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TitleSOURCES: developing indicators and understanding environmental impacts in the oils sands region / SOURCES: développer des indicateurs et comprendre les impacts environnementaux dans la région des sables bitumineux
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LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorSavard, M MORCID logo
SourcePublic presentations of May 21st, 2019: Environmental Geoscience Program, current status of research projects (phase 2014-2019); by Jacob, N; Parsons, MORCID logo; Rivard, CORCID logo; Savard, M MORCID logo; Larmagnat, S; Outridge, P MORCID logo; White, DORCID logo; Kao, HORCID logo; Lintern, GORCID logo; Geological Survey of Canada, Scientific Presentation 104, 2019 p. 35-45, Open Access logo Open Access
PublisherNatural Resources Canada
Lang.English; French
Mediaon-line; digital
RelatedThis publication is contained in Public presentations of May 21st, 2019: Environmental Geoscience Program, current status of research projects (phase 2014-2019)
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®)
NTS73M; 74D; 74E; 74L; 83P; 84A; 84H; 84I
AreaAthabasca River; Fort McKay; Fort McMurray; Muskeg River
Lat/Long WENS-113.5000 -110.0000 58.5000 55.7500
Subjectsenvironmental geology; fossil fuels; economic geology; hydrogeology; regional geology; geochemistry; soils science; Nature and Environment; Science and Technology; Government and Politics; Economics and Industry; environmental studies; environmental impacts; petroleum resources; petroleum industry; hydrocarbons; oil sands; mining; open pit mining; mine waste products; tailings; ecosystems; lithostratigraphy; groundwater geochemistry; groundwater flow; bedrock geology; lithology; metals; isotopic studies; lithium geochemistry; hydrogen isotopes; carbon isotopes; stable isotope studies; radioisotopes; biogeochemistry; nitrogen; oxygen isotopes; atmospheric geochemistry; soils; bitumen; lake sediment geochemistry; snow geochemistry; modelling; transport mechanisms; organic geochemistry; dendrochronology; copper geochemistry; Environmental Geoscience Program (EGP); Athabasca Oil Sands; Methodology; Environmental impact assessment; Forests; Forest fires; Indicators; Atmospheric emissions
Illustrationsimages; geoscientific sketch maps; tables; spectra; flow diagrams; plots; bar graphs; location maps; photographs; schematic representations; time series
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience Program Management
Released2019 10 10
AbstractAll research activities of SOURCES relate to developing new methodologies to allow distinguishing contaminants that are naturally released to water and terrestrial ecosystems from those produced by oil sands (OS) extraction activities. Main objectives: (1) assessing how new indicators and approaches for waterborne and airborne contaminants can help identify OS extraction-related changes to the natural regimes; and (2) understanding processes controlling the distribution of contaminants in the broad region of the OS open-mining developments.
Waterborne Contamination
The current research is a direct follow up of NRCan previous test study (OF 7195) as there is a need to specifically continue characterizing the various natural sources of contaminants (numerous lithostratigraphic units and groundwater systems); better constrain the anthropogenic signals of the contaminants, and identify, quantify and model the flux of OS-related chemicals into the groundwater near open-mining OS extraction activities, at the regional scale.
Metals - This activity explores lithium (delta-7Li) isotopes of groundwater as an indicator to strengthen the discrimination between natural and OS-derived contaminants, and the chemistry and reactive transport of metals to understand their distribution and fate.
AEOs - This study specifically evaluates the potential of hydrogen (delta-2H), and stable (delta-13C) and radioactive (delta-14C) carbon isotopes for characterizing Acid Extractible Organics (AEOs), and investigates the biogeochemical processes controlling their distribution in groundwater.
Airborne Contamination
Forest N Cycle - This research involves characterizing airborne nitrogen (N) contaminants in air wet and dry samples from outside the OS region using new isotopic methods (on-line simultaneous delta-15N, delta-18O and delta-17O values); to distinguish their ranges from OS air results. It further investigates the possible impacts of these airborne N contaminants on processes controlling the long-term tree-ring delta-15N trends, by determining delta-15N values in the complete suite of the soil-fungi-root-stem-leave continuum. This research also addresses the question as to how the nutritive regimes of pine and spruce stands and the forest N cycle are modified by OS operations (coll. with ECCC, CFS-Q, CFS-Ed).
PAHs -The key issue here is quantifying natural polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) related to forest fires and bitumen-containing rocks from anthropogenic sources. Naturally present in bitumen, PAHs are also released into the environment through the incomplete combustion of organic matter, whether from modern biomass or fossil fuels, and via diagenetic processes. The current activities focus on applying compound specific delta-13C, delta-2H and radiocarbon analysis (14C) to sediment cores and snow of lakes in the OS region in which PAHs from forest fires can perhaps be distinguished from those that are OS mining-related and hence contain no detectable 14C.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This scientific document is a wrap up of the research done in the Environmental Geoscience Program from 2014 to 2019. This document explain the science behind the program over the past 5 years covering a range of state of the art science in critical metal deposits, geoscience tools, shale gas and groundwater, oil sands, fluid in carbonates, mercury, geological storage of carbon, induced seismicity and dredge disposal. All the sciences done under this program contribute to provincial regulations as well as environmental assessments to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and to their environment.

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