Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

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ENVIRONMENT and SAFETY

In the early days there was no concern re: the environment. Oil was "stored" in open pits around the country side. Wildlife, pets, even children fell in and were coated in oil (man made tar pits?). Undesirable ingredients were burned off. e.g. light oil skim on top of heavy crude pit at Lloydminster refinery burned off. Big cloud of thick black smoke every day except Monday which was avoided due to it being wash day when clothes were hung on external lines to be dried. Wash Day in Lloydminster (in the old days)

Our first environmental controversy happened when a new manager from out of town ordered the pit burned off one Monday morning, coating everyone's laundry with oil smoke film

It was a long slow struggle to raise consciousness regarding worker safety. Most safety regulations were resisted initially: for example, no smoking around highly flammable materials, wearing hard hats, wearing safety shoes, wearing breathing apparatus, avoiding handling materials with bare hands, etc.

Now, there is a high degree of concern for safety and environment. Extensive berming of well sites, emergency response teams in place re. leaks and spills, and directional drilling which combines several wellheads at one site, rather than perhaps a dozen wells sprinkled across the topography, each with their own well site.