Federal study says oil sands toxins are leaching into groundwater, Athabasca River - The Globe and Mail
New federal research has strongly backed suspicions that toxic
chemicals from Alberta’s vast oil sands tailings ponds are leaching into
groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River.
oil sands tailings ponds, which now cover 176 square kilometres, has
long been an issue. Industry has acknowledged that seepage can occur,
and previous studies using models have estimated it at 6.5-million
litres a day from a single pond.
The soil around the developments contains many chemicals from
naturally occurring bitumen deposits, and scientists have never able to
separate them from contaminants released by industry.
Environment Canada study, accepted for publication in the journal
Environmental Science and Technology, used new technology to discover
that the mix of chemicals is slightly different between the two sources.
That discovery, made using a $1.6-million piece of equipment purchased
in 2010 to help answer such questions, allows scientists to actually
fingerprint chemicals and trace them back to where they came from
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