TOXIC LAKES FROM TAR-SAND PROJECTS PLANNED FOR ALBERTA

11/25/2013

The oil sands industry has found a new place to store the water produced through the process used to turn bitumen into diesel fuel: a man-made lake. Companies such as Syncrude Canada Ltd., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and Imperial Oil Ltd. currently produce so much of this water that, by 2022, one month’s output could fill an 11-foot-deep reservoir the size of New York’s Central Park. To combat the problem, they are making plans to create the largest man-made lake district on earth in northern Alberta. Syncrude company spokeswoman Cheryl Robb expressed confidence that they will be able to clean the water, and the company claims that the reservoir will eventually replicate a natural habitat. Some green groups, however, feel that the project is reckless; according to Jennifer Grant, director of oil sands at the Pembina Institute, “There’s no way to tell how the ecology of these lakes will evolve over time.” One concern is that any contamination could spread into the surrounding ecosystems. For the full story, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/oil-sands-miners-play-russian-roulette-with-toxic-water.html.