Environmental protection is a core consideration in everything we do. It will always be integral to all our business activities. Wherever we operate, we will make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect our natural surroundings. The commitment and participation of all stakeholders is required to promote the success of our Environmental Protection Program.
In order to achieve the highest standards of environmental protection, Abalone’s policy states that we will:
- Comply with all legislated standards and regulations.
- Provide resources and training to ensure awareness of environmental responsibility.
- Identify all hazardous materials or situations, and provide controls to minimize risks to health or environment.
- Report all spills and environmental impacts to senior management and to regulatory authorities.
- Develop an environmental protection plan for any new project or task.
Based on our Environmental Protection Program, we strive to:
- Stay current on government regulations—and meet or exceed them.
- Ensure we have environmentally safe offices and shop work spaces.
- Use non-polluting materials wherever possible.
- Keep our vehicle fleet in top condition to minimize harmful exhaust gases.
- Control and minimize the exposure to toxic substances and reduce toxic waste at the source.
- Follow the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
- Monitor compliance with government regulations and shop wastage.
Over the years, we have completed many projects with the highest regard for the environment. This consideration and care shows through not only in our work, but also in the recognition we receive. Our environmental awards were won because of our dedication to conservation and keeping spaces safe for wildlife, vegetation and those living in the surrounding communities.
Conservation and biodiversity and/or stakeholder relationships
Winner: Abalone Construction Services, Inc.
Project: Whitemud Creek/30 Avenue, Erosion Controls
Abalone Construction Services, Inc. was hired by the City of Edmonton to start work on the 2006 Erosion Controls project. The purpose of this project was to restore the area by repairing the immense devastation caused by the 2004 floods. The water eroded the banks of the Whitemud Creek and compromised the integrity of a nearby footbridge.
The more pressing concern, however, was the imminent danger the scattered debris posed on the previous natural safe passage for the inhabiting fish. After studying a detailed ECO plan and examining DFO and Navigable Water permitting requirements, the fish salvage operation began. Abalone Construction fabricated special fish traps that ensured the confinement of the fish detained on site, while still ensuring their safety. The fish were then transported downstream to an area that was not in a state of jeopardy.
Many long-term environmental benefits were achieved from the completion of this project. Fish passage was restored—allowing walleye access to the sensitive spawning habitat at the confluence of the Whitemud Creek and North Saskatchewan River. Downstream water quality was also greatly improved, and the newly vegetated slopes act as a natural buffer for any future erosion.
Reduced Environmental Impact from Activity or Operation
Project: River Water Intake and Pump House
The ongoing development of the industrial oil and gas industry in and around the Fort Saskatchewan area has made it necessary to provide additional capacity for future pump houses.
In the fall of 2011, Abalone Construction entered into a contract with ATCO Energy Solutions to provide construction services for the above-mentioned project designed by Stantec. The project was completed in the summer of 2012.
The new River Water Intake included the following project components:
- Fish Return Line Installation from the point to new spillway in river:
- Erosion and sediment control measures/site containment
- Site clearing and construction of a temporary access road
- Supply and installation of fish return pipe
- Supply and installation of fish return outlet structure
- Removal of temporary access road and bed and bank armouring
- Bank restoration and landscaping
- Intake Pipe Modifications from sheet piling in river to existing pump station:
- Isolation of the existing intake ports from the river
- Excavation and installation of temporary intake support system
- Modifications to existing intake piping system, installation of owner supplied valves, and reconnection to existing pump house
- Removal of temporary support systems, backfill and restoration of intake
- Removal of intake port isolation
- Intake Face Extension:
- Supply and installation of a new intake face extension, louver system and related accessories
- Supply and installation of louver lifting davit and related accessories
- Environmental Management:
- ECO Plan
- Land Access and management
- Clearing and Timber Salvage
- Watercourse Crossings and Water Management
- Spills and Waste Management
- Clean up and Reclamation
A unique feature of this project was its close proximity to the North Saskatchewan River. A major portion of the work was performed on the water. Potential impacts of the project were identified in order to manage and mitigate risks.
Procedures to address the activities and their potential impacts (operational controls) consisted of the following:
The first potential impact was erosion and sedimentation. Material from the excavation was separated and placed where it would not impede other areas. Soil erosion controls were installed where required to prevent soil erosion. Cleaned rock rip rap was placed on the river bank to act as a stabilizer. All affected vegetation was replaced after construction.
Another environmental impact was the entering of the watercourse where the fish return line returned to the river. Turbidity curtains were installed to minimize sedimentation. Aqua barriers were installed. Dewatering by pump was screened. Before the clay coffer could be placed, qualified biologists were utilized to not only de-fish the area but also to log and record the number of species found. Our biologists reported that no fish were harmed or lost in this activity.
The highest threat of environmental impact was when activities began at the intake section where the water level was too high to use any conventional portable dams. Although a clay coffer dam was an option, the amount of clay required would have had a significant impact on the environment. Abalone designed and fabricated a temporary shield that had zero environmental impact while also providing a safe working space for all of our workers. Using this shield, we were able to successfully complete concrete work, structural steel, mechanical piping, demolition and sheet piling alterations.
The end result was a new and improved intake pipe, modified to pump water from the North Saskatchewan River into a pump house that would safely return various species and aquatic life back to their original habitat.