Our operations generate solid and liquid wastes, including spent catalysts, office wastes, construction debris, impacted soil, fluids from well workovers and completions.
We are committed to safely and responsibly managing wastes. We use a tiered approach to reduce both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. We first work to reduce waste at its source. If the waste cannot be eliminated, we next look for opportunities to recycle or reuse materials. Any remaining waste is either treated to render it non-hazardous or disposed of in accordance with applicable regulations.
Our approach includes an emphasis on:
We pay particular attention to the volume of hazardous wastes, which require specialized procedures for handling and disposal. They come from a variety of substances, the most common being used catalysts and tank residue, generated from tank cleaning and other routine maintenance activities.
Performance at a glance
|increase in the amount of hazardous waste disposal from our facilities in 2009 compared with 2008, mainly due to new provincial regulations|
Our total hazardous waste disposal in 2009 was 26,000 tonnes, a 23 percent increase from 2008. Although hazardous waste disposal decreased for our chemicals business, there was a 66 percent increase in Downstream disposal. Contributing to this increase was new government restrictions limiting the use of on-site bio-remediation in the Downstream. In the Upstream, the increase was due to shutdowns and clean-up of a well-head failure at our Cold Lake operation as well as wastes generated from sulphur removal at the operation.
Hazardous waste generated (thousand tonnes)
What we are doing
Introducing new waste management practices
At the Sarnia site we are introducing simple but effective practices to reduce the amount of dirt and other solids that get into the sewer. The addition of silt screens and more sweeping of facilities all add up to fewer tonnes of waste to the sewer.
Reusing petroleum wastes
We reuse petroleum wastes in ways that avoid waste disposal while saving energy resources. One way this is accomplished is through the use of a solvent-based process for cleaning tanks at refineries. The technique removes residue from the bottom of the tanks in such a way that it can be reprocessed to recover hydrocarbon components.
Removal of hazardous waste from on-site land farms
At our Nanticoke refinery and Sarnia site, hazardous waste will no longer be biotreated at our land farms on site as new regulations in Ontario dictate that refineries can no longer use on-site land farms for hazardous waste. This waste will now be disposed off-site through waste-disposal facilities regulated by the province. The land farms will continue to operate for bio-sludge. In 2009, hazardous waste from refining operations increased by 66 percent. The volume of hazardous waste shipped off-site s expected to increase as a result of the new regulations.
We operate a well-established employee recycling program at the Cold Lake site. Recycling stations in lunchrooms and other plant locations make it easier for workers to recycle common items, including office paper, newsprint, plastics, batteries, scrap metal and concrete rubble. Since its inception in 2005, the program has diverted about 122 tonnes of recyclable material and more than 1,500 tonnes of steel from landfills.
At the Dartmouth refinery, we installed a new separation sorting station in 2009 to remove the various metals, wood and recyclables from garbage. We have set up designated containers throughout the refinery to allow for more recycling at the source.
Tracking waste sources
To encourage further efficiencies, we are carrying out studies to better understand waste trends in our businesses. In 2009, the Upstream business began a review of waste sources to identify opportunities for increased reduction, recycling and reuse. The business is rolling out an educational program to increase awareness of waste management among field operators.