Case Study

Case Study

Oil Sands Waste Management

Integrated Solutions Decreasing Costs and Liability

One of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies with an impressive benchmark of environmental performance looked to Tervita to provide an integrated waste management model across several of their oil sands operations. 
Timeframe: 2005–2013 (with on-going solutions) Location: Fort McMurray, Alberta Related Solutions: Waste Resources Related Industries: Oil and Gas

Oil Sands Waste Management

At one time or another, we all have challenges with our waste line. 

Our customer needed a waste management contractor able to embed itself into the site-wide service operation and provide waste management solutions in seamless alignment with the company’s pursuit of operational excellence. 

Our Customer's Challenge

Our customer looked to Tervita to solve a three-pronged waste management challenge:

  • Solid waste (landfill and hazardous waste) management: Segregation, sorting and landfill diversion tactics were required to deal with waste directly at the source. Leachate collection was a particular issue. Our customer had been using a vacuum back-up style truck to collect leachate, and at times the liquid level was proving unmanageable.
  • Ecopit (lined pit that consolidates fluid and sludge waste) : Our customer’s practice of transporting fluid and sludge waste by vacuum truck was costly and inefficient.
  • Lime sludge: Our customer had been managing this waste stream with lugger bins – a labour-intensive application whose manual processes presented personal safety risks.

Learn more about how Tervita helps the Oil & Gas industry

Tervita's Solution

Segregation & Waste Classification

Tervita employed hazardous waste bins, sorting containers and personnel to sort and organize solid waste directly at the source.

Transportation & Disposal

To remove solid waste leachate, Tervita used tanker trucks, whose higher capacity reduced leachate transportation costs by 60%. We also used tanker trucks to haul fluid waste from the ecopit. Their significant capacity advantage over vacuum trucks (30 vs 8 m3) reduced fluid handling costs by approximately 50% while reducing the carbon footprint of transporting waste to our salt cavern disposal facility in Lindberg.

Process & Safety Improvements

To transport lime sludge, Tervita used hooklift roll-off bins and a roll off truck. In addition to improving on-site safety by eliminating manual activities from the process, this approach eliminated the need for chain hooks and hoists. And by replacing 11 m3 lugger bin with 23 m3 roll-off bins, we significantly reduced the costs associated with lime sludge transport.

Additional waste management services

Construction, operation and management of on-site Class II landfill

Environmental construction projects including bentonite slurry walls and an ecology pit

Operation of on-site scrap steel yard and hazardous waste management facility

Management of production waste (evaporator blow-down water), sulphur, scrap wood and NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) Asset recovery programs.

  • Management of onsite hazardous and non hazardous land fill waste reducing costs by 60%

  • Proximity of Tervita facilities to oil and gas production resulted in 50% cost savings

  • Specialized bins adding 14 cubic yards per load and decreasing transportation costs

Our Proven Value

Our approach to handling solid waste leachate reduced leachate transportation costs by 60%.

Using tanker trucks to haul fluid waste from our customer’s ecopit reduced fluid handling costs by approximately 50% while reducing the carbon footprint of transporting waste.

Our sensible solution for transporting lime sludge improved on-site safety, eliminated the need for costly equipment and significantly reduced transport costs.


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.