Message from the Executive Director

As the saying “May you live in interesting times” goes, well…we certainly are. Between lower oil prices and a lot of multi-stakeholder work on fine particulate matter, air monitoring directives, and the Municipal Government Act, we are finding ourselves very busy.

Lower oil prices creates a challenge and likely going to have implications for all Albertan’s as the year progresses. There is always a silver lining in any cloud however, as lower oil prices inevitably mean that some sectors of the economy slow down, which helps to reduce costs for labour and materials to some extent, positioning other sectors of the economy for growth. Certainly no one can predict where these challenges and opportunities will lead at this point, let’s just say it will be a bumpy ride for a while yet.

On the Fine Particulate Matter file, the response document has now been issued (Capital Region Cumulative Effects Management | ESRD – Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development), and the implementation work begins. This is an area that everyone has a role in and as the year progresses, more information will become available about what each of us can do to help manage this issue as we move into the future. We have also been busy working with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development on the revised Air Monitoring Directive, and there remains a lot of work to do on that file. Experts from our member organizations have been providing their input to the Government on the proposed changes to this Directive and that work continues.

We are also busy representing our members as part of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) review. This is one of the largest pieces of legislation in the province and touches every single person and business in the province. From that perspective, it is very important that any changes made to the MGA are considered and evaluated carefully to ensure fairness and equity in taxation policy for all taxpayers. This multi-stakeholder review has made good progress finding consensus on some items whereas others have proved more challenging. This file will continue to take up a lot of our time until the end of April 2015.

So I am not sure if the opening line is really a Chinese curse, or simply a statement about how busy we have all become. I hope you enjoyed your February Family Day and that you took the time to slow down and breathe a bit.

Cheers,

Laurie

FEATURE: Evonik’s Active Oxygens Site in Gibbons, Alberta Key Component of Business

Evonik is constantly thinking about tomorrow. The company, which has quickly grown to become one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals businesses, is focused on timely identification of trends and future markets as well as environmental stewardship.

Active in over 100 countries, Evonik employs more than 33,500 employees and has a diverse portfolio of products. Its Gibbons site in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is a key component of the Evonik Active Oxygens business, which manufactures and distributes hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to customers around the globe. Evonik’s Gibbons site is also one of the largest peroxide plants in North America.

Gibbons Facility

“We produce an eco-friendly chemical that has a myriad of applications,” says Site Manager Hans Schuhbauer. “Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most versatile chemicals available and because it breaks down to oxygen and water, with little or no residue, the impact on the environment is minimal.”

Whether for disinfection, oxidation reactions, bleaching processes in pulp, paper and textile industries, exhaust air or wastewater treatment, Evonik’s hydrogen peroxide is making a difference in communities everywhere. And in the Heartland, the company’s commitment to customers and the environment is clear.

This summer, General Electric (GE) Water & Process Technologies recognized Evonik’s Gibbons operations with two prestigious leadership awards. Evonik took home the “Return on Environment” award, which acknowledges initiatives that have delivered a significant and lasting positive impact on the environment along with annual cost savings of at least $50,000, as well as the “Proof Not Promises” accolade, which celebrates novel and creative collaborative projects that achieve a savings greater than $25,000.

Evonik’s top honors followed the successful implementation of a leading-edge reverse osmosis (RO) system that has significantly enhanced water purification and waste reduction programs at the Gibbons site.

“This is an incredible accomplishment from an environmental standpoint and demonstrates our commitment to safe operations and protecting all stakeholders,” said Thomas Rieche, Vice President and Head of Evonik’s global Active Oxygens Business Line. “Caring for the environment and implementing new methods to enhance sustainability are always top priorities for Evonik.”

While conventional purification uses resin-based ion exchange systems, Evonik’s transition to an RO system provides a more cost-effective and safer alternative. In fact, annual water use at the site has been reduced by 4 million gallons or about 14,600 cubic meters.

Initiated in 2012 and led by Gibbons site Process Resource, Dave Bzdel and Senior Operator / Management of Change expert Richard Cowen, the project brought a team of local operators together with specialists from GE Water & Process Technologies. Over roughly six months, Evonik invested more than $500,000 CAD into the worthwhile initiative.

“Working closely with GE allowed us to inspire innovation, make creative use of our internal and external resources, ensure environmental sustainability and ultimately improve bottom-line results,” explains Jack Chenault, Vice President and General Manager Americas for Evonik’s Active Oxygens. “We are very proud of our collaborative achievements to date and hope to build on this success in the future.”

Evonik is unyielding in its commitment to ensure safe and sustainable operations as well as continued protection of the environmental. Its peroxide facility, which sits on 110 acres about 40km northeast of Edmonton and employs more than 40 fulltime and contract workers, has a strong safety culture and a reputation for excellence.

Over the years, the plant has earned multiple safety and performance honors. The two recent awards from General Electric Water & Process Technologies mark the second consecutive year that the Gibbons facility has been recognized by GE.

In 2013, Evonik was commended for successfully redirecting approximately 15% of the site’s wastewater streams into the facility’s steam generation system. With the help of GE’s Water and Process Technology experts, Evonik found an environmentally-friendly and economic way to reuse storm water and steam condensate in its boiler feed water system. This is a significant because prior to the innovative changes, both water streams would have been discarded as waste.

“We are very proud to recognize Evonik’s hard work and dedication to running clean operations in the community,” said Ron Frenette, GE’s expert for Water & Process Technologies. “One of my primary goals is to have a positive impact on the environment. Working with a company like Evonik, which consistently encourages all of us to think outside the box, has helped make tremendous strides in achieving this goal. It is a pleasure to work with a customer who demonstrates leadership in environmental initiatives.”

As an industry leader and member of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA), Evonik is committed to sustainable growth and environmental stewardship in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Heartland 101: Managing Fine Particulate Matter in the Capital Region

Solid and liquid particles, one-eighth the diameter of a human hair, are floating in the air we breathe every day. These particles are called fine particulate matter or PM2.5. Air monitoring stations measure the amount of particulate matter. How is PM2.5 being managed and what actions can be taken to reduce concentrations in the air?

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Heartland 101 is a monthly print and on-air (Mix 107.9 FM) series brought to you by Life in the Heartland, a partnership of five local organizations improving access to information, resources, and contacts for communities in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Heartland 101: Companies move toward more efficient lighting with reduced environmental impact

Think: reduce, reuse, recycle. You might picture a blue bag stuffed with common items such as plastic yogurt containers, cardboard cereal boxes and aluminum soup cans. It’s also possible to apply the three Rs to lighting. Large industrial facilities like those in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland do just that. Initiatives at industrial sites are helping reduce the environmental impact of lights while still ensuring safe working conditions.

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Heartland 101 is a monthly print and on-air (Mix 107.9 FM) series brought to you by Life in the Heartland, a partnership of five local organizations improving access to information, resources, and contacts for communities in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

Timely Tweets

Although we were treated to some unseasonal temperatures in January, this month’s colder weather has served as a reminder that spring is still a fair way off.  These chilly days however haven’t deterred our NCIA birds who have been busy tweeting away @NCIA_Alberta.

We think social media is a great way to share information and spread key messages.  If you haven ’t already checked out our Twitter feed please do.  We’d love to connect and learn more about your news and upcoming events.