Skip to main content

View Diary: Tar Sands Waste Contaminate Alberta Groundwater (14 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Couple of things (14+ / 0-)

    What makes this study extraordinary is that they developed a method to date the naphthenic compounds. The industry has long claimed that the NA levels in groundwater was from naturally occurring elements instead of leaching of "processed water."

    It is incorrect to say that there has been no monitoring. The study took advantage of existing monitoring sites as well as new ones based on topography.

    What they showed was elegant. For the new NA compounds, there was a clear gradient of infiltration to sites between the tailing pond and river. Some sites were clearly "hotter" than others depending on groundwater flow patterns.

    This is just a demonstration project, so it only looked at one cluster of sites around one tailing pond. However, consider this. The total area of tailing ponds is now larger than the city of Vancouver, sprinkled all over the Athabasca River basin. If toxins have migrated this far from one site, just imagine how much groundwater around the tailings ponds has been contaminated.

    It takes 15-20 years for complete migration of NA from tailing ponds to begin reaching the surface waters from this site. Now just imagine how ugly the situation will be in a few years.

    One other point to mention. Tailing ponds are UNLINED thanks to lax regulation by the Canadian and provincial governments.  

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:24:53 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site