The cat is out of the bag! North Shore has officially opened an office in Grande Prairie, AB to better serve our clients.

“We have decided that expanding our geographic presence within northwestern Alberta is the best way to support our existing clientele,” said Darren Cherniak, President, North Shore Environmental Consultants.

Opening a fifth location was part of North Shore’s strategic plan for the company, and something that was important to the executive team.

“Although we do spend a lot of time working in the area, we are excited to finally be local to the Peace Region market. It is a great opportunity for us to have boots on the ground and have a permanent presence where our clients need us,” he added.

Growing the Team

Mike Easton, Emissions Testing Supervisor.

Mike Easton, Emissions Testing Supervisor, has joined the North Shore family as our first locally based employee. Originally from Ontario, Mike now calls Grande Prairie home; and having lived there since 2007, he is well immersed in the community and knows the area well.

Mike started with North Shore in December 2019, and said he has been welcomed by friendly faces from other North Shore employees who have spent time training and getting to know him better.

“Over the last several weeks I have been getting familiar with the processes and policies of the company and learning how to use specialized equipment,” said Mike who is supporting our Air Quality and Emissions team.

“My background is in the area of emissions testing, so this role is a great fit,” he adds.

Mike said over the next few months, select employees from our existing locations will head up north to participate in cross-training. Mike is looking forward to learning more about other areas of the business such as reclamation and remediation, or biophysical services; and he is excited to share his knowledge with other employees about air quality and testing.

“I am excited to get into the swing of things and help support our clients with operations in the north, and as always, I am ready to serve new clients that are looking for services that North Shore can offer in the Grande Prairie area.”

Come Visit Us

North Shore’s Grande Prairie office is located at #103 10071-120 Ave Grande Prairie, AB. Feel free to drop in anytime, say hello, and learn more about all the services we offer.

More Information

Contact us to learn more about our new location and how we can help with your next project.

At North Shore, our team is always looking for new and innovative ways to serve our clients and complete projects efficiently. This summer, our Environmental Consultants traded in air transportation for a new form of ground transportation to access a few project sites, resulting in saving time and money for our clients.

“There were a few projects we did this summer where using a helicopter was not an option,” says Aaron Batke, Environmental Consultant, out of the Sherwood Park office.

“Whether it was for budget or logistical reasons, we needed to find other modes of transportation to access the sites,” he says.

“After researching various types of ATVs and quads, we decided to test out a new style of vehicle – the SHERP,” he adds.

Aaron Batke and Lucas Hewitt inside the SHERP ATV.

SHERP ATVs are Russian-built, completely amphibious, all-terrain vehicles with capabilities to safely and effectively transport staff and equipment to various sites.

“At first glance, they look big and cumbersome, but they are actually very agile.”

The vehicle can travel at a max speed of 40 km/h and carry more than 2,200 lbs.

Aaron says operating the SHERP is simple and he and other North Shore employees really enjoyed the benefits of the vehicle while completing projects this summer.

Benefits of the SHERP

A major concern for our team substituting a helicopter with an ATV, was potentially causing damage to site access roads. By using the SHERP, this was avoided because of its low ground pressure and minimal impact on the routes, as opposed to using other types of ATVs.

“The SHERP is so spacious inside; there is enough room for all of us and all of our equipment. In the past when using quads to access sites, we have been forced to make several trips to and from the sites to transport our gear and equipment, but with the SHERP, we can take everything at once and that really saves time.”

The SHERP can move around obstacles with ease, making it easy for our Environmental Consultants to access sites with fallen trees, logs, and long grassy, bushy areas.

The SHERP was used on several projects this year to help save time and money for North Shore clients.

Aside from being enclosed, the SHERP can float on bodies of water, and be used in snowy and icy conditions, making it a great choice for our Canadian winters.

“Travelling through water is easy,” he explains. “I was a little hesitant entering water and muskeg areas the first time, but to my surprise, we were able to navigate these areas with ease while causing very minimal disturbance to the environment.”

Future Projects

Going forward, North Shore will continue to use the SHERP ATVs for certain projects. The feedback from our team of consultants has been positive and our clients have been happy with the results.

“I think they are great machines and they offer a lot of versatility. They adapt well to the changing landscapes and I look forward to spending more time using them!”

More Information

Contact us to learn more about our experience with SHERP ATVs, and how we can help with your next project.

North Shore has joined Waterline Resources Inc. to work on a Special Project awarded to us by PTAC, the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada. The project has our companies working together to review drilling waste compliance documents prepared in 2014 by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

The work requires a deeper look into Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) data from past drilling waste disposal locations, with hopes to better understand the effectiveness of the AER document Assessing Drilling Waste Disposal Areas: Compliance Options for Reclamation Certification.

Jim Purves, Technical Advisor.

“It’s a two-year project,” says Jim Purves, Technical Advisor, North Shore. “There are two phases; the first one will end in July 2020 and the second one will wrap up in March 2021,” he adds.

“The first phase involves data gathering and analysis from hundreds of sites. The second phase will spatialize the data using Geographic Information System (GIS), to determine geographic trends along with providing recommendations and proposed guideline adjustments.”

Jim says being selected as part of the project team is likely because North Shore has previously completed similar work and research internally.

“We are always looking for ways to accelerate the progression of our client’s sites towards reclamation certification. Prior to this PTAC initiative, North Shore internally reviewed 374 sites and ran statistical analysis to help identify relationships,” he explains.

“This process helped us understand trends in the data and ultimately make better decisions for our clients. PTAC and was curious about our findings and wanted us to work on this project, as we already understand the purpose and goal.”

Strong Working Relationship

Working with Waterline Resources is nothing new for North Shore, as we have often partnered with the company to complete past projects for our clients. Jim says he is one of the team leads along with Michelle Taylor, M.Sc., P.Eng., from Waterline.

“Data collection and analysis will be completed primarily by North Shore, while Waterline will be leading the GIS spatialization and statistical analysis portion of the project,” he adds.

Project Benefits

The intended outcome of this project is to determine if the compliance options: are appropriate as currently written, require adjustment to reduce false positive or negative triggers for Phase 2 ESAs, or are in need of other changes.

Reducing the conservatism in the compliance options is believed to have multiple benefits with the same environmental protection including; more accurate and reproducible compound calculations and DST assumptions, reduced number of unnecessary Phase 2 ESAs conducted, and accelerated progression of sites to reclamation certification.

It is also recognized that in certain cases there may be a need for a particular trigger/criteria to be more stringent; this will also be investigated as part of the project.

Jim has been with North Shore since 2013 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of Alberta, and earned his designation from the Alberta Institute of Agrologists as a P.Ag.

“I’ve been involved in thousands of Phase 1 and 2 ESAs over the span of my career and I’m excited to be part of refining the decision-making process and collaborating with industry and the regulator.”

Upcoming Presentation

To learn more about this project, join Jim Purves at RemTech, October 16-18, 2019, in Banff, AB, as he presents more in-depth on the scope and methodologies being applied.

More Information

Contact us to learn more about this Special Project, our Technical Resource Group, and how we can help with your next project.

Every summer, North Shore welcomes a number of students to be part of our North Shore family for several months and to lend a hand with some of our seasonal work. Many of the students we bring on are enrolled in environmental-related programs in their post-secondary education and are excited by the opportunity to spend the summer working outdoors.

“I love that North Shore has given me many opportunities to learn new things, and apply much of what I have learned in school to industry. North Shore has treated me so well and is truly like a large family,” says Hanneke Kassies, who just finished up her second summer employed with North shore.

Hanneke Kassies, Summer Student, moved to Canada when she was a young child, and is fluent in both English and Dutch.

Hanneke is currently enrolled in the Land and Water Resources Program at Old College where her passion for environmental studies is met with academic success.

She will graduate this December and already has an impressive resume including diplomas in Agricultural Marketing, Agricultural Production, Reclamation and Remediation, and Environmental Stewardship and Rural Planning.

Perusing a career in the environmental field came naturally to Hanneke, as her ambitions for helping farms and farmers become more sustainable stemmed from her upbringing living on a dairy farm.  

Family Farming Business

The Kassies family moved to Canada from the Netherlands in 1998 to find better opportunities in farming and to expand their dairy herd. “I have been milking cows since I could reach the cows and herd them myself,” she laughs.

“The hours are crazy; we start our day at 2:45 a.m. and milk the cows for about three hours,” she explains. “From there we take a short nap until 9:30 a.m. then we continue on with our day.”

Some of the herd on the Kassies Dairy Farm.

A lot of work on the farm occurs throughout the day. “Some of the duties include herd health, breeding, feeding, cleaning, and assisting a cow with calving.”

The cows get one more milking at 3:30 p.m. and a final night time check before Hanneke and her family head to bed for the night. The family has their hands full as the farm provides care for about 500 cows, 25 chickens, 10 cats and 2 dogs!

Over the last few weeks they have also been busy harvesting crops and making bales of hay.

North Shore Experience

Rather than spending her summer on the farm with her family, this year Hanneke spent the majority of her time working in the Conklin and Fort McMurray areas where she did a lot of vegetation management and weed spraying for our clients.

She also travelled to Saskatchewan to complete weed spraying services, and had the chance to shadow a North Shore staff member on a couple of projects including a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

“One of my favorite parts about working in the field is all the wildlife I have encountered.”

“Safely, of course,” she adds.

“This year I have seen bears, wolves, a cougar, moose, badgers, and many cool species of birds, including Sandhill cranes.”

“Another great part of my experience at North Shore is getting to spend so much time in a helicopter seeing some amazing Alberta views.”

“I had another great summer working with North Shore, and now I am getting prepared to head back to school for my final semester.”

Thank You

Colin Bergen, Manager, Vegetation Management says the summer students were extremely helpful in ensuring our client’s projects were completed over the last several months.

“I want to thank Hanneke and all of the other summer students that joined North Shore this year,” he says. “I know everyone appreciated all of their efforts and willingness to adapt and learn. I’d like to wish all of them well in their schooling and future endeavors.”

North Shore wants to thank our 2019 summer students for being part of the North Shore Family and for a great season. We wish them all the best as they continue to peruse their studies and head back to school this fall.

More Information

Contact North Shore to learn more about our Summer Students, Vegetation Management Services, and how we can help with your next project.  

At North Shore, a large part of supporting our clients with their projects lies within the abilities of our Technical Resource Group (TRG). The TRG is a multi-disciplinary team that performs select environmental assessments, technical reviews, data management, and quality control; all while maintaining consistency in reporting within our organization.

Ann Tuson, Manager, TRG

“The TRG provides internal project teams and our clients with technical, regulatory and field-level expertise in Phase 1 and 2 Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), and Remediation and Reclamation work,” says Ann Tuson, Manager, TRG. “Our team helps to ensure projects presented to our clients are technically sound with clear findings and recommendations to achieve regulatory closure.”

Every environmental report that requires professional sign-off is reviewed by the TRG which is comprised of a variety of functions including the Phase 1 ESA Team, Data Management Group, Drafting Team, and Report Review Group, along with our some of our most senior Technical Advisors.

Completing Assessments

“We have a dedicated Phase 1 ESA reporting team that’s capable of executing large volumes of quality reports,” says Ann. “Last year alone, we completed more than 650 reports for our clients within an 8-month time period,” she adds.

Phase 1 ESAs are typically conducted following the abandonment or decommissioning of an oil or gas site. During completion of a Phase 1 ESA, a review of historical information is conducted and the current site condition is documented through a visual site inspection. This allows our team to determine the environmental condition of a property.

“Depending on the complexity of the site, it can mean a lot of sorting through documents and making sense of information,” Ann says.

Results can vary for each project. There are times when no potential impacts are identified during the Phase 1 ESA and our clients can move forward with the next steps in the reclamation process; other times the results show the presence of areas of potential environmental concern, which require further investigation, typically leading to our client requesting a Phase 2 ESA.

Phase 2 ESAs require our Environmental Consultants do an on-site investigation where they take samples of soil or groundwater, and collect large amounts of data that needs analyzing and compiling, which is completed by the TRG, specifically those that specialize in data management.

Data Continuity

Part of Ann’s role includes overseeing the Data Management Group, which is responsible for reviewing, compiling, and logging project-related data.

“When one of our Environmental Consultants completes a Phase 2 ESA for a client, our Data Management Team tabulates the raw field data and laboratory results from samples collected on-site,” Ann explains. “Our Data Management Group is responsible for the presentation, accuracy and integrity of that information.”

Our reporting process ensures our clients end up with an accurate report.

Following the organization of the field data, often presented in tables, the next step is to add any diagrams or figures, which is where the Drafting Team offers support.

“Any diagrams, figures or drawings are completed by our Drafting Team. These items and are often included as supplementary information to the reports,” Ann says. “Our Drafting team is very skilled at creating complex figures to highlight important findings related to the Phase 2 ESA,” she adds.

Once the appendices are prepared, the project then goes back to the Environmental Consultant for report writing before being submitted for Senior Technical review. The review process is crucial in ensuring consistency and accuracy of the information for our clients and for internal purposes. Once reviewed, the report goes through a brief quality assurance process, and is then sent to the client.

One unique aspect about North Shore’s TRG is that it also encompasses a variety of Senior Technical Advisors that mentor our junior staff, share their knowledge and expertise, and provide technical support to project teams during the reporting process. The Advisor role is especially important when new regulations are implemented from provincial regulators or governing bodies.

The need for a TRG

North Shore’s TRG didn’t always exist the way it does today. Jeremy Paul, Vice President, Innovation says the group formed out of “necessity” when teams became extremely busy working in the field.

“It started with the spill team a number of years ago,” he says. “That group was so busy and had a large number of projects on the go. They didn’t have enough time to complete the field work, review lab results and then put the data into tables for reports.”

“They were working super long days and then trying to create the reports at night and it became too much, so we knew it was a smart idea to bring in someone to manage the data for the field crews, and that was the start of the Data Management Group.”

“From there it made sense to combine the other functions under one team to ensure an efficient and smooth report process from beginning to end,” he adds.

“Having all the client reports go through the same process allowed us to develop templates and standards, and in the end, allows us to deliver a solid product to our clients.”

North Shore is constantly looking for ways to improve the business, and the TRG is a perfect example of internal groups working together to better serve our clients.

“Going forward we want the group to become even more efficient, so we are working towards refining certain processes. With the ever-changing realm of technology, we know we can find ways to make things even better and take our team to the next level!”

More Information

Contact us to learn more about our Technical Resource Group and how we can help with your next project.