Word got out and, by the turn of the century, enterprising engineers and entrepreneurs paddled down the Athabasca River
to seek their fortune.
31, 2013 the largest coal slurry spill in Canadian history occurred from a pit 30 km east of Hinton releasing approximately 670 million litres of contaminated water into two tributaries leading to the Athabasca River
. It took Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development until Nov.
Further down the Athabasca river
, natural gas has come up from fissures in the rock for years, and the bubbles that rise to its surface are easily ignited.
Early in his visit to Alberta, Cameron discussed the "fallout" with scientist David Schindler, who published a water study that linked the oilsands with toxins in the Athabasca River
. Fish collected from the lower Athabasca River
, Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca show deformities, tumours, and indicators of disease.
(Seventy-two million litres would fill Toronto's Rogers Centre 16 times.) The water, known to contain dozens of toxic contaminants such as heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and naphthenic acids, enters the groundwater and the Athabasca River
before the river flows into Fort Chipewyan and the Peace Athabasca Delta, one of the world's largest inland freshwater deltas.
His report, released last November, found rising concentrations of mercury, arsenic, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (Pan) in the lower Athabasca River
. Thirty to forty percent of walleye tested for mercury exceeded levels deemed safe in Canada for consumers; all exceeded the U.S.
Even if a moratorium on new project approvals were enacted today, the volume of water consumed by the open-pit mines from the Athabasca River
and dumped into colossal tailings ponds would still almost double from the current volume of 370 million cubic metres of water per year.
Schindler estimates that by 2020, 15% of the Athabasca River
water would be used for tar sands processing.
Having already reduced water withdrawals from the Athabasca River
, Suncor plans to proceed with this expansion without requesting any increase to its water licence.
The expanded mining of the tar sands also could divert streams and rivers, specifically the nearby Athabasca River
, the primary source of water used in the separation process.
Water is being taken in huge quantities from the Athabasca River
, while the contaminated, toxic water from processing is dumped in giant holding lagoons.