At AEF, we regularly survey the plant ambient air, stacks, groundwater, soil, process equipment, wastewater and storm water to ensure compliance with regulatory and license limits and minimize environmental impact from AEF’s plant activities. The areas that we focus on are:
Some strategies that are used at AEF to ensure clean air include the following:
The flow to our flare is metered to monitor and minimize flare gases during normal operation. If a plant upset does occur, process gases are vented to the flare to ensure that equipment is kept within safe operating limits.
- AEF is an active member of the Strathcona Industrial Association (SIA), which operates a network of ambient air monitoring stations in Ardrossan, Sherwood Park, Gold Bar, Beverly. Annual reports on local air quality are available at the SIA website.
- Ambient surveys at the Plant three times per year
- Regular emission surveys are performed to identify leaking equipment. We go beyond the regulatory requirement to repair leaks exceeding 10,000 ppm by setting an internal repair standard of 500 ppm.
- Product storage tanks are equipped with double-sealed internal floating roofs to reduce emissions.
- Pressure relief valves on the storage bullets are connected to the flare to ensure the contents are not released to atmosphere in the case of an overpressure event.
- A network of 89 gas detectors is installed in the process area. These continuously monitor for leaks around pumps, compressors and storage tanks.
Some strategies that are used at AEF to ensure clean water include the following:
- We conduct groundwater surveys three times per year; a network of 50 groundwater monitoring wells is installed throughout the Plant site to ensure that groundwater is not contaminated and/or that no pollutant migrates offsite.
- Process wastewater, as well as runoff in the process area, is collected at the wastewater ponds. The wastewater ponds are discharged to the sanitary sewer for further treatment at the City of Edmonton Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant. Discharge quality must comply with the City of Edmonton drainage bylaws.
- Clean runoff from the undeveloped areas of the plant, or outside the process area, are collected through a ditch system into the storm water pond, and tested before being released into the surrounding watershed.
- We practice water conversation and achieve process cooling by using closed-circuit glycol coolers and fin-fan air coolers. We do not use water from the river for process cooling.
Some strategies that are used at AEF to ensure wastes are handled properly include the following:
- All wastes that require offsite disposal are identified and/or tested to ensure that they are properly classified and disposed according to regulations.
- Dryer adsorbents and catalysts are pre-cleaned through regeneration cycle before vessel change out, thereby reducing the quantity of hazardous wastes generated.
- Noble metal catalysts are returned to the supplier for metal recovery.
- Small quantities of similar wastes are combined to minimize handling, or returned to the plant process.
- We reuse process off gases as fuel for various heaters and boilers.
Energy management at AEF is continually being reviewed to improve our overall energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases.