Groundwater Surveillance – A Significant Change for EPEA Monitoring Programs

December 16, 2020

Groundwater monitoring is a requirement for facilities that operate under Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approvals, to demonstrate site operations are not impacting groundwater. Monitoring programs typically include annual or semi-annual sampling frequency, large well networks, broad analytical programs, and lengthy annual reports. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has recently adopted a change to these monitoring requirements in the form of Groundwater Surveillance Monitoring programs. These programs are intended to more efficiently align the scope and cost of monitoring with the actual risk of contamination, thus freeing up resources for active contaminant management (i.e. source control, clean up and incident prevention).

Highlights of Groundwater Surveillance Monitoring

The new approach to groundwater monitoring will be implemented for new or renewed EPEA approvals but may also be applied for existing approvals via amendment. More onus is now on approval owners and their groundwater professionals to design and implement effective groundwater monitoring programs. The programs will be outcome-based, tailored to each facility, and have significantly reduced annual reporting requirements including:

  • Record of Site Condition form
  • Borehole logs for new or abandoned monitoring wells
  • Site plan showing the locations of monitoring wells
  • Additional information that may be required by the Director

Why is it important?

If done in a technically defensible manner, optimized, adaptive and outcome-based groundwater surveillance programs could reduce groundwater monitoring costs for the approval owner by 25-60% while providing an equivalent level of risk management and compliance. With streamlined reporting requirements, additional time and cost savings can be allocated to other operational improvements and contamination management programs.

How can Matrix Solutions help?

Matrix Solutions can design, plan, and execute all aspects of contamination management and groundwater monitoring programs. With 36 years’ experience and more than 50 groundwater professionals (registered professional engineers, geoscientists, and technologists) in Alberta alone, we provide technical advice on a large portfolio of contaminated sites projects – including 45-60 EPEA groundwater monitoring programs that we complete every year.

Matrix Solutions’ professionals can help you design an optimized groundwater surveillance program grounded in solid technical rationale based on the conceptual site model and risk assessment. The programs are executed safely and efficiently by our skilled field staff located across Alberta.

Along with our groundwater professionals, Matrix Solutions’ Approvals team can assist with amending existing EPEA Approvals to include groundwater surveillance monitoring prior to approval renewal, which typically occurs on a 10-year cycle.

Click for more on Matrix Solutions’ Groundwater/Hydrogeology services.


Blake Hamer
Principal Hydrogeologist

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