Case Study

Case Study

2013 Alberta Flood Recovery

Rapid Emergency Response When Needed Most

Timeframe: June 2013 – ongoing Location: Calgary and High River, AB Related Solutions: Earth Water Waste Related Industries: Industrial

2013 Alberta Flood Recovery

Whether it's hell or high water, it's amazing what you can reduce with a little help. 

After the June 2013 floods that devastated Calgary, High River and many other communities across southern Alberta, Tervita sprang immediately to action. Applying our expertise in large-scale project management and integrated waste disposal on the fly, we helped Calgary get out from under water and we’re continuing to get the Town of High River back on its feet. 

Our Challenge

Heavy rainfall over the days leading up to June 20, 2013, triggered catastrophic flooding that the Government of Alberta declared to be the worst in the province’s history. 

Calgary’s downtown core was among 26 city neighbourhoods under mandatory evacuation orders. Among the widespread damage the city experience, countless multi-storey underground parkades filled completely with water; the Scotiabank Saddledome filled with flood water to the tenth row of the lower seating bowl; and the foundation of the Bonnybrook Bridge in Calgary was eroded to a critical level. 

In High River meanwhile, 13,000 residents received orders to evacuate on June 20 and the town was largely abandoned within three days as the town suffered unprecedented damage. Immediate clean-up and recovery assistance were paramount.

Tervita Solution

Planning & Program Development

The Alberta disaster unfolded quickly, and it demanded a response that was equally swift. Planning therefore amounted to quickly assessing damage and responding to priorities identified by authorities. In some cases, we had to execute within 48 hours without a contract and without time for design or procurement – a complete reversal of the typical environmental project process. 

Rapid Response

In Calgary, we quickly established an emergency command centre as our downtown office building had no access or electricity and was partially under water. Within 72 hours after the start of flooding, Tervita had mobilized 100+ employees, 100+ contractors and 100+ pieces of crucial equipment from across the country. 

Disaster Recovery

In High River, our front-running objective was to clear the town of floodwater and debris, initiate any measures immediately necessary to return municipal health and safety sites to their pre-flood state, and create a safer environment in the near-term for the town and those assisting in the recovery efforts. 

Flooding in Downtown Calgary

Cleanup Efforts

Our Proven Value

In High River:

  • Cleared flood-deposited silt and debris from more than 45 kilometres of storm sewers

  • Removed more than 60,000 m3 of rock and flood debris from the Highwood River to improve the flow and mitigate future flood risk and damage

  • Removed more than 600 metres of rails, ties and related railway infrastructure damaged by the floods

  • Prepared land for the temporary Centre Street business park

In Calgary:

  • Mobilized 100+ employees, 100+ contractors and 100+ pieces of crucial equipment within 72 hours

  • Removed and safely disposed of more than 450,000 kg of demolition waste, debris and sludge

  • General Contractor with responsibility for over 400 subcontractors to manage clean-up and remediation of over 40 buildings on Stampede Park

  • Pumped out the equivalent of over 207 Olympic swimming pools of water 


With a relentless focus on safety, efficiency and total compliance, our earth, water, waste and resource solutions deliver meaningful results from the outset to the end of every project. Applying our specialized expertise in the oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors, we minimize the impacts of your business while we maximize your resource recovery, corporate reputation and bottom line.