Most substance releases from energy developments in Alberta—oil, oil sands, in situ, natural gas, pipeline, and coal projects—must be reported to us. This page includes release reporting information and requirements that companies must follow.
When a release occurs or has been discovered, companies are responsible for coordinating the response to manage, assess, and clean up the release in a timely manner. Learn about how we expect companies to respond on our Incident Response page.
Releases that meet certain criteria must be reported to us immediately. To report a release related to an energy development, please call our 24-hour Energy/Environmental Emergency and Operational Complaint Line at 1-800-222-6514. For information on when and how to report a complaint, refer to our File a Complaint page.
Rules to Follow
Our release reporting requirements are set out in the following acts, regulations, and rules:
- Oil and Gas Conservation Rules (sections 8.050, 8.051, and 8.190)
- Pipeline Act (section 35)
- Pipeline Rules (section 76)
- Oil Sands Conservation Rules (section 13)
- Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (sections 110, 111, and 112)
- Release Reporting Regulation (sections 3, 4)
What kinds of releases must be reported?
Some releases that must be reported to us immediately include the following:
- any leak or break from a pipeline;
- release of a substance that has caused, is causing, or may cause an adverse effect; (e.g., Tier 1 guideline concentrations in soil and groundwater are exceeded)
- release of a substance into a water body;
- release of a substance into a watercourse, groundwater, or surface water;
- release of oil, water, or unrefined product off site; and
- release of oil, water, or unrefined product exceeding 2 cubic metres on site, or has caused, is causing, or may cause an adverse effect.
- release of a substance in excess quantity identified in the schedule of the Release Reporting Regulation
For a list of reportable releases, and information about our reporting requirements, read our Release Reporting Requirements brochure. For guidance, see our Frequently Asked Questions document and, for pipeline incidents, the definitions document.
Companies that do not follow our reporting requirements may be subject to enforcement action.
Submit a Release Report
After notifying us about a release, companies must complete a release report to record the release type, volume, location, any adverse effects on the environment, and other information. Refer to tooltips within the form for guidance. Once completed, the report must be submitted to the AER operational area where the release occurred.
Duty to Take Remedial Measures
When a person (which includes energy companies) is responsible for a substance release into the environment that may have an adverse effect, they are responsible to assess the effects of the release and, if necessary, to clean it up. For more information, see our Remediation page, in particular the sections “Remediation Regulation Administration” and “Contamination Management Tools and Resources.”
Release Report: Surface Release During HDD for Pipeline Construction
This report must be completed by companies to notify us about non-emergency, low-impact releases from horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for pipeline construction. See Bulletin 2017-09: Reporting Non-Emergency Releases from Pipeline Horizontal Directional Drilling for reporting criteria and more information.
If you have questions about release reporting, please contact our Customer Contact Centre.