Newsletter: Fall 2013

Take Our Short Survey to Provide Your Feedback

We want to know what topics are important to Heartland-area residents and where you go for information. Complete the survey by December 1 and be entered to win a $500 VISA gift card!

CLICK HERE or visit our website (www.lifeintheheartland.com) to find the survey link. For a paper copy, call 780.231.9802 and one will be mailed to you. Thanks for your input!


Industry News

  • On September 12, 2013 Access Pipeline opened its regional office in Fort Saskatchewan.
  • Williams Energy Canada (Williams) is proposing to build, own and operate Canada’s first propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant which will produce polymer grade propylene, a valuable petrochemical feedstock used in plastics manufacturing. The proposed plant would be commissioned in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, and known as the “Alberta PDH Project”. To learn more about this project, click here.
  • On October 3, 2013 ATCO Power held an open house in Josephburg on its proposal to build and operate a 400 megawatt natural gas-fired power generation station called the ATCO Heartland Generating Station in Strathcona County.
  • Following ERCB’s (now Alberta Energy Regulator) approval of NCIA’s Regional Noise Management Plan, the Alberta Utilities Commission has now also approved this plan. Please see approval letter here.


Fort Air Partnership Improves Network Equipment

FAP has made, and is continuing to make, a number of upgrades to its monitoring network in 2013. A major upgrade is a new data acquisition system in all eight of our continuous monitoring stations.

The data acquisition system is responsible for transferring the continuous one-minute data that is collected from the analyzers in the stations to a central database, where the data can then be analyzed and validated.  This information is used for reporting to government and other stakeholders, calculating the Air Quality Health Index, trending and planning.  The new system will enable technicians operating the network to remotely interact with the analyzers in the stations, leading to a more proactive approach to dealing with analyzer issues.  FAP is working on posting the live data feeds to its website.

FAP is also installing two new calibrators in the network. Two others were installed in 2012. These pieces of equipment are used to calibrate the monitors used to measure air quality.  They are installed in every continuous station and stay connected to the analyzers to conduct monthly calibrations and handle daily accuracy tests.  Previously, calibrators were trucked from station to station for monthly calibrations so this project will allow for more efficiency.  It will also ensure that calibrations are done in a consistent manner.


Fort Air Partnership Upgrades Particulate Matter Monitoring Technology

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter, or 28 times thinner than a human hair. These fine particles are small enough to penetrate the lungs and can be a human health concern, depending on its composition.

As part of its network improvements, Fort Air Partnership has enhanced its standard monitoring methods for PM2.5. The new, federally approved technology installed in Fort Air Partnership’s stations now account for certain volatile components in the particles that may have been previously missed.

PM2.5 can be directly emitted into the atmosphere by any combustion source including automobiles, industrial processes and wood burning. Smoke from forest fires and other types of biomass burning can also be a major source of PM2.5.  These sources are all examples of primary particulate matter.  Secondary particulate matter is formed in the atmosphere from precursor gases (e.g., sulfur dioxide, mono-nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds) reacting in the right type of weather conditions.


In Our Community

Northeast Region CAER and Life in the Heartland were at the Fort Saskatchewan Neighbour Day on September 7.

Northeast Region CAER was live on location with Mix 107.9 at Meet the Community Night in Gibbons on September 11.

 

North West Redwater Partnership Celebrates Ground-breaking

In just three years, North West Redwater Partnership’s site will transform from stubble field to diesel refinery – a $6 billion value adding project with a world leading integrated carbon capture and storage solution. Perhaps most impressive? One trillion dollars worth of economic activity generated throughout the lifespan of the refinery as noted by Ian MacGregor, Chairman of North West Upgrading.

Marking the celebration on a beautiful September day, Premier Alison Redford joined Chairman MacGregor to signal the official ground-breaking. The project has been a decade in the works involving the dedication of North West Redwater Partnership (NWRP), Government of Alberta, local municipalities, industry associations, and more (many of whom are seen in the photo).

On behalf of the Government of Alberta, Premier Alison Redford congratulated NWRP on reaching this milestone and commended their steadfast efforts. Premier Redford further commented that the Sturgeon Refinery demonstrates the province’s commitment to reducing our environmental footprint while being a responsible and reliable source of energy.

The Sturgeon refinery, a joint project between North West Upgrading Inc. and Canadian Natural Upgrading Limited, is the first to be built in Canada in 30 years. Upon completion of phase 1, scheduled for mid-2016, the 50,000 barrel per day refinery will convert bitumen to higher value products, including ultra-low sulphur diesel, for local and global consumers. Adding further value, it also includes Alberta’s first major carbon capture and storage project: Enhance Energy’s Alberta Carbon Trunk Line. Emissions of CO2 will be captured and delivered to central Alberta for enhanced oil recovery.

Doug Bertsch, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Stakeholder Relations, indicated that $2 billion of the $6 billion phase 1 estimate has been committed to date. The on-site workforce is expected to peak at 3,000 people during the next three years of construction. Including the entire regional workforce, this number will reach 8,000 people, an incredible stimulus to the local economy and employment.

For additional information on the status, details, and benefits of the Sturgeon refinery project visit www.nwrpartnership.com.


Heartland Transportation Network under Review

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 results 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, include 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 improvements 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.

Click Before You Dig

In Alberta, underground pipelines are a safe and economical method of transporting a number of products. More than 400,000 kilometres of pipelines stretch through our communities, forests, farmland and waterways. You likely live or work near a buried pipeline, and definitely near a buried utility.

As pipelines are not visible, they are vulnerable to damage caused by ground disturbance. With road construction and other development occurring, it is critical that anyone digging into the ground ensures that there is no risk of damaging a pipeline or buried utility.

Click Before You Dig is Alberta One Call’s recent safety awareness campaign. Pipeline and utility operators register information about their operations, and free line locates are performed in advance of digging.

“It’s not just ground disturbance that people need to be aware of,” says Todd Schneider, Supervisor of Safety, Security and Emergency Response at Pembina Pipelines Limited. “Vehicles over ¾ ton crossing a pipeline right of way can also cause damage to the pipeline. Many large earth movers and other equipment far exceed that weight.”

Being aware – and contacting One Call to be sure – can save lives. It can also prevent damage to underground pipelines and utilities which are costly from both an environment and economic standpoint. “Damage prevention is by far the best option, and that means everyone has to do their part,” Schneider says.

To submit a locate request, Click Before You Dig by visiting www.albertaonecall.com or call 1-800-242-3447.

Life in the Heartland

Heartland Community Information Evening

  • Monday, November 4 at Pembina Place in Redwater
  • Doors open at 5 pm; Presentations begin at 6 pm
  • Light meal and refreshments will be served

Please join us for an information update with businesses and industry-related organizations within Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. This event is a great opportunity to learn about current projects, activities, and plans in addition to networking with the local community. Participating organizations include Access Pipeline, Agrium, North West Redwater Partnership, Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Williams Energy, Sturgeon County and Life in the Heartland.

To ensure appropriate seating and refreshments, please RSVP to  info@lifeintheheartland.com or 780.231.9802. We hope to see you there!