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Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography

The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA)partnered with the Oil Sands Research and Information Network (OSRIN) to create the new Oil Sands Environmental Management Bibliography, which includes documents relevant to the environmental management of oil sands development in Alberta. The majority of the documents focus on the mineable oil sands in the Athabasca deposit, though some documents relate to in-situ developments. This bibliography was last updated in November 2014.

A vegetation-based Index of Biotic Integrity to assess marsh reclamation success in the Alberta oil sands Canada

Authors Raab, D., & Bayley S. E.
Year of Publication: 2012

Abstract:
Thousands of hectares of wetlands that are being destroyed by the oil sands mining process in Alberta, Canada must be compensated for. The reclamation requirements demand that compensatory wetlands meet a minimum level of ecological health, and be certified as successfully reclaimed. To assist the government in compliance monitoring we developed a vegetation-based Index of Biotic Integrity (vIBI), an ecological assessment tool that has been used in many jurisdictions to assess the ecological health of natural, degraded, or reclaimed wetlands. Our 45 study sites represented a gradient of physical and chemical stress, with 25 natural reference wetlands to represent the optimal outcome of reclamation, and 20 oil sands reclaimed wetlands. We assessed vegetation community attributes (metrics) for correlation with a physicochemical stress gradient, and incorporated the metrics with the highest correlations into two vIBI tools, an advanced vIBI (AvIBI) and a basic vIBI (BvIBI). A small fraction of all possible metrics had acceptable correlations (R2 > 0.25) with the stress gradient. Six metrics were incorporated into the AvIBI, and three metrics into the BvIBI. Both indexes were highly and significantly correlated with the stress gradient. The AvIBI requires in-depth vegetation assessment at each site and can be used to certify sites that display ecological health within the range of natural wetlands. The BvIBI requires little botanical expertise to implement, and can be used to chart reclamation progress. Both the AvIBI and BvIBI evaluated 14 of the 20 oil sands reclaimed wetlands as having low ecological health.

A visibility bias model for aerial surveys of moose on the AOSERP study area

Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
This project was a continuation of research begun in 1976. Earlier studies had been designed to test the moose census procedures employed, analyze census results, and determine statistically reliable moose population estimates. The project TF 1. 1.1 was designed to develop an analysis model which would produce statistically reliable estimates of visibility bias and total population. The design was applied to an aerial census of a whitetailed deer study area in west-central Alberta and the data from this census was utilized to illustrate the application of the visibility bias model.

A visual guide to handling woody materials for forested land reclamation

Authors Pyper, M., & Vinge T.
Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
In a short period of time, the conversation around handling woody materials – deadwood such as logs, branches and stumps – has shifted dramatically. From piling and burning, to mulching and now towards keeping ‘whole logs’ on sites. The changes have led to confusion and this guide is intended to provide clarity around wise use of woody materials in reclamation programs. This guide is intended to answer the following questions: • Why has there been a shift in how we manage woody materials? • How can woody materials be managed effectively on sites? • What do effective woody material applications look like? Through this work, we hope to promote effective use of woody materials in an effort to encourage revegetation on industrial sites through the creation of microsites. For a more detailed look at managing woody materials see: ‘Managing woody materials on industrial sites: Meeting economic, ecological and forest health goals through a collaborative approach’ by Tim Vinge and Matthew Pyper.

A wintertime investigation of atmospheric deposition of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Athabasca oil Sands region Canada

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
With planned expansion of oil sands facilities, there is interest in being able to characterize the magnitude and extent of deposition of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of Alberta. A study was undertaken using a bulk collection system to characterize wintertime atmospheric deposition of selected inorganic and organic contaminants in the AOSR. The study was carried out from January to March 2012 at two sampling sites near (within a 20 km circle of oil sands development) and two sampling sites distant (> 45 km) to oil sands development. Triplicate bulk samplers were used to estimate precision of the method at one distant site. Monthly deposition samples were analyzed for 36 metals, ultra-low mercury, and 25 PAHs (including alkylated, and parent PAH). At the two sites located within 20 km of oil sands development, 3-month wintertime integrated deposition for some priority metals, alkylated and parent PAH were higher compared to distant sites. Deposition fluxes of metals and PAH were compared to other available bulk deposition studies worldwide. Median bulk measurement uncertainties of metals and both PAH classes were 26% and within ± 15%, respectively suggesting that the bulk sampling method is a potential alternative for obtaining future direct measures of wintertime metals and PAH deposition at locations without access to power in the AOSR.

Ability of lotic micro-organisms and macrobenthos to degrade and assimilate bitumen

Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
The colonization of limestone bricks and bitumen coated limestone bricks by benthic river organisms was followed over time. After nine weeks of colonization, no massive increase in the numbers of bacteria on the bitumen was noted, suggesting that degradation was not proceeding rapidly. However, subjective changes in the character of the bitumen did take place, indicating that some form of degradation was proceeding. Of the other components examined, only chlorophyll a concentrations were radically different on the bitumen and this may have been due to an interference by the bitumen in the analysis. The carbohydrate concentrations, micro-invertebrate numbers and biomass, and macroinvertebrate numbers were generally similar on bitumen coated and control bricks, suggesting that bitumen or oil sand is not radically different from limestone as a substrate for benthic river communities per unit of surface area. A second study followed the response of the microbial and macro-invertebrate community on limestone bricks to the addition of synthetic crude oil (SCO). Out of the 20 taxonomic groups examined and four biochemical parameters, only one of these; the Cyanophyta, showed any apparent response to the oil addition. Thus, based upon the mode of presentation of the oil to the community, it would appear that SCO has only a minimal effect, possibly due to limited penetration. The significance of these findings to more prolonged spills is discussed with relation to the observed stimulations of benthic communities growing on oil soaked substrates. It is suggested that the interplay of the penetration of oil to the communities and its subsequent effects be investigated further.

Abundant naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected water: Studies by synthesis derivatisation and two-dimensional gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry

Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
Process waters from oil sands industries (OSPW) have been reported to exhibit estrogenic effects. Although the compounds responsible are unknown, some aromatic naphthenic acids (NA) have been implicated. The present study was designed to investigate whether aromatic NA might cause such effects. Here we demonstrate induction of vitellogenin genes (vtg) in fish, which is a common bioassay used to indicate effects consistent with exposure to exogenous estrogens. Solutions in water of 20–2000 μg L–1 of an extract of a total OSPW NA concentrate did not induce expression of vtg in larval zebrafish, consistent with earlier studies which showed that much higher NA concentrations of undiluted OSPW were needed. Although 20–2000 μg L–1 of an esterifiable NA subfraction of the OSPW NA concentrate did induce expression, this was of much lower magnitude to that induced by much lower concentrations of 17α-ethynyl estradiol, indicating that the effect of the total NAs was only weak. However, given the high NA concentrations and large volumes of OSPW extant in Canada, it is important to ascertain which of these esterifiable NA in the OSPW produce the effect. Up to 1000 μg L–1 of an OSPW subfraction containing only alicyclic NA, and considered by most authors to be NA sensu stricto, did not produce induction; but, as predicted, 10–1000 μg L–1 of an aromatic NA fraction did. Such effects by the aromatic acids are again consistent with those of only a weak estrogenic substance. These findings may help to focus studies of the most environmentally significant OSPW-related pollutants, if reproduced in a greater range of OSPW.

Accelerated dewatering and drying treatment of oil sands tailings by electrical resonant auto-transformer

Authors Hande, A. B.
Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
Canada has world’s third largest oil reserves in the form of oil sands and 20% of those are easily accessible by surface mining. The hot water bitumen extraction process has been used since 1967 and the process produces vast amount of tailings which are stored in ponds. Tailings ponds pose a grave challenge towards sustainable development of Alberta’s mined oil sands. For every barrel of bitumen produced, nearly 15 barrels of tailings including 2 barrels of Mature Fine Tailings (MFT) are generated. Though about 7 barrels of process water is recycled, the rest of the tailings pose complex challenge to faster reclamation. The fine non-settling particles in the tailings are mainly sub-micron size clay particles with repulsive charges. Aggregating these fine suspended particles together holds a key to tailings sedimentation problem. It has been observed that settling of fine particles can be achieved by high electric field treatment by newly developed electrical Near-field Resonant Auto-Transformer (NRAT) system. The NRAT system can produce alternating electric field in order of 1 MV/m for a resonant frequency of about 250 kHz. The voltage and current are out of phase and very little energy is consumed with rest stored back in the system. It was observed that high electric field and field gradient can treat fine tailings in few hours compared to couple of years of gravity treatment. The decanted water can be recycled back while the thickened tailings can be further dielectrically heated with the same NRAT system and dried out. Thus, NRAT system seems to offer a complete solution to tailings problem. We propose to demonstrate usefulness of NRAT system as a cost effective, energy efficient and a safe way for complete treatment of tailings.

Accelerated dewatering of oil sands tailings by microbially induced chemical changes

Authors Arkell, N. P.
Year of Publication: 2012

Abstract:
Processing of oil sands ores to extract bitumen generates large volumes of tailings which are deposited into large settling basins, where the solids settle by gravity over 3-4 years to become mature fine tailings (MFT). Methanogenesis has been correlated with increased water recovery from and densification of MFT. This phenomenon offers potential tailings management options, including biodensification, an accelerated dewatering process where the microbial community is stimulated by amending MFT with carbon-substrates. The chemistry of methanogenic accelerated dewatering was investigated with 2L and 50L settling columns of MFT amended with carbon-substrates to infer possible mechanisms. It was found that enhanced biogenic gas production induced chemical changes in MFT. The carbon-amended MFT had increased pore-water concentrations of HCO3-, Ca2+, Mg2+ and a lower pH. The pore-water chemistry affects the colloidal properties of the suspended clays in the MFT which leads to the accelerated settling of clay particles and dewatering of MFT.

Acceptable salinity sodicity and pH values for boreal forest reclamation

Authors Howat, D. R.
Year of Publication: 2000

Abstract:
This report examines plant species used in reclamation and their tolerances for soil salinity, sodicity and pH. The information for each species was obtained from a review of the literature and unpublished information conveyed through personal interviews with people conducting research in this area or working in reclamation. The objective of this report is to determine if the current values for soil salinity, sodicity and pH outlined in Soil Quality Criteria Relative to Disturbance and Reclamation (Revised) (Macyk et al. 1993) and Land Capability Classification for Forest Ecosystems in the Oil Sands (Revised) (Leskiw 1998) need to be revised to reflect plant species’ tolerances for these soil parameters. Information on plant response to soil salinity, sodicity and pH is provided, as well as an overview of the soils in the boreal forest. The results indicate that the current values used for soil salinity, sodicity and pH should not be changed at this time. Additional research to determine tolerances is required for all species and the work should ideally be conducted in the field and for several years, especially for woody species. As well, additional inventories of plant species in undisturbed saline boreal areas would be beneficial, although there are few naturally saline areas in the boreal forest.

Accounting for environmental liabilities under international financial reporting standards

Authors Schneider, T.
Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
Recent reports from environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) such as the Pembina Institute and the Environmental Law Centre in Canada, as well as investor groups such as Ceres and The Ethical Funds Company, have addressed the growing concern over environmental liabilities related to operations in Alberta’s oil sands (Lemphers et al. 2010, Reuter et al. 2010, The Ethical Funds Company 2008, Watt 2010). Furthermore, environmental obligations are beginning to take a real bite out of the financial statements of firms operating in this sector. For example, a recent Globe and Mail article (Taylor 2010) on the owner of the largest single share in the Syncrude operation, Canadian Oil Sands Trust, notes that the almost $1 billion in spending next year it has allocated to its plants are primarily for moving equipment around and meeting environmental obligations, rather than improving plant efficiencies (Canadian Oil Sands Trust 2010). Concurrent to this is a change in the accounting rules for Canadian public companies. Canadian public companies are in the process of moving from reporting under old Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which is now officially Canadian (public company) GAAP. This transition must take place for fiscal years ending after December 31st, 2010; which means that the first quarter financial reports for 2011 will be based on IFRS. This will include comparative information as it pertains to 2010. With the move to IFRS, one of the key areas affecting firms in extractive industries pertains to the accounting rules by which environmental liabilities are accounted for. For firms in these industries, environmental matters play a major role in operations. The change in accounting rules will have a material effect on the total amount of environmental liabilities reported and the way in which they are expensed over time. I expect that under IFRS, more environmental liabilities will be recognised in the financial statements of firms operating in extractive industries, such as oil and gas and mining. However, there are certain mitigating factors that may be strong enough such that we see no significant increase in the reported environmental liabilities of these firms. The actual settling of these liabilities will occur in the coming decades. Under old Canadian GAAP and IFRS, these liabilities are recognised in the financial statements based on their present value. This is typically done by using a discount rate and the usual methods of calculating the present value of a future obligation. The new IFRS rules are very sensitive to the discount rate used and there is some debate as to exactly how the new discount rate should be calculated. Thus, although the new accounting standards under IFRS dictate that more specific environmental liabilities be recognised in the financial statements, this may be offset by changes in the way that they are quantified. This report discusses the potential impact the move to IFRS is expected to have on firms with mining operations in Alberta’s oil sands. It details the changes in accounting methods and the potential impact on these firms with regards to the reporting and expensing of environmental liabilities. The discussion can be generalized to the overall oil and gas and mining sectors. However, the significant environmental challenges that are faced by the handful of firms mining in Alberta’s oil sands make the move to IFRS an interesting one to follow.

Accumulation of fish mixed function oxygenase inducers by semipermeable membrane devices in river water and effluents Athabasca Peace and Wapiti Rivers August and September 1995

Year of Publication: 1996

Abstract:
This study used semipermeable membrane devices (SPMDs) to identify industrial effluents that induce mixed function oxidase (MFO) activity in fish cell lines. Investigators deployed SPMDs for two weeks at three pulp mills and one oil sands facility, and at two tributaries near Fort McMurray, Alberta. SPMDs provided samples of known exposure time in effluents and river waters by simultaneously sampling the effluent stream and the river upstream and downstream of the mixing zone at each site. In addition, the investigators conducted laboratory experiments with rainbow trout to quantify the MFO response in fish exposed to various concentrations of the oil sands effluent.

Accumulation of fish mixed function oxygenase inducers by semipermeable membrane devices in river water and effluents, Athabasca River, August and September 1994

Year of Publication: 1996

Abstract:
Semipermeable Membrane Devices (SPMDs) were deployed for 2 weeks in waters ofthe Athabasca and Lesser Slave Rivers and in four pulp mill effluents and wastewater from one oil sands mining and upgrading facility. Success of recovery of the SPMDs was 66 %, with loss caused by high water velocity and shifting channels and sediments. SPMD extracts accumulated chemicals that induced mixed function oxygenase (MFO) in a fish cell line. For expressing the potency of SPMD extracts as inducers in fish cells, MFO induction in cells exposed to SPMD extracts was compared to MFO induction in cells exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p- dioxin (TCDD). This does not imply that the SPMD extracts contained TCDD or any other dioxin or furan, only that the extracts contained chemicals that were equivalent in MFO-inducing potency to a certain amount of TCDD. MFO induction was expressed as "EROD potency equivalents in pg/g". Extracts of SPMDs from pulp mills were two to five times as potent as extracts of SPMDs exposed to background river water. SPMD extracts from three of the four pulp mill effluents tested (Weldwood, Alberta Newsprint and Slave Lake Pulp) had 62.0, 53.5, and 29.7 pg EROD potency-EQ/g, respectively, significantly more than in Athabasca River water (12.6 pg EROD potency-EQ/g = "background"). SPMDs exposed to effluent from Millar Western (23.0 pg EROD potency-EQ/g) had potencies within the 95 % confidence interval o f background. The levels of MFO induction in SPMDs exposed to river water increased downstream of Fort McMurray. In this area, SPMDs accumulated inducers from the river at levels ranging from 58.5 to 728 pg EROD potency-EQ/g. SPMD accumulation was highly variable, which indicated an unknown source of inducers, possibly an effluent from the town or input from natural erosion of the oil sands. SPMDs deployed in effluent from Suncor accumulated the most MFO-inducing chemicals (16,800 pg EROD potency-EQ/g), with induction potency over 20 x that of SPMDs from river water upstream of Suncor. Although this study was preliminary, the results indicated that SPMDs from the four pulp mill effluents contained small quantities of MFO inducers. Compared to MFO induction by extracts of SPMDs deployed in two Ontario bleached kraft mill effluents, the pulp mill effluents from the Athabasca River were one third to one twentieth as potent. By contrast, very high quantities of MFO inducers were accumulated from Suncor effluents. SPMDs deployed in Athabasca River waters downstream of Fort McMurray also contained inducers, indicating some unknown anthropogenic or natural source in this area.

Achieving conservation when opportunity costs are high: Optimizing reserve design in Alberta's oil sands region

Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
Recent studies have shown that conservation gains can be achieved when the spatial distributions of biological benefits and economic costs are incorporated in the conservation planning process. Using Alberta, Canada, as a case study we apply these techniques in the context of coarse-filter reserve design. Because targets for ecosystem representation and other coarse-filter design elements are difficult to define objectively we use a trade-off analysis to systematically explore the relationship between conservation targets and economic opportunity costs. We use the Marxan conservation planning software to generate reserve designs at each level of conservation target to ensure that our quantification of conservation and economic outcomes represents the optimal allocation of resources in each case. Opportunity cost is most affected by the ecological representation target and this relationship is nonlinear. Although petroleum resources are present throughout most of Alberta, and include highly valuable oil sands deposits, our analysis indicates that over 30% of public lands could be protected while maintaining access to more than 97% of the value of the region's resources. Our case study demonstrates that optimal resource allocation can be usefully employed to support strategic decision making in the context of land-use planning, even when conservation targets are not well defined.

Achieving emissions reduction through oil sands cogeneration in Alberta's deregulated electricity market

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
The province of Alberta faces the challenge of balancing its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and the growth of its energy-intensive oil sands industry. Currently, these operations rely on the Alberta electricity system and on-site generation to satisfy their steam and electricity requirements. Most of the on-site generation units produce steam and electricity through the process of cogeneration. It is unclear to what extent new and existing operations will continue to develop cogeneration units or rely on electricity from the Alberta grid to meet their energy requirements in the near future. This study explores the potential for reductions in fuel usage and CO2 emissions by increasing the penetration of oil sands cogeneration in the provincial generation mixture. EnergyPLAN is used to perform scenario analyses on Alberta’s electricity system in 2030 with a focus on transmission conditions to the oil sands region. The results show that up to 15–24% of CO2 reductions prescribed by the 2008 Alberta Climate Strategy are possible. Furthermore, the policy implications of these scenarios within a deregulated market are discussed.

Activation of delayed and fluid petroleum coke for the adsorption and removal of naphthenic acids from oil sands tailings pond water

Authors Small, C. C.
Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
Oil sands companies produce substantial quantities of tailings known to contain high concentrations of dissolved organic by-products. The use of petroleum coke was proposed as a potential adsorbent for organic contaminant removal from tailings pond water. Physical activation was used to create a greater surface area and porosity within the delayed and fluid coke. Increased temperature (900oC), steam rate (0.5 mL/min), and activated time (6 h) led to high iodine numbers of 670 and 620 mg/g for activated delayed and fluid cokes, respectively. For both best activated cokes, the micropore to mesopore ratio was approximately 50:50. When 5 g/L of activated delayed and fluid cokes were added to the tailings water, 91% of the dissolved organic carbon and 92% of the naphthenic acids were removed. Such analyses indicate that an oil sands waste by-product can be used to treat tailings pond water to remove toxic and corrosive organic contaminants.

Acute and chronic toxicity of untreated aged and ozonated oil sands process-affected water in Chironomus dilutus larvae

Authors Anderson, J. C.
Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
One of the main issues associated with bitumen extraction in the Alberta oil sands is the production of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). The OSPW is saline, alkaline, and containing high concentrations of inorganic and organic constituents, such as naphthenic acids (NAs). In accordance with environmental legislation, OSPW must be retained in on-site settling basins as the water has demonstrated toxicity towards a number of different aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Due to the large volumes of OSPW currently in containment, treatment methods are required to eliminate the toxicity and prepare the water for release in future reclamation scenarios. Benthic invertebrates, such as chironomids, represent an important component of aquatic food webs and ecosystems in the oil sands region, but the toxicity of OSPW towards these organisms had not been fully characterized. Additionally, the effects on toxicity of treating OSPW by aging or ozonation were unknown and needed to be assessed in preparation for a potential future release scenario. To assess the toxicity of untreated, aged, and ozonated OSPW, 10-day and chronic exposures of Chironomus dilutus to OSPW were conducted; endpoints of interest included survival, growth, development, and behavior. For the studies described in this thesis, relatively fresh OSPW was sampled in two batches (designated ‘WIP-OSPW-A’ and ‘WIP-OSPW-B’) from the Syncrude Canada Ltd. West In-Pit (WIP) settling pond and from three experimental reclamation ponds – Big Pit, FE5, and TPW. Larvae were exposed to each of the treatment waters for both a 10-d and a chronic (until adult emergence) exposure period. Real-time PCR was used to assess gene expression of hemoglobins, endocrine-related receptors, and ribosomal protein following 1-, 4-, or 7- d exposure to fresh or aged OSPW (WIP-OSPW or FE5) in order to investigate the underlying mechanisms of toxicity. The greatest concentrations of NAs were measured in the fresh WIP-OSPW (between 70 and 72 mg/L) and the total concentrations of NAs in the aged waters were between 13 and 35 mg/L. Exposure to untreated OSPW resulted in both acute and chronic toxicity to C. dilutus larvae. Masses of larvae that were exposed to WIP-OSPW were 64% to 79% less than that of the respective control larvae (p<0.001). Cases built by larvae exposed to both fresh and aged OSPW were smaller and more fragile than those built by larvae exposed to freshwater. In terms of gene expression, the abundance profiles of transcripts of hemoglobin genes were significantly different in FE5-exposed larvae relative to the freshwater control. Exposure to both WIP-OSPW and FE5 resulted in differential expression of estrogen-related receptor, ultraspiracle protein, and ribosomal protein L15 in C. dilutus compared to the control. Similarly, chronic exposure to untreated OSPW resulted in significantly less pupation than in the controls, with 31% and 71% less pupation of larvae exposed to WIP-OSPW-A or WIP-OSPW-B, respectively (p<0.05). Rates of emergence were also significantly less for larvae exposed to WIP-OSPW, with only 13% and 8% of larvae emerging as adults when exposed to WIP-OSPW-A or WIP- OSPW-B, respectively, compared to 81% in the control (p<0.0001). However, larvae exposed to water from Big Pit, FE5 and TPW did not have significantly lesser masses than the controls (p>0.05). Aging of OSPW in reclamation ponds did not attenuate all chronic toxicity since exposure to TPW resulted in significantly less emergence and delayed emergence relative to the control. The OSPW aged in reclamation ponds retained toxicity and, therefore, more aggressive, targeted treatment, such as ozonation, of OSPW is required. To evaluate the effectiveness of ozonation in eliminating toxicity of OSPW, WIP- OSPW-A and WIP-OSPW-B were treated with 30 and 80 mg/L of ozone (O3), respectively. There were no differences in survival of larvae exposed to ozonated-OSPW relative to the freshwater control (p>0.05). Ozonation also attenuated adverse effects on growth, pupation, and emergence seen in both batches of untreated OSPW, suggesting that ozonation may be an effective treatment for targeting the organic fraction of OSPW and reducing or possibly eliminating toxicity of OSPW to C. dilutus.

Acute and chronic toxicity of vanadium to fish

Year of Publication: 1978

Abstract:
Vanadium concentrations of 2.4 to 5.6 mg/L were lethal in 7 days to rainbow trout of wet weight 1.2-6.2 g. The LC50 varied slightly over the 12 combinations of water quality, from hardness 30 to 350 units and pH 5.5 to 8.8. The 7-day LC5O may be estimated by the following equation, which explained 91% of the variation: LC50 = 14.6976 - 3.7783P + 0.1108H - 0.02137 PH + 0.2662p2 - 0.000073H2 + 0.00141p2H. where H = hardness as mg/L of CaC03, and P = pH. The response surface was slightly saddle-shaped with vanadium being somewhat more toxic in the softest water, and slightly more toxic at intermediate pH (6.6 and 7.7) than at more extreme values of pH. Two ionic species of pentavalent vanadium were the main forms present in the tests with trout, and these were of similar toxicity. No threshold of lethality was evident in an 11-day exposure. Very young fry of American flagfish showed 28-day LCSO IS from 0.9 to 1.9 mg/L of vanadium, according to size and age at the start of the test. These appeared to be thresholds of lethality. Trout, flagfish, and zebrafish all appeared to be similar in resistance to lethal effects of vanadium. In chronic exposures of flagfish, the egg-fry stage was the most sensitive one in the life cycle. Mortality of such fry was the most obvious effect. At 0.17 mg/L of vanadium, which did not cause mortality, there were marginal effects on growth of second generation fry, but no observed sublethal effects in older fish. At 0.04 mg/L there were no deleterious effects, but a definite stimulation of growth in females and of reproductive performance. The threshold for chronic toxicity was between those two concentrations, and was judged to be about 0.08 mg/L. The \"safe\"-to lethal ratio v was about 0.007, close to such ratios for other pollutants. There was no evidence that vanadium had any long-term cumulative toxicity. Overall among the metals, vanadium was of moderate noncumulative toxicity. With respect to oil sands operations, there should be an assessment whether aerial fallout of vanadium could create undesirable levels in slow-turnover lakes.

Acute and subchronic mammalian toxicity of naphthenic acids from oil sands tailings

Year of Publication: 2002

Abstract:
Naphthenic acids are the most significant environmental contaminants resulting from petroleum extraction from oil sands deposits. In this study, a mixture of naphthenic acids isolated from Athabasca oil sands (AOS) tailings pond water was used in acute and subchronic toxicity tests with rodents, in order to assess potential risks posed to terrestrial wildlife. Dosages were chosen to bracket worst-case environmental exposure scenarios. In acute tests, adult female Wistar rats were given single po dosages of naphthenic acids at either 3, 30, or 300 mg per kg body weight (mg/kg), while adult male rats received 300 mg/kg. Food consumption was temporarily suppressed in the high-dose groups of both sexes. Following euthanasia 14 days later, histopathology revealed a significant incidence of pericholangitis in the high-dose group of both sexes, suggesting hepatotoxicity as an acute effect. Other histological lesions included brain hemorrhage in high-dose males, and cardiac periarteriolar necrosis and fibrosis in female rats. In subchronic tests, naphthenic acids were po administered to female Wistar rats at 0.6, 6, or 60 mg/kg, 5 days per week for 90 days. Results again suggested the liver as a potential target organ. The relative liver weight in the high-dose group was 35% higher than in controls. Biochemical analysis revealed elevated blood amylase (30% above controls) and hypocholesterolemia (43% below controls) in high-dose rats. Excessive hepatic glycogen accumulation was observed in 42% of animals in this group. These results indicate that, under worst-case exposure conditions, acute toxicity is unlikely in wild mammals exposed to naphthenic acids in AOS tailings pond water, but repeated exposure may have adverse health effects.

Acute lethality of mine depressurization water to trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) and rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri): Volume I

Authors Lake, W., & Rogers W.
Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
Mine depressurization water obtained from five wells on Lease 17 held by Syncrude Canada Limited, was examined for chemical composition and acute toxicity to two species of fish. In the first series of experiments, mine depressurization water was diluted with various proportions of water obtained from the Athabasca River, and trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) were exposed to these mixtures for up to 10 days. These experiments were performed in a mobile laboratory located in Fort McMurray. The 96-hour lethal concentrations (LC50's) ranged from 20% by volume (Well No.5) to 48% by volume (Well No.1). The 96-hour LCso's for the composite samples ranged from 35% by volume to 45% by volume. Similar studies were undertaken in the second series of experiments in Edmonton, using rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) with Edmonton City water as the diluent. Four of the five wells previously tested were studied, with resulting 96 hour LC50's of between 20% and 40% by volume for Well No.2, and 60% and 80% by volume for the other three wells. In addition, a study was performed on a composite of these four wells to determine the effect of storage time on toxicity. It was observed that toxicity decreased after 10 days storage (96-hour LC50's of between 40% and 60% volume to between 60% and 80% by volume) but then increased (96-hour LC50 of 15.2% by volume) after 20 days storage. Considerable variations in toxicity were found between wells and even water from a single well varied in toxicity depending on the time the sample was obtained and how long it had been stored. Variations in the chemical composition of the mine depressurization water were observed for such components as zinc, nickel, and iron between sample periods, as well as for concentrations of sodium, chloride, and other components from well to well.

Acute lethality of mine depressurization water to trout-perch (Percopsis omiscomaycus) and rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri): Volume II

Authors Lake, W., & Rogers W.
Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
Volume 2 In order to conduct oil sands mining operations in the surface mining region of the Athabasca oil sands deposits, most regions require depressurization of the basal sandstone formations. The groundwater produced by depressurization operations is of poor enough quality to be toxic to fish. The purpose of this project is to provide information regarding the acute lethality of oil sands mining and extraction plant wastewaters to fish. Specific objectives were to provide toxicity information on a specific wastewater using Athabasca River water as the diluent and to compare the value of field toxicity studies and the predictive accuracy of laboratory bioassays using treated waters rather than natural waters.