Rimrock has been busy with public consultation, environmental studies, and engineering design, and there are many regulatory requirements to be met before Rimrock can construct and operate the facility. Below is a snapshot of the projected project timeline, recognizing that key regulatory reviews are still in progress.
Regulatory Approvals, Licences and Agreements
There are many environmental approvals, licences and agreements required to be in place before Rimrock can construct and operate the facility. Below is an overview of the key environmental approvals and current status.
It’s important to note that these key permits and approvals, if granted, will come with strict conditions intended to protect the environment and local communities. The approvals and conditions are also typically posted for public access. Rimrock will comply with all terms and conditions that apply during Project design, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning and reclamation - including any monitoring and reporting requirements.
|Agency||Permit/Approval||Affected Facility Activities||Status|
Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (AEPA)
Approval under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA)
Construction, operation and reclamation
Application submitted to AEPA on June 10, 2022, currently under AEPA technical review.
Water licence transfer under the Water Act
Withdrawal of fresh water for facility start-up and operations
Approval for the transfer of a pre-existing water licence on the Highwood River was granted September 26, 2022, after a public notice period.
Aboriginal Consultation Office (ACO)
Indigenous consultation adequacy decision in conjunction with the EPEA application
Construction and operation
Pre-consultation assessment was requested by AEPA and completed by ACO in 2022. ACO determined no Indigenous consultation is required for this facility.
Alberta Ministry of Culture and Status of Women (AMCSW)
Historical Resource Act approval
Early earthworks, construction and operation
Approval granted May 19, 2022.
Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC)
Microgeneration Notice (Rule 024)
Generation of heat and electricity from micro-generation cogeneration units
Micro-generation Notification Form submitted to the electric distribution system owner February 3, 2023, after public notification period.
Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB), Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, and AEPA
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the storage and land application of digestate
Feedstock permitted for the facility & digestate storge and land application
The facility qualifies and intends to participate in this MOU.
Rimrock continues to actively consult and engage with Foothills County regarding municipal requirements for the facility. A Development Permit Waiver was issued by Foothills County for the proposed facility, given the proposed land use is consistent with a prevailing license, permit, approval or other authorization. The Development Permit Waiver does not relieve Rimrock of the responsibility of complying with all other relevant County bylaws and requirements, nor excuse violation of any Provincial or federal regulation or act which may affect use of the land. Foothills County has also indicated they will revisit municipal requirements pending the issuance of an EPEA approval for the facility, if granted.
To date, Rimrock’s submittals to Foothills County have included, but are not limited to:
- Comprehensive Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA),
- Erosion and Sediment Control Report, and
- Documentation to support an Access Approach Permit.
The development of buildings within the facility site will adhere to Building Safety Code and building permit requirements.
Environmental Studies and Assessments
There are many environmental studies and assessments that have been completed so far to support facility design and regulatory applications, as well as ongoing engineering, planning and public consultation.
These studies have been completed by qualified professionals who are experts in their fields. Some of the key studies and assessments completed to date include:
- A detailed air quality assessment was completed for the proposed facility and submitted to AEPA as part of the EPEA application. The air quality assessment, which was conducted in accordance with the Alberta Air Quality Model Guideline, was further updated to reflect the final facility design updates and proposed odour abatement technologies and to assess specific air quality contaminants associated with odours. The updated assessment indicates that overall, the operation of the biodigester facility is predicted to result in an approximate 47% net reduction in feedlot odour. Rimrock will ensure that air emissions from the facility are designed to comply with ground-level ambient air quality.
- The Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) completed for the project has demonstrated compliance with the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) Rule 012: Noise Control. Updated noise assessments will be completed based on final facility design. The facility’s modelled noise sources will be compliant with the AUC’s prescribed permissible levels (PSLs) during the daytime and nighttime at all receptors within 2 km of the facility boundary, with sound levels further decreasing with distance from the facility.
- A Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) was undertaken by professional traffic engineers to ensure existing infrastructure can support the proposed traffic as generated by the facility’s operation and staff travel. The scope of work of the TIA was developed in conjunction with Foothills County. The TIA indicates that the proposed facility will result in a net reduction in traffic, since manure trucks will be diverted from public roads. However, as a result of the TIA, Rimrock will pave a portion of Range Road 10 from Coal Trail to the site access approach.
- Soil assessments of the facility footprint were completed in 2021 and 2022, including onsite sampling and laboratory testing. Topsoil stripping depths were determined to ensure reclamation materials are properly salvaged and handled during early earthworks and construction. A vegetation assessment of the facility footprint was also completed in 2021 and Rimrock will implement mitigation measures for the facility to prevent the introduction and spread of weeds.
- Detailed desktop and onsite wildlife assessments were completed in 2021 and 2022 to verify potential for wildlife and wildlife habitat within the facility footprint and a surrounding 1 km buffer. A pre-disturbance wildlife and bird nesting sweep was also completed prior to start of early earthworks activities in 2022. Additional sweeps will be completed prior to future construction activities, in accordance with Provincial requirements.
- A series of groundwater monitoring wells were installed within the facility footprint in 2021 and 2022 to support facility design and to collect baseline information in support of regulatory applications. A groundwater monitoring program will be implemented for the facility, including the installation of a network of groundwater monitoring wells, to establish baseline conditions prior to operations and to monitor groundwater during operations.
- Detailed analyses are ongoing to support the development of a nutrient management plan in accordance with the Agricultural Operations Practices Act (AOPA) – including specific requirements for the land application of solid and liquid digestate in an efficient and environmentally responsible way.