August 26, 2002

NEWS SUMMARY (August 26, 2002)

Mine plan saves jobs, benefits environment

VICTORIA, BC-A plan approved under British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Act will improve water quality and enhance fish habitat in the area of the Highland Valley copper mine near Kamloops, while extending the operating life of the mine and saving over 900 jobs. The plan will remove water from the mine to stabilize it, postponing its closing from mid-2005 to 2009. Groundwater will be removed to stabilize the valley pit walls and prevent the pit from flooding. Surplus water will be released to a creek whose tributaries were previously diverted to the mine. Groundwater added to the creek will improve the existing flow and provide more water year-round to improve fish habitat.

Trout farm operator fined nearly $40,000 for unlicensed aquaculture

CALGARY, ALTA-A commercial trout farm operator has been fined nearly $40,000 for unlicensed rearing of Arctic char and unauthorized stocking in private fish ponds. In July 2001, officials from Alberta's department of Sustainable Resource Development found about 15,000 Arctic char at Allen's Trout Farm, adjacent to the Elbow River. The farm operator was not licensed to have that species of fish in the facility. Arctic char were found mixed in with rainbow trout in ponds on the site, and several escaped Arctic char were also found in a nearby creek. Further investigation showed that numerous licensed and unlicensed fish ponds had previously been stocked with fish from that farm; some of those ponds were in areas where Arctic char were also not permitted. Arctic char escaping from stocked ponds may adversely affect wild bull trout populations. The owner of Allen's Trout Farm pleaded guilty to 24 out of 31 charges laid against the company and was fined $12,500. The owner has also paid $25,000 to the Alberta Conservation Association, which will likely use these funds on the Elbow and Bow rivers to ensure that all Arctic char have been captured and removed from the wild, as well as for fishery or habitat enhancement.

Shell invites applications for project support from its Environmental Fund

CALGARY, ALTA-Proponents of action-oriented, community-based environmental projects in need of financial support have until September 15 to apply for the latest round of grants from the Shell Environmental Fund, the company announced last week. The SEF is a national program that provides up to $5,000 per project for projects that protect and improve the Canadian environment. Among the organizations and initiatives supported by the SEF have been the Nova Scotia Wind Energy Project, sponsored by Dalhousie University, and a wildlife habitat restoration project in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, carried out by the Centre Option Avenir. Panels representing environmental organizations and government, as well as Shell, make the funding decisions. More information, including applications, is available online at www.shell.ca/sef, or from Linda Anne Sharp in Calgary, 403/691-3774, or Sonia Larin in Montreal, 514/356-7041.

SaskWater signs system agreement with town of Edenwold

MOOSE JAW, SASK-Under an agreement between the provincial and local governments signed earlier this month, SaskWater will provide certified operation and maintenance of the water system for the town of Edenwold. As part of the agreement, SaskWater will put in place advanced ultrafiltration treatment to provide a higher level of contaminant removal, as well as a remote 24-hour/seven-days-a-week monitoring system. The new technology is expected to reduce operating costs in coming years. SaskWater will also be actively involved in supervision, process improvement and capital upgrades. This is the first agreement the provincial agency has signed under its refocused mandate to improve its cost-effectiveness by providing contract services for operation, maintenance and project management of water and wastewater systems to municipal and industrial clients. Edenwold has agreed to contract its total water services operation and maintenance to SaskWater for 20 years, with an option to renew. SaskWater's operating expenses include repairs, maintenance, power, energy, labour, travel and chemicals. The temporary operator will run the plant while permanent arrangements are being made. More information is available from Karyn Mossing at SaskWater in Moose Jaw, 306/694-3009.

Ontario provides $2M to help rural landowners implement best management practices

RIVERSDALE, ONT-An investment of nearly $2 million from the Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture program will help farmers and other rural landowners in Bruce and Grey counties to implement best management practices (BMPs) on their lands. This includes measures such as diverting clean water away from manure storage facilities and exercise yards, restricting livestock access to watercourses, building erosion control structures, protecting wellheads and de-commissioning abandoned wells. The two counties and local landowners will contribute the rest of the funding for the nearly $4-million project, which aims to put up to 900 BMPs in place in the area. It is being co-ordinated by the Saugeen Valley and Grey Sauble conservation authorities on behalf of the counties. Through the course of the project, BMPs will be promoted throughout the region, and farmers will be encouraged to participate. The project also includes site visits, water quality sampling and final inspections on the participating farms. Improving rural water quality and using water resources efficiently are among the prime goals of the $90-million Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture program. Information about the program is available on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food's web site, www.gov.on.ca/omaf.

Bennett, Torngait awarded DND contracts for Saglek PCB cleanup project

OTTAWA, ONT-The Department of National Defence (DND) has awarded two contracts for the PCB-contaminated soil cleanup project located at the North Warning System (NWS) Long-Range Radar site at Saglek, Labrador. The first, valued at $29.3 million, was awarded to Bennett Environmental, in Oakville, Ont, for the treatment and disposal of stockpiled PCB-contaminated soil. Site work is expected to be complete by fall, 2004. A second, $2.9-million contract has been awarded to Torngait Services of St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, to provide full, temporary camp services and staff for the project. As an Aboriginal set-aside contract (part of a federal procurement strategy for Aboriginal business), the latter award will enable the Inuit community to benefit economically and to participate directly in the Saglek cleanup. In a remote setting such as Saglek, says DND, the provision of these services is crucial to the health and well-being of the on-site personnel and the success of the overall project. The PCB contamination at Saglek is the result of a former Polevault Line communications station which was operated in the 1960s and early 1970s, and was demolished by a contractor in 1978. A newer radar station at the same location operates in accordance with current environmental standards.

UPM-Kymmene's environmental lab is first accredited to ISO 17025 by SCC

MIRAMICHI, NB--The UPM-Kymmene Miramichi environmental laboratory this month became the first pulp and paper industry laboratory to receive accreditation to the ISO 17025 standard by the Standards Council of Canada SCC). ISO 17025 is an international standard used to certify the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The SCC granted the accreditation on the recommendation of the Canadian Association for Environmental Analytical Laboratories (CAEAL), a national organization which operates a laboratory quality evaluation program. The accreditation is a significant achievement for its in-house environmental laboratory, says the company. Over the past year, UPM-Kymmene staff in the technical and environmental departments have developed and implemented an environmental laboratory quality system to comply with the ISO 17025 standard. This process included the establishment of: a comprehensive quality manual, which documents the whole quality system; standard operating procedures, thoroughly describing all laboratory procedures and test methodologies; laboratory forms and log sheets, which help to standardize data recording in the laboratory; and training, proficiency and internal auditing programs, aimed at ensuring that procedures are conducted consistently. More information is available from Phil Riebel, environmental manager at 506/627-5240, E-mail phil.riebel@upm-kymmene.com.

International notes

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has certified Toyota's Prius as the first hybrid electric-gasoline car to be eligible for a $2,000 clean-burning fuel tax deduction. The deduction applies to the 2001, 2002 and 2003 model years...The latest results from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Star program show that its industry partners reduced methane emissions form unit operations and equipment leaks by 42 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2001, for a calculated energy savings valued at approximately $126 million (U.S.). The achievement surpassed the program goal of reducing methane emissions by 40 Bcf by 2001. The natural gas Star program is a voluntary partnership between the EPA and the U.S. natural gas industry aimed at reducing emissions of methane, a main component of natural gas and itself a highly potent greenhouse gas. Since the program began in 1993, participants have reported total methane emission reductions of 218 Bcf, worth over $650 million and equivalent to eliminating emissions from 19 million cars for one year.

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