Pipeline Corporation Pipeline Failures Licence No. 2349, Line No. 10 July 20 and August 15, 2011 (Released: February 26, 2013) [Supporting Documents]
Investigation Report 2013-02-26: Pengrowth Energy Corporation Pipeline Failure Licence No. P4218, Line No. 117 June 26, 2011 (Released: February 26, 2013) [Supporting Documents]
Investigation Report 2013-02-26: Plains Midstream Canada ULC NPS 20 Rainbow Pipeline Failure Licence No. 5592, Line No. 1 April 28, 2011 (Released: February 26, 2013) [Supporting Documents]
Investigation Report 2013-01-08: Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Primrose East Bitumen Emulsion Release January 3, 2009 (Released: January 8, 2013)
CNRL Investigation Report: Canadian Natural Resources Limited Primrose East Expansion In Situ Oil Sands Project Pad 74 Final Investigation Report February 2011
Investigation Report 2012-12-20: Caltex Energy Inc. Hydraulic Fracturing Incident 16-27-068-10W6M September 22, 2011 (Released: December 20, 2012)
Investigation Report 2012-12-12: Midway Energy Ltd. Hydraulic Fracturing Incident: Interwellbore Communication January 13, 2012 (Released: December 12, 2012)
Investigation Report 2011-08-24: Penn West Petroleum Ltd. Well Blowout 14-20-065-10W5M August 17, 2010 (Released: August 24, 2011)
Investigation Report 2011-08-12: Daylight Energy Ltd. Well Blowout 10-31-046-10W5M March 4, 2011 (Released: August 12, 2011)
Investigation Report 2011-02-11: Canadian Natural Resources Limited Well Blowout 09-12-75-12W6M February 24, 2010 (Released: February 11, 2011)
Investigation Report 2010-07-21: Daylight Energy Amalgamationco Ltd. Sour Gas Release Surface Location 06-23-047-10W5M December 16, 2009 (Released: July 21, 2010)
Investigation Report 2010-01-11: TAQA North Ltd. Well Blowout 10-10-28-29W4M June 8, 2009 (Released: January 11, 2010)
Investigation Report 2009-06-18: Harvest Operations Corporation Suspended Well Release 07-11-015-09W4M September 8, 2008 (Released: June 18, 2009)
Investigation Report 2009-06-01: EnCana Oil and Gas Co. Ltd. Well Blowout 15-20-19-08W4M October 2, 2008 (Released: June 1, 2009)
Investigation Report 2009-02-19: Pembina Pipeline Corporation Crude Oil Pipeline Failure Licence No. 1386, Line No. 003 June 15, 2008 (Released: April 14, 2009)
Investigation Report 2008-10-07: Shell Canada Limited Sour Gas Pipeline Failure Licence No. 23800, Line No. 61, November 19, 2007 (Released: October 7, 2008)
Investigation Report 2008-09-02: MEG Energy Corp. Steam Pipeline Failure Licence No. P 46441, Line No. 001 May 5, 2007 (Released: September 2, 2008)
Investigation Report 2007-05-22: Drayton Valley Area Hydrogen Sulphide Odours January 14, 2007 – Odour Complaints Investigation – Incident Summary Report (Released: May 22, 2007)
Investigation Report 2007-05-09: Rainbow Pipe Line Company Ltd. Crude Oil Pipeline Failure Licence No. 6001, Line No. 001, October 10, 2006 (Released: May 9, 2007)
Investigation Report 2007-02-06: Shell Canada Limited Hydrogen Sulphide Release, September 12, 2006 (Released: February 6, 2007)
- See more at: http://www.aer.ca/data-and-publications/publications/investigation-reports#sthash.Q1ew5Vpo.dpuf


 ************************************************************************************

The paucity of investigations indicates to me that the oil industry doesn't like to be bothered with interruptions by the government (also the oil industry).

Now I can only find investigations reported from 2007-02-06 to 2013-02-26.  How is it possible that we have only twenty (20) investigation reports even though we have had almost two oil spills per day in Alberta for the last forty or so years?
How is it possible that this constitutes best in the world practices, surveillance and regulation?
I'd say its rubbish--and advertisements---without any sort of proof of the best in the world fairy tale.

What the heck is going on in the government of Alberta?

And now--how many of these investigations deal with leakage from the tailings ponds?


 Not a single one deals with the problem of leakages from the tailings ponds that was reported in the newspapers. Why aren't these leakages from the tailings ponds reported to the public? Would such reporting--- just going to get us steamed up and the government doesn't like to get mail?


 So there you go.

I go visit their new shining public reporting section that is supposed to give us the news of spills. Will it report the tailings ponds leakages from this point on?  Good question. Let me go look what is currently on there. Apparently only reportable incidents that meet specific criteria will be given out. They do tell us that they will give us information on all incidents---and if this is true--how come they have not answered my e-mail?

Is this another cruel lie?


Seems so.
And really if they are not reporting everything--this means--in my mind--we still do not know the complete problems with the industry.

What is a reportable incident?
What happens with the incidents that occur but aren't deemed to be reportable?
How can we ask about the non-reported incidents if ---for goodness sakes--we don't have the report on this public list?
See how the government does its job?
Badly.





Incident Reporting - Current & Archive
The AER's public incident reporting web page helps to ensure Albertans are better informed about energy incidents in the province. While information on all incidents is publicly available upon request, the incidents posted on this webpage meet the following criteria:
  • any reportable incident that involves a sour product, whether on or off lease.
  • any reportable incident that impacts a water body, whether on or off lease.
  • any reportable pipeline release of hydrocarbon or produced water that migrates off lease, including on pipeline right of ways.
  • any reportable energy development-related incidents (non-pipeline) involving hydrocarbon or produced water that migrates off lease.
The information published below is based on incident information reported to the AER. The AER updates this web page every 24 hours following receipt of incident information and is not able to verify its accuracy before posting.
The following information is subject to change as information becomes available. Please continue to check back for updated information.
The criteria and incident reporting process will continue to be refined over time.
To search the content on this page press 'Ctrl + F'.
- See more at: http://www.aer.ca/compliance-and-enforcement/incident-reporting-current-and-archive#sthash.lyl5Jn1w.dpuf

Available Archives


Reports for the last 2 weeks
News feed [ATOM]
2013
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Ongoing Incidents

Reference number:
20131243
Date of incident:
June 24, 2013
Date of notification:
June 24, 2013, 20:18
Company:
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Location:
09-21-067-04W4, 10-01-067-03W4, 10-02-067-03W4 and 2-22-067-3W4. Incident site locations are approximately 45 km NW of Cold Lake.
Type of facility:
Facility
Product reported:
Bitumen
Volume reported:
1275.7 m3 total bitumen emulsion recovered between all four sites. 397 m3 of oily vegetation has been removed from the 09-21-067-4W4 (09-21) site. 5096.66 metric tonnes of impacted soils have been removed from the 10-01-067-3W4 (10-01), 10-02-067-03W4 (10-02) and 02-22-067-03W4 (02-22) sites. 20.7 hectares total is reported to have been impacted by all four sites.
Status:
Ongoing. Emergency phase over July 17, 2013.
August 16, 2013 The following reference numbers have been added to this incident:
20131458, 20131016, 20131126
August 16, 2013 Clean up continues on all four sites. Bitumen recovery at the source, skimming of other areas within water body and vegetation cutting continues at the 09-21 site. Bitumen recovery, impacted soil removal, fissure exposure, surface water management and containment efforts continue at the 10-01, 10-02 and 02-22 sites. To date the total wildlife impacts between all four sites have been reported with 2 beavers, 31 birds, 82 amphibians, and 31 small mammals deceased. Wildlife fencing and deterrents are installed and CNRL continues to monitor all four sites for wildlife and impacted wildlife. Subsurface investigation has been initiated and is ongoing. AER and ESRD continue to monitor sites on a regular basis.
August 16, 2013 'Location' has been updated (originally 09-21-067-03W4, 10-01-067-03W4, 10-02-067-03W4 and 02-22-067-04W4 ~45 km NW of Cold Lake).
'Status' has been updated (originally Ongoing. Response continues; emergency phase over July 17, 2013.).
'Volume reported' has been updated (originally 1060 m3 bitumen released and 20.7 hectares impacted. 344 m3 of oily vegetation recovered from the 09-21 site.).
August 02, 2013 10-01, 10-02 locations: Clean up continues. 8.5 m3 of bitumen recovered on July 28 from both sites. Impacted areas are still secured; wildlife deterrents remain in place and are monitored daily. The AER and ESRD continue to work with CNRL.
02-22 location: Clean up continues. 7.4 m3 of bitumen is reported to have been removed on July 28. Impacted areas are still secured; wildlife deterrents remain in place and are monitored daily. The AER and ESRD continue to work with CNRL.
09-21 location: Clean up continues. Additional wildlife deterrents have been deployed on the water body. Impacted areas are still secured; wildlife deterrents remain in place and are monitored daily. The AER’s investigation is ongoing. The AER and ESRD continue to work with CNRL.
August 02, 2013 'Location' has been updated (originally 09-21-067-04W4,10-01-067-04W4, 10-02-067-04W4, and 2-22-067-04W4 ~45 km NW of Cold Lake).
'Volume reported' has been updated (originally 950 m3 bitumen. 20.7 hectares reported to be impacted by bitumen to date. These numbers reflect totals from all 4 sites.).
July 27, 2013 'Location' has been updated (originally 09-21-067-04W4, 45 km NW of Cold Lake). 'Volume reported' has been updated (originally 28 m3 bitumen and 127 m3 of oily vegetation. 40 hectares reported to have been impacted.). 'Status' has been updated (originally Over. Emergency phase over July 17, 2013.).
July 26, 2013 Due to the ongoing nature of the four related incidents on CNRL's Primrose project area, future updates to this incident report will include information on all four incidents.
Clean up continues on all sites. Impacted lake area has been reduced to 12 hectares as skimming and vegetation cutting progresses. CNRL has reported the following wildlife impacts: 2 beavers, 12 migratory birds, 23 amphibians, and 5 small mammals deceased. Wildlife fencing and deterrents have been installed at all sites. Recovered bitumen is being recycled. Both AER and ESRD continue to monitor these sites on a regular basis.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has directed Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) to undertake the following actions: 1) CNRL must continue to accelerate efforts to contain and clean up the bitumen-emulsion release and submit detailed containment, cleanup, and remediation plans to the AER and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) by July 29, 2013, and 2) develop and implement a plan, subject to AER approval, to ensure all bitumen emulsion releases to surface within the project area have been identified and, if identified, appropriately addressed to the AER's satisfaction.
Earlier this year, as a result of three releases of bitumen emulsion to surface, the AER ordered the suspension of CNRL's high pressure cyclic steam stimulation (HPCSS) operations within the Primrose East section of the project area. In response to the most recent incident at Primrose South, the AER has ordered that CNRL take further measures, including suspending the steaming operations within one kilometre of the Primrose South incident and restricting steam operations throughout Primrose North and South. These restrictions will remain in place until the cause of the releases has been confirmed, CNRL can introduce operating practices to minimize the risk of similar events occurring, and full approval has been granted by the AER.
The AER will continue to work closely with CNRL to investigate the incident, monitor cleanup efforts and provide advice to ensure any future applications to resume steam injection fully meet the technical expectations of the AER. The AER will review these restrictions on a regular basis and will only allow further steaming operations once it is assured that CNRL can develop the resources in a safe and responsible manner in accordance with all regulatory requirements.
HPCSS has been used in oil recovery in Alberta for more than 30 years. The method involves injecting high-pressure steam into a reservoir over a prolonged period of time. As heat softens the bitumen and water dilutes and separates the bitumen from the sand, the pressure creates cracks and openings through which the bitumen can flow back into the steam-injector wells. HPCSS differs from steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operations where steam is injected at lower pressures without fracturing the reservoir and uses gravity drainage as the primary recovery mechanism.
July 17, 2013 Updated volumes. Impacted vegetation continues to be cleaned up. Bitumen releasing from fissure underground contained within double lined control curtain. Wildlife impacts reported. ESRD and AER continue to monitor the site. AER ordered CNRL to suspend steaming operations and accelerate clean up.
June 24, 2013, 20:18 Unnamed standing body of water impacted by bitumen coming to surface from underground source. AER working with company to determine cause, control the release, and establish containment. Some wildlife impacts reported—ESRD working with company on wildlife mitigation and clean up.

Reports for the Last 2 Weeks

Reference number:
20131552
Date of incident:
August 15, 2013
Date of notification:
August 15, 2013, 09:35
Company:
XTO Energy
Location:
09-34-060-19W5, 10 km S of Fox Creek
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour gas
Volume reported:
3 e3 m3
Status:
Over. Emergency phase concluded on August 16, 2013.
August 16, 2013 'Location' has been updated (originally 09-34-060-19W5, 10km S of Fox Creek).
'Status' has been updated (originally Ongoing.).
August 15, 2013, 09:35 Cause unknown. One impact to wildlife reported. ERP was activated.
Reference number:
20131550
Date of incident:
August 15, 2013
Date of notification:
August 15, 2013, 10:01
Company:
Penn West Petroleum Ltd.
Location:
04-15-035-06W4, 2 km SW of Consort
Type of facility:
Satellite
Product reported:
Sour crude oil
Volume reported:
65 m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 15, 2013, 10:01 Caused by equipment failure. Fluid contained on lease within secondary containment. No impacts to wildlife or waterways reported.




Reference number:
20131558
Date of incident:
August 15, 2013
Date of notification:
August 15, 2013, 12:30
Company:
Penn West Petroleum Ltd.
Location:
11-20-037-07W4, 25 km NW of Consort
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Gas
Volume reported:
Unknown volume
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 15, 2013, 12:30 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife or waterways reported.
Reference number:
20131559
Date of incident:
August 15, 2013
Date of notification:
August 15, 2013, 06:15
Company:
Pengrowth Energy Corporation
Location:
09-21-078-08W5, 65 km NW of Slave Lake
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Emulsion
Volume reported:
50 m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 15, 2013, 06:15 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife or waterways reported.

Reference number:
20131546
Date of incident:
August 14, 2013
Date of notification:
August 14, 2013, 17:10
Company:
ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corp.
Location:
01-09-072-08W6, 5 km SE of Wimbly
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour gas
Volume reported:
0.1 e3 m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 14, 2013, 17:10 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife or waterways reported.
Reference number:
20131537
Date of incident:
August 13, 2013
Date of notification:
August 13, 2013, 08:15
Company:
CNRL
Location:
04-02-075-07W6, 12 km NE of La Glace
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour gas and condensate
Volume reported:
2 e3 m3 gas and 0.5 m3 condensate
Status:
Over. Emergency phase concluded on August 13, 2013.
August 16, 2013 'Location' has been updated (originally 04-02-075-07W6, 12 km northeast of La Glace).
'Volume reported' has been updated (originally Unknown volume of sour gas and ½ m3 condensate).
August 13, 2013, 08:15 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife reported. Some condensate released onto the pipeline right-of-way.





Reference number:
XX-3
Date of incident:
August 13, 2013
Date of notification:
August 13, 2013, 14:00
Company:
CNRL
Location:
CNRL Horizon in the Fort McMurray area
Type of facility:
Facility
Product reported:
Sour gas
Volume reported:
Unknown volume of sour gas
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 13, 2013, 14:00 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife reported.
Reference number:
20131531
Date of incident:
August 12, 2013
Date of notification:
August 12, 2013, 14:20
Company:
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Location:
16-06-11-16W4, 7km N of Taber
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Oil emulsion
Volume reported:
20 m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 12, 2013, 14:20 Release impacted grazing pasture land. No impacts to waterways reported.





Reference number:
20131512
Date of incident:
August 11, 2013
Date of notification:
August 11, 2013, 16:46
Company:
Husky Oil Operations Limited
Location:
14-06-035-08W5, 35km SW of Rocky Mountain House
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour gas
Volume reported:
4.6 e3m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 11, 2013, 16:46 Pipeline valve was leaking, allowing gas to be released to atmosphere. No impacts to workers or public reported.
Reference number:
20131513
Date of incident:
August 11, 2013
Date of notification:
August 11, 2013, 12:00
Company:
Trilogy Resources Ltd.
Location:
12-10 64-19 W5 13 km N of Fox Creek
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour Gas
Volume reported:
1 e3m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 11, 2013, 12:00 Pipeline failure released approx. 1 e3m3 of sour gas. No water body or wildlife impacts reported.




Reference number:
20131515
Date of incident:
August 11, 2013
Date of notification:
August 11, 2013, 09:50
Company:
PennWest
Location:
2-10 65-13 W5 55 km N of Whitecourt
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Produced Water
Volume reported:
45 m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 11, 2013, 09:50 Produced water released and 5 m3 went off lease. No water body or wildlife impacts reported.
Reference number:
20121512
Date of incident:
August 09, 2013
Date of notification:
August 09, 2013, 16:46
Company:
Husky Oil Operations Limited
Location:
03-33-045-06W4, 10km N of Wainwright
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Oil emulsion
Volume reported:
10 m3
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 09, 2013, 16:46 Spill ran down lease road into some ruts.





Reference number:
20131505
Date of incident:
August 08, 2013
Date of notification:
August 08, 2013, 13:26
Company:
Husky Oil Operations Limited
Location:
1-33-045-06W4, 8km North of Wainwright
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Emulsion
Volume reported:
1.5 m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 08, 2013, 13:26 Pipeline leak. Release impacted a crop field. No waterways or wildlife impacts reported.
Reference number:
20131504
Date of incident:
August 07, 2013
Date of notification:
August 08, 2013, 08:30
Company:
Deethree Exploration Ltd.
Location:
16-35-107-04W6, 70km SE of Rainbow Lake
Type of facility:
Facility
Product reported:
Oil and produced water
Volume reported:
1.5 m3 oil and 8.5 m3 of produced water
Status:
No emergency phase.
August 08, 2013, 08:30 Cause unknown. No impacts to wildlife reported.





Reference number:
20131500
Date of incident:
August 06, 2013
Date of notification:
August 06, 2013, 17:22
Company:
Aston Oil & Gas Ltd.
Location:
10-24-014-19W4, 2km W of Enchant
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Emulsion
Volume reported:
7 m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 06, 2013, 17:22 Pipeline leak. Release impacted grassland area. No impacts to waterways reported.
Reference number:
20131494
Date of incident:
August 06, 2013
Date of notification:
August 06, 2013, 18:00
Company:
NAL Resources Limited
Location:
04-30-037-03W5, 22km SW of Sylvan Lake
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Crude Oil
Volume reported:
1.5 m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 06, 2013, 18:00 Pipeline leak. Release impacted a hay field area of approximately 25 m2. Pipeline is shut in. No impacts to waterways or wildlife reported.




Reference number:
20131482
Date of incident:
August 05, 2013
Date of notification:
August 05, 2013, 08:43
Company:
TAQA North Ltd.
Location:
05-23-029-01W5, 7 km North of Crossfield
Type of facility:
Pipeline
Product reported:
Sour Gas
Volume reported:
<0.1 e3m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 05, 2013, 08:43 A cow entered the pipeline riser enclosure and damaged a piece of aboveground piping. A small amount of sour gas was released and the animal was overcome by the H2S and died as a result. The release was shut-in by the operator. No further impacts to workers, public or livestock were reported.
Reference number:
20131474
Date of incident:
August 03, 2013
Date of notification:
August 03, 2013, 10:30
Company:
Surge Energy Inc.
Location:
10-23-029-20W4, 2 km North of Drumheller
Type of facility:
Facility
Product reported:
Sour Gas
Volume reported:
<0.1 e3m3
Status:
No emergency phase
August 03, 2013, 10:30 Equipment failure. Incinerator pilot flame went out.




 *****************************************************************************
So there is one produced water incident reported.
Nothing here about the tailings ponds so I will have to research the matter of tailings ponds from the reports in newspapers or provided by environmental groups since the AER doesn't seem to be putting out the information on the tailings ponds leaks at all.

Let us go back in time.




Let us go back to 2010 and see what the government was telling us about the tailings ponds leaking at this time:



 Let me show you the 2010  newspaper article where they tell us ---not that later fairy tale about the natural contamination of the Athabasca River--but an earlier fairy tale --that sure there is seepage but there is "recapture" and so don't worry folks--it's all taken care of. Don't worry, make money.

This is the general strategy of the Tories---say nonsense but keep a lid on the messes.  Tell the public anything to soothe them back to sleep----they tell us in these earlier versions of the fairy tales on seepage from the tailings ponds ---don’t bother your innocent little heads about seepage and leaks—because –heck it is all under control.

Look here folks--- at what the Tories and their various puppet regulatory board folks told us:


Alberta gov't rejects reports of tailings pond leak

A portion of the Shell Albian Sands oilsands mine is seen from an overlook near Fort McMurray, Alta., Wednesday, July 9, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
A portion of the Shell Albian Sands oilsands mine is seen from an overlook near Fort McMurray, Alta., Wednesday, July 9, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Text:

The Canadian Press
Published Monday, November 15, 2010 8:53PM EST
EDMONTON - Alberta's environment minister has dismissed reports that a three-sided oilsands tailings pond is leaking toxins into surrounding land and water.
"While we are following up on the allegations, initial reports indicate that there is no release of water from this pond," Rob Renner told the legislature Monday during question period.
"The design of this pond is working as it was appropriately designed to work -- and if there is any issue, we will be dealing with it."
Renner was responding to reports of water leaking out of the tailings pond at Canadian Natural Resources' (TSX:CNQ) Horizon operation, about 70 km northwest of Fort McMurray, near the First Nations community of Fort McKay.
The tailings ponds collect leftover bitumen, clay and heavy metals from the oilsands refining process.
Most are contained using manmade barriers. The Horizon one, however, is contained on its western edge by a natural barrier of sloping clay. Critics charge it is oozing into nearby wilderness and is accessible to wildlife.
Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board, the arms-length industry regulator, signed off on the design six years ago.
Renner and Energy Minister Ron Liepert told the legislature that the board regularly checks up on the tailings ponds and was at the Horizon site two weeks ago and found everything operating properly. Renner said another team has since been sent up just to make sure.
Opposition critics said even if the pond is sound, using natural barriers to contain toxic effluvia is bad business.
"First it was ducks put at risk by toxic tailings soup, and now animals are reportedly free to walk into this three-walled pool. How could this government approve such a seemingly nonsensical way of containing liquid toxic sludge?" NDP critic Rachel Notley asked the House.
But Renner said the approved plan appears to be working.
"It is built against a natural wall," said Renner. "There is no indication at this point that that natural wall is working any differently from an artificial one."
The board, in a news release, confirmed the findings.
"The tailings pond and the stream lie at the bottom of a natural depression, and all the water in the area flows into the pond, not out of it," said the release.
But Melina Laboucan-Massimo of the environmental activist group Greenpeace said the government is dangerously lackadaisical.
"Animals are being poisoned because the company wasn't even required to put something as paltry as a fence up," said Laboucan-Massimo.
The Alberta government has been fighting an ongoing public relations battle over the tailings ponds. While the ponds form a small part of the overall oilsands operations, the great inland lakes of waste have become international symbols of the environmental price.
Last month, 350 ducks landed on area tailings ponds, became trapped and had to be killed. That came just days after energy giant Syncrude agreed in court to $3 million in penalties for allowing 1,600 ducks to die on its ponds in 2008.
Two panels of scientists -- one federal and the other provincial -- are examining the water quality in the area after ecologist David Schindler reported the water in the region was being polluted at a much greater rate greater than industry figures. He also showed reporters pictures of fish with tumours or deformed body parts.
Provincial officials have escorted European and American politicians to the oilsands area amid concerns other jurisdictions are considering financial or trade sanctions on oilsands product.
In September, Premier Ed Stelmach met with Hollywood blockbuster director James Cameron.
Cameron, an enviro activist, also toured the oilsands and said help must come immediately for the First Nations communities whose members live downstream of the oilsands and who say they are getting sick and getting cancer from their drinking water.
Alberta Liberal critic Laurie Blakeman told the legislature that if the three-walled pond is any indication, the government plan is to deflect responsibility to the regulator and vice versa.
"No one is around to take responsibility when fish grow tumours, wildlife drink toxic sludge or cancer rates in First Nations people in the area rise," said Blakeman.
"Why does this government have such weak standards?"
***********************************************************************************
This article is dated:  


Published Monday, November 15, 2010 8:53PM EST

In 2010, the Tories were doing their usual ignorant spiel how everything is fine in the  "Alice in Wonderland"  creation and containment story--- of the tailings ponds in Fort McMurray.

For the Tories, the dumbest ideas proposed by big oil is fine.

Because big oil does not want to spend the time or the money to do their jobs with reference to toxic waste disposal and because big oil will never have to do anything about the toxic wasteland they are creating so long as we have the bitumen bosses controlling the Alberta Legislature---- we will have to fire the Tories in order to get folks in ----to force big oil to do their jobs of reclamation of the fricking land they are polluting in this way.

 Let us hope we fire the Tories---- before a major flood washes away the tailings ponds into the Athabasca River thereby solving the tailings ponds reclamation problem -----but giving us another problem of a drinking water supply that is probably going to create more than just mutated fish.

In this article Ms. Blakeman--long suffering politician  afflicted with this herd of idiots asks us plaintively:



Alberta Liberal critic Laurie Blakeman told the legislature that if the three-walled pond is any indication, the government plan is to deflect responsibility to the regulator and vice versa.
"No one is around to take responsibility when fish grow tumours, wildlife drink toxic sludge or cancer rates in First Nations people in the area rise," said Blakeman.
"Why does this government have such weak standards?"

*******************************************************************************
The long answer for Ms. Blakeman –on why the government has such weak standards—which are basically no standards at all in my opinion---is because they are dumb, don't give a damn if the First Nations folks are all poisoned to extinction (they are counting on this route to solve the current ongoing hassle of removing their collective rights) and they are just plain oil industry front folks and do not represent citizens.

The short answer for Ms. Blakeman---- is that it is really all about the oil industry in Alberta.



We were dumb hiring these dumb, self serving traitors to government so ultimately the responsibility for this mess rests with us.   

But of course without good information ---and constant fairy tales offered instead of real science---we are partly absolved for the stupidity of hiring dumb people to government.


Dumb folks hired to do the job of intelligent folks in government—never works.
The Tories --- are dumb folks because they don’t realize this one fundamental truth---- even with all the propaganda and Action plans, some Tory voters are waking up and asking questions and getting answers we don’t like.


Some Tory voters are going to be asking even more and more questions.
Where are the answers all you folks at the AER?
Why are there no answers to my e-mails?

I don’t like this way of storing toxic waste.
There are –in my opinion—a host of problems with it with reference to leakage that has now been confirmed in 2013.
In addition with climate change introducing the game changer of floods to the problem of tailings ponds reclamation---I expect that the oil industry (which is our government) will NOT have an emergency plan in place for when the tailings ponds are breached by a major storm and we have the contents of these toxic swamps swept away into the Athabasca River—thereby introducing all the good toxins into the drinking water for most of Alberta.

 Since the good folks at the Alberta government did not release a flood mitigation report but sat on it as if the results of sitting on it would be safer for the public ---I assume they will sit on their lack of emergency plans when the floods come again and we have a major industrial disaster where toxins are washed out of the tailings ponds into the Athabasca River.

I am curious now.   I wonder if the Tories are sitting on a tailings pond flood mitigation report?



I imagine that when the tailings ponds are the Athabasca River we won’t have the dummies in government saying this sort of rubbish:


But Renner said the approved plan appears to be working.
"It is built against a natural wall," said Renner. "There is no indication at this point that that natural wall is working any differently from an artificial one."

Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board, the arms-length industry regulator, signed off on the design six years ago.
Renner and Energy Minister Ron Liepert told the legislature that the board regularly checks up on the tailings ponds and was at the Horizon site two weeks ago and found everything operating properly. Renner said another team has since been sent up just to make sure.
****************************************************************************

It is a miracle we didn’t have a major disaster while the Renner guy was in charge of environment and it was a happy day when that Liepert guy faded out of politics to do his nonsense in big oil country.

If only we could turf the rest of these traitors out of the government right this minute.

So that was the spin in 2010.

Let us look for more reassuring soundbites from the oil industry front party and the puppet regulatory bodies.


Let us look at stories about tailings ponds leaks in 2009:
Here is the Alberta government in 2009 reassuring the skittish folks in Alberta that don’t worry, be happy, the foxes in the chicken coop aren’t messing with the water.


Alberta Environment says tailings ponds don’t leak

"Seepage" dates back to the 1970s, not long after Great Canadian Oil Sands (now Suncor Energy) put the first oil sands plant into operation
May 01, 2009
When Toronto-based Environmental Defence released a report last winter on potential tailings ponds seepage, it did not reveal a new problem to the industry and the Alberta government. The green group achieved shock value by using public industry data to calculate that tailings water seeps past pond walls at a rate of about 11 million liters per day.
The phenomenon was detected at the GCOS Tar Island Dyke (Pond 1), and corrective steps were taken.
“There is always going to be seepage,” says Preston McEachern, science research and innovation chief in Alberta Environment’s oil sands management division. “On the newer ponds and the older ones as well, the monitoring systems are demonstrating that the recapture systems have stopped the migration of any seepages beyond those interceptor systems. Eleven million sounds like a lot, but there are 130 square kilometers of tailings ponds. When you divide that out, you get 0.1 of a millimeter per day. So it would take 10,000 days to go a meter.”


Environmental Defence maintains the Alberta government is choosing to ignore the problem of tailings pond leakage. “We certainly don’t believe that the current measures in place, like the recapture methods and monitoring methods, have had a meaningful effect in mitigating the environmental impact,” says the Toronto agency’s policy director, Aaron Freeman. “It’s very clear that we have toxic tailings leaking into the Athabasca River and into the broader basin. That’s a serious environmental issue and it is also a serious health issue for the communities living downstream.
Alberta Environment disagrees. The “seepage issue is a manageable one,” says McEachern. “It’s manageable because we have a system that can recapture the seepage and detect if the system doesn’t work. But the major issue with tailings is reclamation. First, minimizing the tailings inventory on the ground and, second, making reclamation happen faster. The new directive which was just released will hold industry accountable for precisely those two things.”

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This intelligent thinking by the environmental group was immediately countered by fairy tales by the dummies we hired.

The eerie prescience of the commentary by the environmental group has been confirmed in 2013. Just look at what Environmental Defence said on May 01, 2009.


 May 01, 2009


Environmental Defence maintains the Alberta government is choosing to ignore the problem of tailings pond leakage. “We certainly don’t believe that the current measures in place, like the recapture methods and monitoring methods, have had a meaningful effect in mitigating the environmental impact,” says the Toronto agency’s policy director, Aaron Freeman. “It’s very clear that we have toxic tailings leaking into the Athabasca River and into the broader basin. That’s a serious environmental issue and it is also a serious health issue for the communities living downstream.

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What did the Alberta government say in response?


 May 01, 2009

Alberta Environment disagrees. The “seepage issue is a manageable one,” says McEachern. “It’s manageable because we have a system that can recapture the seepage and detect if the system doesn’t work. But the major issue with tailings is reclamation. First, minimizing the tailings inventory on the ground and, second, making reclamation happen faster. The new directive which was just released will hold industry accountable for precisely those two things.”

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In this article the public is told that there is seepage but it is recaptured.
Note how we are told that there is recapture in this bit of spin and not to worry about it—and that this seepage is a problem of earlier times when the ponds weren't as safe as they now are in 2009----and also in those old days--- they weren't so fricking vigilant:


The green group achieved shock value by using public industry data to calculate that tailings water seeps past pond walls at a rate of about 11 million liters per day.
The phenomenon was detected at the GCOS Tar Island Dyke (Pond 1), and corrective steps were taken.
“There is always going to be seepage,” says Preston McEachern, science research and innovation chief in Alberta Environment’s oil sands management division. “On the newer ponds and the older ones as well, the monitoring systems are demonstrating that the recapture systems have stopped the migration of any seepages beyond those interceptor systems. Eleven million sounds like a lot, but there are 130 square kilometers of tailings ponds. When you divide that out, you get 0.1 of a millimeter per day. So it would take 10,000 days to go a meter.”
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We are told by the Alberta Environment spokesperson---Preston McEachern that the problem is only with the older models of tailings ponds—that on the NEW tailings ponds—that they've solved the seepage problem. How can he have solved the seepage problem if there is still a flow out of 11 million liters per day?

I don’t think the recapture of the seepage is doing its job do you?
What are they doing in the older ponds?
What is the corrective action that was supposedly taken?

We are only given this tidbit:




The phenomenon was detected at the GCOS Tar Island Dyke (Pond 1), and corrective steps were taken.

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In addition –please note that the story we are given here—of the recapture systems that are in place to recover the toxic waste---well—this fairy tale was not the fairy tale we were given even earlier in 2008.

Really it is getting hard for me not to get confused between Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, Hansel and Gretel and the witch, the three little piggies and the wolf, or the sleeping beauty tale where we were all asleep for forty years and more----without alas--the kiss from the handsome prince to wake us up. Nope instead of the handsome prince's kiss--we have tailings ponds leakage and toxins in the Athabasca River after we wake from our amnesiac coma.


This story of recapture of seeping poisons ----morphs in the article below –into the story that the aquifers are naturally contaminated with toxins—because well---the Athabasca River flows through the tarsands and naturally picks  up toxic waste from its own natural migrations!!!!




 Here are more fairy tales in 2008

Here is that fairy tale given to us  on December 9, 2008--- by the good folks we hired who told us --trust us and the oil industry--we're not lying. Let us look back in history and see the sequence of lies we were fed just like Samantha Martin was fed moldy bread by that foster mother who told the school to "fill her up with water".


We have so many fairy tales given to us.
And no hard data by any source.


 
Except of course environmental groups that have to do the work the Tories fail to do –which is represent the public interest and the environment.

Millions of litres leak each day from oilsands tailings ponds: report

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 9, 2008 | 2:35 PM MT

CBC News


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A new report says 11 million litres of toxic water leak each day from giant waste ponds used by the oilsands industry in northern Alberta.
11 Million Litres: the Tar Sands' Leaking Legacy was released Tuesday by Environmental Defence, a Canadian advocacy, research and education group.
The study used the leakage rates each company cited in their project applications and added them up, applying an average leakage rate for projects that did not publicly disclose this information.
"We had read a lot of the company proposals for new tarsands projects and realized companies themselves were saying that all of these ponds leak," report author Matt Price said.
The amount of liquid that leaks each year would fill Toronto's Rogers Centre two and a half times, Price said.
Price said the figure of 11 million came from the most conservative of the models the group used in the report. He believes the amount is much higher.
Preston McEachern from Alberta Environment disagrees with the amount of seepage cited in the report. He said any seepage that does get out goes into aquifers which are already contaminated because they flow through the oilsands.
Alan Fair, the manager of research and development for Syncrude, wouldn't comment directly on the figures in the Environmental Defence report, but said his company closely monitors groundwater quality in the area around its tailings ponds.
"We on a regular basis report and review those results with Alberta Environment, and I can tell you that they, nor ourselves at this point ... have any immediate concerns with the quality of that water," he said.
But Matt Price said part of the problem is that the industry is monitoring itself and the results it sends to Alberta Environment are not publicly available.
"Each company is ... only monitoring its own backyard but who's looking at the bigger picture here?" he said.
"Even though this is just four billion litres a year now that's leaking, our projections are it's going to go to 25 billion litres a year within a decade. Can the ecosystem actually absorb that amount of contaminated water? Who's doing those studies? Who's asking these questions?"
With files from the Canadian Press
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So in 2008 we have the government tell us don’t worry things are peachy. And in any case why worry about naturally contaminated rivers?


Preston McEachern from Alberta Environment disagrees with the amount of seepage cited in the report. He said any seepage that does get out goes into aquifers which are already contaminated because they flow through the oilsands.
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Apparently they knew all about the seepage. 

And this was considered to be a normal part of the tarsands extraction side effects because they have a recapture system that still lets stuff leak out of the ponds! 

Lets not forget as well that according to these folks--- the seepage is not a problem because the aquifers are already contaminated with tarsands junk!!!! One of Syncrude's managers----who yaps in this article---Alan Fair--- isn't as forthcoming with the fantastic fairy tales about why there is seepage occurring---- and offers us some information that he gives reports --- to the government regulatory body that apparently  closely guards it---because we never see the contents of these reports. But I guess they must be all good right? Or we would be informed right?


Alan Fair, the manager of research and development for Syncrude, wouldn't comment directly on the figures in the Environmental Defence report, but said his company closely monitors groundwater quality in the area around its tailings ponds.
"We on a regular basis report and review those results with Alberta Environment, and I can tell you that they, nor ourselves at this point ... have any immediate concerns with the quality of that water," he said.

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 So where are these "regular basis report and review" results?
Why can't we have these posted on the AER website so we can see proof of the purity of the Athabasca River?
Where are their baseline water test results?
Why can't they get independent water testing companies to prove that the oil industry is not fudging results?

I want an independent water testing company to look at the water around all of these oil companies and I want the baseline and on-going monitoring results posted and you know what--I don't give a darn if this costs the oil industry extra bucks --because they are earning more money than we are.
They are getting billions of dollars while we get piddly amounts of cash.
It is about time they were held accountable by the public for their piss-poor surveillance and reporting to the public.

It is about time we got all the answers to what is exactly going on in the area of pollution in Alberta.

What the heck!

Does no one in government have a brain?

Why do we have to keep asking and asking for our own information?
This is our resource.
Give us what we ask for about the resource.
Give us more for the resources.
Don't give us fairy tales for the facts.
And don't bother to give us the dumb education instead of penalties junk for big oil.

Hand out major penalties and maybe then they will do their jobs.
We'll take care of handing out major penalties to the government that doesn't do its job of holding big oil responsible for its failures at tailings ponds reclamation and pollution resolution---at the very next election.

But in the interim period, we want major penalties now. Not in 2015 --just in time for a positive soundbite for the next provincial election to "prove" that the government is engaged in responsible accountable energy development.
Nope. We are no longer fooled by that sort of strategic punishment of big oil.
We want results, penalties and performance now.
In other words --we want change now.

And please --no more of these dumb fairy tales.

Why would the Athabasca River be contaminated with toxins even before seepage occurs from the tailings ponds?
Where are the baseline water testing results to say that the Athabasca River has contamination because the waters “flow through the oilsands”?
If they compare the subsequent water testing results to the baseline water testing results that I ASSUME that the oil industry did—what is the pattern of toxins in the water? Is there an increase?
Why are these results not given to the public?
Why are we in a situation where water testing results are hidden between a government body and the private industry?
Why is the private industry doing the water testing and not the government of Alberta?

Who is serving the public interest in Alberta?
It sure isn’t our government.


 As for the CNRL fairy tale. 

I don't believe it.
I want the science.
I don't see any science to prove the CNRL fairy tale.
And when will we get the AER report to tell us the truth--that the technology fractures the land so that bitumen --heated to boiling pops up wherever it finds the easiest pathway---even right in the middle of a marsh?







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