Gran Tierra’s Waste Management Plan (WMP) recognizes the Company’s responsibility to manage wastes properly. Waste is handled independently, according to the type (contaminated, organic, unusable or recyclable), through a process of separation at source.
One of the goals of internal management is always to reduce at the source the different waste generated by the operation and ensure as far as possible that the greatest amount of waste generated be reusable. Two examples of the reuse of waste are:
- In all GTE oil fields organic waste is composted. The compost is then used to fertilize gardens and to stabilize slope areas occupied by a project team.
- Plastic generated by operations is sent to a plastic recycling plant through a cooperative agreement that allows for more than 80% of the plastic to be transformed into products such as plastic wood posts, plastic wood planks, hoses and dustpans.
For waste that cannot be reused or recycled, the Company’s overall approach is to utilize capable third-party facilities, while minimizing volumes sent to sanitary landfills. It is taking steps to lower the volume of wastes to the extent possible and to recycle or reuse waste in cooperation with local communities when possible.
GTE has established a procedure for selecting waste management companies with the best environmental performance records in the region. This process requires a legal review of the company, internal and external audits and a review of their relationships with the environmental authorities and with the neighbors of their facilities.
As part of the Company’s environmental management system, it has implemented a recycling program titled the Ecobottles project, to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated at its fields. The Ecobottles project, is one of GTE’s environmental campaigns that provides an alternative outcome in its operations, in line with the Company’s environmental objectives, which seek to reduce waste and reduce our environmental footprint in our activities.
Throughout 2021, over 348lbs (199kg) of plastic bottles were collected and delivered to a local company that works with recycling providers to manage and recycle the collected items responsibly and turn them into raw material to produce textile filbres and recycled plastic to reproduce new bottles.
Additionally, Gran Tierra has purchased thermoses and reusable water bottles that are made from reusable material, reducing single-use plastic water bottle purchases by nearly 90% in its operations. Through this project, Gran Tierra will reduce its CO2 emissions by significantly decreasing single-use plastic purchasing, which will contribute to reducing 4.5 tonnes of CO2 per year*.
Treating Production Waste Naturally
Bioremediation is the use of microorganisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants into less toxic or non-toxic substances. At the Los Angeles oil field in the Middle Magdalena Valley, Gran Tierra uses bioremediation to help dispose of production waste from the Los Angeles and Acordionero fields.
The waste is in the form of sludge resulting from development and maintenance activity such as cleaning storage tanks, wastewater treatment and anything that has come into contact with oils and certain chemicals. All incoming sludge is tested to determine its chemical characteristics and whether it can be managed using this process. If any of the fluids may damage the treatment process, they are handled differently.
GTE’s biological treatment process uses an excavator to mechanically separate the materials, allowing air to contact more surface area, stimulating bacterial growth and activity. The process, aided by sun and heat, is similar to composting vegetation. After three to four months of bioremediation, the treated sludge is tested to ensure it is safe. It is then reused as high-quality garden soil at the oil field camps, internal roads in oil fields and as landfill filler. Approximately seven cubic metres of waste are treated each month.
Waste Management Facility Jobs
By hiring workers at the Costayaco waste management facility with three-month contracts, GTE creates employment opportunities for more community members. Waste streams are separated into recycling, wood, metal, plastics, hazardous waste and several other categories.
SAPS - A San Martín Waste Management Service Company
“GTE has been a key partner of mine. They helped us in developing new skills, provided training to our employees and connected us with new clients. The diploma courses have been an in-depth source of knowledge on a number of topics that have helped my business. Thanks to the training that Key Partners has provided us, we have grown personally, offered better services and qualified for new projects.”SONIA CAICEDO, General Manager, SAPS, a waste management services company in San Martín
Footnote: Manufacturing one, 600ml water bottle emits 0.105kg of CO2, and GTE’s operations have reduced the purchase of 3,600 water bottles per month, resulting in a CO2 emissions reduction of 4.5 tonnes of CO2 annually.