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Athabasca County No. 12 AB
Canada

An assessment of non-conventional drinking water in the Peace, Athabasca and Slave River basins


Year: 1997

Abstract:
It is estimated that approximately 25 % of the residents of the Northern River Basins Study area do not receive their drinking water from conventional drinking water treatment facilities. Therefore, these people rely on alternative sources for their drinking water supply. This report assesses the utilization and quality of the different non-conventional sources of drinking water that are used by people that do not consume conventionally treated water. Some of the non-conventional drinking water supplies utilized in the NRBS area include: (1) self-hauled treated water; (2) untreated surface water; (3) dugout water; (4) groundwater; (5) environmental sources of water such as snow, rain, and birch tree water; (6) bottled water; and (7) water treated by a variety of point-of-use technologies. There were four main research components in the assessment of these non- conventional drinking water supplies. First, the results of an in-depth review of the literature available on non-conventional drinking water sources, drinking water quality and the correlation of drinking water and health is presented in the first part ofthis report. Although the literature was limited on the actual consumption and quality of most of the non-conventional sources of drinking water consumed in the study area, substantial information exists on conventional drinking water quality as well as considerable information on several point-of-use treatment technologies. Essentially, the best type of point-of-use treatment depends on the raw water source. Perhaps the best point-of-use treatment method to use on water o f unknown quality is to boil it. The recommended boiling time in the literature varies considerably from simply heating the water to 50°C to vigorous boiling for 15 minutes. However, the majority of the authors cited a full boil for 1 minute as being sufficient to inactivate most pathogens. Besides boiling, there are numerous other point-of-use treatment technologies that employ disinfection (ultraviolet disinfection, ozonation, chlorination, iodination) and mechanical particle removal processes (such as sedimentation and filtration). The best available technology depends on the raw water source and likely incorporates more than one process to provide multiple barriers to ensure adequate drinking water quality. The second component of research regarding non-conventional drinking water in the Northern River Basins Study are was to visit selected NRBS communities and interview residents regarding their non-conventional drinking water practices. Remote areas around Fort Chipewyan, John D’Or Prairie, Fox Lake and Atikameg were visited and residents were asked about the sources and utilization on non-conventional drinking water supplies, as well as their overall drinking water quality concerns. It was through these informal interviews that most of the information was collected on the types of non-conventional drinking water used and how it was treated, if at all, prior to consumption. Many of the people interviewed discussed the deterioration of some of the surface water sources in the study area, but the majority of the concerns presented regarding drinking water quality in this study was in regards to the addition of chlorine in the conventional drinking water treatment process. Based on this, it was found that some people who do have conventionally treated water delivered to their home, collect a non-conventional supply of water for consumption such as from a nearby lake or river. This water has been called “special drinking water” by those consumers. It was also based on these findings that a series of population sub-groups that may be particularly pre-disposed to consuming non-conventional drinking water was postulated. First, those that live in remote areas not i serviced by conventional drinking water facilities are obvious consumers of non-conventional drinking water supplies. Second, some NRBS residents may be traditional consumers of alternative drinking water supplies. Many elderly residents may be included in this second group. Third, NRBS residents may consume non-conventional drinking water as a result of cultural activities such as living off the land expeditions or other wilderness activities. And the final group includes those individuals that consume non-conventional drinking water supplies for health reasons. This may include people that drink bottled water for its perceived health benefits as well as those that consume special drinking water to avoid the taste and smell o f chlorine in conventionally treated water. Third, during these field trips, samples of non-conventional drinking water were collected and these samples were analyzed for various physical, chemical and microbiological parameters. The non- conventional samples collected included untreated lake, river and creek water, spring water, groundwater well water, snow water, bottled water, and one sample of water treated with a point-of- use filter. Although the number of samples collected was limited and does not allow for absolute conclusions, several trends can be hypothesized. It was found that untreated surface water did not meet many of the physical, chemical and microbial guidelines in the GCDWQ. Although the groundwater samples collected met the microbiological limits in the GCDWQ, some physical and chemical parameters may be exceeded. The bottled water samples were found to have a very high background bacterial count and the point of use device tested was found to have actually contributed coliforms to the influent water supply. The fourth component in the assessment of non-conventional drinking water supplies in the Northern River Basins Study area was to pursue research on the effectiveness on some of the portable point-of- use drinking water treatment filters on the market. The reason for this was because there is a very limited body o f literature regarding these devices, and the claims made by the manufacturers suggest that these units are suitable to provide a safe supply of drinking water for wilderness campers and travelers. For the rigorous laboratory testing of these units, three filters were chosen to represent the larger market. The filters were chosen based on the type of filter media (carbon media, plastic media and silver impregnated ceramic media were selected), the price range (least expensive to most expensive were tested), and each unit was from a different manufacturer. The filters were subjected to an influent test water with a high turbidity, high bacterial count and a high particle count. It was found that only the silver impregnated ceramic filter was capable of reducing the turbidity, bacterial count and particle levels to below recommended levels for supplying a safe drinking water. However, further microbiological tests on this unit are required before it can be recommended for utilization in the study area.

Athabasca Cold Lake and the future


Author(s): McFarland, J. D.

Year: 1990

Abstract:
It is suggested that Alberta oil sands have the potential to sustain and increase the wealth creation capacity of the Canadian petroleum sector now and well into the next century. Realizing this potential in the present-day competitive and interconnected world crude oil market is a challenge to be addressed in four areas: markets, operations, technology, and stakeholder support. Real price improvement in the world oil market is not expected in the near future, given near-static demand and a continuously increasing worldwide supply potential. Even in such a market, there are specialized niches where Canadian heavy oil should be competitive. These markets are continental and are mainly high- and medium-conversion refineries and upgraders. Demand for Canadian heavy oil is forecast to grow ca 4%/y to over 800,000 bbl/d by 2000. Supply will closely track demand 1995-98 and be slightly below demand before 1995 and after 1998. Improvements in existing operations to lower production costs and increase efficiency are being made at the Cold Lake and Syncrude facilities. The development of technology to improve recovery and lower supply costs will trigger further development, and impressive gains have already been realized as a result from ongoing research. The final condition needed to allow the oil sand sector to realize its potential is informed and supportive stakeholders (investors, customers, governments, and communities), who need to understand the unique attributes and potential awards of the oil sand business.

Athabasca: A river changes; Fort Chipewyan's elders recall when water was pure


Author(s): Brooymans, H.

Year: 2010

Abstract:
[...] it affected flows in the Peace River. ***** The Journal's Hanneke Brooymans and Ryan Jackson went to Fort Chipewyan to learn more about water concerns in the shadow of industrial development. A 2009 Alberta Cancer Board report showed there are 30 per cent more cancers than expected in the community, but said the small population cast doubt on the statistical significance of the numbers.

Evaluation of groundwater flow and salt transport within an undrained tailings sand dam


Author(s): Price, A. C. R.

Year: 2005

Abstract:
Groundwater flow and salt transport in an undrained tailings sand dam is investigated at Syncrude Canada's Mildred Lake Oil Sands mine, in northeast Alberta. Two dimensional groundwater flow and salt transport are characterized using field data from two detailed piezometer transects. Calibrated steady-state groundwater flow and transient salt transport models simulate existing and future flow systems and flushing of process water. Dyke topography creates nested flow patterns, which are modified in some cases by variations in hydraulic conductivity. Greater relief of the backward-sloped bench design compared with forward-sloped benches results in larger local flow systems, a deeper water table, flushing of process water and focused discharge. Under the existing flow conditions captured by the model, salts will flush in decades at the local scale (bench) and centuries at the intermediate scale (perimeter dyke). The future flow regime will depend strongly on recharge rates across the reclaimed dam.

Evaluation of groundwater flow and salt transport within an undrained tailings sand dam


Author(s): Price, A. C. R.

Year: 2005

Abstract:
Groundwater flow and salt transport in an undrained tailings sand dam is investigated at Syncrude Canada's Mildred Lake Oil Sands mine, in northeast Alberta. Two dimensional groundwater flow and salt transport are characterized using field data from two detailed piezometer transects. Calibrated steady-state groundwater flow and transient salt transport models simulate existing and future flow systems and flushing of process water. Dyke topography creates nested flow patterns, which are modified in some cases by variations in hydraulic conductivity. Greater relief of the backward-sloped bench design compared with forward-sloped benches results in larger local flow systems, a deeper water table, flushing of process water and focused discharge. Under the existing flow conditions captured by the model, salts will flush in decades at the local scale (bench) and centuries at the intermediate scale (perimeter dyke). The future flow regime will depend strongly on recharge rates across the reclaimed dam.

How one First Nations group in Alberta reaps a windfall from oilsands development


Year: 2015

Abstract:
In 1983 Dorothy MacDonald, chief of the small Fort McKay First Nation, which sits in the middle of the world's richest oilsands deposits, decided to take on the trucks roaring through her community night and day loaded with lumber for construction sites. She mobilized a roadblock that lasted eight days and eventually pushed the Alberta government to intervene. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

In Conflict


Author(s): Cryderman, K.

Year: 2013

Abstract:
"Any time that we have differences with somebody like [Jim Boucher], it's a cause for concern," he said. "I think he's been a very balanced First Nation leader with respect to the oil sands industry," Mr. [David Collyer] said. "What I would encourage is for all the parties concerned to try to find a constructive way through it."

Citation:

Oil sands rules tools and capacity: Are we ready for upcoming challenges?


Year: 2014

Abstract:
Within the next decade we are likely to see some significant tests of the current oil sands regulatory and policy framework, including: • Industry-driven: such as an application for reclamation certificate or an application for release of process-affected water or a request to approve the water-capped fine tailings option • Government-driven: such as the implementation of the tailings management framework or LARP management frameworks or the wetlands policy or AEMERA • Environment-driven: such as a low-flow event in the Athabasca River or a major rainfall/flood event What other challenges can we foresee? We know there are various policy initiatives underway that will address some of these challenges but the results are not yet public and the related uncertainty is itself a challenge. In this Workshop, held October 27, 2014 at the University of Alberta, 48 people from a number of sectors explored our level of readiness to deal with such challenges, based on our existing and planned rules, tools and capacity and identify solutions to address the challenges. Each table was asked to produce a list of potential challenges, categorize them based on a set of criteria and then provide solutions to the most pressing challenges. About 84% of the challenges identified were expected to occur in the next 5 years; many of the challenges were described as happening right now. A total of 17 challenges were placed in the Parking Lot. Participants indicated we have Low Readiness to address 41% of the challenges; the small number of High readiness challenges is probably a reflection of our tendency to focus on problems rather than things that are going well. Knowledge was the most frequently identified gap while Regulation was least commonly flagged. Common themes among the 138 challenges include: • Oil sands process-affected water release – criteria, process, stakeholder acceptability, pit lake viability, treatment options and costs • Caribou – how to protect the species and its habitat; how to restore habitat • Aboriginal – what are their desires and needs; how can we accommodate those needs into plans and operational practices • Greenhouse gas and climate change – management, reduction, impact of regulation • Climate change adaptation – how do we ensure hydrology and reclamation plans take climate change into account • Closure and reclamation goals and reclamation certification – end land uses, is perpetual care an option, do we know how reclamation success will be measured • How can offsets be used to compensate for disturbance • Communicating with stakeholders – how to provide and explain complex data, how to explain plans, options and constraints • Economic forces affecting development – access to market, access to resources, price of oil, liability management programs Some of the key themes were: • Desire to see clearer roles and responsibilities for government agencies in regulation, monitoring and communication; suggestions for a single coordinator for these roles • Complete and implement all the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan frameworks • More emphasis on technical- and risk-based decision-making • More emphasis on regional outcomes and solutions • More emphasis on obtaining, considering and incorporating Aboriginal views in plans and decisions • Use adaptive management based on forecasts, scenarios, and monitoring • Need more public, stakeholder and investor communication – share success stories (but acknowledge the problems), identify champions who can take the message out • Invest in research, knowledge/data management • Invest in skills training • Retrieve, preserve and use historical knowledge and corporate memory

Risking rupture: Integral accidents and in/security in Canada's bitumen sands


Author(s): Greaves, W.

Year: 2013

Abstract:
The expansion of unconventional hydrocarbon development in Western Canada is one of the most contentious issues in contemporary Canadian politics. Although widely studied, little attention has been paid to the framing of Alberta's bitumen sands within distinct and incompatible discourses of energy and environmental security. This essay examines these discourses using the tools of securitization analysis, asking the basic questions of what each presents as needing to be secured, from what, and by what means. Presented with two sets of socially constructed in/ security claims related to the bitumen sands and proposed pipeline expansion, the author suggests the social theory of Paul Virilio provides a useful intervention into securitization analysis that allows the material implications of these discourses to be clarified and assessed. Drawing upon Virilio's critical account of technological progress and his theory of accidents, this essay proposes that conventional accounts of "energy security" in the bitumen sands cannot result in meaningful conditions of security because they remain premised upon continued and expanded hydrocarbon consumption in an era of anthropogenic climate change.