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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.

Acute lethality study of G.C.O.S. dike filter drainage using rainbow trout and brook sticklebacks

Authors Lake, W. H.
Year of Publication: 1976

Abstract:
When evaluating this data, lethality (i.e. death of the organism) is the symptom being observed. Acutely lethal refers to a sample killing 50% of a population after 96 hours exposure. 1. The dike filter drainage was found to be acutely toxic to both rainbow trout and brook sticklebacks. The results of the bioassays on rainbow trout confirmed those results of S. Hrudey of the Environmental Protection Service, Environment Canada. 2. At the point of entry of the effluent, the sample was acutely lethal to rainbow trout and showed a slight degree of lethality to brook sticklebacks. 3. The downstream samples were not lethal to brook sticklebacks and demonstrated a slight degree of lethality to rainbow trout 10 - 15 feet downstream. 4. The downstream sample taken from the boat dock was not lethal to sticklebacks or rainbow trout. 5. When considering the bioassay data and excluding the point of entry of the effluent into the river, the G.C.O.S. dike filter drainage does not present a significant lethality problem to fish. 6. Acute lethality in the dike filter drainage is probably due to a combination of chemicals and not due to the action of one individual component. Ammonia and surfactants would be two chemicals making major contributions. 7. The lethal action of the interface, i.e., point of entry, is also due to the combination of the chemicals and the effect is reduced due to dilution with river water.

Acute toxicity of aromatic and non-aromatic fractions of naphthenic acids extracted from oil sands process-affected water to larval zebrafish

Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
The toxicity of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) has regularly been attributed to naphthenic acids, which exist in complex mixtures. If on remediation treatment (e.g., ozonation) or on entering the environment, the mixtures of these acids all behave in the same way, then they can be studied as a whole. If, however, some acids are resistant to change, whilst others are not, or are less resistant, it is important to establish which sub-classes of acids are the most toxic. In the present study we therefore assayed the acute toxicity to larval fish, of a whole acidified OSPW extract and an esterifiable naphthenic acids fraction, de-esterified with alkali: both fractions were toxic (LC50 ∼5-8mgL(-1)). We then fractionated the acids by argentation solid phase extraction of the esters and examined the acute toxicity of two fractions: a de-esterified alicyclic acids fraction, which contained, for example, adamantane and diamantane carboxylic acids, and an aromatic acids fraction. The alicyclic acids were toxic (LC50 13mgL(-1)) but the higher molecular weight aromatic acids fraction was somewhat more toxic, at least on a weight per volume basis (LC50 8mgL(-1); P<0.05) (for comparison, the monoaromatic dehydroabietic acid had a LC50 of ∼1mgL(-1)). These results show how toxic naphthenic acids of OSPW are to these larval fish and that on a weight per volume basis, the aromatic acids are at least as toxic as the 'classical' alicyclic acids. The environmental fates and other toxic effects, if any, of the fractions remain to be established.

Acute toxicity of oil sands wastewater: A toxic balance

Year of Publication: 1994

Abstract:
A study was conducted to identify and determine the relative importance of the acutely toxic fractions of wastewater from oil sands extraction using a bioassay directed toxicity identification evaluation (TIE), to use these data to construct a toxic balance, and to determine whether the same fractions were acutely toxic to Microtox, Daphnia, and rainbow trout. Samples of extraction wastewater were obtained from the Mildred Lake tailings pond in Alberta during summer 1991 and 1992. The samples were centrifuged to remove suspended solids and the toxicity of the supernatant was evaluated. Seven manipulations, each of which was designed to remove a different class of compounds, was performed on the supernatant samples. A complete TIE was performed using the Microtox bacterial bioassay. All acute toxicity of the surface tailings pond water to Microtox was removed by precipitation of organic acids or by removal of nonpolar organics. These results suggest that the main toxic fraction was a surfactant. In the interstitial water of the fine tails, volatiles accounted for 15% of the acute toxicity. However, all the acute toxicity of interstitial water was removed by precipitation of organic acids or by removal of nonpolar organics. Organic acids accounted for all the acute toxicity of tailings pond water to Daphnia and rainbow trout. Differences in relative sensitivity of test organisms to the toxic fraction demonstrate the importance of using more than one test organism to evaluate acute toxicity. Daphnia was 0.4 times less sensitive and rainbow trout 3 times more sensitive than Microtox. 20 refs., 6 tabs

Adding value to Alberta's oil sands

Year of Publication: 2006

Abstract:
A rapidly expanding oil sands industry and a dwindling supply of feedstock for Alberta’s ethane-based petrochemical industry have stimulated interest in evaluating bitumen for producing a broad slate of refined products, including petrochemicals. Two industry/government studies evaluated different process schemes for integrating oil sands, refining, and petrochemical operations and convert heavy gas oils into both refined products and petro-chemicals. Since market demand for fuels and refined products far exceeds that for petrochemicals, the performance character-istics of the heavy oil conversion processes are important to op-timize the volume ratios of the products to meet market volume demands. The paper reviews different heavy oil processing tech-nologies focusing on olefin to fuel product ratios and flexibility to change these ratios. The review includes conventional non-catalytic thermal (steam) cracking, as well as catalytic processes. These technologies are at different stages of commercial devel-opment for production of fuels and olefins, and must be eval-uated and adapted to meet Alberta’s aromatic bitumen-derived heavy gas oils. Work is underway in an industry/government study towards developing an integrated process for the combined production of refined fuels and petrochemical feedstocks. In ad-dition, two workshops were held in February 2005 to address the business and regulatory gaps that needed to be addressed before such a process can be commercialized; the results from the work-shops will also be discussed in the paper.

Adsorption of acid extractable oil sands tailings organics onto raw and activated oil sands coke

Year of Publication: 2012

Abstract:
The accumulation of organic contaminants in process-affected (PA) water represents an environmental liability for oil sandsoperators. Oil sands coke is a promising adsorbent for removing dissolved organic carbon (DO C), which includes toxic acid-extractableoil sands tailings organics (AEOSTO) found in PA water. The ability of raw and activated delayed and fluid coke to remove DOC andAEOSTO from PA water was assessed. Treatment with 5 g∕L of activated delayed and fluid coke removed 91% of DOC and 92% ofAEOSTO at levels of 36 mg∕L and 60 mg∕L, respectively. Heavy metal leaching of vanadium at 5:9mg∕L was observed for a 5 g∕Lapplication of activated delayed coke, representing a challenge to the approach. Microtox testing indicated that higher carbon doses ofactivated cokes were effective in reducing toxic the biological response caused by organic compounds; however, exposure to heavy metalsincreased the toxic effect with time. The propos ed methodology should be coupled with an inorganic treatment technique for complete oilsands tailings water treatment.

Adsorption of single-ring model naphthenic acid from oil sands tailings pond water using petroleum coke-derived activated carbon

Authors Sarkar, B.
Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
Petroleum coke-derived activated carbons were prepared and used for the adsorptive removal of a single-ring naphthenic acid (NA) from synthetic oil sands tailings pond water (TPW). The overall adsorption process was found to be intra-particle diffusion-controlled. The Weber-Morris intra-particle diffusion rate constants decreased from 7.43 to 1.23 mg/g min 0.5 after activated carbon was post-oxidized with oxygen, suggesting a hindering effect of oxygen surface groups. The Freundlich model fit of the equilibrium adsorption isotherms and the small negative ΔHo pointed to a physisorption-dominated process and the importance of specific surface area. It was estimated that about 2.7 g/L of basic CO2 -activated carbon is needed to reduce NA concentration from 120 mg/L to 2.5 mg/L (~98% removal) in synthetic TPW. However, equilibrium adsorption capacity was found to vary significantly after oxygen or nitrogen groups were introduced onto the surface. Therefore, there is a potential for enhanced adsorption by chemical functionalization of carbon.

Adsorption of single-ring model naphthenic acids on soils

Year of Publication: 2002

Abstract:
The adsorption of single-ring model naphthenic acids on soils was investigated using a batch partitioning method. The influence of the molecular structure of the sorbate, the organic carbon content of the sorbent, the temperature, the solution salt (calcium chloride) concentration, and the pH on the adsorption isotherms was determined. The adsorption coefficients (Kd) for two structurally related model naphthenic acids, 4-methycyclohexaneacetic acid (4MACH) and 4-methylcyclohexanecarboxylic acid (4MCCH), were 0.18 and 0.11 mL/g, respectively. The Kd values determined for the individual cis and trans isomers were equal for a given model naphthenic acid within the experimental precision of the data. In contrast to reported differences observed for the biodegradation of geometric isomers of model naphthenic acids, the structure of the cis and trans isomers investigated had negligible effects on the measured adsorption isotherms. The adsorption coefficients of 4MACH for two soils with organic carbon contents of 1.6 and 2.7% were 0.18 and 0.22 mL/g, respectively. For the two temperatures studied, similar Kd values were obtained for 4MACH (0.18 mL/g at 23°C and 0.21 mL/g at 4°C), indicating a predominantly physical adsorption process. Inorganic salt solutions of calcium chloride (CaCl2) had significant effects on adsorption as the Kd increased from 0.10 to 0.22 mL/g within the range of pore fluid chemistry investigated (0-30 mM CaCl2). Likewise, the adsorption of 4MACH was significantly influenced by pH with the Kd being 0.20, 0.18, and 0.11 mL/g in acidic (pH 2.9), neutral (pH 6.8), and alkaline solutions (pH 10), respectively. The low values of Kd indicated that there would be little adsorption of the single-ring model naphthenic acids by soils. This will result in high partitioning to the water column in aquatic environments.

Advanced analytical mass spectrometric techniques and bioassays to characterize untreated and ozonated oil sands process-affected water

Year of Publication: 2014

Abstract:
Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is a toxic and poorly biodegradable mixture of sand, silt, heavy metals, and organics. In this study, qualitative and quantitative comparisons of naphthenic acids (NAs) were done using ultraperformance liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC TOF-MS), Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) MS, and ion mobility spectrometry (IMS). The unique combination of these analyses allowed for the determination and correlation of NAs, oxidized NAs, and heteroatom (sulfur or nitrogen) NAs. Despite its lower resolution, UPLC-TOF MS was shown to offer a comparable level of reliability and precision as the high resolution FT-ICR MS. Additionally, the impacts of ozonation (35 mg/L utilized ozone dose) and subsequent NAs degradation on OSPW toxicity were assessed via a collection of organisms and toxicity end points using Vibrio fischeri (nonspecific), specific fish macrophage antimicrobial responses, and fish olfactory responses. Fish macrophages exposed to ozonated OSPW for 1 week showed higher production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates; however, after 12 weeks the responses were reduced significantly. Fish olfactory tests suggested that OSPW interfered with their perception of odorants. Current results indicate that the quantification of NAs species, using novel analytical methods, can be combined with various toxicity methods to assess the efficiency of OSPW treatment processes.

Advanced characterisation of organic matter in oil sands and tailings sands used for land reclamation by Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance-mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS)

Year of Publication: 2012

Abstract:
The Athabasca region of northern Alberta, Canada, is home to deposits of oil sands containing vast amounts (∼ 173 billion barrels) of heavily biodegraded petroleum. Oil sands are recovered by surface mining or by in situ steam injection. The extraction of bitumen from oil sands by caustic hot water processing results in large volumes of fluid tailings, which are stored in on-site settling basins. There the tailings undergo a compaction and dewatering process, producing a slowly densifying suspension. The released water is recycled for extraction. The fine tailings will be reclaimed as either dry or wet landscapes. [1] To produce 1 barrel of crude oil, 2 tons of oil sand and 2 – 3 tons of water (including recycled water) are required. [2] Open pit mining and the extraction of the bitumen from the oil sands create large and intense disturbances of different landscapes. The area currently disturbed by mining operations covers about 530 km2 and the area of tailing ponds surpasses 130 km2. An issue of increasing importance is the land remediation and reclamation of oil sand areas in Canada and the reconstruction of these disturbed landscapes back to working ecosystems similar to those existing prior to mining operations. An important issue in this context is the identification of oil sand-derived organic compounds in the tailings, their environmental behaviour and the resulting chances and limitations with respect to land reclamation. Furthermore the biodegradation processes that occur in the tailings and that could lead to a decrease in hazardous organic compounds are important challenges, which need to be investigated. This presentation will give a detailed overview of our compositional and quantitative characterisation of the organic matter in oil sand, unprocessed and processed mature fine tailings samples as well as in tailings sands used as part of land reclamation. The analytical characterisation is based on the extraction of the soluble organic matter, its subsequent separation into asphaltenes, aliphatic hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, neutral nitrogen, sulphur, oxygen (NSO) compounds and carboxylic acids. The asphaltene fractions are analysed using pyrolysis-GC, all other fractions are analysed by GC-MS. Additionally Fourier transform-ion cyclotron resonance-mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) is used to study the chemical composition of the samples on the molecular level using different ionisation methods.

Advancing cumulative effects assessment methodology for river systems

Authors Seitz, N. E.
Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
Increased land use intensity has adversely affected aquatic ecosystems within Canada. Activities that occur over the landscape are individually minor but collectively significant when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions, and are defined as cumulative effects. Existing approaches to cumulative effects assessment for river systems within Canada are ineffective. This thesis aims to improve the practice of cumulative effects assessment by evaluating current methodology for linking landscape change and river response over a large spatiotemporal scale. As part of this goal, I offer a framework for better incorporating science into current practices for cumulative effects assessment. The framework addresses the challenges involved in cumulative effects assessment, such as defining appropriate spatial and temporal scale, complex ecological and hydrologic pathways, predictive analysis, and monitoring. I then test the framework over a large spatiotemporal scale using a case study of the lower reaches of the Athabasca River Basin, Alberta. Three objectives are addressed: 1) changes in land use and land cover in the lower ARB for several census dates (1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001) between 1976 (historic) and 2006 (current day) are identified; 2) linkages between landscape change and river water quality and quantity response are evaluated; and 3) results of the different methods used to link landscape stressors with stream responses are compared. Results show that the landscape has changed dramatically between 1976 and 2006, documented by increases in forest harvesting, oil sands developments, and agricultural intensity. Secondly, results suggest that linear regression tests combined with regression trees are useful for capturing the strongest associations between landscape stressors and river response variables. For instance, water abstraction and agricultural activities have a significant impact on solute concentrations. This suggests that water abstraction and agriculture are important indicators to consider when conducting a watershed cumulative effect assessment on a similar spatiotemporal scale. The thesis has strong implications for the need for improved water quality and quantity monitoring of Canada‟s rivers. The research provides a means of identifying appropriate tools for improved watershed cumulative effects assessment for scientists and land managers involved in the environmental impact assessment process and protection of Canada‟s watersheds.

Aerobic biodegradation of two commercial naphthenic acids preparations

Year of Publication: 2004

Abstract:
Naphthenic acids (NAs) have a variety of commercial uses including as emulsifiers and wood preservatives. They have been identified as being the main component responsible for the acute toxicity in produced waters in the oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta, Canada. NAs comprise a complex mixture of alkyl-substituted acyclic and cycloaliphatic carboxylic acids, with the general chemical formula CnH2n+ZO2, where n indicates the carbon number and Z specifies hydrogen deficiency from ring formation. In this study, commercial preparations of NAs were shown to be degraded in aerobic cultures from oil sands process-affected waters. High-performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography−mass spectrometry (GC−MS) were used to monitor the concentrations and composition of the NA mixtures during biodegradation. Within 10 days of incubation, the NAs concentrations dropped from about 100 to <10 mg/L. This was accompanied by the release of about 60% of carbon from the NAs as CO2 and the reduction of toxicity of the culture supernatant, as measured by the Microtox assay. GC−MS results demonstrated that biodegradation changes the composition of the complex mixture of these NAs and that the lower molecular weight acids (with n = 5−13) were degraded more readily than the high molecular weight acids.

Aesthetics for mine closure

Year of Publication: 2011

Abstract:
There have been several historic attempts to quantify the aesthetics of natural landscapes, and many mines around the world are building reclaimed landscapes with a focus on visual appeal and/or natural appearance. There have been arguments made that form and function are closely linked, and hence mining landscapes should be fashioned to look natural; to look as though they have been the product of geomorphic change similar to that experienced over thousands or millions of years by the surrounding natural landscape, while some argue that aesthetic reclamation should be done for purely aesthetic purposes. Still others argue that preserving some of the historic / industrial features of a mining landscape is an important way of connecting humans to the land and its history, and hence preservation of historical resources can be an important element of mine reclamation. Our paper explores the interaction of these various concepts, ideas, and philosophies, and presents examples of bringing aesthetic considerations into landform design for mine closure. It offers qualitative and semi- quantitative measures to design, construct, and evaluate aesthetics and natural appearance in mine closure, and offers a scorecard that may form a starting point for constructive dialogue.

Agglomeration-flotation: Recovery of hydrophobic components from oil sands fine tailings

Year of Publication: 1995

Abstract:
Laboratory agglomeration-flotation tests were used to evaluate the recovery of residual bitumen from a sample of Suncor oil sands fine tailings, using ground coal as a bitumen absorbent. To improve its effectivness, the coal was preconditioned with no. 2 fuel oil, subjected to 30 s high-shear mixing and collected by flotation over 3 min. This oil-conditioned coal was then contacted with mature fine tailings for 5 min with low-shear mixing. Flotation for 5 min resulted in the recovery of 93% of the residual bitumen, compared with 85% after 40 min mixing achieved in earlier tests. Equipment to accomplish this separation has already been designed, scaled and operated for fine coal recovery from washery wastes.

Air emissions in Canada's oil sands

Authors
Year of Publication: 2011

Air quality in the Athabasca oil sands region 2011

Year of Publication: 2013

Abstract:
The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) is a multistakeholder, not-for-profit association located in Fort McMurray, Alberta. WBEA has been monitoring air quality in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of north-eastern Alberta, Canada since 1997. In 2011, WBEA operated 15 air monitoring stations that used continuous and time-integrated techniques to report on ambient air quality. Ambient air quality continuously measured in 2011 at WBEA compliance, attribution, and community air monitoring stations are presented. Maximum 1-h SO 2 concentrations ranged from 56 to 122ppb at compliance stations and 12 to 83ppb at community stations. There were no exceedances of the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAAQOs) for SO 2 in 2011. Maximum 1-h NO 2 concentrations ranged from 52 to 154ppb at compliance stations and 42 to 66ppb at community stations. There were no exceedances of the 1-h AAAQO for NO 2. Maximum 1-h O 3 concentrations measured at community stations ranged from 77 to 89ppb. In 2011, there were 15 exceedances of the 82ppb AAAQO for O 3, all in the period of intense forest fire activity and smoke episodes. In 2011, ambient fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) levels were highly influenced by the heavy particulate loading in fire smoke resulting in periods of extremely reduced visibility. Maximum 1-h PM 2.5 concentrations ranged from 406 to 451μgm -3. In 2011, there were 97 exceedances of the 24-h AAAQO for PM 2.5 of 30μgm -3. Beta attenuation technology being evaluated by WBEA measured short-term concentrations as high as 900μgm -3. Ninety-four exceedances (97% of total) of these occurred during the fire event. Maximum 1-h H 2S/TRS concentrations ranged from 6 to 98ppb at compliance/attribution stations, and from 3 to 7ppb at community stations. Maximum 24-h concentrations ranged from 1 to 23ppb at compliance/attribution stations and from 1 to 3ppb at community stations. In 2011, there were 23 exceedances of the 1-h AAAQO. This was 74% less than in 2010 and 89% less than in 2009. There were no exceedances in 2011 at community stations. Time-integrated air quality measurements included canister sampling for 60 VOCs and 20 RSCs at nine air monitoring stations. Most frequently, measured VOCs were benzene, toluene, acetone, butane, isopentane, isobutane, m,p-xylene, 2-methylpentane, hexane, pentane, and ethylbenzene. Most frequently, measured RSC were carbonyl sulfide, carbon disulfide, H 2S, and dimethyl disulfide. Twenty-three polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) species were routinely measured in low concentrations at four community stations. Phenanthrene, acenapthene, acenapthylene, fluoranthene, fluorene, and pyrene had highest mean concentrations.Between October 21, 2010 and May 31, 2011, Environment Canada operated a gaseous mercury analyzer at the Patricia McInnes air monitoring station in Fort McMurray. Excluding data collected during the forest fire period in May 2011, average ambient total gaseous mercury (TGM) concentrations averaged 1.40±0.15ngm -3. This value is similar to average TGM concentrations measured elsewhere in Canada.Air quality monitoring observations in 2011 were dominated by a massive forest fire complex north of Fort McMurray that consumed some 700,000ha and burnt to within a few kilometers of the community of Fort McKay. Data presented on O 3 and PM 2.5 were particularly influenced and skewed to higher than normal values. Air quality health index (AQHI) values calculated for the four reporting WBEA air monitoring stations indicated that air quality posed a low risk to health between 96% and 99.3% of the time in 2011. AQHI values presenting a high health risk (0.9-1.3% of available 8760h per station) all occurred during the forest fire smoke episodes. While exceedances of the odor perception-based AAAQO for H 2S/TRS of 10ppb for 1h, and 3ppb for 24h have decreased significantly since 2009, odors, nevertheless, remain a concern in some communities.

Air quality modelling and user needs

Authors Angle, R. P.
Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
The achievement of satisfactory air quality entails the adoption of one or more air pollution control strategies. Of the four basic strategies available, only air resource management requires the use of air quality models. Atmospheric dispersion models are a subset which can be employed either for fundamental research or for practical decision making. The characteristics of user oriented atmospheric dispersion models are simplicity, clarity, reliability, appropriateness, and practicality. Model performance is determined with reference to accuracy, skill, sensitivity, consistency, generality, integrity, and mechanism. For the suocessful application of air quality models to the decision process, there must be close co-operation between modellers and users.

Air quality over the Canadian oil sands: A first assessment using satellite observations

Year of Publication: 2012

Abstract:
Results from the first assessment of air quality over the Canadian oil sands-one of the largest industrial undertakings in human history-using satellite remote sensing observations of two pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and sulfur dioxide (SO₂), are presented. High-resolution maps were created that revealed distinct enhancements in both species over an area (roughly 30 km × 50 km) of intensive surface mining at scales of a few kilometers. The magnitude of these enhancements, quantified in terms of total mass, are comparable to the largest seen in Canada from individual sources. The rate of increase in NO₂between 2005 and 2010 was assessed at 10.4 ± 3.5%/year and resulted from increases both in local values as well as the spatial extent of the enhancement. This is broadly consistent with both surface-measurement trends and increases in annual bitumen production. An increase in SO₂ was also found, but given larger uncertainties, it is not statistically significant. NO2 and SO2 show distinct enhancements over surface mining sites in the oil sandNO2 and SO2 enhancement cover 30x50km2; NO2 increasing at a rate of 11%/yearDemonstrates method for analyzing localized sources using coarse resolution data

Air system summer field study in the AOSERP study area June 1977

Year of Publication: 1979

Abstract:
The third in a series of Atmospheric Environment Service Field Studies in the Alberta Oil Sands Study Area was carried out during June 16-27, 1977. The study was designed to cover the same objectives as those of the previous two studies but for summer conditions. As a consequence, the AES experimental program was similar to the previous experiments. In addition, the program was extended to include observations of particulate dispersion in the Great Canadian Oil Sands (GCOS) plume, using a mobile laser radar (LIDAR). Solar irradiance was also measured at several solar elevations during this study.