13. Annual Updates
An annual update is required for all sites with Contamination that are submitted to the CER by December 31 of the previous calendar year, and have not yet achieved site closure. An automated notification to complete the annual update will be sent on April 1 each year. The due date for the information to be entered into OERS is June 30.
14. Site Closure
The following sections outline the documentation required to achieve closure of a site with Contamination. Site closure is achieved upon the CER’s issuance of a Remediation Closure Letter. The Remediation Closure Letter confirms that the company has sufficiently demonstrated that the acceptable Remediation Criteria and all conditions, as outlined in the RAP and RAP acceptance letter have been met, based upon the information submitted in the Closure Report, and that the Remediation event has been closed. If a RAP was not submitted, the Remediation Letter confirms that the company has sufficiently demonstrated that the acceptable Remediation Criteria have been met based upon the information submitted in the Closure Report.
After we issue a Remediation Closure Letter, the company is no longer required to provide annual updates on these sites. All regulatory requirements outside of the Remediation context continue to apply to the Project after site closure is granted.
A Remediation Closure Letter will not be issued if the site is undergoing Risk Management, as described in section 12 of this Guide.
The company must submit both of the documents below to apply for site closure:
- Closure Report
- Declaration Letter
14.1 Closure Report
A company must submit a Closure Report once the remedial activities, including any required monitoring, are complete. The level of detail in the Closure Report should match the scope of the Remediation required.
The completed Closure Report Worksheet should be submitted to the CER with the Closure Report. If any of the Closure Report components are not included in the Closure Report, provide justification for the omission in the “Notes” section of the worksheet.
Find the Closure Report Worksheet in Appendix H.
The CER may request additional information from the company, and may refer the Closure Report to other regulators or potentially affected persons for comment.
14.2 Declaration Letter
The Closure Report must be accompanied by a Declaration Letter signed by the accountable officer of the company, as defined in section 6.2 of the OPR, or where there is no accountable officer required pursuant to the OPR, an officer or director of the company which is the permit holder of the facility to which the closure letter relates and who is best suited to execute in accordance with the CER Accountable Officer Selection Flowchart, confirming all of the following:
- All remedial activities were conducted in accordance with the Remedial Action Plan and/or Risk Management Plan, if applicable, and the Closure Report. If Work was not conducted in accordance with these documents, detailed reasons for deviation were included in the Closure Report.
- The contaminants specified in the Closure Report were remediated to the more stringent of federal or provincial generic Remediation Criteria for the appropriate land use or the established Site Specific Remediation Objectives as stated in the Remedial Action Plan and/or Risk Management Plan, if applicable, and the Closure Report.
- Any commitment by the company to the CER or to potentially affected persons regarding Remediation of Contamination and additional mitigation has been met. In the event the commitment was not met, a detailed statement was included in the Closure Report as to why this commitment could not be or was not met.
- All potentially affected persons were notified of the Contamination and remedial activities and engaged on the plans for Remediation and site closure in compliance with section 7 of the CER 2020 Remediation Process Guide. In the event this requirement was not met, a detailed statement was included in the Closure Report as to why this requirement could not be or was not met.
- Any outstanding concerns identified by potentially affected persons or other regulators, and actions to address these concerns, or an explanation as to why no further action is required to address these concerns or comments, have been described in the Closure Report.
Find the template for the Declaration Letter in Appendix I.
14.3 CER Acceptance of Site Closure
Once satisfied that Remediation to acceptable Remediation Criteria is complete, the CER will issue a Remediation Closure Letter by email, and send an automated notification. We expect companies will distribute the Remediation Closure Letter to potentially affected persons and communities involved in the site throughout their engagement activities.
The issuance of a Remediation Closure Letter establishes that no further actions are required by the CER to manage Contamination as per the date of issuance of Remediation Closure Letter unless any of the following exceptions apply anytime on or after the issuance of the Remediation Closure Letter:
- A change occurs in site conditions or site understanding such that conclusions reached in the Closure Report may not be valid.
- Relevant information is provided to the CER, or becomes available which was not identified in the Closure Report.
- A change occurs in regulatory criteria, standards or guidelines or applicable laws such that conclusions reached in the Closure Report may not be valid.
In the situation that any of these exceptions apply, further actions may be being required of companies/permit holders to manage Contamination. Companies retain liability for potential further Remediation following site closure related to their Facilities.
We require companies to reclaim the land to a state comparable with the former or other productive use. The landowner must be engaged upon the plans for Reclamation and any concerns must be heard, considered, and addressed, as appropriate, prior to submission of the Closure Report. These concerns must documented and submitted to the CER in the record of engagement section of the Closure Report The company must comply with all commitments and conditions regarding Reclamation, as described in the RAP and Closure Report or as specified by the company, and all conditions regarding Reclamation as issued by the CER in the RAP acceptance email and/or Remediation Closure Letter.
15. Remediation during Abandonment Activities
Companies are required to manage and remediate Contamination throughout the lifecycle of the Facility. Companies must identify, assess and remediate Contamination that occurs during the construction and operational phases of the lifecycle, and prior to abandonment of a Facility. If it is not reasonably possible to complete the Remediation prior to abandonment (for example, due to the presence of operating infrastructure in a shared pipeline corridor), the CER requires that companies complete Risk Management of the site with Contamination until such time that it can be remediated, and the pipeline abandoned. See section 12 for more information on our requirements for Risk Management of Contamination.
Remediation of Contamination during abandonment activities must comply with conditions on the abandonment order, as well as this Remediation Process Guide.
15.1 Contaminated Sites Information Submitted in the Application to Abandon
When companies apply to abandon under section 241 of the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, they should provide the information below:
- A copy of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted for the pipeline and right-of-way, as per the guidance in the most recent version of CSA Standard Z768.
- A list of sites with Contamination that have been reported previously to the CER, which must include the assigned REM event numbers associated with the project in the application to abandon.
- If the results of the Phase I ESA indicate that a Phase II ESA is warranted, include a copy of the Phase II ESA plan that describes the procedures to be implemented for investigating all existing or potential Contamination identified in the Phase I ESA, including sampling methodology.
If Contamination is confirmed following a Phase I ESA, the Contamination must be reported to the CER through a NOC, as described in section 6.1 of the Guide.
In the application to abandon, companies must consider the presence of Contamination when assessing whether a pipeline will be removed or abandoned in place. If abandoning a pipeline in place would prevent full Remediation of Contamination, the Commission of the CER (Commission) may require the removal of this pipeline. CSA Z662-19 10.16 further describes the requirements for abandonment of buried pipelines, surface equipment related to buried pipelines, above ground pipelines, pipeline related Facilities, underground vaults and closed top pits, above ground tanks and pressure vessels and underground tanks.
Guide B in the CER Filing Manual provides additional filing requirements and guidance for pipeline abandonment applications.
15.2 Contaminated Sites Information Submitted as a Condition Filing to an Abandonment Order
Following the submission of an application to abandon, the Commission assesses the abandonment application and, if approved, issues the abandonment order with terms and conditions for permanently ceasing operation of the pipeline. One condition routinely included on an abandonment order is the requirement to submit a Reclamation Report. The Reclamation Report should include copies of any Remediation Closure Letter(s) issued for reported Contamination associated with that Facility.
15.3 Financial Liability for Remedial Activities
The CER requires companies to set aside money to pay for abandonment Work. For a pipeline abandoned in place (abandoned pipeline), the company maintains responsibility and liability for the abandoned pipeline. The company must keep funds available to pay for any costs that arise in relation to the abandoned pipeline, including further remedial activities. In accordance with section 241(5) of the CER Act, a company that has been granted leave to abandon a pipeline continues to be liable for the abandoned pipeline under this Act.
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