Environmental Effects Monitoring

Environmental Effects Monitoring

Our key people have designed and implemented environmental effects monitoring programs for industry clients in the metal mining, oil sands, municipal wastewater, pulp & paper, and textile sectors across Canada and internationally. We have provided advice to local, provincial and federal agencies on the design of monitoring programs and the interpretation of resulting data. Our staff are highly experienced and therefore efficient in the design and delivery of programs. We take pride in being innovative without being excessive.

Check out our separate pages on fish population, benthic invertebarte community and water quality monitoring for more information on our services associated with those disciplines.

Oil and Gas EEMs

Clearwater river near Fort McMuray, Alberta

Clearwater river near Fort McMuray, Alberta

We’ve been involved in EEM-style monitoring in the Fort McMurray area for some time and through various programs. RAMP was the aquatic-environment monitoring program conducted by the oil sands developers in northern Alberta. RAMP involved the sampling of water and sediment quality, fish communities, sentinel fish populations, and benthic communities in the Athabasca River and its major tributaries. From 2000 to 2013, Dr. Kilgour was the invertebrate community component lead for RAMP in association with Hatfield Consultants Ltd. The RAMP was carried out annually, and involved the collection of samples in areas known to be influenced by oil sands development, as well as in areas unaffected by development.

In 2014, Kilgour & Associates was contracted with Hatfield Consultants, to continue the work of monitoring activities in the Oil Sands region through the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Program. That was the 12th year for our key staff being involved in the program.

Monitoring in and around Fort McMurray in a regional context is more and more being implemented by the province of Alberta and Environment Canada such that we are no longer required in field programs. We have since worked extensively with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA) in the analysis of collected fisheries, benthos and water quality data, and in the development of Triggers (e.g., Baseline, Forecast, Management) for tiering monitoring activities (e.g., Routine, Confirmation, Investigation of Cause).

We supported offshore oil and gas EEM programs on Canada’s East Coast. Our expertise in the analysis of fish population, benthic community and water and sediment quality data were used to interpret multiple years of data for two offshore oil projects in the Hibernia oil field. We used and modified repeated-measures analysis of variance in addition to various multi-variate ordination techniques to characterize spatial temporal-spatial variations in biophysical variables, while testing predictions related to magnitude of effects as described in the environmental assessments. Six peer-reviewed papers were an outcome of the three years of work we completed for the offshore programs (Deep Sea Research II v 110).

Mining EEMs

Totten Mine head frame

Totten Mine head frame

We have developed and implemented dozens of EEM programs for mining clients across Canada including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Our programs for Routine and Confirmation EEM’s involve standardized methods and designs for the collection of fish, invertebrates, sediments and water. We try to use cutting-edge sampling designs that minimize costs, but that also maximize interpretability. We have designed an implemented several Investigation of Cause studies that have been very cost efficient. We have worked with coal, gold, uranium and nickel mining operations.

Pulp and Paper EEMs

The pulp & paper sector was the first in Canada to experience regulations requiring EEM programs, going back to the mid 1990s. Bruce Kilgour participated in the development of initial guidance documents for designing and interpreting benthic invertebrate community and fish population studies. That experience was used to assist dozens of pulp mills across the maritimes, Ontario and Quebec in the delivery of their EEM requirements. Dr. Kilgour was additionally retained by Environment Canada to not only review EEM interpretive reports from mills that he didn’t work at, but to assist EC’s head office develop science that supported development of the EEM program. Specifically, Dr. Kilgour: (1) assisted in the development of software designed to analyze fish population data by EC staff; (2) developed methods for computing effect sizes when ‘interactions’ are present in data; (3) wrote lay documents describing the EEM program.

Municipal Wastewater EEMs

Dr. Kilgour was retained by Environment Canada to design a generalized EEM approach applicable to municipal wastewaters. The work resulted in a publication in Water Quality Research Journal of Canada, (2005)40:374–387). The EEM component was never brought into the Municipal Wastewater Effluent Regulations, but the principals apply generally to facilities desiring to implement an adaptive approach to managing environmental risks. Many of the component of the proposed EEM approach for municipal wastewater was implemented by the City of Ottawa delivered in part with assistance from staff from Kilgour & Associates Ltd. with support in the form of field work and data interpretation.

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Bruce Kilgour