Reclaimed wellsite in Southern Alberta
Bragg Creek, Alberta, is known for its picturesque landscape, amazing hiking trails and historic buildings. What many don’t realize is that it also sits upon an area that has been producing oil and gas in the province for years.
In 2017 our customer intended to close one of their wellsites and return the land to its surrounding land use. Their commitment to environmental compliance and safety brought Tervita to the forefront with a creative way to bring the site back to the natural environment.
The first step was to remediate the site, remediation is the process of removing contaminants from soil and water that may impact the ecosystem. This began with the excavation of approximately 38,000 metric tonnes of contaminated soil. After assessing the material, 58% was removed to be treated and disposed of at a regulated facility. The remaining 42% was eligible for onsite treatment which greatly reduced trucking requirements. Our team’s ability to integrate our remediation and onsite services reduced this project’s environmental impact, safety concerns and costs.
Tervita team members and equipment working to remediate the wellsite
Once remediation was complete, Tervita took on the challenge to reclaim the site, reclamation is the process of returning the site to its pre-disturbed state. Our team came up with a creative plan that re-contoured the land to blend in with the surrounding environment. This allowed for the use of existing soil while avoiding the need to bring in approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of backfill material, saving cost and mitigating safety concerns.
Before remediation work began, Tervita salvaged any trees that would be appropriate for transplanting. Once the site was completed and recontoured, the salvaged trees, which were predominantly spruce and pine, were replanted in strategic locations to provide the best opportunity for survival within the footprint of the wellsite. Additionally, tree limbs, tops and other natural materials leftover from site clearing activities were salvaged and spread over the wellsite to create micro-sites for animal habitats and to encourage the re-establishment of vegetation.
Use of salvaged trees and natural materials supported animal habitats and vegetation growth
Part of our reclamation plan included analysis and stabilization of river banks neighbouring the site. This step was integral to mitigate erosion and the impact the change in the landscape could have on the river. Erosion damage to the creek banks near the site was repaired by first isolating the work area from the creek using temporary silt fencing. The slope was then re-contoured and covered with biodegradable coconut matting. Also, straw wattles and woody debris prevented further erosion and naturalized the repaired area.
The main access to the wellsite was a bridge that required removal to return the site to its natural state. Tervita brought in our expert demolition team to safely remove the bridge and properly dispose of the materials. After careful planning to ensure there would be no impacts to water quality or aquatic and riparian habitats, Tervita used excavators equipped with demolition attachments to safely remove the bridge. Once removed, the bridge was processed and sorted for recycling and disposal.
Together, through both our customer’s and Tervita’s commitment to safe work practices, the wellsite was successfully reclaimed without any safety incidents.
Tervita has completed thousands of remediation and reclamation projects just like this one. By using a combination of skills and techniques across our Company, we can offer creative solutions to our customers that reduce costs and safety risks.
Learn more about Tervita and the Alberta Site Rehabilitation Program.