To manage the issue of environmental impacts from historical and current spills and releases, TELUS prioritizes sites to be addressed using a risk matrix method based on the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment approach. Assessment and remediation techniques vary with the extent of the contaminated area, and the degree and type of contamination. We continue to focus on remediation as a means to improve our environmental footprint.
Our 2011 target was to conduct assessment and/or remediation work on 20 sites and complete remediation work on two sites. Completed sites refer to sites that have known contamination remediated according to the appropriate regulatory guidelines for soil and/or groundwater. We successfully investigated 33 sites but were not able to complete either of the two targeted projects due to unforeseen technical challenges that delayed the completion of the remediation work.
Our target for 2012 is to conduct assessment and/or remediation activities at 20 sites and have two sites completed.
On January 20, 2011 TELUS confirmed that an 8,500 litre diesel spill had occurred at a radio relay site in Baie-des-Loups, a remote community on Quebec’s lower north shore. This site is one of our remote sites where commercially provided power is not available and is powered by a diesel generator which started leaking from a broken fuel filter fitting. Although the site was equipped with double walled fuel supply lines and fuel storage, a full fuel system upgrade had not been completed, and the generator building was not equipped with full containment and spill alarms. The location of the release point resulted in a slow fuel leak which went undetected until the diesel fuel tank reached its low level limit and an alarm was activated. TELUS responded immediately after receiving the alarm with assistance from an environmental consultant to conduct immediate spill response and containment operations. This included delineation of the impacted area and confirmation that the diesel had not reached nearby water bodies. Over the summer, TELUS initiated a staged remediation approach, with excavation of the majority of contaminated soil from the site. In 2012, TELUS will continue with the remediation program, including revegetation activities. All spill response and remediation efforts to date have been completed to the satisfaction of the provincial Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks. In order to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of incident, TELUS has upgraded the spill protection at this site and is in the process of conducting a company-wide review of fuel management standards.