Saturday, May 31, 2014

pseelk pseelk is online now ------- Quote: Originally Posted by rwm1273 View Post Anyone see the posts on Facebook about Redford and her kid in Palm Springs? Not sure where this lies in the official reasons for being absent from the Legislature. Does this fall under Bereavement, illness, or Government business? No,You have to check under Entitlements,I"m sure you"ll find it there.
 04-28-2014, 09:08 PM
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Location: Deadmonton
Posts: 5,980

Anyone see the posts on Facebook about Redford and her kid in Palm Springs?

Not sure where this lies in the official reasons for being absent from the Legislature. Does this fall under Bereavement, illness, or Government business?

Unread 04-28-2014, 09:27 PM
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Location: Red Deer
Posts: 2,171

Originally Posted by rwm1273 View Post
Anyone see the posts on Facebook about Redford and her kid in Palm Springs?

Not sure where this lies in the official reasons for being absent from the Legislature. Does this fall under Bereavement, illness, or Government business?
No,You have to check under Entitlements,I"m sure you"ll find it there.

Unread 04-28-2014, 04:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Canmore
Posts: 2,138

Ya, give the girl a break, respect your superiors, the ruling class knows best.
She's entitled to her entitlements, don'tcha know?
Once you've ruined your reputation, you can live quite freely!
Yowtee buggetty, rum fing f-too, ni! ni! ni!, YOW-OOO! -King Otto

 04-29-2014, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 503

As a person who voted for her party instead of wild rose, I do regret that move but I don't regret not voting for the wild rose. Simply because I am a centrist by nature, and my choices were vote for the liberals who were at the time still rife with their own scandal, the NDP who were to far from center for my liking and horribly misguided, the wild rose who were too far the other way when it came to matters of civil rights so I was left with really one choice. If the wildrose party wants to ever be elected then they are going to have to teach their members to be a little less homophobic and watch what they say.

To be frank; I think they lost the last election due to their hate speech about gay rights. That's 100% why I didn't vote for them.

After their defeat I think they sort of learned their lesson the hardway..

Now that being said; I have seen the hatchet job the PC party has done in alberta first hand; AADL which provides funding for all amputee's in Alberta has been forced to adjust how they fund these programs that allow individuals to attain the prosthetic s they need to have a more normal life. This program costs roughly over half a million a year, and it covers every single amputee and persons with a disability in the province so naturally it needed to be killed with fire because clearly it was costing too much. Now the process to attain new prosthetics has been made much more complicated and is now running much more inefficiently and costs the province more then it had previously while removing choice from the people who depend on it.

Literally everything they touched even with the best of intentions has fallen apart systematically. Our former premier Mr. Klein is probably spinning in his grave right now, because even he knew there were certain programs that you absolutely do not mess with.

I have a checklist for the party I will vote for just like every other person on this board mine goes like this:

Must be financially responsible and realistic about budgets
Must be for public healthcare and wanting to shore it up
Must be for civil rights for all peoples (race/sexual orientation/religion/ etc..)
Must put Alberta and the people living in the province ahead of all other matters.

May not:
be bigoted
Fund arts and other needless expenses ahead of healthcare, schools, and other social programs that benefit the elderly, the infirm or children.
axe public healthcare or schooling
cross matters of church and state

If the Wildrose can keep certain party members mute this election cycle they will probably win it.
better to have a short life, that is full of what you like doing; than a long life spent in a miserable way- Alan Watts

 04-24-2014, 07:18 AM
TBD TBD is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: calgary, Alberta
Posts: 1,486
Default yeh - came out today from reputable acct'ng gurus that ...

her last budget did not follow GAAP ( generally accepted accounting principles ) .

Can you believe this - we had these people in charge of billions !


PS .... fish (if your still around) I'm becoming less and less impressed with your hippy generation ....
Unread 04-24-2014, 04:45 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 6,546

Dang boys she is probably depressed and going to all the shrinks that is paid for by the Alberta Tax Payer. She will milk the system till her demise. Then she will collect a big severance pay and full pension. That's the way it works.

Ain't no new news. Ya think Hancock is going to say anything bad? Another joker that should be punted.

Now I gotta go to work or I will be fired.
Smoke or Fire in the Forest Dial 310-FIRE

Energy executives fear that without addressing environmental concerns, fracking could be headed for a rapid demise. “France and Belgium have permanently banned it,” says Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil & Gas, an independent exploration and production company located in Irving, Texas. “And it has everything to do with water.”---------The sheer volume of water a frack job consumes – about 5 to 10 million gallons per well – along with the usually remote locations of such wells, makes the challenge formidable. “We’re talking about 700 to over 1,000 truckloads just to carry away the water from a typical frack job,” Sumner said. “So the volume of trucking is enormous and the wear and tear on the roads is large. Everyone would like to reduce that.”------Of the 5 to 10 million gallons of fresh water consumed by the typical frack well, an average of about 20 percent flows back up to the surface, where it must be disposed of. The flowback water is contaminated with salt, heavy metals and other pollutants, making it unsuitable for disposal in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers.

Eventually reading about the problems associated with fracking can make you feel very upset. There seems to be no sort of due diligence with reference to some of the problems associated with fracking. When I consider that there are vast amounts of water that are being used for fracking that cannot be returned to the water cycle, I find that this is a major problem. Why are we subsidizing the oil and gas industry by giving them water for their work? Why aren't they paying for this water?
What about the contamination of the water that comes back to the surface? The flowback water?
What about the dumping of the waste water into the earth?
We haven't got any migration studies to show us that the waste water stays down.
The government of Canada has done no sort of studies to determine the risks to the public and won't do this work so long as the Tories are in power. I am not even sure if the Liberals will do the work when and if they get elected federally.
This failure by government to do the studies is an indication to me that government no longer has any purpose for citizens other than to waste our tax dollars.
If this is the case why pay for such a costly tax grabbing group of people?

There needs to be a concerted effort by government to answer the questions of citizens about the problems of fracking in Canada.
We do not believe the spin that there are no difficulties.
Just by using our brains we can see some problems.
Besides we have seen ordinary Albertans who have experienced problems with fracking and we need the government to stand up for these Albertans.
Now government needs to do the science, there needs to be an end to any non-disclosure agreements with reference to fracking problems that are paid out by the industry, and the industry must be fully transparent and compliant.
We're tired of not being given the data and it has served to create a climate of distrust that won't be easily overcome.

In the case of the produced water it seems that industry is working on the problems.

Water is the rate limiting step in the fracking boom and unless industry deals with the problems of high  water use ---well I'm betting water scarcity and costs will end the profits of big oil.

Energy industry works to recycle hydro-fracking waste waterClick to Enlarge
Billions of gallons of fresh water are consumed annually by natural gas wells that employ hydraulic fracturing to force underground rock formations to yield up gas trapped within. Fracking, as it’s known, is causing a boom in domestic energy exploration. It’s also raising environmental concerns about, among other things, the way it takes in fresh water from lakes, rivers, aquifers and municipal drinking water systems, and puts out water so contaminated with salt, heavy metals and other pollutants that it can’t be reused for drinking, irrigation, fracking or anything else and must be disposed of through deep injection wells.
Energy executives fear that without addressing environmental concerns, fracking could be headed for a rapid demise. “France and Belgium have permanently banned it,” says Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil & Gas, an independent exploration and production company located in Irving, Texas. “And it has everything to do with water.”
Two major water issues concern critics. “One is the chemicals that go down the well and the fear that they will contaminate ground water,” said Faulkner. “The other is the water that comes back up.” To address the first, companies like Breitling are trying to come up with new formulations of fracking chemicals that won’t pose the risk of harming the environment. Companies that treat water from fracking operations to make it reusable are now seeing their own boom, as energy producers try to reduce the costs and environmental impact of existing ways of handling water generated from fracking.
Recycling water from fracked wells makes sense on several levels, according to Warren Sumner, CEO of Omni Water Solutions, an Austin, Texas, company that has developed a system to recycle the water. “Today the practice of disposing of water typically involves trucking it to a disposal well,” Sumner said. “There’s a lot of cost and collateral damage from that trucking process.”

The sheer volume of water a frack job consumes – about 5 to 10 million gallons per well – along with the usually remote locations of such wells, makes the challenge formidable. “We’re talking about 700 to over 1,000 truckloads just to carry away the water from a typical frack job,” Sumner said. “So the volume of trucking is enormous and the wear and tear on the roads is large. Everyone would like to reduce that.”
Natural gas is a relatively low-polluting fossil fuel that many see as critical to helping reduce America’s reliance on oil and coal. It’s also plentiful, with some estimates pegging domestic deposits as sufficient to supply U.S. energy needs for a century. It’s hard to get to, however, because those deposits are deep and the gas is trapped in shale rock formations.
Fracking, which pumps a mixture of water, sand and chemicals, at enough pressure to shatter underground rock formations, has stirred up a variety of environmental concerns. Flammable methane gas has been found in drinking water supplies near gas fields, for instance. Also, earthquakes, in such unlikely places as Ohio, that may have been caused by the use of deep injection wells to dispose of water coming back out of fracked wells.
Of the 5 to 10 million gallons of fresh water consumed by the typical frack well, an average of about 20 percent flows back up to the surface, where it must be disposed of. The flowback water is contaminated with salt, heavy metals and other pollutants, making it unsuitable for disposal in freshwater lakes, rivers and aquifers.
To date, much of this flowback water, as well as additional water that is produced from underground reservoirs along with the natural gas, has been disposed of by injection into deep wells. These wells are common and widespread in some areas, such as Texas where the Eagle Ford Shale formation has spurred one of the large fracking booms. They are uncommon in many areas such as the Northeast, where the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia is the nation’s biggest such deposit.
Disposal wells have come under scrutiny in the wake of a number of unusual earthquakes in some regions near deep injection disposal wells. One injection well outside Youngstown, Ohio, was closed after a series of small earthquakes struck the area beginning in early 2011. Thus, in many areas of the country, the primary method of disposing of contaminated frack water is becoming less viable.
Recycling can help greatly with this problem, says Yves Pollart, vice president with Rettew Flowback Inc. (RFI), a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, company that treats frack water so that it can reused for fracking. As is, upwards of 20 percent of water used for fracking is recycled, Pollart said. But much more could be.
Recyclers like RFI and Omni use trailer-mounted systems that apply several different treatment methods to contaminated flowback water, in order to return it to a state that is acceptable for reuse. The methods vary according to the contaminants in the water, which can be widely different depending on the underground environment, and on the needs of the fracking company. However, they include filtration and chemical treatment, along with computerized monitoring and management of the process.
The resulting water can be, in some cases, made as clean as drinking water. However, that’s not usually the goal. In order to be re-used for fracking, the water can still be too briny to be discharged into the freshwater system.
“It’s typically what we call clean brine,” Sumner says. “It’s devoid of objectionable materials like iron, magnesium, calcium, barium and strontium. But it still has salts in it such as sodium chloride and potassium chloride. We find that many operators prefer to leave those salts in it because that’s in their frack chemistry already. That way they don’t have to repurchase those salts.”
The treatment techniques are effective enough that recycled frack water can be re-used over and over again for future frack jobs. The savings in consumption of fresh water, potential pollution of underground water supplies, possible prevention of earthquakes caused by injection and financial benefits of treating water on-site so it doesn’t have to be trucked in or out, make recycling a highly attractive proposition for energy companies, environmentalists, regulators and transportation authorities charged with maintaining roads.
Among the challenges to increased recycling are getting frack companies to standardize their requirements for the cleanliness of water used for their procedures, Pollart said. There’s little doubt recycling is here to stay in the oil patch. The problem of dealing with contaminated flowback water will decline along with the number of active drilling rigs as the gas deposits are gradually tapped out. But it will be replaced by smaller but still significant amounts of similarly contaminated water naturally produced along with the gas from wells.
This “produced water,” as it’s known, will ultimately be dealt with by evaporating it and then disposing of the left over salt in landfills, Pollart said. But for the moment, the new techniques for recycling frack water appear to be effectively addressing some of the biggest concerns about fracking. Sumner said it will get better. He foresees a day when recycled flowback, treated produced water and more water taken from existing brine resources provides all the water frackers need. “We can get the industry to net zero withdrawals on fresh water,” he said.

but if you believe

take a day
and see the future

the stone in the water
sends out the waves
of what will result
every act is followed
by reverberations
we are never alone
in our decisions
when I act
    there will be a result
that might
turn you into
a point of light
or might get you
to see the trap

each of us
are matches
we can spark
if we work hard
to dissolve the past
when we burn
the dry tinsel
of the lies about us
when we turn the lies
into a conflagration
of truth
we are powerful
in our groups of sparks 
we are the future
of our children
if you think
you cannot do this
   you cannot
but if you believe
   change happens

the days are marching
like soldiers in a war
of the people

the stone is in the water
and the water rises
in the ocean
we go out of the sets
we have been in
and we disturb the universe
what is the point
of anything we do?
it takes a hive
to ensure the hive survives
many of us must work
to somehow provide
for the children   who will survive

and so 
shake free of apathy
work every day
to cut through the adhesions
that make us ineffectual
cut through the ties 
so that you might speak clearly
use your votes
to elect  new people
who will represent us
so that our children
will be free of the corruption
of our democracy
trust in yourself
   each of us
make up the small groups
of concerned citizens

we are all that is needed
to change the world

let us audit the peoples' representatives

and when they are gone
let us make a new country
let us be free

and when they are gone
let us question and get answers
by following the money trail

and when they are gone
let us not be afraid
to do our jobs as good citizens of a democracy

and when they are gone
let us understand that we have been wronged
and not fall into the gap again with the new hires

and when they are gone
let us understand that trust is a bridge
that can be blown up    by the government

and when they are gone
let us find out the connections between
the money and the lies that Pinocchio the Tories

and when they are gone
let us audit the peoples' representatives
the kings and queens of the oil monarchy

I finally get back to the Turner Valley Gas Plant questions

From: "jyali" <jyali@>
To: "Catherine Whalley" <>, "west yellowhead" <>, "," <>,,,,,, "Margo Goodhand (Edm Journal)" <>, "Velvet Martin" <johnvel@>, "Diana Daunheimer" <dianadaun@>, "investigationsjyali" <investigationsjyali@>
Cc: "edmonton whitemud" <>, "edmonton highlandsnorwood" <>, "highwood" <>, "edmonton rutherford" <>, "edmonton meadowlark" <>, "calgary elbow" <>, "calgary greenway" <>, "calgary west" <>, "calgary acadia" <>, "calgary hays" <>, "calgary west" <>, "lethbridge west" <>, "draytonvalley devon" <>, "don iveson" <>, "Bryan Anderson" <>, "tony caterina" <>, "Stewart Shields" <>, "Jessica Ernst" <>,, "Darren Boisvert" <>, "gerry protti" <>, "jim ellis" <>, "Bob Curran" <>, "PeaceRiverProceeding" <>, "darin barter" <>, "jessica potter" <>, "stephen harper" <>, "james rajotte" <>, "thomas mulcair" <>, "justin trudeau" <>, "elizabeth may" <>
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 8:17:40 PM
Subject: Re: Turner Valley Gas Plant provincial historic site remediation questions

Dear Ms. Whalley,

Sorry for the long long delay.

It takes me ages to get anything done.

I have looked at the data on the website but not all the costs are there.
This is what I have added up so far:

Technical Clean-up Summaries

Learn about what has been done to help clean up the Turner Valley Gas Plant:


Since the Turner Valley Gas Plant was first considered as a possible tourism destination, extensive asbestos abatement work has been carried out. In 1995, the cost of removing or containing it safely was estimated at $40,000 because the intent then was to open only four buildings to the public.

By the time the abatement work was done in 2002, the scope had expanded to 20 buildings plus a number of stand-alone items such as pipes and vessels.
Qualified contractors removed all seriously damaged asbestos, and where the damage was minor, wrapped it in aluminum or canvas, sealed it, and painted it so the plant would look as it had when it was last used.
The job also included removing some mercury and cleaning up biohazards, such as bird droppings, that had collected while the buildings sat abandoned.
The tab came in at $335,000, plus $22,000 for independent air monitoring and inspection.
There’s plenty of asbestos remaining both inside and outside many buildings on the site. But according to Colin Wildgrube, senior building environment specialist for the technical services branch of Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, as long as it remains undisturbed and undamaged, it poses no risk to visitors.
For 25 years, the branch has been contributing the most up-to-date asbestos-handling procedures to the Alberta Asbestos Abatement Manual. It oversaw the removal and encapsulation of asbestos at the gas plant.
The manual is available for download from the publications page of the Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour website ( and typing "asbestos" into the search line. The manual specifies:

  • In buildings being altered or renovated, any materials having the potential for releasing asbestos fibres in the area of alteration or renovation must be encapsulated, enclosed or removed.
  • In buildings to be demolished, materials having the potential for releasing asbestos fibres must first be removed.
Since 2002, an asbestos management plan--required for any site containing asbestos--has called for a thorough annual inspection, which is done in the early spring to make sure any possible damage is repaired and the entire site is in a safe, sealed condition before public tours start.
"You could just keep rewrapping it. As long as it’s not severely damaged you could keep it indefinitely. There are lots of government buildings that have asbestos in them that are kept in good condition with a management plan." said Wildgrube.
Culture department restoration officer Ron Johnson does the inspections and oversees any needed repairs. This year he found insulation that had peeled off a tank in a small auxiliary building that had never even been unlocked before and had the repairs made. "The whole point is to get everything in tiptop condition," Wildgrube says. "Right now we’re comfortable with what’s being done there and we have no concerns."
Alberta Environment and the Calgary Health Region have advised that they have no concerns with asbestos at the site.

Containment System

Not to diminish the engineering elegance of the groundwater gathering and flood protection system newly installed at the historic Turner Valley Gas Plant . . . but it really is just a big bathtub, a $7-million, 15.4-hectare bathtub with a fancy drain.

The project manager who built it says so.
The price tag includes design, construction and any operating costs the structure incurs in the next two years. Its purpose is to channel all of the water that flows through and over the site of the decommissioned gas plant plus remove the hydrocarbons contaminating the soils and groundwater before the water spills into the Sheep River.
At the same time this highly-engineered bathtub controls the flow of the water within the site, it protects against the river raging past each spring. The need for groundwater containment and cleaning became urgent when the Sheep River flooded three times in 2005. Torrents of water severely eroded the river bank and leached out hydrocarbons that had leaked from the plant long ago.
The base of the bathtub is bedrock, which is a relatively impermeable shale in this area. It is walled on its downhill sides with bentonite, to separate the site from the river. Bentonite is a highly-absorbent Wyoming clay. When water is stirred into it, it swells dramatically and becomes impermeable. Excavation to build the bentonite wall so it could form a seal with the uneven bedrock reached as deeply as five metres below the soil surface.
Just as a bathtub slants toward its drain, the sloping bedrock and the bentonite wall funnel all of the surface and groundwater into a state-of-the-art "treatment corridor" built at the lowest point adjoining the river. That "treatment corridor," a row of cleaning systems, removes the hydrocarbons so the water draining into the Sheep River is clean.
It may actually be cleaner than water in the area has ever been. Historians say it was naturally occurring gas and oil seeps that attracted investors and led to the drilling of the Dingman 1 natural gas well, which blew in dramatically on May 14, 1914.
The success of that and other wells gave birth to the energy industry in Alberta. The federal government has declared it a national historic site, and the provincial government has been working to reclaim the site and open it as a tourist attraction.
The principles incorporated to channel and clean the water have been used in other places, says Bruce Dewar, Project Manager, Environment, Stantec Ltd., but this installation is innovative in the way it applies those principles to the complexities of the site, and in the combination of passive and active water treatment technologies.
The complexities:

  • Separated from the gas plant property by only a chain link fence, there stands a Talisman Energy Inc. sour gas compressor station which is serviced by active high-pressure underground pipelines.
  • Utilities lines belonging to the Town of Turner Valley underlie Sunset Boulevard along the northern boundary of the gas plant site.
  • The bedrock, largely covered by a layer of gravel, is a series of three shale terraces rising unevenly 10 metres from the meander of the river, which forms a J as you face north. Shale is a common, fine-grained, sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Any fissuring tends to be parallel to the base layer. Shale is readily seen across the river on the south escarpment.
The bedrock here is discharging water, contributing water into the groundwater rather than having water on top of it discharging water into the bedrock," Dewar says. "Different hydrostatic pressures make it discharge at different places. This is also contiguous bedrock. There are not a whole lot of cracks or fissures. It’s hard shale, relatively impermeable, very uniform."
The total length of all the legs of bentonite dyking is approximately 750 metres. Because the Talisman battery station has live underground high-pressure gas production lines, Stantec could not excavate to encircle the whole gas plant property with bentonite. The engineering team chose to use weeping tile -- actually a perforated pipeline that water would drain into -- to demarcate the northern boundary.
"We wanted to put it along the northern edge of the middle terrace, but we couldn’t excavate to the depth we wanted because of all the live lines there. If we moved it south would it really serve its purpose? So we talked to the Town, which owns utilities under Sunset Boulevard (to the north of the Talisman plant). The Town wanted to upgrade its utilities. We said if we go in and put the line under the road, we’ll help you and upgrade the utilities at the same time. We put it as deep as possible on the clay layer under the gravel, directly underneath their new sanitary line."
The thinking is that it may well take a year for water to cross the site. Rate of flow depends on the amount of water in the ground, the amount of precipitation, and the kinds of soils. The general slope on the property is from south to north, in conjunction with the river.
Using only gravity, the weeping tile and bentonite walls direct the water towards a three-stage "treatment corridor" which has been built with extra space available for any advances in technology that may yet be developed.
Stage 1 is a skimmer that separates out the heavier hydrocarbons, the oils visible floating on the water -- F1s and F2s, in the jargon.
Stage 2 is an air sparger. It is a grid of 5-cm pvc piping that pumps air into the water, like a fish tank aerator. Its purpose is to speed up the natural evaporation of any light hydrocarbons and add oxygen to support the growth of microbes which eat hydrocarbons. Among the light hydrocarbons may be low concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which are known collectively as BTEX.
The air sparger compartment contains "geotextile" curtains, made of a material which allows the water to pass through but catches the gas-gobbling microbes and any metals that precipitate out of the water, to stop them from flowing into the following compartment.
Stage 3 contains two activated carbon filters, like an industrial version of a kitchen water filter. The carbon captures the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chemical compounds primarily formed by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels, but also found within crude oil.
"Water passes over the carbon matrix and any hydrocarbons not volatilized (evaporated) will preferentially stick to the carbon, versus staying in the water," Dewar says. "Carbon has binding sites, a million little cracks and crevices, and an ionic charge difference between particle and carbon" makes the particles adhere to the carbon.
Tubs filled with brine sit on top of the carbon cells to force the water down through them and provide insulation against freezing. The corridor has been designed to work year-round; time will tell whether water flow is little enough that it can be shut down during the winter to save energy. It will be carefully monitored through the first two years to develop benchmarks.
There’s also an insulated lid over the entire corridor, which will let in precipitation but serve to keep out wayward tourists, animals and autumn leaves.
To accommodate varying conditions, valves at each end either passively or actively control the rate water moves through the corridor. Should spring floodwaters rise to the level of the outlet, a one-way valve will prevent river water from flowing backwards into the corridor.
Remote instrumentation is in place to alert Stantec of any problems, and technicians visit periodically to collect water samples from the monitors stationed in each of the treatment corridor compartments.
Sampling and analysis has shifted from every week to every four because initial results were excellent. Analysis, including for the various hydrocarbons and mercury, covers almost 80 characteristics (parameters is the jargon), from ionic balance to pH and turbidity. Results are measured against both the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life. Monitoring will continue far into the future.
Should reclamation of the plant and property be deemed adequate for the plant to be safe as a public venue, visitors will stroll the grounds on a blend of native grasses.
The security fence is on the inside of the bentonite wall, so area residents will have access to a five- to six-metre-wide pathway along the top of the wall.
Rafters floating down the river will see only the intimidating armour of riprap protecting the retaining wall, standing half a metre taller than the highest floodwaters reached in 2005.

Mercury at the Plant – a Thing of the Past

The Turner Valley Gas Plant was among the earliest gas processing facilities in Alberta. When Stantec went to the Plant in 2002 to help remediate the historic site, they knew mercury was present because of the mercury control switches in the dozens of gauges used throughout the complex.

Little was known of the health hazards around mercury until the 1970s. It was spilled, workers breathed its vapours, and broken gauges were generally disposed of without containment.
Higher levels of mercury have been found near the buildings on the gas plant site, rather than spread across the whole property.
"The reason for that, we think, is that most of the mercury was used in pressure gauges inside the buildings," Stantec project manager Bruce Dewar says. "The thought is that when they’d break, workers would either chuck the mercury out the door or it would cling to their boots and they would track it out."
After the gas plant closed in 1985, the Alberta government resolved to clean up the Turner Valley Gas Plant and open it as an historic site. Mercury remediation was high on the to do list.
Mercury is considered a toxic substance, and studies done in the 1990s indicated there were certain "hot spots" at the plant that had to be cleaned up to reduce the risk to visitors and those who would staff the site.
Intact mercury gauges were located, drained and disposed of in the Gasoline Plant, the Scrubbing Plant, and the Compressor Plant as part of initial plans to clean up the location in 1999.
Stantec came in to refine the remediation process, focusing on contamination outside on the site, and inside the plant’s buildings.
Using criteria established by Health Canada, Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Stantec team took samples from inside buildings over the summer of 2002, and soil samples from along the tour pathway in the fall of 2003.
Inside, the concern was around breathing in mercury vapours from residue left in the floor, walls and ceiling. Air sampling found elevated levels in the fractionating building, scrubbing plant, the compressor plant, the sulphur plant, and the gasoline plant.
The buildings were mapped into grids of five-metre square sections, then vapour tests were taken at three different heights in every five-metre quadrant of each building.
"What we were looking for was the potential for inhalation from different groups," Dewar says. "The waist level tests mimicked the average height of a child; samples taken around five feet off the ground were considered the average adult breathing space, and floor level was worst-case scenario, where mercury would be trapped in cracks in the floor."
Dewar notes a vast majority of the tests showed no detectable mercury vapours. And the standard applied to the site was high: twice as stringent as the occupational health and safety standard created for commercial areas estimated for people working on site eight hours a day, five days a week.
Coincidentally, while the tests were being completed, Alberta reduced its commercial exposure guidelines from 0.05 to 0.025 milligrams per cubic metre – the level that was followed in the gas plant remediation program from the beginning.
The crews scrubbed the floor, and sealed all cracks in the concrete with silicone sealant to ensure any mercury residue was sealed in. The mercury vapour testing was completed again and it was found that all the areas were well below the eight hour exposure limit.
Outside, soils showing mercury contamination were excavated to a depth of one to two feet, and the contaminated soil trucked to an Alberta Environment-approved landfill. The holes were backfilled with clean soil obtained from a local source.
For the majority of the plant, site specific soil mercury guidelines (21 mg/kg) were followed. This guideline is similar to the industrial exposure guideline provided by the government. Surface soils showing mercury concentrations greater than this were excavated and removed from the site.
The tour path was sampled every 25 meters for mercury contamination. On this area of the plant specifically the more stringent residential soil guideline of 6.6 mg/kg was applied to the soils. Surface soils along the path found to exceed 6.6 mg/kg were excavated, removed from site for disposal, and the holes backfilled with clean material.
With mercury remediation contained to the most stringent guidelines, including the meeting of residential standards, proper disposal procedures and an ongoing management plan in place, mercury no longer poses a hazard at the site.

Risk Assessment: Approach of Choice

It wasn’t an unusual occurrence at the site, the first natural gas plant in the province and a cornerstone of Alberta’s early oil and gas history. As residents in the area knew well, tests and reports of all kinds had been done there since 1985, when the plant was decommissioned following 65 years of being in business. Professionals came out and assessed contamination, monitored air quality, measured mercury in the soil, checked to see if there was seepage into the nearby Sheep River, and made remediation plans.
But the O’Connor team’s purpose was more than measuring contamination from left over oil and natural gas by-products: They were the advance guard of the reclamation and development plan, sent to uncover what were the remaining potential contaminants on site. They needed to determine who or what could be affected by the contaminants and how or what could be done to make the historic facility safe for staff and visitors.
In techno-speak, they were conducting a risk assessment for "receptors" at the site, with receptors being people, plants and animals.
"The risk assessment helped determine the least interventionist approach to conserving the site," Ian Clarke, the regional historic sites manager, says. "The other option would have been a total reclamation, getting rid of the buildings and so on. We were bound to clean it up."
A planning committee of a dozen people, including local residents, and municipal, provincial representatives, was struck to follow the risk assessment. It took 18 months to complete and followed the guidelines set out by Health Canada, Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The process started with the environmental team identifying specific potential contaminants from samples and previous tests that could impact human and ecological health (assuming the removal of potential continuing sources of contamination like the underground storage tanks).
Since the site would be used as a tourist facility, commercial standards of exposure were chosen rather than residential ones, meaning data that was incorporated was based on being on the site during a working day, rather than living there all day and night.
The team took groundwater samples from north of the condensate tanks, east of the scrubbing plant, in the ditch north of the office/lab building, and south of the welding shop. Soil samples were taken from the bagging plant, the west boundary of the Sulphur Block, and southeast of the site’s storage tank complex.
What the team found was that most of the industrial contaminants were not at dangerous levels, but total volatile hydrocarbons (TVH), total extractable hydrocarbons (TEH), and mercury levels in some of the onsite soil were higher than acceptable norms.
The main way people would come into contact with TVH and TEH would be by inhaling them while indoors. The Risk Assessment determined people and animals like voles and rabbits could come into contact with mercury through direct skin contact, ingesting soil contaminated with it, or inhaling mercury fumes.
Once complete, the assessment morphed into a risk management plan which outlined six major items that needed resolution before opening the site to full-time staff and the public. Topping the list was getting rid of any damaged material that contained asbestos, which can cause serious diseases in the lungs and other organs through prolonged contact.
The next highest priority would be to physically clean up the site and remove hazards like broken glass and unsecured ladders, and biohazards like animal and bird dung.
Minimizing potential exposure to mercury inside the buildings and in soil on certain parts of the gas plant was third and fourth on the list. Minimizing exposure to soil high in TVH and TEH followed.
Finally, the team said exposure to sulphur-soaked soil and investigation of lead-based paint should be looked after, and aesthetic concerns around the groundwater seeps required attention before opening the full facility as an historic site.
The risk management plan offered long-term as well as immediate actions, including implementing an annual monitoring program to ensure that site conditions didn’t deteriorate over time.
For the residents of the Turner Valley area and for Albertans in general, both the risk assessment and the risk management plans were vital steps toward ensuring a safe historic site.

Sulphur Disposal at the Plant

It is also an essential plant nutrient, required for protein synthesis and the formation of chlorophyll. It is necessary to all Alberta annual crop production, to varying degrees, and is very frequently added as a soil amendment, either in sulphate form or in elemental form. Canola plants, for instance, must have sulphur to develop fertile flowers; alfalfa roots need it to develop good nodules.
The 16th most common element in the world, sulphur is a part of many foods, including asparagus, onion, garlic, mustard, eggs and cauliflower. It is used in arthritis supplements, and creams to treat acne and eczema.
But, "too much of a good thing is not necessarily a good thing," says Bruce Dewar, Project Manager, Environment, Stantec Ltd., the contractor which oversaw the cleanup of the elemental sulphur left on and in the soil at the historic Turner Valley Gas Plant site after decades of sour natural gas production.
"Elemental sulphur is benign, but when you add water it will slowly acidify the soils." That can lower the pH beyond what is good for plants, he says. "Winds can spread sulphur dust unless it is properly managed, making soils acidic and (harming) vegetation."
Acidic water can also leach natural irons and other metals out of soil and carry them into rivers and underground aquifers.
There was no risk to human or animal health from the powdered sulphur on the site, Dewar says, but the yellow patches were not aesthetically pleasing.
The visible sulphur could have been a source of concern to visitors, should the historic site be made a tourist attraction. The general public is likely to know that breathing hydrogen sulphide in unrefined sour gas is dangerous, but may not know that elemental sulphur is harmless.
"The use/disposal plan chosen to manage waste materials must ensure environmental protection, accommodate human health needs, and make the best practicable use of sulphur," the guidelines say. "Recovery of sulphur should be the primary concern for dealing with waste material; in situ land surface treatment and land application should be used whenever possible; and landfilling should be used only as a last resort or if other options are inappropriate for the particular waste."
Four per cent sulphur content roughly equates to the amount that would be visible. "We removed as much visible sulphur as we could get," Dewar says. "The rest was treated with proportional amounts of limestone, which neutralized any potential acid."
The provincial guidelines specify the proportions for adding limestone (a mixture of calcium and magnesium carbonates) to sulphur-rich soil; how finely the limestone must be ground; and, how thoroughly the amendment must be mixed in. Stantec tested repeatedly to ensure guidelines were met, and, in fact, developed innovative tests just for this site because the hydrocarbons in the soil skewed the results from standard tests.
If the sulphur-laden soil from the gas plant site had not been contaminated with anything else, it could have been spread on agricultural land and mixed with ground limestone to neutralize it, instead of being hauled to the landfill. Repeated applications of elemental sulphur are acceptable on agricultural land as long as there is time for soil bacteria to oxidize the sulphur into a sulphate form accessible to plants in between applications.
The entire project cost $600,000, for everything from initial testing to soil removal and tipping fees at the landfill, to limestone amendment, to rehabilitation to restore the historic appearance of the site.
Had the sulphur remediation not been done on the Turner Valley Gas Plant property in 2002, the excess would now be contained by the groundwater dyking and cleaning system installed in the spring of 2007 to remove hydrocarbons from the groundwater before it reaches the Sheep River.

1) Incomplete asbestos removal cost:


The tab came in at $335,000, plus $22,000 for independent air monitoring and inspection.
2) Bathtub cost.
This seems to be the cost for two years of cleaning up the chemicals and pollutants in the water system.
Cost for this is 7 million with more costs I expect for the testing of the water.

The price tag includes design, construction and any operating costs the structure incurs in the next two years. Its purpose is to channel all of the water that flows through and over the site of the decommissioned gas plant plus remove the hydrocarbons contaminating the soils and groundwater before the water spills into the Sheep River.

3) Mercury costs
I can't find the costs of this clean up. 
Is it done?
What is the final bill from Stantec?

4) Risk assessment costs.

5) Sulphur disposal--$600,000
The entire project cost $600,000, for everything from initial testing to soil removal and tipping fees at the landfill, to limestone amendment, to rehabilitation to restore the historic appearance of the site
6) Other costs of removal of other contaminants?
No information provided.
Are there any other environmental clean up costs?

7) Ongoing testing costs?

8) Where do these costs appear on the financial statements of the province?
In other words are these costs ongoing costs of Alberta Culture?
Which department pays for these costs?

9) What is the FINAL cost to the taxpayer?
The sum of cash we have paid for this so called historic site is astonishing.
I guess we do have an Alberta Advantage but it seems to be entirely for the industry and not for the taxpayers.
I think the auditor general of Alberta needs to do some work in the area of environmental toxic dump sites and the liability to the tax payers.
Why isn't there a full cost accounting for this project somewhere?
We need the totals and I think we need an auditor checking this clean up to determine why we took on this major public expense for so little in return. I mean we can't even go into some parts of this site.
Why did the taxpayer pay for this historic site of very dubious financial return?
Historic site just doesn't cut it in my mind.
This is a major waste of cash.

10) Can you tell me the name(s) of the oil and gas companies---who transferred this environmental toxic site to the government of Alberta?

11) Are there any electoral donations noted by this oil and gas company to the Progressive Conservative party of Alberta for the "gift" of this liability ( at the time of the transfer and ongoing)?  I want to know if there are any connections between giving money to the Tories and turning an environmental liability into a taxpayer paid "historic site". In my mind this was a poor return for our public dollars and also indicates the poor management of our dollars by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta.

I am forwarding this e-mail to the Auditor General of Alberta. I am forwarding this e-mail to all the people I usually forward it to.
I see no reason for the taxpayers to be subsidizing oil and gas companies in all the ways we are currently subsidizing them and then cleaning up the toxic wastelands they leave behind.
My kids should not be on the hook for this sort of advantage to big oil.

With reference to the Turner Valley Gas Plant, I believe this site needs an audit as do many other toxic sites in Alberta that I haven't received answers about. 

I look forward to the complete summary of costs and answers with reference to the donations. If the donations questions cannot be provided by you then perhaps Mr. Hancock can get the party to answer this Tory mummy's questions. Yes, I am Tory. But I am not the wasteful Tory of the sort that I am now finding out is endemic in Alberta.

Best regards, 


From: "Catherine Whalley" <>
To: "Julie ali" <Julie.ali@>
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2014 9:06:11 PM
Subject: Turner Valley Gas Plant provincial historic site remediation questions

Dear Ms. Ali:

I regret my inadvertent delay in following up with you regarding your enquiry about the remediation and its costs at the historic Turner Valley Gas Plant.  I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you in person, to confirm your request, and let you know what is available already on the site’s website, and what other information my colleagues and I may be able to provide you. 

Alberta Culture is involved with this site as a result of its historic significance as the cradle of oil and gas exploration, development and production, dating back to 1914.  The department’s priority in its preservation and protection of this historic site is, and continues to be ensuring that the site is safe, for the environment, for health and safety, for the public and for any workers on the site.

The risk management and ongoing environmental remediation and management of this designated provincial historic resource is complex, which is why I believe we would both benefit from a conversation first.  My colleagues in the department and I are gratified and proud of what has been accomplished at this site, with some custom-designed solutions for some of the existing issues.

As well, some of your questions, such as expenses regarding the water supply of the area, are not within the responsibility of Alberta Culture, so  I would need to confirm the scope and extent of your enquiry regarding this before answering, or directing you to another more appropriate entity to address some of your questions in this regard.  

Between 2006-2007, Alberta Culture commissioned the design and construction of a groundwater containment, erosion and flood protection armoured berm, that encompassed the site where it fronted along the Sheep River.  The groundwater containment system ensures that any groundwater (underground water flows, precipitation that falls on the site, etc.) that flows through the site is captured on site, and is directed underground to the site’s purpose-build water treatment plant where the groundwater goes through three separate filtering processes to remove any trace hydrocarbons or other site contaminates before being released into the Sheep River.  AS a side note, the Town of Turner Valley’s water supply wells are upstream of the gas plant site, so contaminates from the site were not at risk of getting into this water supply.

As I will be out of the office until April 3,  I would be pleased to talk with you any time after that, when I return to the office.

In the interim, following are some links to information about the site, and the environmental and risk remediation work that has been completed on the site:  (please note: this listing and links to studies is not up to date; it is presently being updated; it should be noted that the studies that have been done over the years are often investigative in nature; some recommendations made in some reports were found to be unnecessary as a result of further investigative studies in subsequent years).

The overall website for Turner Valley Gas Plant Provincial Historic Site is being redesigned and reorganized, to remove “stale dated” information and to provide access to recent studies and reports, and other information.

I look forward to hearing back from you at your convenience.

Yours truly,

Catherine Whalley

Catherine Whalley Executive Director Historic Sites and Museums Branch   |   Alberta Culture 
Old St. Stephen's College      8820 - 112 Street    |   Edmonton, Alberta   T6G 2P8 Phone:  780.431-2306    |   Fax:  780.427-5598   | 
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