SAIT student brings fresh perspective to the (water) table at Cold Lake

Imperial sponsored Capstone Project seeks to support future land reclamation decisions.
Fern with shrubs
Caption: Fen with shrubs from Imperial’s Cold Lake operations.

For Jaime Marquez, taking on a Capstone Project through the Integrated Water Management (IWM) program at SAIT was a way to put his education into practice right away.

“It’s an enlightening experience,” says Jaime. In a nutshell, Jaime is assessing ways to reduce the impact from Imperial’s Cold Lake operations on nearby plants and wetlands, and support future land reclamation efforts. It’s all part of an Imperial sponsored Capstone Project at SAIT, which gives students in their final year real-world opportunities to apply their learnings in various industry sectors.

“I was drawn to the project as it allowed me to put my knowledge from the IWM program and previous educational background to use in a potential job setting,” explains Jaime who brings his knowledge in chemical engineering to the table – or more specifically, the water table. “I thought it would be interesting to work on a project that has the potential to impact Imperial’s remediation plans in their Cold Lake operations,” adds Jaime who is still in the early stages of the project - developing a literature review of existing data.

The idea for the project was first conceived after water management experts at Imperial realized that sponsoring Capstone Projects from the SAIT IWM program could provide mutual benefits for the next generation of water management professionals, while helping to reduce potential environmental risks in water management down the road.

“I’m excited to see how Capstone Projects like this test the capacity of students to think outside the box and come up with clever solutions to the challenges we face in the water management industry,” said Pascale St-Germain, environmental & regulatory advisor with Imperial’s safety, security, health and environment (SSHE) team.

“One thing I’ve realized is how important Alberta wetlands are in source water protection, and a lot must be done to ensure that wetlands are healthy and functional,” adds Jaime. “With proper studies, remediation plans can be developed to reduce the impact on wetlands.”
Jamie Marquez

Student, Integrated Water Management program

"Not only is the project great development for students such as Jaime, but it also adds value to our operations,” said Jack Fraser, Cold Lake asset manager. “We are able to get a unique perspective on how to make our operations better today, but better for tomorrow as well.”
Jack Fraser

Cold Lake asset manager

“Imperial is pleased to provide a project that is of interest to students which helps them build off of their learnings from the program, and their other existing areas of expertise to address water issues.” says James Guthrie, water lead – policy & advocacy at Imperial. James regularly participates as a mentor and advisor in the SAIT program to which Imperial invested $1 million toward program development and implementation.

James believes the company will learn and grow by sponsoring students who bring a fresh perspective and external expertise in areas outside the team’s core focus areas – like chemical engineering in Jaime’s case. “Working with the future generation of water management professionals is key.”

“We need even more collaboration between industry, students, and all stakeholders so we can move forward responsibly, together.”