Writing on Alberta’s Polluting Deregulating Walls: Pilot project to dump toxic tarsands waste directly into Athabasca River, followed by more deregulating to enable oil, gas, frac waste dumped directly into watersheds across Canada?

Heather Lyon @firststartrmh Retweeted Julie Ali

This is great news!!!

Greg Sauer‏ @gljsauer to @firststartrmh

Canadian ingenuity strikes again

Julie Ali‏ @JulieYAli

Sure does. Gets @OilGasCanada off the hook and poisons us. Win win for everyone.

Julie Ali‏ @JulieYAli Replying to @firststartrmh

Yeah if you like carcinogens in your drinking water.

New pilot project aims to detoxify oilsands waste water for safe return to Athabasca River, A new [smokescreen] technology, developed by Syncrude, aimed at cleaning the water is being tested by Lucie Edwardson with files from Stephanie Rousseau, May 25, 2019, CBC News


The province is launching a pilot project this summer in partnership with Syncrude and the federal government to look at releasing treated waste water from the oilsands back into the Athabasca River. 

The program will test a new process developed by Syncrude to treat contaminated water, using activated carbon mixed with water from the oilsands, and put through a series of filters. 

Alberta currently has an estimated 1.3 trillion litres of contaminated water sitting in tailings ponds.

The water contains contaminants ranging from salt and heavy metals to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and naphthenic acids.

Testing phase

Alberta and Environment and Parks’ chief scientist, Fred Wrona, is leading a group of experts and scientists in the two-year pilot project. 

He says they’re trying to get a better understanding of the chemical qualities of the contaminated water after it’s been processed using the technology that Syncrude is proposing.

“What we have to do now is to determine whether or not that treatment technology is actually operating in the way that it should be, and, in fact, is the effluent safe for return?” he said. [Translation, how can we cheaply con Canadians into letting us dump it directly, with as minimal expense as possible]

The first stage of the experiment is what they call “closed loop,” Wrona said.

“There is no discharge back to the river. We test the the effluent, and it goes back into the tailings pond.”

Water from the Athabasca River is used by the oil industry to separate bitumen from sand and clay, or to produce steam to heat reservoirs. Once used, the water is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxic products. Since it cannot be returned to nature, it’s stored in huge tailing ponds, which are [rarely] not always perfectly sealed.

“I mean, that landscape with those waters as they are is basically unusable by wildlife and other organisms, including by humans,” said Wrona.

“Proper reclamation procedures will hopefully bring us back to a landscape that is environmentally safe to use.” [translation, the quicker we dump it, the more money multinations, mostly foreign-funded, make]

Environmental concerns remain

Dale Marshall of the lobby group Environmental Defence says he’s not confident the technology can clean the water of all toxins.

“We’re talking about chemicals that are … carcinogenic or suspected carcinogens That they’re going to remove all of those chemicals from that water is hard to believe,” Marshall said. “If they’re able to do it, great.”

But Marshall said his big concern is uncertainty around what impacts the project could have othe river ecosystem over time.

“Before they allow anything that is significant in terms of volume to be discharged in the Athabasca River, I would like to see how the water looks like after it has been treated, and whether in fact all those toxic chemicals have been taken out,” he said. [Of course the toxic chemicals will not be removed, that would cost money which the industry is too greedy and spoiled to spend. If industry intended to clean up the waste, and if AER intended for the waste to be cleaned up, it would have been cleaned up all along, started decades ago. It’s not complicated to clean up the waste, it’s just extremely expensive which the industry and regulators knew long ago. The tarsands ought to have never developed beyond a few experiments, just for reason of the phenomenal toxic emissions and lakes of deadly waste. The companies, politicians and regulators never intended for the waste to be cleaned up, that’s obvious – just look to AER allowing companies to violate the clean up rules – not because clean up can’t be done, but because it will cost money. The plan is to make ordinary citizens pay the hundreds of billions the clean-up will cost]

“Because to me it feels like the old the adage from the 1970s, which is the solution to pollution is dilution, and getting rid of the chemicals is just diluting it by letting a little bit go in the river slowly over time.” [Given industry’s greed running rampant, there has been and continues to be massive amounts of toxic waste being quietly dumped into the river and people are starting to ask questions about who is going to pay for the hundreds of billion of dollars shortfall to clean up]

Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, Jason Nixon, says his government’s priority is to protect both water and Albertans.

“I don’t support releasing toxic waters anywhere. The question is, through the pilot project … whether they’re toxic or not, and I don’t know the answer to that, [For Frac’s sakes! It’s common knowledge the tarsands waste is toxic!]” he said. [There’s the govt’s instruction to industry: “tell us it’s not toxic, we’ll let you dump it directly into the river even if it is toxic, as long as you say it isn’t. We’ll make sure AER and Environment does not do any testing or monitoring of the pollution dumped. That’s the Alberta Way.”]

Refer also to:

AER continues to let tarsands companies off the hook for not readying their waste lakes for clean up. Who’s surprised? 13 years after Encana broke the law, fracked Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers, AER still not making Encana clean up

Fox Creek’s Barb Ryan provides excellent summary of Canada’s new tarsands study insanity! Industry under-reporting VOC pollution by factor of 2 to 4.5

Jason Kenney gives multi-billion dollar profiting companies a taxpayer-funded war room to abuse citizens concerned about industry’s rampant life-threatening pollution: Suncor tarsands revenue up from $11.2 to $12 billion between 2017 and 2018 when companies whined about how hard it was to operate in Canada; CNRL boosted its revenue from $7.1 to $11.5 billion

Is this why Paramount bought Apache Corp’s Fox Creek assets? Koch Industries sells its tarsands properties to Paramount. Paramount/Trilogy next to declare bankruptcy, walk from clean up, with AER’s blessings?

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