Reclamation of the Balzac gas plant is estimated to take five to ten years.
Reclaiming the Balzac Gas Plant
Site remediation will be the final phase of the process. Nexen is working to understand the reclamation options available to us, a complex process given the dynamic state of development and growth in the vicinity of the Balzac gas plant.
Remediation and reclamation includes a detailed site assessment to characterize known waste streams and develop an efficient waste strategy.
Until further studies can be conducted, a definitive timeline for the reclamation process has not been developed. However, Nexen’s experience with other large facilities suggests this process will take anywhere from five to ten years.
When demolition is complete, the land will be returned to a state suitable for a final end use. The end land use for the plant site has yet to be determined. Options being considered include an industrial land site, agriculture or a park with a wetland. Nexen will make a recommendation for the end land use based on a wide-ranging consultative process with internal and external stakeholders.
Environmental wellsite assessments will be conducted to determine if there are any impacts to the land. Phase 1 of the assessment includes a desktop review of historical data and a field visit to understand risk and the current state of individual sites. In Phase 2 of the investigation, test pits and trenches will be dug to collect soil data, and groundwater wells will be drilled to collect water data. Activity associated with these investigations is expected to create some noise and moderate traffic to the site. Investigations may take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the site.
Remediation is the process of removing pollutants or contaminates from soil, groundwater, sediment or surface water for the general protection of human health and the environment. Each Balzac wellsite will be remediated according to Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) guidelines. Types of remediation used in the Balzac field include chemical oxidization (the addition or injection of an oxidant to the soil or groundwater to remove contaminants), soil treatment and the excavation and removal of soil to an approved disposal facility. Clean fill is used to replace the soil that has been removed.
Reclamation is the process of returning soil and vegetation on disturbed lands to a pre-disturbed state by contouring the subsoil to blend into the surrounding landscape, replacing topsoil to original depths, and establishing vegetation to match the surrounding land use. Nexen’s goal in reclamation is for the wellsite to blend into the surrounding area and support land use in a way that is similar to its pre-disturbed state.
We're also required to meet requirements on surface reclamation established by AER. We will monitor reclaimed sites and conduct assessments to ensure requirements are met. A detailed site assessment, required by AER, evaluates a variety of soil conditions, topsoil depth, landscape conditions and vegetation growth. Once a wellsite passes all the requirements set out in the reclamation criteria, Nexen can apply to AER for a reclamation certificate. This certifies the land has been successfully reclaimed, and Nexen can return it to the landowner, ending the surface lease agreement.
Read more on environmental wellsite assessments (PDF 4.4MB).