August 2013

Message from the Executive Director


For the first time in the last three years, our summer has been a bit quieter this year. A nice change of pace however, we do have a few updates.


We tendered the contract for completing our annual Regional Noise Management Plan field measurements and Acoustical Consultants Inc. (ACI) was selected. Field measurements are expected to be completed by October for our 2014 report which will be filed to the Alberta Energy Regulator in June 2014.

We met with the Alberta Energy Regulator in August on our 2013 Annual RNMP Report (which was filed in June this year). Both our 2012 and 2013 Annual RNMP Reports are now available for online viewing.

Lastly of note, a technical working group called the Capital Region Particulate Matter Response Technical Sub-Committee was struck by ERSD and NCIA has a representative on that team.  This is in response to the Capital Region Air Quality Management Framework and the implementation work that is now underway, in which priorities are identified. To learn more about particulate matter, please click here.

We hope everyone had a great summer! As we approach fall, as always, we expect it to be a busy one.




Air Liquide part of Canada's industrial landscape for over 100 years

Working with Air Liquide for the last six years at Scotford, Abraham Mathew, Plant Manager of Western Basin Operations, has seen much progress both within his company and amongst industry overall with respect to environmental stewardship.  “All industries are working hard to reduce emissions,” commented Abraham. “They are taking various steps to improve environmental performance.”

As a world leader in producing gases for industry, health and the environment, Air Liquide operates in 80 countries worldwide with a commitment to responsible and sustainable development. The company, who has been part of Canada’s industrial landscape for more than 100 years and established in western Canada for more than eight decades, works toward improving the environment, whether it is water or air quality, and endeavours to exert greater control over its emissions. Air Liquide Canada works in compliance with both provincial and federal regulations and requirements. “I’m proud to say that Air Liquide Canada’s Scotford facility did not have one single exceedance last year,” remarked Abraham. “And the limits are very stringent, so that was quite an accomplishment.”

At its facility, stationed in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, some of Air Liquide Canada’s most notable achievements include its efforts in reducing water and air emissions. A few years ago, the company completed a pollution minimization study.  By recycling and reusing water from steam condensation, the company significantly reduced its wastewater discharge throughout the entire complex (COGEN, Air Separation Unit and CO2 liquefaction plant) while maintaining the same production rate.

Abraham highlighted synergies at Air Liquide Canada. The company caters to the oil and gas industry by supplying CO2, a by-product of its neighbours’ production processes. The CO2 is purified and then liquefied and supplied to ensure the safety of processes as well as displacing the use of other chemicals or water in fracking applications. CO2 is also used for pH reduction of wastewater. In addition to CO2, the company also takes some of its neighbour off-gas and uses it effectively in its steam production. Finally, Air Liquide Canada is the total utility supplier for its neighbours, providing them electricity, steam, oxygen and nitrogen. It ends up benefitting both companies.

Air Liquide Canada has also made improvements on its gas turbine to reduce emissions by use of low NOx emission nozzles and implementing an optimization system that can fine-tune the turbine to a more efficient and lower-emission performance level. Even further, Air Liquide Canada has found different ways for optimizing its turndown ratio on the gas turbine, whereby electrical generation can be optimized based on market demand. 

As for what industry is doing well overall, Abraham identifies the many initiatives throughout the province and industry’s commitment to comply with (and exceed) provincial standards and requirements. “Environmental monitoring initiatives, such as Fort Air Partnership, are very valuable,” Abraham mentioned. “We use that data as it’s very important for us to have clean air for the work that we do here at Air Liquide Canada.” In conclusion, Abraham noted that the entire monitoring taking place is not only helping the community and regulators but also industry and its neighbours as it enables everyone to benefit and maximize the inherent synergies that come with environmental monitoring.

Air Liquide looks forward to continuing to provide a range of products to businesses operating in the Industrial Heartland, and contribute to the economic growth and development of the country. Air Liquide employs 50,000 people worldwide, of which 1,500 are employed in Canada, and of these, 400 individuals are employed in Alberta and the western Canadian provinces.


Heartland 101: Transportation Network in the Heartland

Road Network

Alberta’s Industrial Heartland’s network of roads, including highways, bridges, and intersections, is the component of the transportation system with the single biggest impact on the local community. The road network is relied upon for commuting to work, transporting goods and services, transferring modules and large equipment, ensuring access for emergency responders, and the general movement of people throughout the region.


Industrial development, along with municipal and population growth, result in additional pressures on the region’s road network. Infrastructure that could once accommodate the residential and industrial traffic is now experiencing increased congestion. As well, a heavy haul corridor is critical for future industrial development.


Recent Transportation Studies

In 2011, a transportation study was completed specifically for the Heartland region. The final report and recommendations, which incorporated feedback from two public open houses, included infrastructure improvements to specific highways and intersections in and around the Heartland region as well as bussing construction workers from predetermined park and ride locations. In 2012, the Capital Region Board completed an Integrated Regional Transportation System Study to act as a template for modernization of the transportation network in the entire Capital Region, including the Heartland. Both studies complement other initiatives and form an important part of the overall transportation plan for the region.


Current Planning Initiatives

Recent notable traffic incidents, including multiple collisions and blockage of the Highway 15 bridge over the North Saskatchewan River, reenergized discussion about the Heartland’s transportation network.


In June, several regional associations met with Alberta’s Minister of Transportation and Government of Alberta representatives to discuss the matter. As a result, a review of the existing transportation network is underway by the regional associations and other key stakeholders. This will help identify and prioritize improvements to meet the growing need for the movement of people as well as heavy haul corridors. It includes the need for a secondary bridge to the south of the City of Fort Saskatchewan as well as improvement to interchanges in Sturgeon County. Once completed, this review will be provided to the Government of Alberta for consideration and inclusion in their short and long term capital planning.


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People Profile: Meet Shawna Bruce from Dow Canada

As the Public Affairs Manager for Dow Chemical Canada ULC, Shawna Bruce provides overarching support to Dow’s four manufacturing sites in Canada, a role she’s been in for the past 3 ½ years.  Her career in the public relations field, however, has spanned over two decades. “I’ve always enjoyed public engagement, and have worked in the field of public affairs and public relations for more than 25 years both as a civilian with the Department of National Defence and as a Public Affairs Officer with the Canadian Forces before coming to the petro chemical industry,” said Shawna.

When reflecting on Dow and its place in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Shawna noted that they have been operating in the community for over 50 years while existing as a global company that continues to adapt with the economic times. This, she believes, has enabled them to sustain their presence on the local, national and international planes. She also credits Dow’s location in the Heartland as contributing to their competitive advantage as a company.

In addition to her work at Dow, Shawna is also a member of the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA) Public Affairs Committee. And this year, she has served as the Committee’s Co-Chair alongside her friend and colleague, Stephen Velthuizen from Shell. “We work hard with NCIA to try to bring an industry voice to provincial government,” Shawna said. “We’ve made a lot of advancements with the Regional Noise Model, for example, and I hope we see an open dialogue for engaging industry to be part of the solutions going forward. Our region has many smart, engaged and committed individuals who want to see both industry and government doing the right thing on the environmental front.”

Shawna was first drawn to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland through her position with Dow, which enables her to use her public affairs and military operational experience while combining it with her personal interest in public safety and crisis communications. “Prior to embarking on my career with Dow in Fort Saskatchewan, I had been ready to retire from a 20-year military career,” commented Shawna. “At that time, I decided to go back to school to study disaster and emergency management at Royal Roads University, and I particularly enjoyed learning about Responsible Care and Public Safety.”

What Shawna most admires about the Heartland community is its sense of closeness and how industry works together in support of the community to share best practices and ideas. This is in addition to what she sees as a very strong and supportive business sector in Fort Saskatchewan, which together makes the region sustainable for future generations. Her aspirations for the Heartland include it continuing to attract people of all skill sets and abilities so the region can remain viable. “This is an absolutely wonderful community with low taxes and a terrific quality of life for anyone wishing to raise a family here,” added Shawna.

Family is also very important to Shawna, as she is a proud mom to three teenage daughters, two of whom are attending university this year while the youngest is in Grade 11. “I want to ensure that we have an environmentally sustainable and economically prosperous future for not only my daughters, but for future generations” said Shawna. “I think the hard work that is being done collaboratively between industry, government and the community here in the Heartland is going to ensure that aim becomes a reality.”