Canada's petroleum hydrocarbon pipeline network extends for approximately 830,000 kilometres1. These pipelines carry a variety of refined and non-refined products including, natural gas liquids, heavy oil, synthetic oil, diluent, produced water, etc. With over 14%2 of Canada consisting of wetlands, the potential for pipeline releases to significantly impact these important ecosystems is considerable. Containment, recovery and remediation of wetlands is very complex. Historically, these ecosystems were drained, excavated and then sometimes backfilled, or hydraulically altered to accommodate water recovery and disposal. SWAT Consulting Inc. employs a number of low impact technologies, practices and strategies to contain and recover spilled fluids from wetlands using Net Environmental Benefit Analysis (NEBA) as a tool for restoration and or enhancement while balancing the ecological integrity of the wetland system.

SWAT's low impact objectives focus on environmental integrity throughout every aspect of the release, from response to recovery and restoration. After determining the unique components to each wetland ecosystem, SWAT customizes low impact techniques to access the site, contain the spill, remove contaminants and restore the ecosystem.

SWAT has implemented numerous low impact spill response, recovery and remediation techniques throughout North America. In this presentation, SWAT presents various case studies from spills into different types of wetlands. In these case studies, the contaminants of concern were contained and removed from the ecosystems using these low impact methods without sacrificing ecological integrity. We will discuss methods to access targeted recovery points, in-situ biodegradable containment systems, focused recovery based on examining contaminant interaction with specific environmental components and enhanced bioremediation applications. By comparing laboratory verified data, electromagnetic surveys and other assessment information from these ecosystems, SWAT will demonstrate a drastic reduction in contaminants, and an overall regeneration and restoration of function in these ecosystems.

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Author notes

1 Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

2 Environment Canada