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Environmental leadership at EPCO​​R

We empower our people to be leaders on environmen​t and public health by anticipating the future direction of regulation and legislation, being early adopters of technologies and improved operating practices, and acting as trusted advisors to policy makers.​​

​This culture of environmental leadership has led to EPCOR being recognized as: one of Canada’s Best 50 Corporate Citizens, an EnviroVista champion-level operator in Alberta, one of America’s Utilities of the Future Today, and a Canada’s Clean50 award winner for environmental sustainability.

EPCOR’s leadership is underpinned by its Health, Safety and Environment Policy​, which commits the company to “preventing pollution and reducing our environmental impacts, including those contributing to climate change and affecting the ecosystems in which we operate.” 

This commitment is backed by disciplined day-to-day operations, with most of EPCOR’s Canadian operations holding third-party ISO 14001:2015 certification for their environmental management systems. Through its Enterprise Risk Management program, the company identifies, manages and monitors business risks that could significantly impact day-to-day operations or its ability to achieve its long-term plans.

Scorecard at a ​​glance

Our performance measures, data and targets speak to the importance we place on protecting the environment. We have innovative programs and initiatives underway that are helping to reduce our environmental footprint, protect critical infrastructure and support community resiliency and sustainability. We seek to exceed the minimum requirements for our industry, and are always looking for innovative ways to improve our approach.

​Net g​reenhouse ​​gas emissions​ (tCO2e)

​215,651 tonnes

​EPCOR owned and leased, company-wide Scope 1 and 2 emissions net of offsets (tC02e)

​2020
204,​​​533 tonnes​1
2021​ 215,6​​51 tonnes​


Target: 50% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, 85% by 2035, and net zero by 2050, compared to baseline 2020 emissions.

The expansion of our operational footprint in the U.S. and growing community demands resulted in an overall 5% increase in emissions year over year.

Climate mitigation: Our pathway to net zero

P​​rotect river water quality

​4​​2,216 kilograms/day

Annual discharges of suspended solids into the North Saskatchewan River from land drainage, wastewater treatment operations and combined sewer overflows (kg/day)

​2017
37,092 kg/day​
​2018
​28,797 kg/day
​2019
​39,688 kg/day
​2020
42,216 kg/day​​2

Performance measure: annual discharges of total suspended solids into the North Saskatchewan River from land drainage, wastewater treatment operations and combined sewer overflows.

The increase of 2,528 kg/day over the 2019 total of 39,688 kg/day is due to a particularly wet year in 2020, with additional and heavy rainfall translating​ into higher loads, however the annual load was within the range seen in the past decade. ​

Our work to protect river water quality

Implementation of Edmonton flood resilience upgrades

Protect utility assets and critical infrastructure from river flooding to at least a 1:200-year flood event (percentage implemented)​

Implementation of Edmonton flood resilience upgrades

11%

Protect utility assets and critical infrastructure from river flooding to at least a 1:200-year flood event (percentage implemented)

​​​2018
​Initiated
​2019
1%​
2020​​4%
​2021
​11%

Target: complete asset protection and relocation, and backflow prevention, by 2023; and complete 100% of embankments by December 2027.

Limi​​t water loss

6.2% 

​Limit the percentage of treated water lost due to transmission and distribution line leaks and failures, and inaccurate meters (U.S. and Canada combined).

​​​2017
6.0%​
2018​
​​6.5%
​2019
6.1%​
​2020
6.2%​

Performance data only, with reporting lagging by one year.

W​​astewater reuse (USA)

94​.​4% 

Percentage of treated effluent reused or used to recharge aquifiers

​​​2017
​92.4%
​2018
95.7%​
2019​96.7%​
​2020
94.4%​
​2021
Not reported​

Target: 90% beneficial reuse and/or recharge of treated effluent by existing U.S. operations and a commitment to set targets for each new, expanded or acquired U.S. wastewater operation in arid regions.

Our wastewater reuse efforts
in the U.S.​
​​


​​1 EPCOR's 2020 baseline emissions have been revised to 204,552 tCO2eq from the 193,402 tCO2eq reported in August 2021. The revision is due to refinements to the standards for calculating N2O emissions from wastewater treatment, and the documentation of additional contributions from operations in Ontario and British Columbia.​​

​Behind the numbers: scorecard in co​​ntext

Our environmental scorecard:

​Affirms the need for urgent climate action, reporting on EPCOR’s achievement of its greenhouse gas reduction targets and the company’s accelerated pathway to net zero

Sustains the company’s leading role in watershed protection, reporting on multi-utility strategies to reduce total loading to the North Saskatchewan River​

​Protects the integrity of utility operations, reporting on the implementation of flood resilience upgrades to protect water and electricity utility assets and the integrity of water distribution and transmission systems

Supports community sustainability and health, reporting on efforts to recharge desert aquifers with treated wastewater, monitor and protect source water in the North Saskatchewan River basin, and implement the lead mitigation strategy in Edmonton

 

Environment and climate change at EPCOR

At EPCOR, we're minimizing our own environmental footprint, reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and enforcing an enterprise-wide Integrated Health, Safety & Environment Management System. These actions, and many others are outlined in our environment and climate change strategy, our climate mitigation plan, and our environment management foundations information.

Our commitment to the environment

 

​Our commitment in action

From protecting our water to investing in green energy, our environment and climate change strategy is supported by real actions that are making a measurable difference in protecting our environment. We’re building stronger infrastructure and communities, and we’re doing it in a way that positively impacts the environment and address climate change.

See the operational projects that demonstrate
our environmental commitment​

Featured stories

Water is a life-sustaining resource. We understand measures must be taken now to protect our water supplies in Canada and the United States. And we're doing this in an environmentally-friendly way.

Full circle

From heat-producing biogas and golf course hydration, to nutrients for farmers' fields - for EPCOR, wastewater is never wasted water.

Upping the cre​ek

Less than a decade ago, Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle River watershed was in trouble. EPCOR's public-private partnership with the City of Regina turned things around thanks to innovative wastewater technology.

Content here

The North Saskatchewan​ River and climate change​

Our job is to collaboratively manage and protect the North Saskatchewan River for the more than 1 million people in 70 communities who rely on its water. To protect our water supply, we need to protect the environment and take action on climate change.

Read how we protect the North Saskatchewan River

Securing water supplies in the desert southwest

Climate change and a declining Colorado River threatens the water supply in the southwestern United States. EPCOR partnerships, as well as solutions to safely reuse water, protect the water supply, and provide safe water for communities.

Learn more about our water reclamation initiatives

Content here

​Environmental outlook: opportunities for continuous improvement

EPCOR has set an ambitious pace for carbon reduction. While projects already underway will be sufficient to reach the first target (a 50% reduction by 2025), substantial work remains to develop the pathway to the second milestone (an 85% reduction by 2035) and to our ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2050. EPCOR expects to detail its progress on those plans in future reports.

EPCOR's greenhouse gas reporting and strategies are focused on the company's Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from EPCOR-owned operations. The company also operates facilities owned by others and retains contractors to perform substantial volumes of construction and maintenance work. While emissions from these sources are beyond the scope of this report, EPCOR is committed to advising and supporting its client communities and project partners on how to implement their own climate mitigation and adaptation projects and to encouraging emission reduction activities by contractors.

EPCOR's program for community flood mitigation in Edmonton is the company's largest activity under the “community resilience" theme of its environment and climate change strategy. The next wave of funding to implement EPCOR's flood mitigation program is being proposed to regulators in 2021 through Edmonton's Performance Based Regulation (PBR) process. Once confirmed, EPCOR will set additional implementation targets. The company will report progress externally through the annual PBR reporting process, and it expects to include implementation targets in future ESG Scorecards.

EPCOR's ability to implement climate mitigation and adaptation investments is, in most cases, subject to approval by regulators and dependent on supportive policy frameworks. The company also seeks grant funding from multiple orders of government to reduce the burden on ratepayers. The company continues to advise policymakers and regulators on the development of frameworks that will facilitate the investments needed to reduce the environmental footprint of its operations, improve the resilience of utility infrastructure, and help communities and customers reduce their own environmental footprint and increase their resilience.​​