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TitleIsotopic analyses fingerprint sources of polycyclic aromatic compound-bearing dust in Athabasca oil sands region snowpack
 
AuthorAhad, J M EORCID logo; Pakdel, H; Labarre, T; Cooke, C A; Gammon, P R; Savard, M MORCID logo
SourceEnvironmental Science & Technology (ES & T) vol. 55, issue 9, 2021 p. 5887-5897, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c08339
Image
Year2021
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200581
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf; html
ProvinceAlberta
AreaCanada
Subjectsfossil fuels; Science and Technology; oil sands
Illustrationstables; diagrams; charts
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience Sources
Released2021 04 15
AbstractFugitive dust associated with surface mining activities is one of the principal vectors for transport of airborne contaminants in Canada's Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Effective environmental management requires quantitative identification of the sources of this dust. Using natural abundance radiocarbon (?14C) and dual (d13C, d2H) compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA), this study investigated the sources of dust and particulate-bound polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) deposited in AOSR lake snowpack. Lower ?14C values, higher particulate and PAC loadings, and lower d13C values for phenanthrene and C1-alkylated phenanthrenes/anthracenes (C1-Phen) at sites closer to the mining operations indicated unprocessed oil sand and/or petroleum coke (petcoke - a byproduct of bitumen upgrading) as major sources of anthropogenic fugitive dust. However, a Bayesian isotopic mixing model that incorporated both d13C and d2H could discriminate petcoke from oil sand, and determined that petcoke comprised between 44 and 95% (95% credibility intervals) of a C1-Phen isomer at lakes <25 km from the heart of the mining operations, making it by far the most abundant source. This study is the first to demonstrate the potential of CSIA to provide accurate PAC source apportionment in snowpack and reveals that petcoke rather than oil sand is the main source of mining-related particulate PACs deposited directly to AOSR lakes.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Fugitive dust associated with surface mining activities is one of the principal vectors for transport of airborne contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in Alberta's Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Effective environmental management requires quantitative identification of the sources of this dust. Using state-of-the-art analytical capabilities available at the GSC-Québec's Delta-Lab, this study investigated the sources of dust and particulate-bound PACs deposited in snowpack covering AOSR lakes. This study demonstrated that petroleum coke (a by-product of bitumen upgrading) is by far the most important source of mining-related PACs deposited directly to AOSR lakes.
GEOSCAN ID327831

 
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