OF THIS ENVIRONMENTAL
guideline was developed by a sub-committee of the Practice Standards
Committee at the request of APEGGA Council. The development process,
which has included public and member consultation, has taken
place over two years. The expectation is that the guideline will
evolve over time,. not only because standards for environmental
practice are changing, but because legislation and public expectations
are also changing,
intent of the guideline is to educate, provide guidance, and
to encourage members and permit-holders to be pro-active in the
protection and stewardship of the environment.
vision is to be the focal organization which is the recognized
leader of the engineering, geology and geophysics professions
involved in the application of science and technology for the
benefit of society within Alberta.
APEGGA MEMBERS DO
members have a wide diversity of occupations and responsibilities.
Many are involved in different types of economic development
which should occur in a cost effective and environmentally responsible
manner. APEGGA members explore natural resources and design cost-effective
ways of developing them. They also work to develop projects and
public infrastructure, to keep existing facilities operating
effectively and to improve those that need it. Responsible environmental
management is an inherent part of performing those duties.
APEGGA MEMBERS WORK
members work as employees, employers, and consultants. They frequently
work as a team where they are involved with other specialists.
An individual member may or may not have control of, or be solely
responsible, for a particular project. As part of that project
team, an APEGGA member should strive to influence the work in
an environmentally responsible direction.
members are expected to exercise due diligence in the execution
of their work. That expectation includes practicing in accordance
with the APEGGA Code
of Ethics, provincial and federal law, restricting practice
to areas of personal expertise and practicing in accordance with
OF APEGGA MEMBERS
members are those individuals who have fulfilled the requirements
(both academic and experience) in order to become a professional
engineer, geologist or geophysicist. In Alberta, organizations
that offer professional services by APEGGA members are required
to have an APEGGA Permit to Practice. The Permit to Practice
establishes working conditions that are conducive to professional
practice. The Permit to Practice is not a vehicle for managing
business aspects of the company.
management of APEGGA professionals may or may not involve other
APEGGA members. Where management involves non-APEGGA professionals,
and especially when the work team involves non-APEGGA members,
the APEGGA member will seek to influence the direction of the
work. APEGGA members will expect to be supported in environmentally
responsible decisions by management and team members, as they
too, have a societal responsibility for wise stewardship of the
#l Understanding of Environmental Issues
#2 Employment of Specialists
#3 Professional Judgment
#4 Environmental Planning & Management
#5 Environmental Costs
#6 Waste Minimization
#7 Cooperation with Public Authorities
#8 Compliance with Legislation
#9 Sharing Knowledge with Others
APEGGA Guideline on Environmental Practice has been prepared
to complement the existing Code
of Ethics . The formulation of this guideline recognizes
the prominent role of APEGGA, whose members are not only concerned
with development projects and their maintenance, but also with
a wide variety of environmental management responsibilities.
degradation is recognized as a risk to public welfare, and in
response members of society are being urged to protect, preserve
and enhance the quality of the environment. The long term objectives
are to sustain the viability of our ecosystems, and to ensure
that the well-being of future generations is not compromised
by our activities today.
recognize that stewardship of the environment is a responsibility
of all citizens, and the public expects and has a rightful role
in setting goals for environmental management, even though public
expectations are evolving and vary widely.
recognizes the need for continuing development for the benefit
of society. A balanced rather than extreme approach will be most
likely to create development that will meet the needs of society.
Integrating fundamental environmental sustainability with economic
considerations will require members to be innovative and creative
in their planning and design. In its broader context, this will
require that members take a more holistic view of their role
in shaping the future, by not only being innovative, but by showing
to others how these innovations advance the interests of:
public safety, health and welfare
- the environment
- risk minimization and management
- social and cultural values.
the term "members" is used throughout the text, this
guideline is directed to individual professionals and to permit
holders. Permit-holders are required to apply member expertise
to key decisions. Members are encouraged to avail themselves
of opportunities to participate in the decision-making process.
work is often best accomplished by a multi-disciplinary team.
Due diligence requires that all reasonable steps are taken to
ensure that the team comprises the necessary expertise and that
this expertise is appropriately applied.
substantial body of legislation setting out environmental requirements
has existed for some time, and much of this can be found in the
Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Alberta Environmental
Protection and Enhancement Act. Environmental regulations and
standards are evolving. In some aspects regulations from various
jurisdictions overlap in a complex and sometimes contradictory
manner. To cope with these complexities, APEGGA members will
have to take extra measures to be regularly informed on local,
provincial and national trends in environmental regulations.
As well, it will be useful for members to maintain awareness
of emerging international protocols and agreements, even though
these may not have legal status in Canada or Alberta.
philosophy of this guideline is to encourage environmental plans
that anticipate and prevent, rather than react and mitigate.
In that spirit it would be prudent for members to strive to inform,
advise and counsel the employer, client or owner as to the implications
of possible changes in standards and expectations.
guideline is intended to be universally applied regardless of
the scale of undertaking. Certain projects will require a full
environmental impact assessment; other projects will simply require
thought and planning to minimize environmental disruption, even
if that disruption appears to be very minor.
engineers, geologists, and geophysicists are committed to environmental
protection and safeguarding the well-being of the public.
Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists;
Shall develop and maintain a reasonable level of understanding
of environmental issues related to their field of expertise.
use appropriate expertise of specialists in areas where the member's
knowledge alone is not adequate to address environmental issues.
Shall apply professional and responsible judgment in their environmental
Shall ensure that environmental planning and management is integrated
into all their activities which are likely to have adverse environmental
Shall include the costs of environmental protection and/ or remediation
among the essential factors used for evaluating the life-cycle
economic viability of projects for which they are responsible.
recognize the value of waste minimization, and endeavour to implement
the elimination and/or reduction of waste at the production source.
cooperate with public authorities in an open manner, and strive
to respond to environmental concerns in a timely fashion.
Shall comply with legislation, and when the benefits to society
justify the costs, encourage additional environmental protection.
Are encouraged to work actively with others to improve environmental
understanding and practices.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall develop and maintain
a reasonable level of understanding of environmental issues
related to their field of expertise.
They shall recognize the general extent to which their professional
activities can affect the environment.
They shall stay generally informed of the major environmental
issues facing society so that they may broadly judge the potential
interaction of their professional activities with those issues.
They must not rely on being unaware of environmental problems
to justify activities leading to significant impairment of the
the viability of our environment is a broad responsibility of
all citizens. Likewise, our society must seek to reconcile these
environmental needs with our need for responsible development.
Members should take an active cooperative role to assist society
to meet these challenges. This could apply even though the individual
professional activities of some members may primarily involve
expertise that is apparently unrelated to environmental matters.
Members are responsible for maintaining their knowledge in many
other areas having a bearing on the quality and impact of their
work. As society has developed an increased awareness of the
degree to which development activities can affect the environment,
so the members involved in designing and implementing developments
must maintain a reasonable level of understanding of those environmental
concerns, and the possible significant impacts of their professional
activities on the environment.
foregoing responsibility does not imply that every individual
member can or should be an environmental specialist. As with
any other specialization, there will be degrees of environmental
expertise that will be appropriate for specific circumstances.
The general obligation is to possess sufficient knowledge of
relevant environmental issues to be able to competently judge
the degree of need for specialist assistance. Given the normal
technical responsibilities of members, society may expect them
to anticipate and understand environmental problems.
concern for environmental protection is also being reflected
in new environmental legislation that can place responsibility
for environmental impairment on any individual. In such cases,
a defence for the individual may have to rely upon demonstrating
due diligence, the premise that the individual took all reasonable
measures to prevent the offence. The basis for judging these
measures for a member should be determined by comparison with
good current practice among peers and by compliance with the
requirements of any legislation, approval or order relating to
the project in which the member is involved. If the accused individual
was in a position where he or she should have been aware of environmental
problems, or of the process and protocols by which environmental
problems were to be detected, being unaware or taking no steps
to ensure that the process and protocols were effective would
not assist a due diligence defence. Furthermore, in recent Canadian
environmental legislation, an individual can be deemed to be
a party to an offence if the individual acquiesced in the commission
of the offence.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall use appropriate
expertise of specialists in areas where the member's knowledge
alone is not adequate to address environmental issues.
They shall recognize that environmental issues are interdisciplinary
in nature, requiring the expertise of a range of disciplines.
They shall undertake only that aspect of environmental work that
they are competent to perform by virtue of training and experience.
They shall seek out and use environmental specialists to provide
expert advice on complex environmental issues.
the practice of environmental science requires the integration
of diverse disciplines and philosophies, many projects will require
a team of appropriate specialists to address complex environmental
issues. As Rule 2 of the APEGGA Code of Ethics states, members
shall undertake only work that they are competent to perform
by virtue of training and experience. Integrated decision-making
by knowledgeable specialists is required in environmental issues.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall apply professional
and responsible judgment in their environmental considerations.
They should strive to ensure that the environmental assessment
process begins at the earliest planning stages of an initiative
and provides the basis for project life-cycle environmental management.
They should develop a structured set of criteria which reflect
standards relating to sustainability or carrying capacity and
in accordance with scientific research and experience, with respect
to projects or initiatives which they are planning or designing.
They should recognize the value of multi-disciplinary involvement
and public consultation and participation in the decision making
process for projects having environmental impact.
They should strive to identify and promote cost-efficient solutions
and approaches in integrating environmental and economic considerations
which reflect the concepts of sustainable development and conservation.
They should recognize the importance of social and economic values
in the environmental assessment process and the potential need
for local, neighbourhood, traditional and cultural criteria.
should bring the same structured problem solving approach to
the environmental review process as they do in engineering design,
where known criteria, standards and procedures are applied in
the planning, design development and life-cycle assessment process.
recognition of specialist responsibility in this area is paramount.
The member must be vigilant in selecting a process or assembling
a team to apply sufficient and appropriate knowledge to the proposed
similar concern is the need for members to recognize societal
values applicable to the social and economic impacts of developments.
Local and neighbourhood concerns, quality of life, specific impact
concerns (e.g. visual, sound, odour), along with traditional
and cultural values, have all gained acceptance as applicable
and definable criteria that many jurisdictions are now interpreting
there is a need to take initiative in the application of cost
benefit and other analysis tools, and the evaluation of alternative
designs for integrating the viability of projects with the concepts
of sustainable development. Members are encouraged to bring expertise
and a comprehensive approach to problem solving, in terms of
optimizing the returns to society at large.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall ensure that environmental
planning and management is integrated into all their activities
which are likely to have adverse environmental impact.
They shall seek adverse impact prevention as the preferred option,
followed by mitigation.
They shall acknowledge that projects undertaken by members are
likely to have some impact on the environment.
They shall identify the possible environmental impacts of all
substantial aspects of a project (e.g. design, construction,
operation and decommissioning), using the "cradle to grave" approach.
They are encouraged, in assessing project alternatives, to seek
opportunities not only to protect, but to enhance the environment.
They should integrate considerations of environmental impact
into the planning stages of a project to ensure that they are
addressed cost-effectively, by proposing preventive measures
during project planning, rather than reactive measures after
may be able to cost-effectively manage and minimize environmental
risks by using organized procedures for the identification of
must recognize that societal expectations and demands for environmental
protection are such that if environmental impact prevention and
mitigation is not inherent in the initial project development,
it will likely be required subsequently, probably at much higher
cost and after public debate.
every aspect of a project can have either direct or indirect
environmental impacts, both positive and negative. Project siting,
design, construction, operations, maintenance, decommissioning
and reclamation all have environmental consequences which must
be considered early in project evaluation. To effectively address
such environmental issues requires a systematic evaluation procedure.
Developing effective prevention or mitigation strategies requires
integrated project planning. Members are encouraged to see that
such evaluation procedures are in place and are followed so that
effective environmental protection strategies are an integral
part of their activities. The professional, as well as the project
proponent, has a responsibility to consider environmental impact
prevention and mitigation as a part of doing business.
projects also present an opportunity to consider planning and
design alternatives that may actually enhance the environment
by having a positive impact. An example of such an opportunity
would be during the planning of a bridge near a fish stream,
where the natural stream could be improved for fish habitat by
using selected excavated material such as large boulders to enhance
hydraulic conditions, rather than simply discarding waste materials
at landfills or quarries.
of the full scope of environmental costs at the earliest possible
stage of project development will often provide considerable
cost savings, as compared with retrofitting or remedial actions.
Consequently, the interests of the project proponent, as well
as those of society, can best be served by recognition of the
environmental impacts of a project during the planning stages.
Likewise, the risks posed by hazardous circumstances associated
with a project may often be most cost-effectively remedied by
early recognition of such circumstances, through the use of formalized
hazard identification protocols.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall include the costs
of environmental protection and/or remediation among the essential
factors used for evaluating the life-cycle economic viability
of projects for which they are responsible.
They shall acknowledge the reliance placed by ultimate decision-makers
upon their role in determining technical feasibility and providing
the technical basis for evaluating economic viability of projects.
They shall recognize that economic viability is always critical
to the judgment of the ultimate decision-makers concerned with
the fate of any project.
They shall consider that environmental protection is an integral
part of project development.
They shall recognize that if environmental protection or remediation
costs are ignored or unreasonably transferred to others, projects
that damage the environment may appear more economically viable
than if the full environmental costs were included in the evaluation.
usually must provide the technical detail that will form the
basis for costing developments, even if the overall decisions
about proceeding with a development are the responsibility of
others. Project costing must now routinely consider the full,
lifecycle costs, from project conception to final decommissioning.
If the technical detail for the project life cycle fails to consider
the full scope of environmental costs, then project decision
makers may reach an invalid decision about the true economic
viability of a project. These environmental costs may include:
prevention, mitigation or compensation for adverse effects, operational
and long term monitoring, inspection and maintenance and decommissioning
and reclamation costs. Although it was once common to externalize
some or most of these costs, current awareness and resulting
legislation are requiring that environmental costs be assigned
to project proponents. Consequently, members need to advise responsible
parties of these obligations.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall recognize the
value of waste minimization, and endeavour to implement the
elimination and/or reduction of waste at the production source.
They should consider waste elimination as a key factor when selecting
processes and design options. Waste includes gaseous, liquid,
and solid materials.
They should identify the sources, types and quantities of wastes
at the facility under their care or charge, and where feasible,
make the necessary changes to eliminate or reduce the generation
They should minimize the quantity of waste through techniques
such as recovery, recycling, reduction and reuse when waste generation
cannot be eliminated.
They shall comply with all relevant legislation, approvals and
orders relating to the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous
wastes. In addition, even where not required by legislation,
approvals or orders, they should arrange to destroy or treat
hazardous wastes to render them non-hazardous. If this is not
possible, hazardous wastes shall be contained in a secure manner,
and monitored as long as necessary to ensure that the environmental
danger is minimized.
management has, in the past, often focused on safe waste disposal.
A change in this focus is required. Members must understand the
need to avoid or minimize the production of waste materials and
to understand the regulation, technology and impact of waste
materials on the public, and on the biophysical environment.
engineering, application of modern technology, and innovative
design approaches are required to eliminate or reduce waste generation
at source. When the generation of waste cannot be eliminated,
it must be managed as part of the whole process and rendered
harmless. In some cases, it is not possible to detoxify wastes,
particularly some radioactive wastes. These wastes must be contained,
stored securely and monitored to ensure that no leakage is occurring.
Storage sites must be accurately documented and mapped. In the
event of problems developing at sites under their care, members
shall cooperate with public authorities to clean up these sites.
and reducing waste is cost effective, in most cases. Proper waste
management alleviates the problems of high treatment and disposal
costs, transportation and disposal restrictions, loss of product
for sale, licensing difficulties, retrofitting requirements and
long term liability. In addition, some wastes are valuable as
feedstocks, thereby creating business opportunities.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall cooperate with
public authorities in an open manner, and strive to respond
to environmental concerns in a timely fashion.
They shall immediately advise their employer and/or client of
any concern they may have about potentially harmful environmental
impacts discovered in the course of any assignments they are
They shall not divulge any information of a confidential nature
to public authorities unless required by relevant legislation,
approvals or orders to do so, and then only to the extent required
by such legislation, approvals or orders or pursuant to Rule
6 of the Code of Ethics. Where any confidential information is
disclosed to public authorities, the members shall ensure that
their employers and clients are advised of such disclosure as
soon as practicable.
They shall not intentionally avoid disclosure of, or misrepresent,
information concerning environmental impacts to regulatory authorities.
They shall make public regulatory authorities aware of all environmental
impacts of any assignment they are involved in, through the normal
regulatory review and approval process.
They shall ensure that appropriate action or notification of
proper authorities occurs in any instance where they believe
that public safety or the environment is endangered, or where
required by relevant legislation, approvals or orders.
must understand their role and obligations with respect to the
role of the regulatory authorities relative to protection of
the environment. In dealing with employers, clients and public
regulatory authorities, professionals shall not intentionally
withhold information they have about environmental impacts of
any assignment they may be working on. All information of a confidential
nature shall be handled in a manner such that the confidentiality
can be maintained to the maximum degree possible, while at the
same time making the regulatory authorities or review agencies
aware of the impact. Refer to legislated reporting requirements
and to Rule 6 of the Code of Ethics.
disclosing information about environmental impacts, professionals
should communicate the information through normal channels and
lines of responsibility. Where, in the opinion of the professional,
the withholding of confidential information poses a potential
threat to the environment, he or she should make reasonable effort
to contact responsible parties before disclosure of the information
to the proper regulatory authority. However, professionals must
recognize their individual responsibilities for reporting releases
and for environmental protection in accordance with legislated
reporting requirements and Rule 1 of the Code of Ethics.
are encouraged to seek a second professional or specialist opinion
as to the technical validity of their conclusions whenever possible,
when there appears to be a difference of opinion with the other
responsible parties regarding environmental impacts.
members become aware of public concerns relative to an assignment
they may be involved in, the nature of the concern should be
investigated in a timely manner. Once they have determined the
validity of the concern they should promptly communicate the
information through the normal lines of responsibility.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists shall comply with legislation,
and when the benefits to society justify the costs, encourage
additional environmental protection.
They shall develop and maintain current knowledge and understanding
of legislation, regulations, approvals, codes and guidelines;
their purposes and limitations, and shall ensure that these requirements
are applied both on a procedural and substantive basis.
They should ensure that proper documentation of adherence to
environmental procedures, protocols and regulations be maintained,
and that relevant information be provided to regulatory agencies
in a timely fashion.
They shall have regard for both the reality and the trend of
environmental legislation to assign personal responsibility for
both action and omission. They shall reflect this reality in
their professional duties accordingly as it relates to themselves,
their employer, colleagues and clients.
They are encouraged to take into account evidence of cumulative,
persistent and synergistic effects, where these may not be fully
considered in standards or regulations.
are responsible for knowledge and awareness of environmental
laws and regulations, either directly or through the retention
of appropriate expertise.
diligence is required in the conduct of professional duties to
ensure that everything reasonable is done to comply with environmental
requirements. This implies an understanding of environmental
policy and appropriate behaviour, including the obligation to
establish and maintain clear lines of management responsibility,
and the maintenance of technical excellence. Environmental audits
are one effective means for accomplishing these objectives.
should know and understand that current legislation may hold
them personally responsible or liable for offenses, omissions,
or acquiesence. Due diligence is a moving standard which will
be more clearly defined by the Courts with the passage of time.
In this regard, professionals have an obligation to their colleagues,
employers, client and regulatory authorities, for a well documented
and comprehensive approach to problem solving where environmental
concerns are involved.
engineers, geologists and geophysicists are encouraged to work
actively with others to improve environmental understanding
They shall recognize the potential of their activities and membership
to influence society.
They shall recognize the value of early involvement and action
They are encouraged to share their expertise and educate other
members, governments and the public on environmental issues.
They are encouraged to interact with other disciplines to bring
theoretical and technological research into applied practice.
practice of engineering, geology and geophysics continuously
improves due to technological advances, innovation and design
changes. Parallel to this, environmental consequences need to
be addressed. This is central to the concept of sustainable development.
Thus, continuous attention also needs to be given to environmental
understanding and practices.
are encouraged to be actively involved with environmental issues.
They should go beyond merely facilitating improvements. By being
actively involved, they may anticipate and prevent, rather than
react and mitigate.
are uniquely poised between the two extremes of absolute preservation
and unfettered development. Education is crucial: firstly, for
members so that they will say "no" when "no" needs
to be said; secondly, to be participants of bodies constituted
to formulate environmental laws and their enforcement; and thirdly,
for the public so that they see members as true stewards who
have viable, knowledge-based solutions.
deal with environmental issues. Research is one means to improve
designs, procedures and technologies. The solution to complex
long-term problems requires the participation of industry, governments
and academia. Members are encouraged to interact with others
to translate from theoretical research into applied practice.
to accept or comply passively, without question or objection.
an impact that impairs the quality of the environment such that:
existing ecosystems are substantially degraded or their ability
to sustain themselves is substantially impaired.
human health or safety or property is compromised or impaired.
future development possibilities are lost.
access to, and enjoyment of, the environment is diminished or
the planned management of a natural resource to prevent harmful
exploitation, destruction or neglect, with the object
of preserving or maintaining the viability of the resource
for future generations.
an economic analysis method that seeks to express the costs of
an activity, in comparison to the benefits, using common units,
to aid decision-making. The analysis would normally include capital,
operating maintenance, decommissioning, social and environmental
the entire life cycle of a chemical, product, development or
activity that must be considered when estimating its true cost/benefit.
individual impacts that are incremental and additive such that
they must be considered collectively and over time, in order
for a true measure of the impact and associated environmental
costs of an activity to be assessed.
the attention and care legally expected of a party to prevent
or avoid a particular negative occurrence. The steps or precautions
that are likely to be judged reasonable will vary from circumstance
to circumstance, but, generally, the greater the likelihood and/or
consequences of a negative occurrence, the greater the care that
is expected. An important element of due diligence is being able
to document that reasonable care has been exercised.
the interactive system involving all of the organisms in a specified
area, their interactions with each other, energy and material
flows and the components of air, land and water.
the components of the earth and includes:
air, land and water
all layers of the atmosphere
all organic and inorganic matter and living organism, and
the interacting natural systems that include components referred
in subclauses (i) and (iii).
a systematic, documented, objective review of the manner in which
environmental aspects of a program, project, facility or corporation
are being managed.
damage, harm or loss to the environment.
an individual qualified with training, knowledge and experience
in a field or discipline of science dealing with the environment.
category of wastes requiring special handling, treatment or disposal
as specified in currently applicable regulations.
assessing the environmental impacts of a development, product
or activity from its inception, implementation and operation
through to termination or decommissioning, and eliminating or
minimizing the adverse impacts through good management.
the economics of an activity assessed in the context of life-cycle
members, both individuals and permit-holders.
measures or actions taken to reduce the adverse impacts of developments,
products or activities on the environment.
that a compound or substance is resistant to degradation processes,
and has the potential to accumulate in the environment and exert
long term environmental impacts.
factors related to the state of health and well-being of an individual
or a community.
the process of correcting or counteracting an adverse circumstance
or event to create more favourable conditions.
the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and expectations generally
held in common in a society at a particular time.
the impacts of a development, product or activity on the economy
and social structure of affected communities. Socio-economic
impacts may include issues such as: employment, housing and social
needs, medical services, recreational facilities, transportation
and municipal infrastructure and financial benefits, to local
residents and businesses.
development that meets the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, through
the application of integrated planning and the combination of
environmental and economic decision-making processes.
the total effect caused by the combined action of two or more
discrete agents that is greater than the sum of the effects of
each agent taken independently.
additions to or alterations of the existing landscape and horizons
that are visible to, and create reaction, among the public.
a material or substance that is unwanted by its generator, and
without proper management represents a risk to the environment.