Environmental protection order: Updates on Imperial’s actions

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Environmental protection order: Updates on Imperial’s actions
Kearl EPO impact map of discovery area with zoomed in and out views

February 2024 – Imperial continues monitoring and assessment at Kearl site

Imperial continues to provide regular updates on work underway at its Kearl oil sands facility to address four areas of shallow seepage of industrial wastewater from its operating lease area. 

Current status:

  • Mitigations in place, monitoring and assessment ongoing
  • Winter drilling underway to install additional pumping and monitoring wells
  • Data continues to show mitigations are working, reviewed by third-parties
  • Seepage has not reached any waterways, including Firebag River
  • No indication of adverse impacts to local wildlife or fish populations
  • Data and monitoring reports regularly to communities 

The focus of our mitigation work has been on expanding and improving our seepage interception system and our monitoring network. We have installed interception trenches and sumps along with a wellpoint vacuum system and we have added liners to on-site ditches.

Data shows that the mitigations are working as intended and preventing further off-site migration of impacted water at those locations. Monitoring of these mitigations and water sampling is ongoing. Additional run time and data will be used to enhance the mitigations if necessary. A winter drilling program is underway to install additional pumping and monitoring wells.

Enhanced water and wildlife monitoring continues in the area and fencing around infrastructure remains in place to prevent access. To date, there is no indication of adverse impacts to wildlife or fish populations in nearby river systems, or risks to drinking water for local communities.

Imperial is also supporting independent testing and site tours for local Indigenous communities and is providing opportunities for input into our approach to environmental monitoring activities. Indigenous communities are also conducting independent technical reviews of the company’s mitigation and monitoring plans. Community notification protocols have also been updated to ensure communities are informed early and through multiple channels.

The company also continues to provide information to regulatory officials from the Alberta Energy Regulator and government departments and has been hosting regular site tours by officials. Imperial provides monitoring data/reports to the Alberta Energy Regulator every two weeks, which are also shared with communities.

See previous updates.

December 14: 
Imperial opening remarks to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development 
May 4:
Imperial provided summary reports on root cause findings to the Alberta Energy Regulator and shared the information with communities. 
       • Seepage
       • Drainage pond overflow
April 20:
Imperial opening statement to Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
March 19:
Getting the facts – Imperial response at Kearl

Kearl water results video

Imperial’s current monitoring and water sampling data has been stable and shows no impacts to local waterways or drinking water. Watch a video detailing the Kearl water sampling and monitoring results.
Video posted/current as of March 17, 2023


Imperial media line: + 1 587 476-7010

Shane Porterfield, Socioeconomic Advisor, Athabasca Region, + 1 587 962-1369

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