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Sample records for lake oil sands

  1. Suncor sees loss in oil sands, shelves Burnt Lake

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1986-12-01

    Suncor Inc. reported that earnings from operations for the first nine months of 1986 were $1 million, compared to $27 million for the same period last year. However, improved productivity at the oil sands plant and better margins in the downstream business were among the positive factors helping Suncor record a third quarter operating profit of $2 million. As part of restructuring the company's Resources Group it has stopped work on the $1 billion Burnt Lake project. Burnt Lake is an in situ steam recovery project located in the Primrose area. The operation has a potential of 25,000 barrels per day.

  2. Legacy of a half century of Athabasca oil sands development recorded by lake ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Kurek, Joshua; Kirk, Jane L.; Muir, Derek C. G.; Wang, Xiaowa; Evans, Marlene S.; Smol, John P.

    2013-01-01

    The absence of well-executed environmental monitoring in the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) has necessitated the use of indirect approaches to determine background conditions of freshwater ecosystems before development of one of the Earth’s largest energy deposits. Here, we use highly resolved lake sediment records to provide ecological context to ∼50 y of oil sands development and other environmental changes affecting lake ecosystems in the region. We show that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within lake sediments, particularly C1-C4–alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the bitumen resource began, followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes. Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of our six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5–23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. PAH ratios indicate temporal shifts from primarily wood combustion to petrogenic sources that coincide with greater oil sands development. Canadian interim sediment quality guidelines for PAHs have been exceeded since the mid-1980s at the most impacted site. A paleoecological assessment of Daphnia shows that this sentinel zooplankter has not yet been negatively impacted by decades of high atmospheric PAH deposition. Rather, coincident with increases in PAHs, climate-induced shifts in aquatic primary production related to warmer and drier conditions are the primary environmental drivers producing marked daphniid shifts after ∼1960 to 1970. Because of the striking increase in PAHs, elevated primary production, and zooplankton changes, these oil sands lake ecosystems have entered new ecological states completely distinct from those of previous centuries. PMID:23297215

  3. Legacy of a half century of Athabasca oil sands development recorded by lake ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Kurek, Joshua; Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; Wang, Xiaowa; Evans, Marlene S; Smol, John P

    2013-01-29

    The absence of well-executed environmental monitoring in the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) has necessitated the use of indirect approaches to determine background conditions of freshwater ecosystems before development of one of the Earth's largest energy deposits. Here, we use highly resolved lake sediment records to provide ecological context to ∼50 y of oil sands development and other environmental changes affecting lake ecosystems in the region. We show that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) within lake sediments, particularly C1-C4-alkylated PAHs, increased significantly after development of the bitumen resource began, followed by significant increases in dibenzothiophenes. Total PAH fluxes in the modern sediments of our six study lakes, including one site ∼90 km northwest of the major development area, are now ∼2.5-23 times greater than ∼1960 levels. PAH ratios indicate temporal shifts from primarily wood combustion to petrogenic sources that coincide with greater oil sands development. Canadian interim sediment quality guidelines for PAHs have been exceeded since the mid-1980s at the most impacted site. A paleoecological assessment of Daphnia shows that this sentinel zooplankter has not yet been negatively impacted by decades of high atmospheric PAH deposition. Rather, coincident with increases in PAHs, climate-induced shifts in aquatic primary production related to warmer and drier conditions are the primary environmental drivers producing marked daphniid shifts after ∼1960 to 1970. Because of the striking increase in PAHs, elevated primary production, and zooplankton changes, these oil sands lake ecosystems have entered new ecological states completely distinct from those of previous centuries. PMID:23297215

  4. Assessing the potential environmental impact of Athabasca oil sands development in lakes across Northwest Saskatchewan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahad, J. M.; Cumming, B. F.; Das, B.; Sanei, H.

    2011-12-01

    The continued development of Canada's Athabasca oil sands poses a significant environmental challenge. Low buffered boreal lakes located downwind of the prevailing eastward wind direction may be threatened by acidification and elevated inputs of airborne contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). An accurate assessment of the impact that increased levels of bitumen production may have on lakes in the region requires an understanding of the historic variability within these systems prior to at least the past several decades. Here we report concentrations of PAHs, δ13C and δ15N of organic matter (OM), Rock-Eval pyrolysis analyses, and distributions of n-alkanes in dated sediment cores from ten lakes located across NW Saskatchewan. Concentrations of PAHs were relatively low (< 100 ng/g for Σ 16 EPA Priority PAHs at each lake) and in general showed no substantial increases over the past 30 years. Retene, which is often associated with the combustion of coniferous wood, was generally the most abundant PAH amongst those reported, demonstrating the importance of forest fires as a principal PAH source. Plots of Hydrogen Index (HI) versus Oxygen Index (OI) fell within a relatively narrow range typical for sediments containing a high content of algal-derived OM. Relatively lower C/N ratios and higher abundances of C17 n-alkane in more recent sediments pointed to an increasingly larger component of algal-derived OM. In all ten lakes δ13C showed gradual upcore depletions that fell within the expected range for fossil fuel combustion (i.e., Suess effect), although this alone may not explain the up to ~3% depletion observed in several of the lakes. In conjunction with the other upcore trends these data may suggest a possible increase in primary productivity over the past several decades in many of the lakes studied. δ15N signatures were more variable, showing upcore increases in some lakes and upcore depletions in others. The increasingly lighter values

  5. Initial geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings in an oil sands end pit lake.

    PubMed

    Dompierre, Kathryn A; Lindsay, Matthew B J; Cruz-Hernández, Pablo; Halferdahl, Geoffrey M

    2016-06-15

    Geochemical characteristics of fluid fine tailings (FFT) were examined in Base Mine Lake (BML), which is the first full-scale demonstration oil sands end pit lake (EPL) in northern Alberta, Canada. Approximately 186Mm(3) of FFT was deposited between 1994 and 2012, before BML was established on December 31, 2012. Bulk FFT samples (n=588) were collected in July and August 2013 at various depths at 15 sampling sites. Temperature, solid content, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, Eh and alkalinity were measured for all samples. Detailed geochemical analyses were performed on a subset of samples (n=284). Pore-water pH decreased with depth by approximately 0.5 within the upper 10m of the FFT. Major pore-water constituents included Na (880±96mgL(-1)) and Cl (560±95mgL(-1)); Ca (19±4.1mgL(-1)), Mg (11±2.0mgL(-1)), K (16±2.3mgL(-1)) and NH3 (9.9±4.7mgL(-1)) were consistently observed. Iron and Mn concentrations were low within FFT pore water, whereas SO4 concentrations decreased sharply across the FFT-water interface. Geochemical modeling indicated that FeS(s) precipitation was favoured under SO4-reducing conditions. Pore water was also under-saturated with respect to gypsum [CaSO4·2H2O], and near saturation with respect to calcite [CaCO3], dolomite [CaMg(CO3)2] and siderite [FeCO3]. X-ray diffraction (XRD) suggested that carbonate-mineral dissolution largely depleted calcite and dolomite. X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy revealed the presence of FeS(s), pyrite [FeS2], and siderite. Carbonate-mineral dissolution and secondary mineral precipitation have likely contributed to FFT dewatering and settlement. However, the long-term importance of these processes within EPLs remains unknown. These results provide a reference for assessing the long-term geochemical evolution of oil sands EPLs, and offer insight into the chemistry of pore water released from FFT to the overlying water cover. PMID:26974568

  6. Characterization of physical mass transport through oil sands fluid fine tailings in an end pit lake: a multi-tracer study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dompierre, Kathryn A.; Barbour, S. Lee

    2016-06-01

    Soft tailings pose substantial challenges for mine reclamation due to their high void ratios and low shear strengths, particularly for conventional terrestrial reclamation practices. Oil sands mine operators have proposed the development of end pit lakes to contain the soft tailings, called fluid fine tailings (FFT), generated when bitumen is removed from oil sands ore. End pit lakes would be constructed within mined-out pits with FFT placed below the lake water. However, the feasibility of isolating the underlying FFT has yet to be fully evaluated. Chemical constituents of interest may move from the FFT into the lake water via two key processes: (1) advective-diffusive mass transport with upward pore water flow caused by settling of the FFT; and (2) mixing created by wind events or unstable density profiles through the lake water and upper portion of the FFT. In 2013 and 2014, temperature and stable isotopes of water profiles were measured through the FFT and lake water in the first end pit lake developed by Syncrude Canada Ltd. Numerical modelling was undertaken to simulate these profiles to identify the key mechanisms controlling conservative mass transport in the FFT. Shallow mixing of the upper 1.1 m of FFT with lake water was required to explain the observed temperature and isotopic profiles. Following mixing, the re-establishment of both the temperature and isotope profiles required an upward advective flux of approximately 1.5 m/year, consistent with average FFT settling rates measured at the study site. These findings provide important insight on the ability to sequester soft tailings in an end pit lake, and offer a foundation for future research on the development of end pit lakes as an oil sands reclamation strategy.

  7. Characterization of physical mass transport through oil sands fluid fine tailings in an end pit lake: a multi-tracer study.

    PubMed

    Dompierre, Kathryn A; Barbour, S Lee

    2016-06-01

    Soft tailings pose substantial challenges for mine reclamation due to their high void ratios and low shear strengths, particularly for conventional terrestrial reclamation practices. Oil sands mine operators have proposed the development of end pit lakes to contain the soft tailings, called fluid fine tailings (FFT), generated when bitumen is removed from oil sands ore. End pit lakes would be constructed within mined-out pits with FFT placed below the lake water. However, the feasibility of isolating the underlying FFT has yet to be fully evaluated. Chemical constituents of interest may move from the FFT into the lake water via two key processes: (1) advective-diffusive mass transport with upward pore water flow caused by settling of the FFT; and (2) mixing created by wind events or unstable density profiles through the lake water and upper portion of the FFT. In 2013 and 2014, temperature and stable isotopes of water profiles were measured through the FFT and lake water in the first end pit lake developed by Syncrude Canada Ltd. Numerical modelling was undertaken to simulate these profiles to identify the key mechanisms controlling conservative mass transport in the FFT. Shallow mixing of the upper 1.1 m of FFT with lake water was required to explain the observed temperature and isotopic profiles. Following mixing, the re-establishment of both the temperature and isotope profiles required an upward advective flux of approximately 1.5 m/year, consistent with average FFT settling rates measured at the study site. These findings provide important insight on the ability to sequester soft tailings in an end pit lake, and offer a foundation for future research on the development of end pit lakes as an oil sands reclamation strategy.

  8. Characterization of physical mass transport through oil sands fluid fine tailings in an end pit lake: a multi-tracer study.

    PubMed

    Dompierre, Kathryn A; Barbour, S Lee

    2016-06-01

    Soft tailings pose substantial challenges for mine reclamation due to their high void ratios and low shear strengths, particularly for conventional terrestrial reclamation practices. Oil sands mine operators have proposed the development of end pit lakes to contain the soft tailings, called fluid fine tailings (FFT), generated when bitumen is removed from oil sands ore. End pit lakes would be constructed within mined-out pits with FFT placed below the lake water. However, the feasibility of isolating the underlying FFT has yet to be fully evaluated. Chemical constituents of interest may move from the FFT into the lake water via two key processes: (1) advective-diffusive mass transport with upward pore water flow caused by settling of the FFT; and (2) mixing created by wind events or unstable density profiles through the lake water and upper portion of the FFT. In 2013 and 2014, temperature and stable isotopes of water profiles were measured through the FFT and lake water in the first end pit lake developed by Syncrude Canada Ltd. Numerical modelling was undertaken to simulate these profiles to identify the key mechanisms controlling conservative mass transport in the FFT. Shallow mixing of the upper 1.1 m of FFT with lake water was required to explain the observed temperature and isotopic profiles. Following mixing, the re-establishment of both the temperature and isotope profiles required an upward advective flux of approximately 1.5 m/year, consistent with average FFT settling rates measured at the study site. These findings provide important insight on the ability to sequester soft tailings in an end pit lake, and offer a foundation for future research on the development of end pit lakes as an oil sands reclamation strategy. PMID:27061245

  9. Extracting Oil From Tar Sands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ford, L. B.; Daly, D.

    1984-01-01

    Recovery of oil from tar sands possible by batch process, using steam produced by solar heater. In extraction process, solar heater provides steam for heating solvent boiler. Boiling solvent removes oil from tar sands in Soxhlet extractor.

  10. Recent Warming, Rather than Industrial Emissions of Bioavailable Nutrients, Is the Dominant Driver of Lake Primary Production Shifts across the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Summers, Jamie C; Kurek, Joshua; Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; Wang, Xiaowa; Wiklund, Johan A; Cooke, Colin A; Evans, Marlene S; Smol, John P

    2016-01-01

    Freshwaters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) are vulnerable to the atmospheric emissions and land disturbances caused by the local oil sands industry; however, they are also affected by climate change. Recent observations of increases in aquatic primary production near the main development area have prompted questions about the principal drivers of these limnological changes. Is the enhanced primary production due to deposition of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from local industry or from recent climatic changes? Here, we use downcore, spectrally-inferred chlorophyll-a (VRS-chla) profiles (including diagenetic products) from 23 limnologically-diverse lakes with undisturbed catchments to characterize the pattern of primary production increases in the AOSR. Our aim is to better understand the relative roles of the local oil sands industry versus climate change in driving aquatic primary production trends. Nutrient deposition maps, generated using geostatistical interpolations of spring-time snowpack measurements from a grid pattern across the AOSR, demonstrate patterns of elevated total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and bioavailable nitrogen deposition around the main area of industrial activity. However, this pattern is not observed for bioavailable phosphorus. Our paleolimnological findings demonstrate consistently greater VRS-chla concentrations compared to pre-oil sands development levels, regardless of morphological and limnological characteristics, landscape position, bioavailable nutrient deposition, and dibenzothiophene (DBT)-inferred industrial impacts. Furthermore, breakpoint analyses on VRS-chla concentrations across a gradient of DBT-inferred industrial impact show limited evidence of a contemporaneous change among lakes. Despite the contribution of bioavailable nitrogen to the landscape from industrial activities, we find no consistency in the spatial pattern and timing of VRS-chla shifts with an industrial fertilizing signal. Instead

  11. Recent Warming, Rather than Industrial Emissions of Bioavailable Nutrients, Is the Dominant Driver of Lake Primary Production Shifts across the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    PubMed Central

    Summers, Jamie C.; Kurek, Joshua; Kirk, Jane L.; Muir, Derek C. G.; Wang, Xiaowa; Wiklund, Johan A.; Cooke, Colin A.; Evans, Marlene S.; Smol, John P.

    2016-01-01

    Freshwaters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) are vulnerable to the atmospheric emissions and land disturbances caused by the local oil sands industry; however, they are also affected by climate change. Recent observations of increases in aquatic primary production near the main development area have prompted questions about the principal drivers of these limnological changes. Is the enhanced primary production due to deposition of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from local industry or from recent climatic changes? Here, we use downcore, spectrally-inferred chlorophyll-a (VRS-chla) profiles (including diagenetic products) from 23 limnologically-diverse lakes with undisturbed catchments to characterize the pattern of primary production increases in the AOSR. Our aim is to better understand the relative roles of the local oil sands industry versus climate change in driving aquatic primary production trends. Nutrient deposition maps, generated using geostatistical interpolations of spring-time snowpack measurements from a grid pattern across the AOSR, demonstrate patterns of elevated total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and bioavailable nitrogen deposition around the main area of industrial activity. However, this pattern is not observed for bioavailable phosphorus. Our paleolimnological findings demonstrate consistently greater VRS-chla concentrations compared to pre-oil sands development levels, regardless of morphological and limnological characteristics, landscape position, bioavailable nutrient deposition, and dibenzothiophene (DBT)-inferred industrial impacts. Furthermore, breakpoint analyses on VRS-chla concentrations across a gradient of DBT-inferred industrial impact show limited evidence of a contemporaneous change among lakes. Despite the contribution of bioavailable nitrogen to the landscape from industrial activities, we find no consistency in the spatial pattern and timing of VRS-chla shifts with an industrial fertilizing signal. Instead

  12. Century-long source apportionment of PAHs in Athabasca oil sands region lakes using diagnostic ratios and compound-specific carbon isotope signatures.

    PubMed

    Jautzy, Josué; Ahad, Jason M E; Gobeil, Charles; Savard, Martine M

    2013-06-18

    Evaluating the impact that airborne contamination associated with Athabasca oil sands (AOS) mining operations has on the surrounding boreal forest ecosystem requires a rigorous approach to source discrimination. This study presents a century-long historical record of source apportionment of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in dated sediments from two headwater lakes located approximately 40 and 55 km east from the main area of open pit mining activities. Concentrations of the 16 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) priority PAHs in addition to retene, dibenzothiophene (DBT), and six alkylated groups were measured, and both PAH molecular diagnostic ratios and carbon isotopic signatures (δ(13)C) of individual PAHs were used to differentiate natural from anthropogenic inputs. Although concentrations of PAHs in these lakes were low and below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) guidelines, diagnostic ratios pointed to an increasingly larger input of petroleum-derived (i.e., petrogenic) PAHs over the past 30 years concomitant with δ(13)C values progressively shifting to the value of unprocessed AOS bitumen. This petrogenic source is attributed to the deposition of bitumen in dust particles associated with wind erosion from open pit mines.

  13. Geotechnical properties of oil-contaminated Kuwaiti sand

    SciTech Connect

    Al-Sanad, H.A.; Eid, W.K.; Ismael, N.F.

    1995-05-01

    Large quantities of oil-contaminated sands resulted from exploded oil wells, burning oil fires, the destruction of oil storage tanks, and the formation of oil lakes in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War. An extensive laboratory testing program was carried out to determine the geotechnical characteristics of this material. Testing included basic properties, compaction and permeability tests, and triaxial and consolidation tests on clean and contaminated sand at the same relative density. Contaminated specimens were prepared by mixing the sand with oil in the amount of 6% by weight or less to match field conditions. The influence of the type of oil, and relative density was also investigated by direct shear tests. The results indicated a small reduction in strength and permeability and an increase in compressibility due to contamination. The preferred method of disposal of this material is to use it as a stabilizing material for other projects such as road construction.

  14. Aeolian sand preserved in Silver Lake: a new signal of Holocene high stands of Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fisher, Timothy G.; Loope, Walter L.

    2005-01-01

    Aeolian sand within lake sediment from Silver Lake, Michigan can be used as a proxy for the timing of high lake levels of Lake Michigan.We demonstrate that the sand record from Silver Lake plotted as percent weight is in-phase with the elevation curve of Lake Michigan since the mid-Holocene Nipissing Phase. Because fluctuations in Lake Michigan's lake level are recorded in beach ridges, and are a response to climate change, the aeolian sand record within Silver Lake is also a proxy for climate change. It appears that increases in dune activity and lake sand are controlled by similar climatic shifts that drive fluctuations in lake level of Lake Michigan. High lake levels destabilize coastal bluffs that drive dune sand instability, and along with greater wintertime storminess, increase niveo-aeolian transport of sand across lake ice. The sand is introduced into the lake each spring as the ice cover melts.

  15. 2. VIEW SHOWING NATURAL SAND BEACH ON KIDNEY LAKE, LOOKING ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    2. VIEW SHOWING NATURAL SAND BEACH ON KIDNEY LAKE, LOOKING WEST - High Mountain Dams in Upalco Unit, Kidney Lake Dam, Ashley National Forest, 4.7 miles North of Miners Gulch Campground, Mountain Home, Duchesne County, UT

  16. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 1. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains an executive summary and reports for five of these projects. 137 figs., 49 tabs.

  17. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands: Volume 2. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1997-11-26

    The program is composed of 20 projects, of which 17 are laboratory bench or laboratory pilot scale processes or computer process simulations that are performed in existing facilities on the University of Utah campus in north-east Salt Lake City. These tasks are: (1) coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; (2) water-based recovery of bitumen; (3) oil sand pyrolysis in a continuous rotary kiln reactor; (4) oil sand pyrolysis in a large diameter fluidized bed reactor; (5) oil sand pyrolysis in a small diameter fluidized bed reactor; (6) combustion of spent sand in a transport reactor; (7) recovery and upgrading of oil sand bitumen using solvent extraction methods; (8) fixed-bed hydrotreating of Uinta Basin bitumens and bitumen-derived hydrocarbon liquids; (9) ebullieted bed hydrotreating of bitumen and bitumen derived liquids; (10) bitumen upgrading by hydropyrolysis; (11) evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high-energy jet fuels and other specialty products; (12) characterization of the bitumens and reservoir rocks from the Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (13) bitumen upgrading pilot plant recommendations; (14) liquid-solid separation and fine tailings thickening; (15) in-situ production of heavy oil from Uinta Basin oil sand deposits; (16) oil sand research and development group analytical facility; and (17) process economics. This volume contains reports on nine of these projects, references, and a bibliography. 351 refs., 192 figs., 65 tabs.

  18. Geochemical evidence for a Cretaceous oil sand (Bima oil sand) in the Chad Basin, Nigeria

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bata, Timothy; Parnell, John; Samaila, Nuhu K.; Abubakar, M. B.; Maigari, A. S.

    2015-11-01

    Paleogeographic studies have shown that Earth was covered with more water during the Cretaceous than it is today, as the global sea level was significantly higher. The Cretaceous witnessed one of the greatest marine transgressions in Earth's history, represented by widespread deposition of sands directly on underlying basement. These sand bodies hold much of the world's heavy oil. Here, we present for the first time, geochemical evidence of a Cretaceous oil sand (Bima oil sand) in the Chad Basin, Nigeria. Bima oil sand is similar to other Cretaceous oil sands, predominantly occurring at shallow depths on basin flanks and generally lacking a seal cover, making the oil susceptible to biodegradation. The bulk properties and distribution of molecular features in oils from the Bima oil sand suggest that they are biodegraded. Sterane maturity parameters and the trisnorhopane thermal indicator for the oils suggest thermal maturities consistent with oils generated as conventional light oils, which later degraded into heavy oils. These oils also show no evidence of 25-norhopane, strongly suggesting that biodegradation occurred at shallow depths, consistent with the shallow depth of occurrence of the Bima Formation at the study locality. Low diasterane/sterane ratios and C29H/C30H ratios greater than 1 suggest a carbonate source rock for the studied oil. The Sterane distribution further suggests that the oils were sourced from marine carbonate rocks. The C32 homohopane isomerization ratios for the Bima oil sand are 0.59-0.60, implying that the source rock has surpassed the main oil generation phase, consistent with burial depths of the Fika and Gongila Formations, which are both possible petroleum source rocks in the basin.

  19. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Quarterly report, April--June 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-07-01

    Accomplishments are briefly described for the following tasks: environmental impact statement; coupled fluidized bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; water-based recovery of bitumen; rotary kiln process for recovery of bitumen and combustion of coke sand; recovery of bitumen from oil sands using fluidized bed reactors and combustion of spent sands in transport reactors; recovery of bitumen from oil sand and upgrading of bitumen by solvent extraction; catalytic and thermal upgrading of bitumens and bitumen-derived liquids; evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high energy jet fuels and other specialty products; development of mathematical models for bitumen recovery and processing; completion of the cost examination study of the pilot plant restoration; development studies of equipment for three-product gravity separation of bitumen and sand; determine thickener requirements; and environmental studies of the North Salt Lake pilot plant rehabilitation and eventual operation and those environmental problems associated with eventual commercial products.

  20. Treatment of oil spill water by ozonation and sand filtration.

    PubMed

    Hong, P K Andy; Xiao, Ting

    2013-04-01

    Increasing volumes of crude oil being produced and transported throughout the world in recent decades have resulted in increased risks of spill and high-profile spill incidents of significant environmental and ecological impacts over extended periods of time. While immediate in situ and ex situ responses have been implemented, none are available for onsite treatment of contaminated water for immediate release of the treated water. We demonstrate here a potential treatment scheme involving ozonation and sand filtration intended for immediate treatment and discharge of the impacted water. Waters of tap, Utah Lake, and Great Salt Lake sources were spiked with crude oil of the Great Natural Butte of Utah at 2.5% and 0.025% oil (v/v) and tested for treatment. The results showed near complete removal (100%) of both Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and oil and grease (O&G) from initially 20000 and 11000 mg L(-1), respectively, via flotation pretreatment, ozonation in pressure cycles, and sand filtration. At lower oil level of 0.025%, complete removal of COD and O&G from waters were achieved without floatation. The treated waters showed reduction of turbidity to <1 from 4000 NTU and high Biochemical Oxygen Demand/COD ratio of 0.3-0.5 that reflected highly biodegradable residual organics. The results showed synergistic oil removal when two well practiced methods, namely ozonation and sand filtration that either alone seems ineffective, are combined sequentially. It indicates a potential on-site treatment response for oil spill incidents where the collection and transport of a large amount of contaminated water may be avoided.

  1. Contamination of Lake Wewoka and fresh-water sands by disposal of oil-well brines near Wewoka, Seminole County, Oklahoma

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schoff, Stuart L.; Dott, Robert H.; Lalicker, Cecil Gordon

    1941-01-01

    This reports deals with ground-water conditions in an area about 5 miles wide from east to west and 8 miles long from north to south, in Tps. 8 and 9 N., Rs. 7 and 8 E., in Seminole County, Oklahoma, including the town of Wewoka and Lake Wewoka. The possible contamination of the lake waters from oil-well brines disposed through a well 3.75 miles north of the lake, and other effects of brine disposal, are considered. The investigation was made at the request of Frank Raab, member of the Oklahoma Planning and Resources Board, and Don McBride, Chief Engineer of the Division of Water Resources who has the responsibility of preventing contamination of water supplies in Oklahoma. Field work was done July 5 and 6, 1941, by Robert H. Dott, Director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey; C.G. Lalicker, Department of Geology, University of Oklahoma; and S.L. Schoff, Assistant Geologist in the Ground Water Division, Water Resources Branch, of the U.S. Geological Survey. Lalicker spent both days studying the rocks exposed in the vicinity and measuring their thickness. A copy of the composite section measured by him is attached. Dott and Schoff spent one day collecting the well information summarized in Table 1, and one day with Lalicker on the stratigraphy. (available as photostat copy only)

  2. New production techniques for alberta oil sands.

    PubMed

    Carrigy, M A

    1986-12-19

    Low world oil prices represent a serious threat to expanded commercial development of the Canadian oil sands in the near term, as they do to all of the higher cost alternatives to crude oil such as oil shales and coal liquefaction. Nonetheless, research and field testing of new technology for production of oil from oil sands are being pursued by industry and government in Alberta. New production technology is being developed in Canada to produce synthetic oil from the vast resources of bitumen trapped in the oil sands and bituminous carbonates of northern Alberta. This technology includes improved methods of mining, extraction, and upgrading of bitumen from near-surface deposits as well as new drilling and production techniques for thermal production of bitumen from the more deeply buried reservoirs. Of particular interest are the cluster drilling methods designed to reduce surface disturbance and the techniques for horizontal drilling of wells from underground tunnels to increase the contact of injection fluids with the reservoir.

  3. Assessing accumulation and biliary excretion of naphthenic acids in yellow perch exposed to oil sands-affected waters.

    PubMed

    van den Heuvel, Michael R; Hogan, Natacha S; MacDonald, Gillian Z; Berrue, Fabrice; Young, Rozlyn F; Arens, Collin J; Kerr, Russell G; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2014-01-01

    Naphthenic acids are known to be the most prevalent group of organic compounds in oil sands tailings-associated waters. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were exposed for four months to oil sands-influenced waters in two experimental systems located on an oil sands lease 30 km north of Fort McMurray Alberta: the Demonstration Pond, containing oil sands tailings capped with natural surface water, and the South Bison Pond, integrating lean oil sands. Yellow perch were also sampled from three lakes: Mildred Lake that receives water from the Athabasca River, Sucker Lake, at the edge of oil sands extraction activity, and Kimowin Lake, a distant reference site. Naphthenic acids were measured in perch muscle tissue using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Bile metabolites were measured by GC-MS techniques and by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection at phenanthrene wavelengths. A method was developed using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) to evaluate naphthenic acids in bile. Tissue analysis did not show a pattern of naphthenic acids accumulation in muscle tissue consistent with known concentrations in exposed waters. Bile fluorescence and LC-HRMS methods were capable of statistically distinguishing samples originating from oil sands-influenced waters versus reference lakes. Although the GC-MS and HPLC fluorescence methods were correlated, there were no significant correlations of these methods and the LC-HRMS method. In yellow perch, naphthenic acids from oil sands sources do not concentrate in tissue at a measurable amount and are excreted through a biliary route. LC-HRMS was shown to be a highly sensitive, selective and promising technique as an indicator of exposure of biota to oil sands-derived naphthenic acids.

  4. Assessing accumulation and biliary excretion of naphthenic acids in yellow perch exposed to oil sands-affected waters.

    PubMed

    van den Heuvel, Michael R; Hogan, Natacha S; MacDonald, Gillian Z; Berrue, Fabrice; Young, Rozlyn F; Arens, Collin J; Kerr, Russell G; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2014-01-01

    Naphthenic acids are known to be the most prevalent group of organic compounds in oil sands tailings-associated waters. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were exposed for four months to oil sands-influenced waters in two experimental systems located on an oil sands lease 30 km north of Fort McMurray Alberta: the Demonstration Pond, containing oil sands tailings capped with natural surface water, and the South Bison Pond, integrating lean oil sands. Yellow perch were also sampled from three lakes: Mildred Lake that receives water from the Athabasca River, Sucker Lake, at the edge of oil sands extraction activity, and Kimowin Lake, a distant reference site. Naphthenic acids were measured in perch muscle tissue using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Bile metabolites were measured by GC-MS techniques and by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection at phenanthrene wavelengths. A method was developed using liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) to evaluate naphthenic acids in bile. Tissue analysis did not show a pattern of naphthenic acids accumulation in muscle tissue consistent with known concentrations in exposed waters. Bile fluorescence and LC-HRMS methods were capable of statistically distinguishing samples originating from oil sands-influenced waters versus reference lakes. Although the GC-MS and HPLC fluorescence methods were correlated, there were no significant correlations of these methods and the LC-HRMS method. In yellow perch, naphthenic acids from oil sands sources do not concentrate in tissue at a measurable amount and are excreted through a biliary route. LC-HRMS was shown to be a highly sensitive, selective and promising technique as an indicator of exposure of biota to oil sands-derived naphthenic acids. PMID:24182406

  5. Oil geochemistry study; Blocks III and IV Bachaquedro Field, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

    SciTech Connect

    Patterson, B.A.; Villarroel, H.G. de; Rondon, L.

    1996-08-01

    Blocks III and IV Bachaquero, Field, located on the east side of Lake Maracaibo, comprise an area of 40 square kilometers. In 1956 the discovery well penetrated oil saturated sands in a south dipping homoclinal structure. In 1958 production reached a maximum of 245,000 barrels per day of moderate gravity oil from three Miocene age Lagunillas Formation sands, designated as L, M, and N. The Bachaquero Field has experienced production problems including high gas-oil ratios from M and N sands to the north, high water cuts in all three sands to the south, and low production rates in the southeast. In addition, the vertical and lateral continuity of the oil pools are unknown. High resolution gas chromatography and analysis of biological markers was employed in order to resolve the continuity of the oil pools, determine genetic origin of the oils, and shed light on erratic production. Oil in the L sands are vertically discontinuous from oil in the M+N sands. The two oil pools appear laterally continuous within the study area, indicating absence of fault barriers. Well VLD 311, open to both L and M sands, produces a mix of oils, but with a strong contribution from the M sand. Bachaquero Field reservoirs were charged with oil from two different facies of the Upper Cretaceous La Luna or perhaps from La Luna and Colon source rocks as the stratigraphically younger L sands contain less mature oil with a stronger terrigenous imprint than oil the M and N sands.

  6. Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    2013-09-01

    For those who support U.S. oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands industry is often identified as a model the U.S. might emulate, yielding financial and energy security benefits. For opponents of domestic oil sands development, the Canadian oil sands experience illustrates the risks that opponents of development believe should deter domestic policymakers from incenting U.S. oil sands development. This report does not seek to evaluate the particular underpinnings of either side of this policy argument, but rather attempts to delve into the question of whether the Canadian experience has relevance as a foundational model for U.S. oil sands development. More specifically, this report seeks to assess whether and how the Canadian oil sands experience might be predictive or instructive in the context of fashioning a framework for a U.S. oil sands industry. In evaluating the implications of these underpinnings for a prospective U.S. oil sands industry, this report concentrates on prospective development of the oil sands deposits found in Utah.

  7. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Quarterly report, July--September, 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1993-11-01

    This report cites task number followed by a brief statement of each task and the action taken this quarter. The tasks are: NEPA environmental information statement; coupled fluidized-bed bitumen recovery and coked sand combustion; water-based recovery of bitumen; rotary kiln process for recovery of bitumen and combustion of coke sand; recovery of bitumen from oil sands using fluidized bed reactors and combustion of spent sands in transport reactors; recovery of bitumen from oil sand and upgrading of bitumen by solvent extraction; catalytic and thermal upgrading of bitumens and bitumen-derived liquids; evaluation of Utah`s major oil sand deposits for the production of asphalt, high energy jet fuels, and other specialty products; development of mathematical models for bitumen recovery and processing; completion of the cost estimation study of the pilot plant restoration; development studies of equipment for three-product gravity separation of bitumen and sand; development studies of disposal of sand by conveying or pumping of high solids concentration sand-water slurries; and environmental studies of the North Salt Lake pilot plant rehabilitation and eventual operation and those environmental problems associated with eventual commercial products.

  8. Coastal geology and recent origins for Sand Point, Lake Superior

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fisher, Timothy G.; Krantz, David E.; Castaneda, Mario R.; Loope, Walter L.; Jol, Harry M.; Goble, Ronald J.; Higley, Melinda C.; DeWald, Samantha; Hansen, Paul

    2014-01-01

    Sand Point is a small cuspate foreland located along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Michigan. Park managers’ concerns for the integrity of historic buildings at the northern periphery of the point during the rising lake levels in the mid-1980s greatly elevated the priority of research into the geomorphic history and age of Sand Point. To pursue this priority, we recovered sediment cores from four ponds on Sand Point, assessed subsurface stratigraphy onshore and offshore using geophysical techniques, and interpreted the chronology of events using radiocarbon and luminescence dating. Sand Point formed at the southwest edge of a subaqueous platform whose base is probably constructed of glacial diamicton and outwash. During the post-glacial Nipissing Transgression, the base was mantled with sand derived from erosion of adjacent sandstone cliffs. An aerial photograph time sequence, 1939–present, shows that the periphery of the platform has evolved considerably during historical time, infl uenced by transport of sediment into adjacent South Bay. Shallow seismic refl ections suggest slump blocks along the leading edge of the platform. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and shallow seismic refl ections to the northwest of the platform reveal large sand waves within a deep (12 m) channel produced by currents fl owing episodically to the northeast into Lake Superior. Ground-penetrating radar profi les show transport and deposition of sand across the upper surface of the platform. Basal radiocarbon dates from ponds between subaerial beach ridges range in age from 540 to 910 cal yr B.P., suggesting that Sand Point became emergent during the last ~1000 years, upon the separation of Lake Superior from Lakes Huron and Michigan. However, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages from the beach ridges were two to three times as old as the radiocarbon ages, implying that emergence of Sand Point may have begun

  9. Oil sands tailings leachability and toxicity evaluation

    SciTech Connect

    Gulley, J.R.; Hamilton, H.R.; Taylor, B.

    1995-12-31

    Fine tailings disposal and reclamation is a major issue facing the oil sands mining and extraction industry. Government regulations dictate that reclamation must return the site to a level of self-sustaining biological capability which approximates the natural condition. A two-phase laboratory program has been completed to investigate the suitability of alternative reclamation materials. For the first phase of the study, chemical and toxicological analyses were carried out on 13 different reclamation and reference materials (solid phase and extractions). Seedling emergence, nematode maturation, algal growth and bacterial luminescence for leachate samples showed a range of sensitivities in response to the tested materials, although phytotoxicity tests were generally the most sensitive. With the exception of one test material, high toxicity ratings were consistent with that expected from the chemical data. The second phase of the study focused on the evaluation of chemical and toxicological conditions in leachate water generated using bench-scale column percolation tests. Leachate water equivalent to 10 pore volume replacements was generated and temporal variations in toxicity and chemistry monitored. Similar to phase 1 findings, phytotoxicity tests were the most sensitive tests to leachate waters. For most materials tested, most toxicity was removed after 2--3 porewater replacements. More persistent toxicity was noted for samples containing bitumen (e.g., fine tails and oil sands). No clear correspondence was noted between chemical concentrations and toxicity in leachate waters.

  10. Supercritical-Fluid Extraction of Oil From Tar Sands

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Compton, L. E.

    1982-01-01

    New supercritical solvent mixtures have been laboratory-tested for extraction of oil from tar sands. Mixture is circulated through sand at high pressure and at a temperature above critical point, dissolving organic matter into the compressed gas. Extract is recovered from sand residues. Low-temperature super-critical solvents reduce energy consumption and waste-disposal problems.

  11. Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon.

    PubMed

    Rooney, Rebecca C; Bayley, Suzanne E; Schindler, David W

    2012-03-27

    We quantified the wholesale transformation of the boreal landscape by open-pit oil sands mining in Alberta, Canada to evaluate its effect on carbon storage and sequestration. Contrary to claims made in the media, peatland destroyed by open-pit mining will not be restored. Current plans dictate its replacement with upland forest and tailings storage lakes, amounting to the destruction of over 29,500 ha of peatland habitat. Landscape changes caused by currently approved mines will release between 11.4 and 47.3 million metric tons of stored carbon and will reduce carbon sequestration potential by 5,734-7,241 metric tons C/y. These losses have not previously been quantified, and should be included with the already high estimates of carbon emissions from oil sands mining and bitumen upgrading. A fair evaluation of the costs and benefits of oil sands mining requires a rigorous assessment of impacts on natural capital and ecosystem services.

  12. Sand control in horizontal wells in heavy-oil reservoirs

    SciTech Connect

    Islam, M.R. ); George, A.E. )

    1991-07-01

    Recent advances in horizontal-well technology has greatly improved the potential for heavy oil recovery. Such recovery may be hampered, however, by sanding problems associated with most heavy-oil reservoirs. These reservoir sands are mostly unconsolidated and may lead to severe productivity-loss problems if produced freely. This paper offers recommendations for sand control in three Canadian heavy-oil reservoirs. Experimental evidence has shown that minimizing the annular space between the casing and the open hole is important, especially in the case of smaller wire space, lower oil viscosity, and thinner pay zone. Several types of wire-wrapped screens and flexible liners were tested for sand control. Only flexible liners reduced sand production to a negligible amount.

  13. Reservoir characterization of the Lower B sands VLC 100/949 Reservoirs, Block III, Lake Maracaibo

    SciTech Connect

    Gonzalez, G.; Coll, C.; Mora, J.L.; Meza, E.

    1996-08-01

    The Lower B Misoa Formation of Middle Eocene age is characterized by massive sand bodies. These sands were successfully tested in the northern part of Block III in Lake Maracaibo in 1956. Subsequent drilling during the next 27 years has failed to locate any productive pay zones. Only during the past 8 years, new seismic and well data have delineated a number of minor oil reservoirs resulting in extensive production from Misoa Lower B sands. The oil production came primarily from small structural traps located on the hanging walls of normal listric faults. Fault diagnosis and locations were more accurately mapped with the availability of 3-D seismic data. Consequently VLC-100 and VLC-949 reservoirs are now considered to be part of the same trap instead of being separated. A careful review of the fluid distribution and material balance calculations has confirmed that the wells from these reservoirs have, in fact, been producing from the same accumulation thereby validating the new geological model. The new model has defined new opportunities of oil exploitation. Firstly, it has led to the drilling of 4 new wells and increased production by 4500 STB/D. Secondly, it has indicated additional recovery opportunities in the form of drilling horizontal wells in the updip area. Finally, the new model indicates the existence of an aquifer of much lower strength than was previously thought. This has caused a revision in our reservoir management strategy, and we now recommend water injection to supplement the aquifer support and enhance oil recovery.

  14. Land and water impacts of oil sands production in Alberta.

    PubMed

    Jordaan, Sarah M

    2012-04-01

    Expansion of oil sands development results not only in the release of greenhouse gas emissions, but also impacts land and water resources. Though less discussed internationally due to to their inherently local nature, land and water impacts can be severe. Research in key areas is needed to manage oil sands operations effectively; including improved monitoring of ground and surface water quality. The resulting information gap means that such impacts are not well understood. Improved analyses of oil sands products are required that compare land and water use with other transportation fuel pathways and use a regional perspective so local effects can be considered and mitigated.

  15. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  16. Food web structure in oil sands reclaimed wetlands.

    PubMed

    Kovalenko, K E; Ciborowski, J J H; Daly, C; Dixon, D G; Farwell, A J; Foote, A L; Frederick, K R; Costa, J M Gardner; Kennedy, K; Liber, K; Roy, M C; Slama, C A; Smits, J E G

    2013-07-01

    Boreal wetlands play an important role in global carbon balance. However, their ecosystem function is threatened by direct anthropogenic disturbance and climate change. Oil sands surface mining in the boreal regions of Western Canada denudes tracts of land of organic materials, leaves large areas in need of reclamation, and generates considerable quantities of extraction process-affected materials. Knowledge and validation of reclamation techniques that lead to self-sustaining wetlands has lagged behind development of protocols for reclaiming terrestrial systems. It is important to know whether wetlands reclaimed with oil sands process materials can be restored to levels equivalent to their original ecosystem function. We approached this question by assessing carbon flows and food web structure in naturally formed and oil sands-affected wetlands constructed in 1970-2004 in the postmining landscape. We evaluated whether a prescribed reclamation strategy, involving organic matter amendment, accelerated reclaimed wetland development, leading to wetlands that were more similar to their natural marsh counterparts than wetlands that were not supplemented with organic matter. We measured compartment standing stocks for bacterioplankton, microbial biofilm, macrophytes, detritus, and zoobenthos; concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and residual naphthenic acids; and microbial production, gas fluxes, and aquatic-terrestrial exports (i.e., aquatic insect emergence). The total biomass of several biotic compartments differed significantly between oil sands and reference wetlands. Submerged macrophyte biomass, macroinvertebrate trophic diversity, and predator biomass and richness were lower in oil sands-affected wetlands than in reference wetlands. There was insufficient evidence to conclude that wetland age and wetland amendment with peat-mineral mix mitigate effects of oil sands waste materials on the fully aquatic biota. Although high variability was observed within

  17. Ecohydrology applications to ecosystem reconstruction after oil-sand mining

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mendoza, Carl; Devito, Kevin

    2014-05-01

    Oil-sand deposits in northeast Alberta, Canada comprise some of the world's largest oil reserves. Open-pit mining of these resources leads to waste-rock piles, tailings ponds and open pits that must be reclaimed to "equivalent landscape capability", with viable forests and wetlands, using only native vegetation. Understanding ecohydrological processes in natural systems is critical for designing the necessary landforms and landscapes. A challenge is the cold, sub-humid climate, with highly variable precipitation. Furthermore, there are competing demands, needs or uses for water, in both quantity and quality, for reclamation and sustainability of forestlands, wetlands and end-pit lakes. On average there is a potential water deficit in the region, yet wetlands cover half of the undisturbed environment. Water budget analyses demonstrate that, although somewhat unpredictable and uncontrollable, the magnitude and timing of water delivery largely control water storage and conservation within the landscape. The opportunity is to design and manipulate these reconstructed landscapes so that water is stored and conserved, and water quality is naturally managed. Heterogeneous geologic materials can be arranged and layered, and landforms sculpted, to minimize runoff, enhance infiltration, and promote surface and subsurface storage. Similarly, discharge of poor quality water can be minimized or focused. And, appropriate vegetation choices are necessary to conserve water on the landscape. To achieve these ends, careful attention must be paid to the entire water budget, the variability in its components, interconnections between hydrologic units, in both space and time, and coupled vegetation processes. To date our knowledge is guided primarily by natural analogues. To move forward, it is apparent that numerous priorities and constraints, which are potentially competing, must be addressed. These include geotechnical and operational requirements, material limitations or excesses

  18. Sublethal effects of aged oil sands-affected water on white sucker (Catostomus commersonii).

    PubMed

    Arens, Collin J; Hogan, Natacha S; Kavanagh, Richard J; Mercer, Angella G; Kraak, Glen J Van Der; van den Heuvel, Michael R

    2015-03-01

    To investigate impacts of proposed oil sands aquatic reclamation techniques on benthic fish, white sucker (Catostomus commersonii Lacépède, 1803) were stocked in 2 experimental ponds-Demonstration Pond, containing aged fine tailings capped with fresh water, consistent with proposed end-pit lake designs, and South Bison Pond, containing aged unextracted oil sands material-to examine the effects of unmodified hydrocarbons. White sucker were stocked from a nearby reservoir at both sites in May 2010 and sampled 4 mo later to measure indicators of energy storage and utilization. Comparisons were then made with the source population and 2 reference lakes in the region. After exposure to aged tailings, white sucker had smaller testes and ovaries and reduced growth compared with the source population. Fish introduced to aged unextracted oil sands material showed an increase in growth over the same period. Limited available energy, endocrine disruption, and chronic stress likely contributed to the effects observed, corresponding to elevated concentrations of naphthenic acids, aromatic compounds in bile, and increased CYP1A activity. Because of the chemical and biological complexity of these systems, direct cause-effect relationships could not be identified; however, effects were associated with naphthenic acids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ammonia, and high pH. Impacts on growth have not been previously observed in pelagic fishes examined in these systems, and may be related to differences in sediment interaction. PMID:25545538

  19. Fine study on single sand body and measures for tapping the potential of residual oil during polymer flooding in Pubei reservoir of Daqing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meng, Y. J.

    2016-08-01

    In order to effectively guide the narrow channel sand body oil fields to exploit, according to the sand body distribution characteristics and geological genesis of narrow channel sand body oil fields, the type of single sand body is clarified. By means of identification of logging curves and correlation of well-tie profile, the internal structure of single sand body is recognized. and then the remaining oil genesis, distribution characteristics and the potential areas for polymer flooding are clarified by combining numerical simulation technology and dynamic analysis technology, and the remaining oil potential tapping method is designed by taking into consideration various factors including the characteristics of the remaining oil, reservoir property and product dynamic character. The result shows that the single sand body is divided into five types including multiphase channel superposition, distributary channel, single channel, sheet sand and lenticular sand. Potential remaining oil mainly are distributed in thick oil layers of multiphase channel superposition type and distributary channel type in which channel sands were developed and sedimentary environment are stable inner front facies and lake regressive inner front facies. The remaining oil is developed by optimizing the parameters of polymer flooding and combining many different measures. The study provides technical support for the efficient exploration for polymer flooding.

  20. Ammonia removal in constructed wetlands receiving oil sands wastewater

    SciTech Connect

    Bishay, F.S.; Bayley, S.E.; Nix, P.G.

    1995-12-31

    Constructed wetlands are a component of the mine decommissioning and reclamation plan for Suncor Inc., Oil Sands Group, a large oil sands mining and extraction operation in northeastern Alberta, A field, pilot-scale wetlands facility was built in 1991. Over a three year period (1992--1994) the feasibility of constructed wetlands as treatment systems for various oil sands wastewater streams was assessed. Ammonia and hydrocarbons are the primary contaminants. Ammonia removal rates were estimated by measuring inputs and outputs of ammonia, changes in storage, and removal processes. These removal rates were comparable to rates in other studies indicating that the presence of hydrocarbons was not limiting ammonia removal. Nitrogen in sediments and vegetation was elevated; however, removal to sediments or vegetation did not contribute significantly to overall ammonia removal. Volatilization and denitrification were measured in situ. Although neither of these measured processes accounted for all of the ammonia removal, nitrification/denitrification was thought to be the primary removal mechanism.

  1. Creating new landscapes and ecosystems: the Alberta Oil Sands.

    PubMed

    Johnson, E A; Miyanishi, K

    2008-01-01

    Extraction of oil from the Alberta Oil Sands through surface mining involves the removal of the overburden and oil sand to a depth of up to 100 m and over extremely large areas. While the operation of the bitumen processing plants has serious environmental impacts on downstream habitats, this article focuses on the reclamation of areas from which the oil sands have been removed, processed, and returned. This reclamation following closure of the mines will entail the complete re-creation of landforms and ecosystems at a landscape scale, with the goal of producing suitable habitats for plants, animals, and people. Such projects will require a reasonable understanding of the geophysical and ecological processes that operate at a wide range of scales. Some information is provided on the climate, hydrology, vegetation, and land use (past and current) of the Oil Sands area, situated within the Boreal Plain ecozone, to provide a framework for discussion of issues to be addressed in, and proposed guidelines for, such large-scale reclamation. Although none of the mines has yet closed, numerous consultant reports have been produced with recommendations for various aspects of such reclamation projects (e.g., wetland hydrology, vegetation, wildlife habitat). The scientific basis of such reports is found to vary with respect to depth of understanding of the relevant processes. PMID:18566092

  2. Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources

    SciTech Connect

    Spinti, Jennifer; Birgenheier, Lauren; Deo, Milind; Facelli, Julio; Hradisky, Michal; Kelly, Kerry; Miller, Jan; McLennan, John; Ring, Terry; Ruple, John; Uchitel, Kirsten

    2015-09-30

    This report summarizes the significant findings from the Clean and Secure Energy from Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Resources program sponsored by the Department of Energy through the National Energy Technology Laboratory. There were four principle areas of research; Environmental, legal, and policy issues related to development of oil shale and oil sands resources; Economic and environmental assessment of domestic unconventional fuels industry; Basin-scale assessment of conventional and unconventional fuel development impacts; and Liquid fuel production by in situ thermal processing of oil shale Multiple research projects were conducted in each area and the results have been communicated via sponsored conferences, conference presentations, invited talks, interviews with the media, numerous topical reports, journal publications, and a book that summarizes much of the oil shale research relating to Utah’s Uinta Basin. In addition, a repository of materials related to oil shale and oil sands has been created within the University of Utah’s Institutional Repository, including the materials generated during this research program. Below is a listing of all topical and progress reports generated by this project and submitted to the Office of Science and Technical Information (OSTI). A listing of all peer-reviewed publications generated as a result of this project is included at the end of this report; Geomechanical and Fluid Transport Properties 1 (December, 2015); Validation Results for Core-Scale Oil Shale Pyrolysis (February, 2015); and Rates and Mechanisms of Oil Shale Pyrolysis: A Chemical Structure Approach (November, 2014); Policy Issues Associated With Using Simulation to Assess Environmental Impacts (November, 2014); Policy Analysis of the Canadian Oil Sands Experience (September, 2013); V-UQ of Generation 1 Simulator with AMSO Experimental Data (August, 2013); Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, Resource Management Plan Constraints, and Land Exchanges

  3. Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries.

    PubMed

    Kelly, Erin N; Schindler, David W; Hodson, Peter V; Short, Jeffrey W; Radmanovich, Roseanna; Nielsen, Charlene C

    2010-09-14

    We show that the oil sands industry releases the 13 elements considered priority pollutants (PPE) under the US Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act, via air and water, to the Athabasca River and its watershed. In the 2008 snowpack, all PPE except selenium were greater near oil sands developments than at more remote sites. Bitumen upgraders and local oil sands development were sources of airborne emissions. Concentrations of mercury, nickel, and thallium in winter and all 13 PPE in summer were greater in tributaries with watersheds more disturbed by development than in less disturbed watersheds. In the Athabasca River during summer, concentrations of all PPE were greater near developed areas than upstream of development. At sites downstream of development and within the Athabasca Delta, concentrations of all PPE except beryllium and selenium remained greater than upstream of development. Concentrations of some PPE at one location in Lake Athabasca near Fort Chipewyan were also greater than concentration in the Athabasca River upstream of development. Canada's or Alberta's guidelines for the protection of aquatic life were exceeded for seven PPE-cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, and zinc-in melted snow and/or water collected near or downstream of development. PMID:20805486

  4. Oil sands mining and reclamation cause massive loss of peatland and stored carbon

    PubMed Central

    Rooney, Rebecca C.; Bayley, Suzanne E.; Schindler, David W.

    2012-01-01

    We quantified the wholesale transformation of the boreal landscape by open-pit oil sands mining in Alberta, Canada to evaluate its effect on carbon storage and sequestration. Contrary to claims made in the media, peatland destroyed by open-pit mining will not be restored. Current plans dictate its replacement with upland forest and tailings storage lakes, amounting to the destruction of over 29,500 ha of peatland habitat. Landscape changes caused by currently approved mines will release between 11.4 and 47.3 million metric tons of stored carbon and will reduce carbon sequestration potential by 5,734–7,241 metric tons C/y. These losses have not previously been quantified, and should be included with the already high estimates of carbon emissions from oil sands mining and bitumen upgrading. A fair evaluation of the costs and benefits of oil sands mining requires a rigorous assessment of impacts on natural capital and ecosystem services. PMID:22411786

  5. Monitoring of the Canadian Oil Sands from the Aura Satellite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLinden, C. A.; Shephard, M. W.; Fioletov, V.; Cady-Pereira, K. E.; Krotkov, N. A.; Boersma, K. F.; Li, C.; Luo, M.; Joiner, J.; Bhartia, P. K.

    2014-12-01

    Two instruments on-board the NASA Aura satellite, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES), have been used to monitor air pollution over the Canadian oil sands region. Between them they provide a unique perspective on the distributions, evolution, and sources of several key pollutants. This presentation will detail some highlights from these Aura-based oil sands studies: (i) the evolution of OMI-measured nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide enhancements over the past decade, including comparisons with other nearby sources, (ii) two years of ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol, and formic acid observations from TES special-observation transects, and (iii) preliminary insights into emissions derived from these observations.

  6. Do Massive Oil Sands Developments in a Northern Watershed Lead to an Impending Crisis?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kienzle, S. W.; Byrne, J.; Schindler, D.; Komers, P.

    2005-12-01

    Oil sands developments in northern Alberta are land disruptions of massive proportions, with potentially major impacts on watersheds. Alberta has one of the largest known oil reserves in the world, and developments have about 25,000 sqkm of lease areas, and have approvals for plants to develop over half a million ha (or 54 townships). This is 91% the size of Lake Erie covered mainly with tailings dams, open-pit mines and associated massive removal of forests, wetlands, and soils. With rising oil prices and declining conventional reserves, the current production of about 900,000 barrels per day will dramatically increase. There is considerable confusion over how much water is needed to extract and refine the oil. Best estimated by oil companies are 6 to 10 barrels of water for each barrel of oil. Shell Oil is aiming to bring the water to oil ratio down to 3, however, this is not yet achieved. Trend analysis of the Athabasca streamflow shows that the streamflow is declining, particularly the low flow during winter. In order to sustain a minimum flow that ensures a relatively healthy aquatic environment, the only option the oil sands companies have to ensure uninterrupted production during winter is to build large water reservoirs, which would be filled during the high flow period in spring or summer. A disturbing fact is that this need for reservoirs was never considered until a science panel initiated by the Mikesew Cree First Nation participated in two hearings in the fall of 2003, when two major oil companies applied for licenses of a massive scale each. In the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), water was to be extracted throughout the year, consequently threatening in-stream flow needs at some point in the future. Less than 1% has been reclaimed so far, with questionable success, as the new landscape will be a relatively sterile landscape with minimal biological diversity. Reclamation liabilities need to be included in mining leases. The release of

  7. Field observations of artificial sand and oil agglomerates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dalyander, Patricia (Soupy); Long, Joseph W.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; McLaughlin, Molly R.; Mickey, Rangley C.

    2015-01-01

    Oil that comes into the surf zone following spills, such as occurred during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout, can mix with local sediment to form heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs), at times in the form of mats a few centimeters thick and tens of meters long. Smaller agglomerates that form in situ or pieces that break off of larger mats, sometimes referred to as surface residual balls (SRBs), range in size from sand-sized grains to patty-shaped pieces several centimeters (cm) in diameter. These mobile SOAs can cause beach oiling for extended periods following the spill, on the scale of years as in the case of DWH. Limited research, including a prior effort by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) investigating SOA mobility, alongshore transport, and seafloor interaction using numerical model output, focused on the physical dynamics of SOAs. To address this data gap, we constructed artificial sand and oil agglomerates (aSOAs) with sand and paraffin wax to mimic the size and density of genuine SOAs. These aSOAs were deployed in the nearshore off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, during a field experiment to investigate their movement and seafloor interaction. This report presents the methodology for constructing aSOAs and describes the field experiment. Data acquired during the field campaign, including videos and images of aSOA movement in the nearshore (1.5-meter and 0.5-meter water depth) and in the swash zone, are also presented in this report.

  8. Preliminary examination of oil bonding at sand surfaces and its influence on hot water separation

    SciTech Connect

    Hupka, J.; Budzich, M.; Miller, J.D.

    1991-01-01

    The efficiency of water-based separation of oil from sand particles is dependent on the nature of the oil-sand association and a preliminary examination of this bonding has been completed. The degree of hydration of the sand surface at the time of contact with oil was related to the subsequent efficiency of the oil-sand separation process. Variables which influence hot water separation were correlated by multiple linear regression, and a second order experimental model was obtained. The processing temperature appeared to be the most significant variable, followed by digestion time and pH. Oil-coated sand particles which had intrinsic water left on their surface during sample preparation were easily processed in hot water separation experiments, and 64 to 90% of the oil was removed. On the other hand, only 1 to 23% separation and oil recovery was possible when a calcinated sand-oil mixture was used.

  9. Preliminary examination of oil bonding at sand surfaces and its influence on hot water separation

    SciTech Connect

    Hupka, J.; Budzich, M.; Miller, J.D.

    1991-12-31

    The efficiency of water-based separation of oil from sand particles is dependent on the nature of the oil-sand association and a preliminary examination of this bonding has been completed. The degree of hydration of the sand surface at the time of contact with oil was related to the subsequent efficiency of the oil-sand separation process. Variables which influence hot water separation were correlated by multiple linear regression, and a second order experimental model was obtained. The processing temperature appeared to be the most significant variable, followed by digestion time and pH. Oil-coated sand particles which had intrinsic water left on their surface during sample preparation were easily processed in hot water separation experiments, and 64 to 90% of the oil was removed. On the other hand, only 1 to 23% separation and oil recovery was possible when a calcinated sand-oil mixture was used.

  10. Ecotoxicological impacts of effluents generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and oil sands lixiviation on Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata.

    PubMed

    Debenest, T; Turcotte, P; Gagné, F; Gagnon, C; Blaise, C

    2012-05-15

    The exploitation of Athabasca oil sands deposits in northern Alberta has known an intense development in recent years. This development has raised concern about the ecotoxicological risk of such industrial activities adjacent to the Athabasca River. Indeed, bitumen extraction generated large amounts of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) which are discharged in tailing ponds in the Athabasca River watershed. This study sought to evaluate and compare the toxicity of OSPW and oil sands lixiviate water (OSLW) with a baseline (oil sands exposed to water; OSW) on a microalgae, Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata, at different concentrations (1.9, 5.5, 12.25, 25 and 37.5%, v/v). Chemical analyses of water-soluble contaminants showed that OSPW and OSLW were enriched in different elements such as vanadium (enrichment factor, EF=66 and 12, respectively), aluminum (EF=64 and 15, respectively), iron (EF=52.5 and 17.1, respectively) and chromium (39 and 10, respectively). The toxicity of OSPW on cells with optimal intracellular esterase activity and chlorophyll autofluorescence (viable cells) (72h-IC 50%<1.9%) was 20 times higher than the one of OSW (72h-IC 50%>37.5%, v/v). OSLW was 4.4 times less toxic (IC 50%=8.5%, v/v) than OSPW and 4.5 times more toxic than OSW. The inhibition of viable cell growth was significantly and highly correlated (<-0.7) with the increase of arsenic, beryllium, chromium, copper, lead, molybdenum and vanadium concentrations. The specific photosynthetic responses studied with JIP-test (rapid and polyphasic chlorophyll a fluorescence emission) showed a stimulation of the different functional parameters (efficiency of PSII to absorb energy from photons, size of effective PSII antenna and vitality of photosynthetic apparatus for energy conversion) in cultures exposed to OSPW and OSLW. To our knowledge, our study highlights the first evidence of physiological effects of OSPW and OSLW on microalgae. PMID:22387878

  11. Assessing the bioremediation potential of algal species indigenous to oil sands process-affected waters on mixtures of oil sands acid extractable organics.

    PubMed

    Ruffell, Sarah E; Frank, Richard A; Woodworth, Adam P; Bragg, Leslie M; Bauer, Anthony E; Deeth, Lorna E; Müller, Kirsten M; Farwell, Andrea J; Dixon, D George; Servos, Mark R; McConkey, Brendan J

    2016-11-01

    Surface mining extraction of bitumen from oil sand in Alberta, Canada results in the accumulation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). In attempts to maximize water recycling, and because its constituents are recognized as being toxic, OSPW is retained in settling basins. Consequently, research efforts are currently focused on developing remediation strategies capable of detoxifying OSPW to allow for eventual release. One potential bioremediation strategy proposes to utilize phytoplankton native to the Alberta oil sand region to sequester, break down, or modify the complex oil sands acid extractable organic (AEO) mixtures in OSPW. Preliminary attempts to quantify changes in total oil sands AEO concentration in test solutions by ESI-MS following a 14-day algal remediation period revealed the presence of unknown organic acids in control samples, likely released by the phytoplankton strains and often of the same atomic mass range as the oil sands AEO under investigation. To address the presence of these "biogenic" organic acids in test samples, ESI-MS in MRM mode was utilized to identify oil sands AEO "marker ions" that were a) present within the tested oil sands AEO extract and b) unique to the oil sands AEO extract only (e.g. atomic masses different from biogenic organic acids). Using this approach, one of the 21 tested algal strains, Stichococcus sp. 1, proved capable of significantly reducing the AEO marker ion concentration at test concentrations of 10, 30, and 100mgL(-1). This result, along with the accelerated growth rate and recalcitrance of this algal strain with exposure to oil sands AEO, suggests the strong potential for the use of the isolated Stichococcus sp. 1 as a candidate for bioremediation strategies.

  12. Assessing the bioremediation potential of algal species indigenous to oil sands process-affected waters on mixtures of oil sands acid extractable organics.

    PubMed

    Ruffell, Sarah E; Frank, Richard A; Woodworth, Adam P; Bragg, Leslie M; Bauer, Anthony E; Deeth, Lorna E; Müller, Kirsten M; Farwell, Andrea J; Dixon, D George; Servos, Mark R; McConkey, Brendan J

    2016-11-01

    Surface mining extraction of bitumen from oil sand in Alberta, Canada results in the accumulation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). In attempts to maximize water recycling, and because its constituents are recognized as being toxic, OSPW is retained in settling basins. Consequently, research efforts are currently focused on developing remediation strategies capable of detoxifying OSPW to allow for eventual release. One potential bioremediation strategy proposes to utilize phytoplankton native to the Alberta oil sand region to sequester, break down, or modify the complex oil sands acid extractable organic (AEO) mixtures in OSPW. Preliminary attempts to quantify changes in total oil sands AEO concentration in test solutions by ESI-MS following a 14-day algal remediation period revealed the presence of unknown organic acids in control samples, likely released by the phytoplankton strains and often of the same atomic mass range as the oil sands AEO under investigation. To address the presence of these "biogenic" organic acids in test samples, ESI-MS in MRM mode was utilized to identify oil sands AEO "marker ions" that were a) present within the tested oil sands AEO extract and b) unique to the oil sands AEO extract only (e.g. atomic masses different from biogenic organic acids). Using this approach, one of the 21 tested algal strains, Stichococcus sp. 1, proved capable of significantly reducing the AEO marker ion concentration at test concentrations of 10, 30, and 100mgL(-1). This result, along with the accelerated growth rate and recalcitrance of this algal strain with exposure to oil sands AEO, suggests the strong potential for the use of the isolated Stichococcus sp. 1 as a candidate for bioremediation strategies. PMID:27497784

  13. Alberta's economic development of the Athabasca oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steinmann, Michael

    This dissertation examines the 61-year evolution of public policies pertaining to development of Alberta's non-conventional source of crude oil. The Athabasca oil sands contain an estimated 1.5 trillion barrels and provide for a safe continental supply. The Provincial Government first sponsored this undertaking in 1943. The period from then to 1971 was one of a transition from a wheat economy to a natural-resource economic base. A stable government emerged and was able to negotiate viable development policies. A second period, 1971 to 1986, was marked by unstable world conditions that afforded the Alberta government the ability to set terms of development with multi-national oil firms. A 50% profit-sharing plan was implemented, and basic 1973 terms lasted until 1996. However, 1986 was a critical year because the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced prices, causing the Alberta economy to lapse into recession. During a third period, 1986 to 1996, the Alberta Government was unable to adapt quickly to world conditions. A new leadership structure in 1996 made major changes to create ongoing fiscal and development policies. That history provides answers to two primary research questions: How do public policies affect the behaviors of the modern corporation and visa versa? What are the implications for development theory? Two sources of information were used for this study. First, it was possible to review the Premier's files located in the Provincial Archives. Materials from various government libraries were also examined. Some 7,000 documents were used to show the evolution of government policymaking. Second, interviews with leaders of oil companies and federal research facilities were important. Findings support the thesis that, to facilitate oil sands development, government and the private sector have closely collaborated. In particular, revenue policies have allowed for effective R&D organization. Relying on intensive technological

  14. Effects of beach sand properties, temperature and rainfall on the degradation rates of oil in buried oil/beach sand mixtures.

    PubMed

    Rowland, A P; Lindley, D K; Hall, G H; Rossall, M J; Wilson, D R; Benham, D G; Harrison, A F; Daniels, R E

    2000-07-01

    Lysimeters located outdoors have been used to evaluate the decomposition of buried oily beach sand waste (OBS) prepared using Forties light crude oil and sand from different locations around the British coast. The OBS (5% oil by weight) was buried as a 12-cm layer over dune pasture sub-sand and overlain by 20 cm of dune pasture topsoil. Decomposition rates of oil residues averaged 2300 kg ha(-1) in the first year and the pattern of oil decomposition may be represented by a power curve. Oil decomposition was strongly related to the temperature in the OBS layer, but was also significantly affected by rainfall in the previous 12 h. The CO(2) flux at the surface of the treatment lysimeters followed the relationship [log(10) CO(2) (mg C m(-2) h(-1))=0.93+0.058x OBS temp. (degrees C)-0.042x12 h rain (mm)]. There was considerable variation in the rate of oil decomposition in sands collected from different sites. Sand from Askernish supported most microbial activity whilst sand from Tain was relatively inactive. The decomposition process appeared to cease when the sand became saturated with water, i.e. temporarily anaerobic. However, decomposition recommenced when the soil dried out. The fastest rate of decomposition occurred in sand from one of the two sites predicted to have high populations of hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria. Larger particle size and higher Ca content may also be significant factors governing the rate of decomposition. PMID:15092918

  15. Evaluation of Oil Sands Projects and Their Expansion Rate Using Real Options

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kobari, Laleh

    The rapidly expanding oil sands of western Canada, the third largest reserves in the world, are creating serious challenges, such as ecological harm, labour shortages, and extensive natural gas consumption. This thesis develops three practical real options models to evaluate the feasibility of oil sands projects and to estimate the optimal rate of oil sands expansion, while accounting for the stated concerns. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).

  16. Quantifying Sources of Methane in the Alberta Oil Sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baray, S.; Darlington, A. L.; Gordon, M.; Hayden, K.; Li, S. M.; Mittermeier, R. L.; O'brien, J.; Staebler, R. M.; McLaren, R.

    2015-12-01

    In the summer of 2013, an aircraft measurement campaign led by Environment Canada with participation from university researchers took place to investigate the sources and transformations of gas pollutants in the Alberta oil sands region close to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Apart from its ability to change the radiative forcing of the atmosphere, methane is also a significant precursor to the formation of formaldehyde, an important radical source. Thus, emissions of methane from facilities need to be understood since they can have air quality implications through alteration of the radical budget and hence, the oxidation capacity of the air mass. Methane was measured, along with other gases, via a cavity ring-down spectroscopy instrument installed on the Convair-580 aircraft. In total, there were 22 flights with 82 hours of measurements in the vicinity of oil sands facilities between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Various tools have been used to visualize the spatial and temporal variation in mixing ratios of methane and other trace gases in order to identify possible sources of methane. Enhancements of methane from background levels of 1.9 ppm up to ~4 ppm were observed close to energy mining facilities in the oil sands region. Sources of methane identified include open pit mining, tailings ponds, upgrader stacks and in-situ mining operations. Quantification of the emission rates of methane from distinct sources has been accomplished from box flights and downwind screen flights by identifying the ratios of trace gases emitted and through use of the Top-down Emission Rate Retrieval Algorithm (TERRA). Methane emission rates for some of these sources will be presented.

  17. Foreshore sand as a source of Escherichia coli in nearshore water of a Lake Michigan beach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Whitman, Richard L.; Nevers, Meredith B.

    2003-01-01

    Swimming advisories due to excessive Escherichia coli concentrations are common at 63rd Street Beach, Chicago, Ill. An intensive study was undertaken to characterize the source and fate of E. coli in beach water and sand at the beach. From April through September 2000, water and sand samples were collected daily or twice daily at two depths on three consecutive days per week (water samples, n= 1,747; sand samples, n = 858); hydrometeorological conditions and bird and bather distributions were also recorded. E. coli concentrations in sand and water were significantly correlated, with the highest concentration being found in foreshore sand, followed by those in submerged sediment and water of increasing depth. Gull contributions to E. coli densities in sand and water were most apparent on the day following gull activity in a given area. E. coli recolonized newly placed foreshore sand within 2 weeks. Analysis of variance, correlation, cluster analyses, concentration gradients, temporal-spatial distribution, demographic patterns, and DNA fingerprinting suggest that E. coli may be able to sustain population density in temperate beach sand during summer months without external inputs. This research presents evidence that foreshore beach sand (i) plays a major role in bacterial lake water quality, (ii) is an important non-point source of E. coli to lake water rather than a net sink, (iii) may be environmentally, and perhaps hygienically, problematic, and (iv) is possibly capable of supporting an autochthonous, high density of indicator bacteria for sustained periods, independent of lake, human, or animal input.

  18. Approach to Assessing the Effects of Aerial Deposition on Water Quality in the Alberta Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Dayyani, Shadi; Daly, Gillian; Vandenberg, Jerry

    2016-02-01

    Snow cover forms a porous medium that acts as a receptor for aerially deposited polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals. The snowpack, acting as a temporary storage reservoir, releases contaminants accumulating over the winter during a relatively short melt period. This process could result in elevated concentrations of contaminants in melt water. Recent studies in the Alberta oil sands region have documented increases in snowpack and lake sediment concentrations; however, no studies have addressed the fate and transport of contaminants during the snowmelt period. This study describes modelling approaches that were developed to assess potential effects of aerially deposited PAHs and metals to snowpack and snowmelt water concentrations. The contribution of snowmelt to freshwater PAH concentrations is assessed using a dynamic, multi-compartmental fate model, and the contribution to metal concentrations is estimated using a mass-balance approach. The modelling approaches described herein were applied to two watersheds in the Alberta oil sands region for two planned oil sands developments. Accumulation of PAHs in a lake within the deposition zone was also modelled for comparison to observed concentrations. PMID:26803105

  19. Sulfur Biogeochemistry of an Oil Sands Composite Tailings Deposit

    PubMed Central

    Warren, Lesley A.; Kendra, Kathryn E.; Brady, Allyson L.; Slater, Greg F.

    2016-01-01

    Composite tailings (CT), an engineered, alkaline, saline mixture of oil sands tailings (FFT), processed sand and gypsum (CaSO4; 1 kg CaSO4 per m3 FFT) are used as a dry reclamation strategy in the Alberta Oil Sands Region (AOSR). It is estimated that 9.6 × 108 m3 of CT are either in, or awaiting emplacement in surface pits within the AOSR, highlighting their potential global importance in sulfur cycling. Here, in the first CT sulfur biogeochemistry investigation, integrated geochemical, pyrosequencing and lipid analyses identified high aqueous concentrations of ∑H2S (>300 μM) and highly altered sulfur compounds composition; low cell biomass (3.3 × 106– 6.0 × 106 cells g−1) and modest bacterial diversity (H' range between 1.4 and 1.9) across 5 depths spanning 34 m of an in situ CT deposit. Pyrosequence results identified a total of 29,719 bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences, representing 131 OTUs spanning19 phyla including 7 candidate divisions, not reported in oil sands tailings pond studies to date. Legacy FFT common phyla, notably, gamma and beta Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Chloroflexi were represented. However, overall CT microbial diversity and PLFA values were low relative to other contexts. The identified known sulfate/sulfur reducing bacteria constituted at most 2% of the abundance; however, over 90% of the 131 OTUs identified are capable of sulfur metabolism. While PCR biases caution against overinterpretation of pyrosequence surveys, bacterial sequence results identified here, align with phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) and geochemical results. The highest bacterial diversities were associated with the depth of highest porewater [∑H2S] (22–24 m) and joint porewater co-occurrence of Fe2+ and ∑H2S (6–8 m). Three distinct bacterial community structure depths corresponded to CT porewater regions of (1) shallow evident Fe(II) (<6 m), (2) co-occurring Fe(II) and ∑H2S (6–8 m) and (3) extensive ∑H2S (6–34 m) (Uni

  20. Effects-Directed Analysis of Dissolved Organic Compounds in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water.

    PubMed

    Morandi, Garrett D; Wiseman, Steve B; Pereira, Alberto; Mankidy, Rishikesh; Gault, Ian G M; Martin, Jonathan W; Giesy, John P

    2015-10-20

    Acute toxicity of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is caused by its complex mixture of bitumen-derived organics, but the specific chemical classes that are most toxic have not been demonstrated. Here, effects-directed analysis was used to determine the most acutely toxic chemical classes in OSPW collected from the world's first oil sands end-pit lake. Three sequential rounds of fractionation, chemical analysis (ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry), and acute toxicity testing (96 h fathead minnow embryo lethality and 15 min Microtox bioassay) were conducted. Following primary fractionation, toxicity was primarily attributable to the neutral extractable fraction (F1-NE), containing 27% of original organics mass. In secondary fractionation, F1-NE was subfractionated by alkaline water washing, and toxicity was primarily isolated to the ionizable fraction (F2-NE2), containing 18.5% of the original organic mass. In the final round, chromatographic subfractionation of F2-NE2 resulted in two toxic fractions, with the most potent (F3-NE2a, 11% of original organic mass) containing predominantly naphthenic acids (O2(-)). The less-toxic fraction (F3-NE2b, 8% of original organic mass) contained predominantly nonacid species (O(+), O2(+), SO(+), NO(+)). Evidence supports naphthenic acids as among the most acutely toxic chemical classes in OSPW, but nonacidic species also contribute to acute toxicity of OSPW. PMID:26381019

  1. Land use greenhouse gas emissions from conventional oil production and oil sands.

    PubMed

    Yeh, Sonia; Jordaan, Sarah M; Brandt, Adam R; Turetsky, Merritt R; Spatari, Sabrina; Keith, David W

    2010-11-15

    Debates surrounding the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land use of biofuels production have created a need to quantify the relative land use GHG intensity of fossil fuels. When contrasting land use GHG intensity of fossil fuel and biofuel production, it is the energy yield that greatly distinguishes the two. Although emissions released from land disturbed by fossil fuels can be comparable or higher than biofuels, the energy yield of oil production is typically 2-3 orders of magnitude higher, (0.33-2.6, 0.61-1.2, and 2.2 5.1 PJ/ha) for conventional oil production, oil sands surface mining, and in situ production, respectively). We found that land use contributes small portions of GHGs to life cycle emissions of California crude and in situ oil sands production ( <0.4% or < 0.4 gCO₂e/MJ crude refinery feedstock) and small to modest portions for Alberta conventional oil (0.1-4% or 0.1-3.4 gCO₂e/MJ) and surface mining of oil sands (0.9-11% or 0.8-10.2 gCO₂e/MJ).Our estimates are based on assumptions aggregated over large spatial and temporal scales and assuming 100% reclamation. Values on finer spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to policy targets need to account for site-specific information, the baseline natural and anthropogenic disturbance.

  2. Influence of Oil Saturation Upon Spectral Induced Polarization of Oil Bearing Sands

    EPA Science Inventory

    The presence of oil in an unconsolidated granular porous material such as sand changes both the resistivity of the material and the value of the phase shift between the low-frequency current and the voltage. The resistivity and the phase angle can be written as a complex-valued r...

  3. Application of azimuthal resistivity images to identify pay zones in highly shale laminated sands of the upper C eocene reservoir of Ceuta field in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

    SciTech Connect

    Vivas, M.; Suarez, O.

    1996-08-01

    The objective of this work is to present the application of the high vertical resolution azimuthal resistivity imaging, to identify productive zones within highly shale laminated sand intervals of the upper C reservoir in Area 2 of Ceuta field in Lake Maracaibo. The deposition of the upper C Eocene Misoa Formation in this area, took place in a complex set of environments including valley fill and tidal-dominated, lower delta plain settings. It exhibits a sequence of oil-saturated shaly sands and shale bodies. The sands bodies are characterized by a series of thin sedimentary facies of very fine to medium sand grains, and they are vertically separated by small shale laminates. These complex characteristics of the sand intervals make very difficult the selection of pay zones through the application of conventional resistivity tools, which are adversely affected by their limited vertical resolution. These tools fail in the detection of thin sand and consequently they register a low average resistivity for a vertically stacked interval of thin sands and shales, which indicates high water saturation when standard saturation models are applied. The characterization and selection of pay intervals in the new wells have been accomplished by the acquisition and interpretation of high vertical resolution azimuthal resistivity images, which provide a significant definition of the true resistivities of thin sands and proved to be a tool to enhance the results of the petrophysical evaluation of this type of reservoir.

  4. Remediation of oil-contaminated sand by coal agglomeration using ball milling.

    PubMed

    Shin, Yu-Jen; Shen, Yun-Hwei

    2011-10-01

    The mechanical shear force provided by a less energy intensive device (usually operating at 20-200 rpm), a ball mill, was used toperform coal agglomeration and its effects on remediation of a model fuel oil-contaminated sand were evaluated. Important process parameters such as the amount of coal added, milling time, milling speed and the size of milling elements are discussed. The results suggested that highly hydrophobic oil-coal agglomerates, formed by adding suitable amounts of coal into the oil-contaminated sand, could be mechanically liberated from cleaned sand during ball milling and recovered as a surface coating on the steel balls. Over 90% removal of oil from oil-contaminated sand was achieved with 6 wt% of coal addition and an optimum ball milling time of 20 min and speed of 200 rpm. This novel process has considerable potential for cleaning oil-contaminated sands.

  5. Calcite-impregnated defluidization structures in littoral sands of Mono Lake, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cloud, P.; Lajoie, K.R.

    1980-01-01

    Associated locally with well-known tufa mounds and towers of Mono Lake, California, are subvertical, concretionary sand structures through which fresh calcium-containing artesian waters moved up to sites of calcium carbonate precipitation beneath and adjacent to the lake. The structures include closely spaced calcite-impregnated columns, tubes, and other configurations with subcylindrical to bizarre cross sections and predominantly vertical orientation in coarse, barely coherent pumice sands along the south shore of the lake. Many structures terminate upward in extensive calcareous layers of caliche and tufa. Locally they enter the bases of tufa mounds and towers. A common form superficially resembles root casts and animal burrows except that branching is mostly up instead of down. Similar defluidization structures in ancient sedimentary rocks have been mistakenly interpreted as fossil burrows.

  6. Calcite-impregnated defluidization structures in littoral sands of mono lake, california.

    PubMed

    Cloud, P; Lajoie, K R

    1980-11-28

    Associated locally with well-known tufa mounds and towers of Mono Lake, California, are subvertical, concretionary sand structures through which fresh calcium-containing artesian waters moved up to sites of calcium carbonate precipitation beneath and adjacent to the lake. The structures include closely spaced calcite-impregnated columns, tubes, and other configurations with subcylindrical to bizarre cross sections and predominantly vertical orientation in coarse, barely coherent pumice sands along the south shore of the lake. Many structures terminate upward in extensive calcareous layers of caliche and tufa. Locally they enter the bases of tufa mounds and towers. A common form superficially resembles root casts and animal burrows except that branching is mostly up instead of down. Similar defluidization structures in ancient sedimentary rocks have been mistakenly interpreted as fossil burrows.

  7. Nearshore dynamics of artificial sand and oil agglomerates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dalyander, P. Soupy; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Long, Joseph W.; McLaughlin, Molly R.

    2015-01-01

    Weathered oil can mix with sediment to form heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) that can cause beach re-oiling for years after a spill. Few studies have focused on the physical dynamics of SOAs. In this study, artificial SOAs (aSOAs) were created and deployed in the nearshore, and shear stress-based mobility formulations were assessed to predict SOA response. Prediction sensitivity to uncertainty in hydrodynamic conditions and shear stress parameterizations were explored. Critical stress estimates accounting for large particle exposure in a mixed bed gave the best predictions of mobility under shoaling and breaking waves. In the surf zone, the 10-cm aSOA was immobile and began to bury in the seafloor while smaller size classes dispersed alongshore. aSOAs up to 5 cm in diameter were frequently mobilized in the swash zone. The uncertainty in predicting aSOA dynamics reflects a broader uncertainty in applying mobility and transport formulations to cm-sized particles.

  8. Trace metals in heavy crude oils and tar sand bitumens

    SciTech Connect

    Reynolds, J.G.

    1990-11-28

    Fe, Ni, and V are considered trace impurities in heavy crude oils and tar sand bitumens. In order to understand the importance of these metals, we have examined several properties: (1) bulk metals levels, (2) distribution in separated fractions, (3) size behavior in feeds and during processing, (4) speciation as a function of size, and (5) correlations with rheological properties. Some of the results of these studies show: (1) V and Ni have roughly bimodal size distributions, (2) groupings were seen based on location, size distribution, and Ni/V ratio of the sample, (3) Fe profiles are distinctively different, having a unimodal distribution with a maximum at relatively large molecular size, (4) Fe concentrations in the tar sand bitumens suggest possible fines solubilization in some cases, (5) SARA separated fractions show possible correlations of metals with asphaltene properties suggesting secondary and tertiary structure interactions, and (6) ICP-MS examination for soluble ultra-trace metal impurities show the possibility of unexpected elements such as U, Th, Mo, and others at concentrations in the ppB to ppM range. 39 refs., 13 figs., 5 tabs.

  9. Nourishment of perched sand dunes and the issue of erosion control in the Great Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marsh, William M.

    1990-09-01

    Although limited in coverage, perched sand dunes situated on high coastal bluffs are considered the most prized of Great Lakes dunes. Grand Sable Dunes on Lake Superior and Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan are featured attractions of national lakeshores under National Park Service management. The source of sand for perched dunes is the high bluff along their lakeward edge. As onshore wind crosses the bluff, flow is accelerated upslope, resulting in greatly elevated levels of wind stress over the slope brow. On barren, sandy bluffs, wind erosion is concentrated in the brow zone, and for the Grand Sable Bluff, it averaged 1 m3/yr per linear meter along the highest sections for the period 1973 1983. This mechanism accounts for about 6,500 m3 of sand nourishment to the dunefield annually and clearly has been the predominant mechanism for the long-term development of the dunefield. However, wind erosion and dune nourishment are possible only where the bluff is denuded of plant cover by mass movements and related processes induced by wave erosion. In the Great Lakes, wave erosion and bluff retreat vary with lake levels; the nourishment of perched dunes is favored by high levels. Lake levels have been relatively high for the past 50 years, and shore erosion has become a major environmental issue leading property owners and politicians to support lake-level regulation. Trimming high water levels could reduce geomorphic activity on high bluffs and affect dune nourishment rates. Locally, nourishment also may be influenced by sediment accumulation associated with harbor protection facilities and by planting programs aimed at stabilizing dunes.

  10. A seismic search for the paleoshorelines of Lake Otero beneath White Sands Dune Field, New Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, P. F.; Reece, R.; Ewing, R. C.

    2014-12-01

    The Tularosa Basin, which now houses White Sands Dune Field, was once occupied by Pleistocene Lake Otero. Several paleoshorelines of Lake Otero have been identified throughout the basin by field surveys and remote sensing using digital elevation models. Up to four shorelines may be buried beneath White Sands Dune Field and it has been posited that the current upwind margin of White Sands coincides with a one of these shorelines. Here we employ a novel geophysical instrument and method to image the subsurface: the seismic land streamer. The land streamer utilizes weighted base plates and one-component vertical geophones in a towed array. With a seisgun acoustic source, we imaged in the Alkali Flats area near the upwind margin, one potential location of paleoshorelines, as well as the Film Lot closer to the center of the dune field. Surfaces in both locations are indurated gypsum playa, which made seismic imaging possible and successful. We collected one SW-NE trending seismic line at each location, which matches the dominant wind and dune migration directions. Based on initial data analysis we find some subsurface structure that may coincide with the paleo lake bed of Lake Otero. The successful demonstration of this new method provides the foundation for an expanded regional subsurface study to image the strata and structure of the Tularosa Basin.

  11. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols.

    PubMed

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G; Wang, Danny; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L; Brook, Jeffrey R; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W; Osthoff, Hans D; Makar, Paul A; Zhang, Junhua; Plata, Desiree L; Gentner, Drew R

    2016-06-01

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45-84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally. PMID:27251281

  12. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M.; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D.; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G.; Wang, Danny; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M.; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Makar, Paul A.; Zhang, Junhua; L. Plata, Desiree; Gentner, Drew R.

    2016-06-01

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45-84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally.

  13. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols.

    PubMed

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G; Wang, Danny; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L; Brook, Jeffrey R; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W; Osthoff, Hans D; Makar, Paul A; Zhang, Junhua; Plata, Desiree L; Gentner, Drew R

    2016-05-25

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45-84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally.

  14. Oil sands operations as a large source of secondary organic aerosols

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liggio, John; Li, Shao-Meng; Hayden, Katherine; Taha, Youssef M.; Stroud, Craig; Darlington, Andrea; Drollette, Brian D.; Gordon, Mark; Lee, Patrick; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G.; Wang, Danny; O’Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Lu, Gang; Staebler, Ralf M.; Han, Yuemei; Tokarek, Travis W.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Makar, Paul A.; Zhang, Junhua; L. Plata, Desiree; Gentner, Drew R.

    2016-06-01

    Worldwide heavy oil and bitumen deposits amount to 9 trillion barrels of oil distributed in over 280 basins around the world, with Canada home to oil sands deposits of 1.7 trillion barrels. The global development of this resource and the increase in oil production from oil sands has caused environmental concerns over the presence of toxic compounds in nearby ecosystems and acid deposition. The contribution of oil sands exploration to secondary organic aerosol formation, an important component of atmospheric particulate matter that affects air quality and climate, remains poorly understood. Here we use data from airborne measurements over the Canadian oil sands, laboratory experiments and a box-model study to provide a quantitative assessment of the magnitude of secondary organic aerosol production from oil sands emissions. We find that the evaporation and atmospheric oxidation of low-volatility organic vapours from the mined oil sands material is directly responsible for the majority of the observed secondary organic aerosol mass. The resultant production rates of 45–84 tonnes per day make the oil sands one of the largest sources of anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols in North America. Heavy oil and bitumen account for over ten per cent of global oil production today, and this figure continues to grow. Our findings suggest that the production of the more viscous crude oils could be a large source of secondary organic aerosols in many production and refining regions worldwide, and that such production should be considered when assessing the environmental impacts of current and planned bitumen and heavy oil extraction projects globally.

  15. Statistical analysis of sand and gravel aggregate deposits of late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville, Utah

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bliss, James D.; Bolm, K.S.

    2001-01-01

    Sedimentary deposits of pluvial Lake Bonneville are an important source of sand and gravel suitable for aggregate and construction in Utah. Data on Lake Bonneville basin sand and gravel deposit thickness, volume, grain size, percent of fines, and durability were statistically analyzed to detect variations associated with geologic domains, geographic location, Lake Bonneville shorelines, and sand and gravel deposit type, and to construct quantitative deposit models. Analysis showed several trends; (1) sand and gravel in younger shorelines was slightly more durable and the deposits considerably larger in volume, (2) younger shorelines are also more likely to contain more than one genetic deposit type, (3) the volume of terrace deposits is larger than beach deposits, (4) terraces and beaches are generally thicker than spits and bars, (5) the northern part of the Bonneville Basin contains slightly more durable sand and gravel than the southern part of the basin and is more likely to contain deposits composed of more than one genetic deposit type, and (6) the Wasatch domain deposits are composed of more than one genetic deposit type more often than deposits of the Basin and Range domain. Three additional conclusions with immediate economic significance are; (1) the median sand and gravel deposit in the Wasatch domain, 360,000 m3 (275,000 yd3), is three times larger than that of the Basin and Range domain (120,000 m3 [90,000 yd3]), (2) the median deposit thickness in the Wasatch domain, 5.8 m (19.0 ft), is nearly twice that of the Basin and Range domain (3 m [10 ft]), and (3) the Wasatch domain also contains slightly larger diameter gravel. These three conclusions are significant because the trend for sand and gravel development in the Bonneville Basin is to move from the Wasatch domain to the Basin and Range domain. Smaller, thinner deposits with smaller diameter gravel will require more surface area to mine than would have been necessary in the Wasatch domain. The

  16. Sand remobilization enhanced complexity to mounded geometry, Early Tertiary deep water sand reservoirs, Balder Oil Field North Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Bergslien, D.; Rye-Larsen, M.; Jenssen, A.I. )

    1996-01-01

    Sand remobilization played a major role in generating the high relief mounded geometries that trap oil in the early Tertiary reservoirs at Balder Field in Norwegian North Sea blocks 25/10 and 25/11. The thick massive submarine-fan sandstones were shed from the East Shetland Platform and deposited from high density turbidity currents. These thick massive sandstones lie in the distal portions of the fan system on the northwestern margin of the Utsira High. An intricate interaction between deposition and soft sediment deformation processes generated the complex cluster of thick mounded sand geometries comprising the Balder oil field. Slumping, sliding and sand remobilization with associated sand injections into overlying shales were the dominant deformation processes that mainly occurred during the early Eocene. The field is comprised of three reservoirs, the Paleocene Heimdal and Hermod Formations and the Early Eocene Balder Formation. The sandstones, which have excellent reservoir properties, share a common pressure system and oil-water contact. This is probably related to the soft-sediment deformation and associated sand injections establishing cross-stratal communication.

  17. Sand remobilization enhanced complexity to mounded geometry, Early Tertiary deep water sand reservoirs, Balder Oil Field North Sea

    SciTech Connect

    Bergslien, D.; Rye-Larsen, M.; Jenssen, A.I.

    1996-12-31

    Sand remobilization played a major role in generating the high relief mounded geometries that trap oil in the early Tertiary reservoirs at Balder Field in Norwegian North Sea blocks 25/10 and 25/11. The thick massive submarine-fan sandstones were shed from the East Shetland Platform and deposited from high density turbidity currents. These thick massive sandstones lie in the distal portions of the fan system on the northwestern margin of the Utsira High. An intricate interaction between deposition and soft sediment deformation processes generated the complex cluster of thick mounded sand geometries comprising the Balder oil field. Slumping, sliding and sand remobilization with associated sand injections into overlying shales were the dominant deformation processes that mainly occurred during the early Eocene. The field is comprised of three reservoirs, the Paleocene Heimdal and Hermod Formations and the Early Eocene Balder Formation. The sandstones, which have excellent reservoir properties, share a common pressure system and oil-water contact. This is probably related to the soft-sediment deformation and associated sand injections establishing cross-stratal communication.

  18. The future impact of oil shale and tar sands on world oil production

    SciTech Connect

    Griskey, R.G.

    1986-01-01

    The current world glut of oil has, for the time being, alleviated the crisis situation of the early 1970's. However, in today's dynamic and rapidly changing world the picture could change at any time so that today's surplus could become tomorrow's shortage. One of the important factors in any future energy reckoning is the potential impact of the large domestic deposits of oil shale and tar sands. These North American resources will play a significant role in the energy patterns of the future. This paper considers scenarios involving these resources.

  19. [Research on Oil Sands Spectral Characteristics and Oil Content by Remote Sensing Estimation].

    PubMed

    You, Jin-feng; Xing, Li-xin; Pan, Jun; Shan, Xuan-long; Liang, Li-heng; Fan, Rui-xue

    2015-04-01

    Visible and near infrared spectroscopy is a proven technology to be widely used in identification and exploration of hydrocarbon energy sources with high spectral resolution for detail diagnostic absorption characteristics of hydrocarbon groups. The most prominent regions for hydrocarbon absorption bands are 1,740-1,780, 2,300-2,340 and 2,340-2,360 nm by the reflectance of oil sands samples. These spectral ranges are dominated by various C-H overlapping overtones and combination bands. Meanwhile, there is relatively weak even or no absorption characteristics in the region from 1,700 to 1,730 nm in the spectra of oil sands samples with low bitumen content. With the increase in oil content, in the spectral range of 1,700-1,730 nm the obvious hydrocarbon absorption begins to appear. The bitumen content is the critical parameter for oil sands reserves estimation. The absorption depth was used to depict the response intensity of the absorption bands controlled by first-order overtones and combinations of the various C-H stretching and bending fundamentals. According to the Pearson and partial correlation relationships of oil content and absorption depth dominated by hydrocarbon groups in 1,740-1,780, 2,300-2,340 and 2,340-2,360 nm wavelength range, the scheme of association mode was established between the intensity of spectral response and bitumen content, and then unary linear regression(ULR) and partial least squares regression (PLSR) methods were employed to model the equation between absorption depth attributed to various C-H bond and bitumen content. There were two calibration equations in which ULR method was employed to model the relationship between absorption depth near 2,350 nm region and bitumen content and PLSR method was developed to model the relationship between absorption depth of 1,758, 2,310, 2,350 nm regions and oil content. It turned out that the calibration models had good predictive ability and high robustness and they could provide the scientific

  20. Structure, stratigraphy, and depositional environment of the Heterostegina limestone and overlying sands in the Lake Pontchartrain Area of southeast Louisiana

    SciTech Connect

    Street, S.B. III

    1994-09-01

    The Heterostegina zone of the Oligocene Anahuac Formation in southeastern Louisiana occurs in the subsurface as an extensive shelf reef complex. The Heterostegina limestone is overlain by strata associated with the Oligocene Discorbis and lower Miocene Robulus (43) biostratigraphic zones. Examination of electric logs and drill cuttings from wells in the Lake Pontchartrain area of southeastern Louisiana reveal the importance of the Heterostegina reef as a paleoenvironmental punctuation marking a significant shift in regional depositional patterns that occurred between the generally transgressive Oligocene seas and the generally regressive Miocene seas. Fauna identified in thin section from the Heterostegina reef interval suggest deposition in a warm, shallow marine environment relatively free of significant elastic influx. An eastward migration of late Oligocene-early Miocene stream systems introduced an influx of elastic sediments onto the ancient shelf of the Lake Pontchartrain area, which influenced the termination of favorable conditions for Heterostegina reef growth. The Robulus (43) zone strata are characterized by a cyclic sequence of lime, shale, and sand. Within this interval, two general lithofacies are identified. Lithofacies I is characterized by thick, shore-parallel sand deposits, and is interpreted to have been deposited in association with a barrier-beach/tidal-inlet channel environment. Lithofacies II is characterized by shaleprone sand intervals, which are immediately overlain by calcareous shales and limestones deposited in the offshore inner-middle neritic environment. Five oil and gas fields in the study area have produced hydrocarbons from the interval of interest. The occurrence of hydrocarbons at these locations with respect to mechanisms of entrapment and areal extent of the reservoirs is characterized through detailed subsurface mapping.

  1. Multi-tracer profiling of natural and anthropogenic water sources and interaction in the oil sands region (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, J. J.; Birks, S. J.; YI, Y.; Moncur, M. C.

    2013-12-01

    Isotopic, geochemical and organic tracer techniques for labeling water and for tracing biogeochemical processes in the Athabasca oil sands region, northern Alberta are being developed as part of research projects led by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF). Studies conducted to date have included both regional and site-specific assessments of baseline groundwater geochemistry, groundwater-surface water interactions, lake/wetland water balance, and acid sensitivity studies, as well as analysis of specific industrial issues such as airborne deposition, water supply, SAGD metals mobility, surface-casing-vent flows, and oil-sands process-affected water. Multiple tracers have been applied to interpret the source of water, salinity and organics in groundwater and surface water, which has led to better understanding of groundwater age, hydrodynamics, surface-subsurface connectivity, and the role of glaciogenic water and evaporate deposits in the regional hydrogeological system. Progress has also been made towards more extensive chemical characterization of process-affected water. The key to assessing ongoing anthropogenic impacts, in the context of significant observed natural variability in the oil sands region, is application of a multi-tracer toolkit as well as understanding of the regional and site-specific biogeochemical processes that control tracer distribution and interaction.

  2. Lake Michigan faces exotic species, dune sand mining, other challenges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    As Steve Pothoven scooped out his bottom trawl catch on the deck of a U.S. government research vessel in June, he expected the regular monitoring exercise to land alewives and a mound of zebra mussels. These two now-ubiquitous exotic aquatic species are among more than 130 that have entered the Great Lakes ecosystem over the past century. They have invaded by various means: hiding in ballast water, navigating through connecting channels such as the Welland Canal that was completed in 1829 as a route around Niagara Falls, or introduced on purpose.

  3. Influence of oil saturation upon spectral induced polarization of oil-bearing sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmutz, M.; Revil, A.; Vaudelet, P.; Batzle, M.; Viñao, P. Femenía; Werkema, D. D.

    2010-10-01

    The induced polarization model developed recently by Revil and Florsch to understand the complex conductivity of fully saturated granular materials has been extended to partial saturation conditions. It is an improvement over previous models like the Vinegar and Waxman model, which do not account explicitly for the effect of frequency. The Vinegar and Waxman model can be considered as a limiting case of the Revil and Florsch model in the limit where the distribution of relaxation times is very broad. The extended model is applied to the case of unconsolidated sands partially saturated with oil and water. Laboratory experiments were performed to investigate the influence of oil saturation, frequency, grain size, and conductivity of the pore water upon the complex resistivity response of oil-bearing sands. The low-frequency polarization (below 100 Hz) is dominated by the polarization of the Stern layer (the inner part of the electrical double layer coating the surface of the grains in contact with water). The phase exhibits a well-defined relaxation peak with a peak frequency that is dependent on the mean grain diameter as predicted by the model. Both the resistivity and the magnitude of the phase increase with the relative saturation of the oil. The imaginary (quadrature) component of the complex conductivity is observed to decrease with the oil saturation. All these observations are reproduced by the new model.

  4. Integration of High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor Technology with Oil Sands Processes

    SciTech Connect

    L.E. Demick

    2011-10-01

    This paper summarizes an evaluation of siting an HTGR plant in a remote area supplying steam, electricity and high temperature gas for recovery and upgrading of unconventional crude oil from oil sands. The area selected for this evaluation is the Alberta Canada oil sands. This is a very fertile and active area for bitumen recovery and upgrading with significant quantities piped to refineries in Canada and the U.S Additionally data on the energy consumption and other factors that are required to complete the evaluation of HTGR application is readily available in the public domain. There is also interest by the Alberta oil sands producers (OSP) in identifying alternative energy sources for their operations. It should be noted, however, that the results of this evaluation could be applied to any similar oil sands area.

  5. Optical dating of tsunami-laid sand from an Oregon coastal lake

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ollerhead, J.; Huntley, D.J.; Nelson, A.R.; Kelsey, H.M.

    2001-01-01

    Optical ages for five samples of tsunami-laid sand from an Oregon coastal lake were determined using an infrared optical-dating method on K-feldspar separates and, as a test of accuracy, compared to ages determined by AMS 14C dating of detrital plant fragments found in the same beds. Two optical ages were about 20% younger than calibrated 14C ages of about 3.1 and 4.3 ka. Correction of the optical ages using measured anomalous fading rates brings them into agreement with the 14C ages. The approach used holds significant promise for improving the accuracy of infrared optical-dating methods. Luminescence data for the other three samples result in optical age limits much greater than the 14C ages. These data provide a textbook demonstration of the correlation between scatter in the luminescence intensity of individual sample aliquots and their normalization values that is expected when the samples contain sand grains not adequately exposed to daylight just prior to or during deposition and burial. Thus, the data for these three samples suggest that the tsunamis eroded young and old sand deposits before dropping the sand in the lake. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Tracing biogeochemical and microbial variability over a complete oil sand mining and recultivation process.

    PubMed

    Noah, Mareike; Lappé, Michael; Schneider, Beate; Vieth-Hillebrand, Andrea; Wilkes, Heinz; Kallmeyer, Jens

    2014-11-15

    Recultivation of disturbed oil sand mining areas is an issue of increasing importance. Nevertheless only little is known about the fate of organic matter, cell abundances and microbial community structures during oil sand processing, tailings management and initial soil development on reclamation sites. Thus the focus of this work is on biogeochemical changes of mined oil sands through the entire process chain until its use as substratum for newly developing soils on reclamation sites. Therefore, oil sand, mature fine tailings (MFTs) from tailings ponds and drying cells and tailings sand covered with peat-mineral mix (PMM) as part of land reclamation were analyzed. The sample set was selected to address the question whether changes in the above-mentioned biogeochemical parameters can be related to oil sand processing or biological processes and how these changes influence microbial activities and soil development. GC-MS analyses of oil-derived biomarkers reveal that these compounds remain unaffected by oil sand processing and biological activity. In contrast, changes in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) abundance and pattern can be observed along the process chain. Especially naphthalenes, phenanthrenes and chrysenes are altered or absent on reclamation sites. Furthermore, root-bearing horizons on reclamation sites exhibit cell abundances at least ten times higher (10(8) to 10(9) cells g(-1)) than in oil sand and MFT samples (10(7) cells g(-1)) and show a higher diversity in their microbial community structure. Nitrate in the pore water and roots derived from the PMM seem to be the most important stimulants for microbial growth. The combined data show that the observed compositional changes are mostly related to biological activity and the addition of exogenous organic components (PMM), whereas oil extraction, tailings dewatering and compaction do not have significant influences on the evaluated compounds. Microbial community composition remains relatively

  7. Tracing biogeochemical and microbial variability over a complete oil sand mining and recultivation process.

    PubMed

    Noah, Mareike; Lappé, Michael; Schneider, Beate; Vieth-Hillebrand, Andrea; Wilkes, Heinz; Kallmeyer, Jens

    2014-11-15

    Recultivation of disturbed oil sand mining areas is an issue of increasing importance. Nevertheless only little is known about the fate of organic matter, cell abundances and microbial community structures during oil sand processing, tailings management and initial soil development on reclamation sites. Thus the focus of this work is on biogeochemical changes of mined oil sands through the entire process chain until its use as substratum for newly developing soils on reclamation sites. Therefore, oil sand, mature fine tailings (MFTs) from tailings ponds and drying cells and tailings sand covered with peat-mineral mix (PMM) as part of land reclamation were analyzed. The sample set was selected to address the question whether changes in the above-mentioned biogeochemical parameters can be related to oil sand processing or biological processes and how these changes influence microbial activities and soil development. GC-MS analyses of oil-derived biomarkers reveal that these compounds remain unaffected by oil sand processing and biological activity. In contrast, changes in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) abundance and pattern can be observed along the process chain. Especially naphthalenes, phenanthrenes and chrysenes are altered or absent on reclamation sites. Furthermore, root-bearing horizons on reclamation sites exhibit cell abundances at least ten times higher (10(8) to 10(9) cells g(-1)) than in oil sand and MFT samples (10(7) cells g(-1)) and show a higher diversity in their microbial community structure. Nitrate in the pore water and roots derived from the PMM seem to be the most important stimulants for microbial growth. The combined data show that the observed compositional changes are mostly related to biological activity and the addition of exogenous organic components (PMM), whereas oil extraction, tailings dewatering and compaction do not have significant influences on the evaluated compounds. Microbial community composition remains relatively

  8. Using infrastructure optimization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands extraction and processing.

    PubMed

    Middleton, Richard S; Brandt, Adam R

    2013-02-01

    The Alberta oil sands are a significant source of oil production and greenhouse gas emissions, and their importance will grow as the region is poised for decades of growth. We present an integrated framework that simultaneously considers economic and engineering decisions for the capture, transport, and storage of oil sands CO(2) emissions. The model optimizes CO(2) management infrastructure at a variety of carbon prices for the oil sands industry. Our study reveals several key findings. We find that the oil sands industry lends itself well to development of CO(2) trunk lines due to geographic coincidence of sources and sinks. This reduces the relative importance of transport costs compared to nonintegrated transport systems. Also, the amount of managed oil sands CO(2) emissions, and therefore the CCS infrastructure, is very sensitive to the carbon price; significant capture and storage occurs only above 110$/tonne CO(2) in our simulations. Deployment of infrastructure is also sensitive to CO(2) capture decisions and technology, particularly the fraction of capturable CO(2) from oil sands upgrading and steam generation facilities. The framework will help stakeholders and policy makers understand how CCS infrastructure, including an extensive pipeline system, can be safely and cost-effectively deployed. PMID:23276202

  9. Using infrastructure optimization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands extraction and processing.

    PubMed

    Middleton, Richard S; Brandt, Adam R

    2013-02-01

    The Alberta oil sands are a significant source of oil production and greenhouse gas emissions, and their importance will grow as the region is poised for decades of growth. We present an integrated framework that simultaneously considers economic and engineering decisions for the capture, transport, and storage of oil sands CO(2) emissions. The model optimizes CO(2) management infrastructure at a variety of carbon prices for the oil sands industry. Our study reveals several key findings. We find that the oil sands industry lends itself well to development of CO(2) trunk lines due to geographic coincidence of sources and sinks. This reduces the relative importance of transport costs compared to nonintegrated transport systems. Also, the amount of managed oil sands CO(2) emissions, and therefore the CCS infrastructure, is very sensitive to the carbon price; significant capture and storage occurs only above 110$/tonne CO(2) in our simulations. Deployment of infrastructure is also sensitive to CO(2) capture decisions and technology, particularly the fraction of capturable CO(2) from oil sands upgrading and steam generation facilities. The framework will help stakeholders and policy makers understand how CCS infrastructure, including an extensive pipeline system, can be safely and cost-effectively deployed.

  10. Irrigation effects in the northern lake states: Wisconsin central sands revisited.

    PubMed

    Kraft, George J; Clancy, Katherine; Mechenich, David J; Haucke, Jessica

    2012-01-01

    Irrigated agriculture has expanded greatly in the water-rich U.S. northern lake states during the past half century. Source water there is usually obtained from glacial aquifers strongly connected to surface waters, so irrigation has a potential to locally decrease base flows in streams and water levels in aquifers, lakes, and wetlands. During the nascent phase of the irrigation expansion, water availability was explored in works of some fame in the Wisconsin central sands by Weeks et al. (1965) on the Little Plover River and Weeks and Stangland (1971) on "headwater area" streams and lakes. Four decades later, and after irrigation has grown to a dominant landscape presence, we revisited irrigation effects on central sands hydrology. Irrigation effects have been substantial, on average decreasing base flows by a third or more in many stream headwaters and diminishing water levels by more than a meter in places. This explains why some surface waters have become flow and stage impaired, sometimes to the point of drying, with attendant losses of aquatic ecosystems. Irrigation exerts its effects by increasing evapotranspiration by an estimated 45 to 142 mm/year compared with pre-irrigated land cover. We conclude that irrigation water availability in the northern lake states and other regions with strong groundwater-surface water connections is tied to concerns for surface water health, requiring a focus on managing the upper few meters of aquifers on which surface waters depend rather than the depletability of an aquifer.

  11. Irrigation effects in the northern lake states: Wisconsin central sands revisited.

    PubMed

    Kraft, George J; Clancy, Katherine; Mechenich, David J; Haucke, Jessica

    2012-01-01

    Irrigated agriculture has expanded greatly in the water-rich U.S. northern lake states during the past half century. Source water there is usually obtained from glacial aquifers strongly connected to surface waters, so irrigation has a potential to locally decrease base flows in streams and water levels in aquifers, lakes, and wetlands. During the nascent phase of the irrigation expansion, water availability was explored in works of some fame in the Wisconsin central sands by Weeks et al. (1965) on the Little Plover River and Weeks and Stangland (1971) on "headwater area" streams and lakes. Four decades later, and after irrigation has grown to a dominant landscape presence, we revisited irrigation effects on central sands hydrology. Irrigation effects have been substantial, on average decreasing base flows by a third or more in many stream headwaters and diminishing water levels by more than a meter in places. This explains why some surface waters have become flow and stage impaired, sometimes to the point of drying, with attendant losses of aquatic ecosystems. Irrigation exerts its effects by increasing evapotranspiration by an estimated 45 to 142 mm/year compared with pre-irrigated land cover. We conclude that irrigation water availability in the northern lake states and other regions with strong groundwater-surface water connections is tied to concerns for surface water health, requiring a focus on managing the upper few meters of aquifers on which surface waters depend rather than the depletability of an aquifer. PMID:21707615

  12. PAH Measurements in Air in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Yu-Mei; Harner, Tom; Li, Henrik; Fellin, Phil

    2015-05-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) measurements were conducted by Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) at four community ambient Air quality Monitoring Stations (AMS) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Northeastern Alberta, Canada. The 2012 and 2013 mean concentrations of a subset of the 22 PAH species were 9.5, 8.4, 8.8, and 32 ng m(-3) at AMS 1 (Fort McKay), AMS 6 (residential Fort McMurray), AMS 7 (downtown Fort McMurray), and AMS 14 (Anzac), respectively. The average PAH concentrations in Fort McKay and Fort McMurray were in the range of rural and semirural areas, but peak values reflect an industrial emission influence. At these stations, PAHs were generally associated with NO, NO2, PM2.5, and SO2, indicating the emissions were from the combustion sources such as industrial stacks, vehicles, residential heating, and forest fires, whereas the PAH concentrations at AMS 14 (∼35 km south of Fort McMurray) were more characteristic of urban areas with a unique pattern: eight of the lower molecular weight PAHs exhibited strong seasonality with higher levels during the warmer months. Enthalpies calculated from Clausius-Clapeyron plots for these eight PAHs suggest that atmospheric emissions were dominated by temperature-dependent processes such as volatilization at warm temperatures. These findings point to the potential importance of localized water-air and/or surface-air transfer on observed PAH concentrations in air.

  13. PAH Measurements in Air in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Yu-Mei; Harner, Tom; Li, Henrik; Fellin, Phil

    2015-05-01

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) measurements were conducted by Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) at four community ambient Air quality Monitoring Stations (AMS) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Northeastern Alberta, Canada. The 2012 and 2013 mean concentrations of a subset of the 22 PAH species were 9.5, 8.4, 8.8, and 32 ng m(-3) at AMS 1 (Fort McKay), AMS 6 (residential Fort McMurray), AMS 7 (downtown Fort McMurray), and AMS 14 (Anzac), respectively. The average PAH concentrations in Fort McKay and Fort McMurray were in the range of rural and semirural areas, but peak values reflect an industrial emission influence. At these stations, PAHs were generally associated with NO, NO2, PM2.5, and SO2, indicating the emissions were from the combustion sources such as industrial stacks, vehicles, residential heating, and forest fires, whereas the PAH concentrations at AMS 14 (∼35 km south of Fort McMurray) were more characteristic of urban areas with a unique pattern: eight of the lower molecular weight PAHs exhibited strong seasonality with higher levels during the warmer months. Enthalpies calculated from Clausius-Clapeyron plots for these eight PAHs suggest that atmospheric emissions were dominated by temperature-dependent processes such as volatilization at warm temperatures. These findings point to the potential importance of localized water-air and/or surface-air transfer on observed PAH concentrations in air. PMID:25844542

  14. Biodegradation of MC252 oil in oil:sand aggregates in a coastal headland beach environment

    PubMed Central

    Elango, Vijaikrishnah; Urbano, Marilany; Lemelle, Kendall R.; Pardue, John H.

    2014-01-01

    Unique oil:sand aggregates, termed surface residue balls (SRBs), were formed on coastal headland beaches along the northern Gulf of Mexico as emulsified MC252 crude oil mixed with sand following the Deepwater Horizon spill event. The objective of this study is to assess the biodegradation potential of crude oil components in these aggregates using multiple lines of evidence on a heavily-impacted coastal headland beach in Louisiana, USA. SRBs were sampled over a 19-month period on the supratidal beach environment with reasonable control over and knowledge of the residence time of the aggregates on the beach surface. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkane concentration ratios were measured including PAH/C30-hopane, C2/C3 phenanthrenes, C2/C3 dibenzothiophenes and alkane/C30-hopane and demonstrated that biodegradation was occurring in SRBs in the supratidal. These biodegradation reactions occurred over time frames relevant to the coastal processes moving SRBs off the beach. In contrast, submerged oil mat samples from the intertidal did not demonstrate chemical changes consistent with biodegradation. Review and analysis of additional biogeochemical parameters suggested the existence of a moisture and nutrient-limited biodegradation regime on the supratidal beach environment. At this location, SRBs possess moisture contents <2% and molar C:N ratios from 131–323, well outside of optimal values for biodegradation in the literature. Despite these limitations, biodegradation of PAHs and alkanes proceeded at relevant rates (2–8 year−1) due in part to the presence of degrading populations, i.e., Mycobacterium sp., adapted to these conditions. For submerged oil mat samples in the intertidal, an oxygen and salinity-impacted regime is proposed that severely limits biodegradation of alkanes and PAHs in this environment. These results support the hypothesis that SRBs deposited at different locations on the beach have different biogeochemical characteristics (e

  15. Increasing reserves through improved evaluation of low contrast pay sands: Lower Lagunillas, Bloque IV, Lake Maracaibo

    SciTech Connect

    Bryant, I.D.; Herron, M.; Matteson, A.; Ramamoorthy, R.

    1996-08-01

    Pay sands have traditionally been defined in the Lower Lagunillas reservoir by applying porosity and saturation cutoffs following a Waxman-Smits evaluation. This strategy has proven useful to identify sands which historically provided prolific production when completed over multiple zones in vertical wells. However, zones that were not attractive completion targets in vertical wells have been shown to be attractive targets for dedicated horizontal infill wells. The mineralogy of samples from old cores has been determined by Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy. This mineralogical model has been implemented to provide improved evaluations of the shaly sands. This evaluation suggests that in-place oil volumes may be up to 23% higher. In new infill wells, FMI logs indicate that non-traditional pay zones comprise thinly laminated sands and shales. Incorporation of the these high resolution logs into high resolution petrophysical evaluations yields further increases in evaluated oil volumes of 44% in these zones. A recently drilled infill well has established that these zones can produce oil at economic rates in a horizontal drainhole.

  16. Experimental Investigation on Dilation Mechanisms of Land-Facies Karamay Oil Sand Reservoirs under Water Injection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lin, Botao; Jin, Yan; Pang, Huiwen; Cerato, Amy B.

    2016-04-01

    The success of steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) is strongly dependent on the formation of a homogeneous and highly permeable zone in the land-facies Karamay oil sand reservoirs. To accomplish this, hydraulic fracturing is applied through controlled water injection to a pair of horizontal wells to create a dilation zone between the dual wells. The mechanical response of the reservoirs during this injection process, however, has remained unclear for the land-facies oil sand that has a loosely packed structure. This research conducted triaxial, permeability and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) tests on the field-collected oil sand samples. The tests evaluated the influences of the field temperature, confining stress and injection pressure on the dilation mechanisms as shear dilation and tensile parting during injection. To account for petrophysical heterogeneity, five reservoir rocks including regular oil sand, mud-rich oil sand, bitumen-rich oil sand, mudstone and sandstone were investigated. It was found that the permeability evolution in the oil sand samples subjected to shear dilation closely followed the porosity and microcrack evolutions in the shear bands. In contrast, the mudstone and sandstone samples developed distinct shear planes, which formed preferred permeation paths. Tensile parting expanded the pore space and increased the permeability of all the samples in various degrees. Based on this analysis, it is concluded that the range of injection propagation in the pay zone determines the overall quality of hydraulic fracturing, while the injection pressure must be carefully controlled. A region in a reservoir has little dilation upon injection if it remains unsaturated. Moreover, a cooling of the injected water can strengthen the dilation potential of a reservoir. Finally, it is suggested that the numerical modeling of water injection in the Karamay oil sand reservoirs must take into account the volumetric plastic strain in hydrostatic loading.

  17. Paleontological overview of oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

    SciTech Connect

    Murphey, P. C.; Daitch, D.; Environmental Science Division

    2009-02-11

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the ''Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005,'' Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. In addition, Congress declared that both research- and commercial-scale development of oil shale and tar sands should (1) be conducted in an environmentally sound manner using management practices that will minimize potential impacts, (2) occur with an emphasis on sustainability, and (3) benefit the United States while taking into account concerns of the affected states and communities. To support this declaration of policy, Congress directed the Secretary of the Interior to undertake a series of steps, several of which are directly related to the development of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands. One of these steps was the completion of a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) to analyze the impacts of a commercial leasing program for oil shale and tar sands resources on public lands, with an emphasis on the most geologically prospective lands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. For oil shale, the scope of the PEIS analysis includes public lands within the Green River, Washakie, Uinta, and Piceance Creek Basins. For tar sands, the scope includes Special Tar Sand Areas (STSAs) located in Utah. This paleontological resources overview report was prepared in support of the Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and PEIS, and it is intended to be used by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regional paleontologists and field office staff to support future projectspecific analyses

  18. Evaluating the oil sands reclamation process: Assessing policy capacity and stakeholder access for government and non-governmental organizations operating in Alberta's oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patterson, Tyler

    By employing interpretive policy analysis this thesis aims to assess, measure, and explain policy capacity for government and non-government organizations involved in reclaiming Alberta's oil sands. Using this type of analysis to assess policy capacity is a novel approach for understanding reclamation policy; and therefore, this research will provide a unique contribution to the literature surrounding reclamation policy. The oil sands region in northeast Alberta, Canada is an area of interest for a few reasons; primarily because of the vast reserves of bitumen and the environmental cost associated with developing this resource. An increase in global oil demand has established incentive for industry to seek out and develop new reserves. Alberta's oil sands are one of the largest remaining reserves in the world, and there is significant interest in increasing production in this region. Furthermore, tensions in several oil exporting nations in the Middle East remain unresolved, and this has garnered additional support for a supply side solution to North American oil demands. This solution relies upon the development of reserves in both the United States and Canada. These compounding factors have contributed to the increased development in the oil sands of northeastern Alberta. Essentially, a rapid expansion of oil sands operations is ongoing, and is the source of significant disturbance across the region. This disturbance, and the promises of reclamation, is a source of contentious debates amongst stakeholders and continues to be highly visible in the media. If oil sands operations are to retain their social license to operate, it is critical that reclamation efforts be effective. One concern non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed criticizes the current monitoring and enforcement of regulatory programs in the oil sands. Alberta's NGOs have suggested the data made available to them originates from industrial sources, and is generally unchecked by government

  19. Impact of edible oil injection on the permeability of aquifer sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coulibaly, Kapo M.; Borden, Robert C.

    2004-07-01

    Recent laboratory and field studies have shown that food-grade edible oils can be injected into the subsurface for installation of in-situ permeable reactive barriers. However to be effective, the oil must be distributed out away from the oil injection points without excessive permeability loss. In this work, we examine the distribution of soybean oil in representative aquifer sediments as non-aqueous phase liquid oil (NAPL oil) or as an oil-in-water emulsion. Laboratory columns packed with sands or clayey sands were flushed with either NAPL oil or a soybean emulsion followed by plain water, while monitoring permeability loss and the final oil residual saturation. NAPL oil can be injected into coarse-grained sands. However NAPL injection into finer grained sediments requires high injection pressures which may not be feasible at some sites. In addition, NAPL injection results in high oil residual saturations and moderate permeability losses. In contrast, properly prepared emulsions can be distributed through sands with varying clay content without excessive pressure buildup, low oil retention and very low to moderate permeability loss. For effective transport, the emulsion must be stable, the oil droplets must be significantly smaller than the mean pore size of the sediment and the oil droplets should have a low to moderate tendency to stick to each other and the aquifer sediments. In our work, oil retention and associated permeability loss increased with sediment clay content and with the ratio of droplet size to pore size. For sandy sediments, the permeability loss is modest (0-40% loss) and is proportional to the oil residual saturation.

  20. A numerical/empirical technique for history matching and predicting cyclic steam performance in Canadian oil sands reservoirs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leshchyshyn, Theodore Henry

    The oil sands of Alberta contain some one trillion barrels of bitumen-in-place, most contained in the McMurray, Wabiskaw, Clearwater, and Grand Rapids formations. Depth of burial is 0--550 m, 10% of which is surface mineable, the rest recoverable by in-situ technology-driven enhanced oil recovery schemes. To date, significant commercial recovery has been attributed to Cyclic Steam Stimulation (CSS) using vertical wellbores. Other techniques, such as Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) are proving superior to other recovery methods for increasing early oil production but at initial higher development and/or operating costs. Successful optimization of bitumen production rates from the entire reservoir is ultimately decided by the operator's understanding of the reservoir in its original state and/or the positive and negative changes which occur in oil sands and heavy oil deposits upon heat stimulation. Reservoir description is the single most important factor in attaining satisfactory history matches and forecasts for optimized production of the commercially-operated processes. Reservoir characterization which lacks understanding can destroy a project. For example, incorrect assumptions in the geological model for the Wolf Lake Project in northeast Alberta resulted in only about one-half of the predicted recovery by the original field process. It will be shown here why the presence of thin calcite streaks within oil sands can determine the success or failure of a commercial cyclic steam project. A vast amount of field data, mostly from the Primrose Heavy Oil Project (PHOP) near Cold Lake, Alberta, enabled the development a simple set of correlation curves for predicting bitumen production using CSS. A previously calibtrated thermal numerical simulation model was used in its simplist form, that is, a single layer, radial grid blocks, "fingering" or " dilation" adjusted permeability curves, and no simulated fracture, to generate the first cycle production

  1. Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dibenzothiophenes in wetland sediments and aquatic insects in the oil sands area of northeastern Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Wayland, Mark; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Crosley, Robert; Brownlee, Brian G

    2008-01-01

    An immense volume of tailings and tailings water is accumulating in tailings ponds located on mine leases in the oil sands area of Alberta, Canada. Oil sands mining companies have proposed to use tailings- and tailings water-amended lakes and wetlands as part of their mine remediation plans. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are substances of concern in oil sands tailings and tailings water. In this study, we determined concentrations of PAHs in sediments, insect larvae and adult insects collected in or adjacent to three groups of wetlands: experimental wetlands to which tailings or tailings water had been purposely added, oil sands wetlands that were located on the mine leases but which had not been experimentally manipulated and reference wetlands located near the mine leases. Alkylated PAHs dominated the PAH profile in all types of samples in the three categories of wetlands. Median and maximum PAH concentrations, especially alkylated PAH concentrations, tended to be higher in sediments and insect larvae in experimental wetlands than in the other types of wetlands. Such was not the case for adult insects, which contained higher than expected levels of PAHs in the three types of ponds. Overlap in PAH concentrations in larvae among pond types suggests that any increase in PAH levels resulting from the addition of tailings and tailings water to wetlands would be modest. Biota-sediment accumulation factors were higher for alkylated PAHs than for their parent counterparts and were lower in experimental wetlands than in oil sands and reference wetlands. Research is needed to examine factors that affect the bioavailability of PAHs in oil sands tailings- or tailings water-amended wetlands. PMID:17380417

  2. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Annual report, July 1991--July 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1992-08-01

    The University of Utah tar sand research and development program is concerned with research and development on Utah is extensive oil sands deposits. The program has been intended to develop a scientific and technological base required for eventual commercial recovery of the heavy oils from oil sands and processing these oils to produce synthetic crude oil and other products such as asphalt. The overall program is based on mining the oil sand, processing the mined sand to recover the heavy oils and upgrading them to products. Multiple deposits are being investigated since it is believed that a large scale (approximately 20,000 bbl/day) plant would require the use of resources from more than one deposit. The tasks or projects in the program are organized according to the following classification: Recovery technologies which includes thermal recovery methods, water extraction methods, and solvent extraction methods; upgrading and processing technologies which covers hydrotreating, hydrocracking, and hydropyrolysis; solvent extraction; production of specialty products; and environmental aspects of the production and processing technologies. These tasks are covered in this report.

  3. Establishment of two invasive crustaceans (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) on the nearshore sands of Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Horvath, Thomas G.; Whitman, Richard L.; Last, Laurel L.

    2001-01-01

    Benthic copepods (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) in the nearshore sediments of southern Lake Michigan appear to be dominated by two new invasive species. We report the first occurrence in North America of Schizopera borutzkyi Montschenko, a native to the Danube River delta, and Heteropsyllus nr. nunni, likely a new species that is morphologically similar to the marine species Heteropsyllus nunni and represents the first occurrence of this genus in freshwater. Schizopera borutzkyi is a euryhaline species occurring in shallow sands in its native habitat and in deeper sands (6-15 m) in southern Lake Michigan. Based on the absence of these species from previous studies, we suggest that they are recent introductions. Heteropsyllus nr. nunni dominated (55-100%) the harpacticoid abundance to depths of 9 m, but S. borutzkyi comprised 75% of the harpacticoid abundance at 15 m. Native harpacticoids were always greatly outnumbered by invasive harpacticoids in our samples, which suggests that the natives are being replaced rapidly or that the invasive species are finding unused resources. The ecological implications of these introductions are not known, but these invasions may represent continued 'invasional meltdown' in Lake Michigan.

  4. Draft Genome Sequences for Oil-Degrading Bacterial Strains from Beach Sands Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    PubMed Central

    Overholt, Will A.; Green, Stefan J.; Marks, Kala P.; Venkatraman, Raghavee; Prakash, Om

    2013-01-01

    We report the draft genome sequences of 10 proteobacterial strains isolated from beach sands contaminated with crude oil discharged from the Deepwater Horizon spill, which were cultivated under aerobic and anaerobic conditions with crude oil as the sole carbon source. All strains contain multiple putative genes belonging to hydrocarbon degradation pathways. PMID:24356826

  5. Chemical fingerprinting of naphthenic acids and oil sands process waters-A review of analytical methods for environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Headley, J V; Peru, K M; Mohamed, M H; Frank, R A; Martin, J W; Hazewinkel, R R O; Humphries, D; Gurprasad, N P; Hewitt, L M; Muir, D C G; Lindeman, D; Strub, R; Young, R F; Grewer, D M; Whittal, R M; Fedorak, P M; Birkholz, D A; Hindle, R; Reisdorph, R; Wang, X; Kasperski, K L; Hamilton, C; Woudneh, M; Wang, G; Loescher, B; Farwell, A; Dixon, D G; Ross, M; Pereira, A Dos Santos; King, E; Barrow, M P; Fahlman, B; Bailey, J; McMartin, D W; Borchers, C H; Ryan, C H; Toor, N S; Gillis, H M; Zuin, L; Bickerton, G; Mcmaster, M; Sverko, E; Shang, D; Wilson, L D; Wrona, F J

    2013-01-01

    This article provides a review of the routine methods currently utilized for total naphthenic acid analyses. There is a growing need to develop chemical methods that can selectively distinguish compounds found within industrially derived oil sands process affected waters (OSPW) from those derived from the natural weathering of oil sands deposits. Attention is thus given to the characterization of other OSPW components such as oil sands polar organic compounds, PAHs, and heavy metals along with characterization of chemical additives such as polyacrylamide polymers and trace levels of boron species. Environmental samples discussed cover the following matrices: OSPW containments, on-lease interceptor well systems, on- and off-lease groundwater, and river and lake surface waters. There are diverse ranges of methods available for analyses of total naphthenic acids. However, there is a need for inter-laboratory studies to compare their accuracy and precision for routine analyses. Recent advances in high- and medium-resolution mass spectrometry, concomitant with comprehensive mass spectrometry techniques following multi-dimensional chromatography or ion-mobility separations, have allowed for the speciation of monocarboxylic naphthenic acids along with a wide range of other species including humics. The distributions of oil sands polar organic compounds, particularly the sulphur containing species (i.e., OxS and OxS2) may allow for distinguishing sources of OSPW. The ratios of oxygen- (i.e., Ox) and nitrogen-containing species (i.e., NOx, and N2Ox) are useful for differentiating organic components derived from OSPW from natural components found within receiving waters. Synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy also provides a powerful screening technique capable of quickly detecting the presence of aromatic organic acids contained within oil sands naphthenic acid mixtures. Synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy provides diagnostic profiles for OSPW and potentially impacted

  6. Could Poor Fens BE More Sensitive than Bogs to Elevated N Deposition in the Oil Sands Region of Northern Alberta?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, R. K.; Vile, M. A.; Scott, K. D.

    2015-12-01

    Bogs and fens cover 29% of the 140,000 km2 Oil Sands Administrative Area (OSAA) in northern Alberta, a region characterized by quite low background N deposition (1-2 kg/ha/yr). However, development of the oil sands resource has led to increasing emission of nitrogen oxides, which are then returned to regional ecosystems as elevated atmospheric N deposition. Given the nutrient deficient nature of bogs and poor fens, elevated N deposition from oil sands development could potentially affect peatland ecosystem structure and function. To evaluate the ecosystem-level effects of N deposition, since 2011, we have experimentally applied N to a bog and a poor fen near Mariana Lakes, Alberta, located far enough from the OSAA to be unaffected by oil sands emissions. Treatments include simulated rainfall equivalent to N deposition of 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 kg/ha/yr, plus control plots receiving no added water (3 replicate plots per site per N treatment). Concentrations of NH4+-N, NO3- N, and DON at the top of the peatland water table did not increase with increasing N deposition, averaging 0.61, 0.09, and 1.07 mg/L, respectively, in the bog, and 0.53, 0.10, and 0.81 mg/L, respectively, in the poor fen. Ericaceous shrub abundance increased with increasing N deposition in both the bog and the poor fen, although plot-scale greenness (hand-held spectral measurement of the Normalized Difference Red Edge (NDRE) index) increased with N deposition in the poor fen, but not in the bog. Segmented regression indicated that in the poor fen, at N deposition above 14-16 kg/ha/yr, total microbial, bacterial, and fungal biomass in the top 5 cm of peat increased with N deposition, with no effect at lower N deposition. No effect of N deposition on microbial, bacterial, or fungal biomass was observed at 5-10 cm in the poor fen, or at either 0-5 or 5-10 cm in the bog. In the poor fen, microbial, bacterial, and fungal biomass increased with NDRE, but the effect was not significant in the bog

  7. Chemical fingerprinting of naphthenic acids and oil sands process waters-A review of analytical methods for environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Headley, J V; Peru, K M; Mohamed, M H; Frank, R A; Martin, J W; Hazewinkel, R R O; Humphries, D; Gurprasad, N P; Hewitt, L M; Muir, D C G; Lindeman, D; Strub, R; Young, R F; Grewer, D M; Whittal, R M; Fedorak, P M; Birkholz, D A; Hindle, R; Reisdorph, R; Wang, X; Kasperski, K L; Hamilton, C; Woudneh, M; Wang, G; Loescher, B; Farwell, A; Dixon, D G; Ross, M; Pereira, A Dos Santos; King, E; Barrow, M P; Fahlman, B; Bailey, J; McMartin, D W; Borchers, C H; Ryan, C H; Toor, N S; Gillis, H M; Zuin, L; Bickerton, G; Mcmaster, M; Sverko, E; Shang, D; Wilson, L D; Wrona, F J

    2013-01-01

    This article provides a review of the routine methods currently utilized for total naphthenic acid analyses. There is a growing need to develop chemical methods that can selectively distinguish compounds found within industrially derived oil sands process affected waters (OSPW) from those derived from the natural weathering of oil sands deposits. Attention is thus given to the characterization of other OSPW components such as oil sands polar organic compounds, PAHs, and heavy metals along with characterization of chemical additives such as polyacrylamide polymers and trace levels of boron species. Environmental samples discussed cover the following matrices: OSPW containments, on-lease interceptor well systems, on- and off-lease groundwater, and river and lake surface waters. There are diverse ranges of methods available for analyses of total naphthenic acids. However, there is a need for inter-laboratory studies to compare their accuracy and precision for routine analyses. Recent advances in high- and medium-resolution mass spectrometry, concomitant with comprehensive mass spectrometry techniques following multi-dimensional chromatography or ion-mobility separations, have allowed for the speciation of monocarboxylic naphthenic acids along with a wide range of other species including humics. The distributions of oil sands polar organic compounds, particularly the sulphur containing species (i.e., OxS and OxS2) may allow for distinguishing sources of OSPW. The ratios of oxygen- (i.e., Ox) and nitrogen-containing species (i.e., NOx, and N2Ox) are useful for differentiating organic components derived from OSPW from natural components found within receiving waters. Synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy also provides a powerful screening technique capable of quickly detecting the presence of aromatic organic acids contained within oil sands naphthenic acid mixtures. Synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy provides diagnostic profiles for OSPW and potentially impacted

  8. Policy Analysis of Water Availability and Use Issues for Domestic Oil Shale and Oil Sands Development

    SciTech Connect

    Ruple, John; Keiter, Robert

    2010-12-31

    Oil shale and oil sands resources located within the intermountain west represent a vast, and as of yet, commercially untapped source of energy. Development will require water, and demand for scarce water resources stands at the front of a long list of barriers to commercialization. Water requirements and the consequences of commercial development will depend on the number, size, and location of facilities, as well as the technologies employed to develop these unconventional fuels. While the details remain unclear, the implication is not – unconventional fuel development will increase demand for water in an arid region where demand for water often exceeds supply. Water demands in excess of supplies have long been the norm in the west, and for more than a century water has been apportioned on a first-come, first-served basis. Unconventional fuel developers who have not already secured water rights stand at the back of a long line and will need to obtain water from willing water purveyors. However, uncertainty regarding the nature and extent of some senior water claims combine with indeterminate interstate river management to cast a cloud over water resource allocation and management. Quantitative and qualitative water requirements associated with Endangered Species protection also stand as barriers to significant water development, and complex water quality regulations will apply to unconventional fuel development. Legal and political decisions can give shape to an indeterminate landscape. Settlement of Northern Ute reserved rights claims would help clarify the worth of existing water rights and viability of alternative sources of supply. Interstate apportionment of the White River would go a long way towards resolving water availability in downstream Utah. And energy policy clarification will help determine the role oil shale and oil sands will play in our nation’s future.

  9. Forensic source differentiation of petrogenic, pyrogenic, and biogenic hydrocarbons in Canadian oil sands environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Wang, Zhendi; Yang, C; Parrott, J L; Frank, R A; Yang, Z; Brown, C E; Hollebone, B P; Landriault, M; Fieldhouse, B; Liu, Y; Zhang, G; Hewitt, L M

    2014-04-30

    To facilitate monitoring efforts, a forensic chemical fingerprinting methodology has been applied to characterize and differentiate pyrogenic (combustion derived) and biogenic (organism derived) hydrocarbons from petrogenic (petroleum derived) hydrocarbons in environmental samples from the Canadian oil sands region. Between 2009 and 2012, hundreds of oil sands environmental samples including water (snowmelt water, river water, and tailings pond water) and sediments (from river beds and tailings ponds) have been analyzed. These samples were taken from sites where assessments of wild fish health, invertebrate communities, toxicology and detailed chemistry are being conducted as part of the Canada-Alberta Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan (JOSMP). This study describes the distribution patterns and potential sources of PAHs from these integrated JOSMP study sites, and findings will be linked to responses in laboratory bioassays and in wild organisms collected from these same sites. It was determined that hydrocarbons in Athabasca River sediments and waters were most likely from four sources: (1) petrogenic heavy oil sands bitumen; (2) biogenic compounds; (3) petrogenic hydrocarbons of other lighter fuel oils; and (4) pyrogenic PAHs. PAHs and biomarkers detected in snowmelt water samples collected near mining operations imply that these materials are derived from oil sands particulates (from open pit mines, stacks and coke piles).

  10. Mechanical properties of heavy oil-sand and shale as a function of pressure and temperature

    SciTech Connect

    Blair, S.C.; Sweeney, J.J.; Ralph, W.R.; Ruddle, D.G.

    1987-07-01

    Laboratory tests were conducted to determine the mechanical properties of oil-sand and shale samples from the Faja region of Venezuela at elevated temperature and pressure. Results describe pressure-volume (PV) behavior at temperatures of 23 and 125/sup 0/C; the effect of mechanical disturbance on PV behavior; equation-of-state (EOS) at temperatures of 23, 125, and 250/sup 0/C and effective pressures to 150 MPa; and creep/compaction behavior at temperatures of 23 and 125/sup 0/C. Data from PV tests on oil-sand show that increasing temperature from 23 to 125/sup 0/C had very little effect on this material. Mechanical disturbance of oil-sand prior to PV testing lowered values of K. The compressive strength of oil-sand increased as effective (P/sub E/) was raised and at both temperatures, samples tested at equivalent P/sub E/ had similar strengths. Compressive strength of oil-sand seems to be controlled by the drainage of pore fluid during axial deformation. Nearly all oil-sand samples exhibited strain-hardening. PV tests conducted on shale show that increasing temperature from 23 to 125/sup 0/C reduced values of K one third. Mechanical disturbance significantly affected the PV response of shale samples due to the friable nature of the material. Data for shale samples tested in triaxial compression show that ultimate stress increases with increasing pressure and increasing temperature. Results of long-term creep compaction tests show a linear change in sample volume as a function of the log of time and that the rate of volume change with time was larger at 125/sup 0/C than at 23/sup 0/C for both oil-sand and shale. 4 refs., 31 figs., 6 tabs.

  11. Investigation of earth's albedo using Skylab data. [White Sands, New Mexico and Lake Michigan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turner, R. E. (Principal Investigator)

    1976-01-01

    The author has identified the following significant results. Specific test sites in the White Sands, New Mexico and Lake Michigan areas were chosen because of their stability and known reflectances. Skylab S192 multispectral data and ERIM aircraft multispectral data were collected for these sites and were compared with results of atmospheric radiative transfer calculations in order to determine the aerosol content of the atmosphere. The spectral shape of the Skylab data compared quite favorably with the nearly simultaneous spectral character of the aircraft data. Although there were difficulties in the calibration of the S192 instrument which remain unresolved, interesting mathematical and physical relationships were discovered.

  12. Isotopic Evidence for Oil Sands Petroleum Coke in the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

    PubMed

    Jautzy, Josué J; Ahad, Jason M E; Gobeil, Charles; Smirnoff, Anna; Barst, Benjamin D; Savard, Martine M

    2015-10-20

    The continued growth of mining and upgrading activities in Canada's Athabasca oil sands (AOS) region has led to concerns about emissions of contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Whereas a recent increase in PAH emissions has been demonstrated within around 50 km of the main center of surface mining and upgrading operations, the exact nature of the predominant source(s) and the geographical extent of the deposition are still under debate. Here, we report a century-long source apportionment of PAHs using dual (δ(2)H, δ(13)C) compound-specific isotope analysis on phenanthrene deposited in a lake from the Athabasca sector of the Peace-Athabasca Delta situated ∼150 km downstream (north) of the main center of mining operations. The isotopic signatures in the core were compared to those of the main potential sources in this region (i.e., unprocessed AOS bitumen, upgrader residual coke, forest fires, coal, gasoline and diesel soot). A significant concurrent increase (∼55.0‰) in δ(2)H and decrease (∼1.5‰) in δ(13)C of phenanthrene over the last three decades pointed to an increasingly greater component of petcoke-derived PAHs. This study is the first to quantify long-range (i.e., >100 km) transport of a previously under-considered anthropogenic PAH source in the AOS region. PMID:26404505

  13. Isotopic Evidence for Oil Sands Petroleum Coke in the Peace-Athabasca Delta.

    PubMed

    Jautzy, Josué J; Ahad, Jason M E; Gobeil, Charles; Smirnoff, Anna; Barst, Benjamin D; Savard, Martine M

    2015-10-20

    The continued growth of mining and upgrading activities in Canada's Athabasca oil sands (AOS) region has led to concerns about emissions of contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Whereas a recent increase in PAH emissions has been demonstrated within around 50 km of the main center of surface mining and upgrading operations, the exact nature of the predominant source(s) and the geographical extent of the deposition are still under debate. Here, we report a century-long source apportionment of PAHs using dual (δ(2)H, δ(13)C) compound-specific isotope analysis on phenanthrene deposited in a lake from the Athabasca sector of the Peace-Athabasca Delta situated ∼150 km downstream (north) of the main center of mining operations. The isotopic signatures in the core were compared to those of the main potential sources in this region (i.e., unprocessed AOS bitumen, upgrader residual coke, forest fires, coal, gasoline and diesel soot). A significant concurrent increase (∼55.0‰) in δ(2)H and decrease (∼1.5‰) in δ(13)C of phenanthrene over the last three decades pointed to an increasingly greater component of petcoke-derived PAHs. This study is the first to quantify long-range (i.e., >100 km) transport of a previously under-considered anthropogenic PAH source in the AOS region.

  14. Assessment of Research Needs for Oil Recovery from Heavy-Oil Sources and Tar Sands (FERWG-IIIA)

    SciTech Connect

    Penner, S.S.

    1982-03-01

    The Fossil Energy Research Working Group (FERWG), at the request of J.W. Mares (Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy) and A.W. Trivelpiece (Director, Office of Energy Research), has reviewed and evaluated the U.S. programs on oil recovery from heavy oil sources and tar sands. These studies were performed in order to provide an independent assessment of research areas that affect the prospects for oil recovery from these sources. This report summarizes the findings and research recommendations of FERWG.

  15. An investigation of several aspects of LANDSAT-5 data quality. [Palmer County, Shelby, mt; White sands, NM; Great Salt Lake, UT; San Matted Bridge and Sacramento, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wrigley, R. C. (Principal Investigator)

    1984-01-01

    Band-to-band registration, geodetic registration, interdector noise, and the modulation transfer function (MTE) are discussed for the Palmer County; TX scene. Band combinations for several LANDSAT 4 and LANDSAT 5 scenes; the geodetic registration test for the Sacramento, CA area; periodic noise components in TM band 5; and grey level measurements by detector for Great Salt Lake (UT) dark water forescans and backscans are considered. Results of MTF analyses of the San Mateo Bridge and of TM high resolution and aerial Daedalus scanner imagery are consistent and appear to be repeatable. An oil-on-sand target was constructed on the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The two-image analysis procedure used is summarized.

  16. Do peat amendments to oil sands wet sediments affect Carex aquatilis biomass for reclamation success?

    PubMed

    Roy, Marie-Claude; Mollard, Federico P O; Foote, A Lee

    2014-06-15

    The oil sands industries of Alberta (Canada) have reclamation objectives to return the mined landscape to equivalent pre-disturbance land capability. Industrial operators are charged with reclaiming a vast landscape of newly exposed sediments on saline-sodic marine-shales sediments. Incorporated in these sediments are by-products resulting from bitumen extraction (consolidated tailings (CT), tailings-sand (TS), and oil sands processed water (OSPW)). A sedge community dominated by Carex aquatilis was identified as a desirable and representative late-succession community for wet-meadow zones of oil sands-created marshes. However, the physical and chemical conditions, including high salinity and low nutrient content of CT and TS sediments suppress plant growth and performance. We experimentally tested the response of C. aquatilis to amendments with peat-mineral-mix (PM) on oil sand sediments (CT and TS). In a two factorial design experiment, we also tested the effects of OSPW on C. aquatilis. We assessed survival, below- and aboveground biomass, and physiology (chlorophyll a fluorescence). We demonstrated that PM amendments to oil sands sediments significantly increased C. aquatilis survival as well as below and aboveground biomass. The use of OSPW significantly reduced C. aquatilis belowground biomass and affected its physiological performance. Due to its tolerance and performance, we verified that C. aquatilis was a good candidate for use in reclaiming the wet-meadow zones of oil sands-created marshes. Ultimately, amending CT and TS with PM expedited the reclamation of the wetland to a C. aquatilis-community which was similar in gross structure to undisturbed wetlands of the region.

  17. Characterization of organic composition in snow and surface waters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, using ultrahigh resolution Fourier transform mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Yi, Y; Birks, S J; Cho, S; Gibson, J J

    2015-06-15

    This study was conducted to characterize the composition of dissolved organic compounds present in snow and surface waters in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) with the goal of identifying whether atmospherically-derived organic compounds present in snow are a significant contributor to the compounds detected in surface waters (i.e., rivers and lakes). We used electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (ESI-FTICR MS) to characterize the dissolved organic compound compositions of snow and surface water samples. The organic profiles obtained for the snow samples show compositional differences between samples from near-field sites (<5 km from oil sands activities) and those from more distant locations (i.e., far-field sites). There are also significant compositional differences between samples collected in near-field sites and surface water samples in the AOSR. The composition of dissolved organic compounds at the upstream Athabasca River site (i.e., Athabasca River at Athabasca) is found to be different from samples obtained from downstream sites in the vicinity of oil sands operations (i.e., Athabasca River at Fort McMurray and Athabasca River at Firebag confluence). The upstream Athabasca River sites tended to share some compositional similarities with far-field snow deposition, while the downstream Athabasca River sites are more similar to local lakes and tributaries. This contrast likely indicates the relative role of regional snowmelt contributions to the Athabasca River vs inputs from local catchments in the reach downstream of Fort McMurray.

  18. Environmental effects of river sand mining: a case from the river catchments of Vembanad lake, Southwest coast of India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Padmalal, D.; Maya, K.; Sreebha, S.; Sreeja, R.

    2008-04-01

    Rivers in the southwest coast of India are under immense pressure due to various kinds of human activities among which indiscriminate extraction of construction grade sand is the most disastrous one. The situation is rather alarming in the rivers draining the Vembanad lake catchments as the area hosts one of the fast developing urban-cum-industrial centre, the Kochi city, otherwise called the Queen of Arabian Sea. The Vembanad lake catchments are drained by seven rivers whose length varies between 78 and 244 km and catchment area between 847 and 5,398 km2. On an average, 11.73 million ty-1 of sand and gravel are being extracted from the active channels and 0.414 million ty-1 of sand from the river floodplains. The quantity of instream mining is about 40 times the higher than the sand input estimated in the gauging stations. As a result of indiscriminate sand mining, the riverbed in the storage zone is getting lowered at a rate of 7-15 cm y-1 over the past two decades. This, in turn, imposes severe damages to the physical and biological environments of these river systems. The present paper deals with the environmental effects of indiscriminate sand mining from the small catchment rivers in the southwest coast of India, taking the case of the rivers draining the Vembanad lake catchments as an example.

  19. BIOTIGER, A NATURAL MICROBIAL PRODUCT FOR ENHANCED HYDROCARBON RECOVERY FROM OIL SANDS.

    SciTech Connect

    Brigmon, R; Topher Berry, T; Whitney Jones, W; Charles Milliken, C

    2008-05-27

    BioTiger{trademark} is a unique microbial consortia that resulted from over 8 years of extensive microbiology screening and characterization of samples collected from a century-old Polish waste lagoon. BioTiger{trademark} shows rapid and complete degradation of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, produces novel surfactants, is tolerant of both chemical and metal toxicity and shows good activity at temperature and pH extremes. Although originally developed and used by the U.S. Department of Energy for bioremediation of oil-contaminated soils, recent efforts have proven that BioTiger{trademark} can also be used to increase hydrocarbon recovery from oil sands. This enhanced ex situ oil recovery process utilizes BioTiger{trademark} to optimize bitumen separation. A floatation test protocol with oil sands from Ft. McMurray, Canada was used for the BioTiger{trademark} evaluation. A comparison of hot water extraction/floatation test of the oil sands performed with BioTiger{trademark} demonstrated a 50% improvement in separation as measured by gravimetric analysis in 4 h and a five-fold increase at 25 hr. Since BioTiger{trademark} performs well at high temperatures and process engineering can enhance and sustain metabolic activity, it can be applied to enhance recovery of hydrocarbons from oil sands or other complex recalcitrant matrices.

  20. Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of current oil sands technologies: GHOST model development and illustrative application.

    PubMed

    Charpentier, Alex D; Kofoworola, Oyeshola; Bergerson, Joule A; MacLean, Heather L

    2011-11-01

    A life cycle-based model, GHOST (GreenHouse gas emissions of current Oil Sands Technologies), which quantifies emissions associated with production of diluted bitumen and synthetic crude oil (SCO) is developed. GHOST has the potential to analyze a large set of process configurations, is based on confidential oil sands project operating data, and reports ranges of resulting emissions, improvements over prior studies, which primarily included a limited set of indirect activities, utilized theoretical design data, and reported point estimates. GHOST is demonstrated through application to a major oil sands process, steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). The variability in potential performance of SAGD technologies results in wide ranges of "well-to-refinery entrance gate" emissions (comprising direct and indirect emissions): 18-41 g CO(2)eq/MJ SCO, 9-18 g CO(2)eq/MJ dilbit, and 13-24 g CO(2)eq/MJ synbit. The primary contributor to SAGD's emissions is the combustion of natural gas to produce process steam, making a project's steam-to-oil ratio the most critical parameter in determining GHG performance. The demonstration (a) illustrates that a broad range of technology options, operating conditions, and resulting emissions exist among current oil sands operations, even when considering a single extraction technology, and (b) provides guidance about the feasibility of lowering SAGD project emissions.

  1. Life cycle Greenhouse gas emissions of current Oil Sands Technologies: surface mining and in situ applications.

    PubMed

    Bergerson, Joule A; Kofoworola, Oyeshola; Charpentier, Alex D; Sleep, Sylvia; Maclean, Heather L

    2012-07-17

    Life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with two major recovery and extraction processes currently utilized in Alberta's oil sands, surface mining and in situ, are quantified. Process modules are developed and integrated into a life cycle model-GHOST (GreenHouse gas emissions of current Oil Sands Technologies) developed in prior work. Recovery and extraction of bitumen through surface mining and in situ processes result in 3-9 and 9-16 g CO(2)eq/MJ bitumen, respectively; upgrading emissions are an additional 6-17 g CO(2)eq/MJ synthetic crude oil (SCO) (all results are on a HHV basis). Although a high degree of variability exists in well-to-wheel emissions due to differences in technologies employed, operating conditions, and product characteristics, the surface mining dilbit and the in situ SCO pathways have the lowest and highest emissions, 88 and 120 g CO(2)eq/MJ reformulated gasoline. Through the use of improved data obtained from operating oil sands projects, we present ranges of emissions that overlap with emissions in literature for conventional crude oil. An increased focus is recommended in policy discussions on understanding interproject variability of emissions of both oil sands and conventional crudes, as this has not been adequately represented in previous studies.

  2. In situ recovery of oil from Utah tar sand: a summary of tar sand research at the Laramie Energy Technology Center

    SciTech Connect

    Marchant, L.C.; Westhoff, J.D.

    1985-10-01

    This report describes work done by the United States Department of Energy's Laramie Energy Technology Center from 1971 through 1982 to develop technology for future recovery of oil from US tar sands. Work was concentrated on major US tar sand deposits that are found in Utah. Major objectives of the program were as follows: determine the feasibility of in situ recovery methods applied to tar sand deposits; and establish a system for classifying tar sand deposits relative to those characteristics that would affect the design and operation of various in situ recovery processes. Contents of this report include: (1) characterization of Utah tar sand; (2) laboratory extraction studies relative to Utah tar sand in situ methods; (3) geological site evaluation; (4) environmental assessments and water availability; (5) reverse combustion field experiment, TS-1C; (6) a reverse combustion followed by forward combustion field experiment, TS-2C; (7) tar sand permeability enhancement studies; (8) two-well steam injection experiment; (9) in situ steam-flood experiment, TS-1S; (10) design of a tar sand field experiment for air-stream co-injection, TS-4; (11) wastewater treatment and oil analyses; (12) economic evaluation of an in situ tar sand recovery process; and (13) appendix I (extraction studies involving Utah tar sands, surface methods). 70 figs., 68 tabs.

  3. Phytoremediation of Alberta oil sand tailings using native plants and fungal endophytes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Repas, T.; Germida, J.; Kaminskyj, S.

    2012-04-01

    Fungal endophytes colonize host plants without causing disease. Some endophytes confer plant tolerance to harsh environments. One such endophyte, Trichoderma harzianum strain TSTh20-1, was isolated from a plant growing on Athabasca oil sand tailings. Tailing sands are a high volume waste product from oil sand extraction that the industry is required to remediate. Tailing sands are low in organic carbon and mineral nutrients, and are hydrophobic due to residual polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Typically, tailing sands are remediated by planting young trees in large quantities of mulch plus mineral fertilizer, which is costly and labour intensive. In greenhouse trials, TSTh20-1 supports growth of tomato seedlings on tailing sands without fertilizer. The potential use of TSTh20-1 in combination with native grasses and forbs to remediate under field conditions is being assessed. Twenty-three commercially available plant species are being screened for seed germination and growth on tailing sands in the presence of TSTh20-1. The best candidates from this group will be used in greenhouse and small scale field trials. Potential mechanisms that contribute to endophyte-induced plant growth promotion, such as plant hormone production, stress tolerance, mineral solubilization, and uptake are also being assessed. As well, TSTh20-1 appears to be remarkably frugal in its nutrient requirements and the possibility that this attribute is characteristic of other plant-fungal endophytes from harsh environments is under study.

  4. Gulf/RTR oil sands extraction process. [Gulf/Rio Tinto TIL Holding S. A

    SciTech Connect

    Logan, A.; Devenny, D.; Porcari, G.; Corti, A.

    1984-06-01

    The activities carried out and the results obtained from a 15 tons/hour oil sands extraction pilot plant operated in Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta are described. The process is the Rio Tinto TIL Holding S.A. (RTR)/Gulf Canada Lt. Oil Sands Extraction Process. It is a modified hot water extraction process. It is used to extract bitumen from Athabasca oil sands. The test ran from July to December 1981 through ambient conditions ranging from plus 38/sup 0/C to minus 30/sup 0/C (100/sup 0/F to -22/sup 0/F). The process, the on-site facilities, the test program, an analysis of plant performance, an appraisal of the process economics, and an evaluation of its potential application are described.

  5. Satellite Monitoring Over the Canadian Oil Sands: Highlights from Aura OMI and TES

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shephard, Mark W.; McLinden, Chris; Fioletov, Vitali; Cady-Pereira, Karen E.; Krotkov, Nick A.; Boersma, Folkert; Li, Can; Luo, Ming; Bhartia, P. K.; Joiner, Joanna

    2014-01-01

    Satellite remote sensing provides a unique perspective for air quality monitoring in and around the Canadian Oil Sands as a result of its spatial and temporal coverage. Presented are Aura satellite observations of key pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), methanol (CH3OH), and formic acid (HCOOH) over the Canadian Oil Sands. Some of the highlights include: (i) the evolution of NO2 and SO2 from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI), including comparisons with other nearby sources, (ii) two years of ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol, and formic acid observations from 240 km North-South Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) transects through the oils sands, and (iii) preliminary insights into emissions derived from these observations.

  6. Oil sands development contributes polycyclic aromatic compounds to the Athabasca River and its tributaries

    PubMed Central

    Kelly, Erin N.; Short, Jeffrey W.; Schindler, David W.; Hodson, Peter V.; Ma, Mingsheng; Kwan, Alvin K.; Fortin, Barbra L.

    2009-01-01

    For over a decade, the contribution of oil sands mining and processing to the pollution of the Athabasca River has been controversial. We show that the oil sands development is a greater source of contamination than previously realized. In 2008, within 50 km of oil sands upgrading facilities, the loading to the snowpack of airborne particulates was 11,400 T over 4 months and included 391 kg of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC), equivalent to 600 T of bitumen, while 168 kg of dissolved PAC was also deposited. Dissolved PAC concentrations in tributaries to the Athabasca increased from 0.009 μg/L upstream of oil sands development to 0.023 μg/L in winter and to 0.202 μg/L in summer downstream. In the Athabasca, dissolved PAC concentrations were mostly <0.025 μg/L in winter and 0.030 μg/L in summer, except near oil sands upgrading facilities and tailings ponds in winter (0.031–0.083 μg/L) and downstream of new development in summer (0.063–0.135 μg/L). In the Athabasca and its tributaries, development within the past 2 years was related to elevated dissolved PAC concentrations that were likely toxic to fish embryos. In melted snow, dissolved PAC concentrations were up to 4.8 μg/L, thus, spring snowmelt and washout during rain events are important unknowns. These results indicate that major changes are needed to the way that environmental impacts of oil sands development are monitored and managed. PMID:19995964

  7. Instantaneous stabilization of floating oils by surface application of natural granular materials (beach sand and limestone).

    PubMed

    Boglaienko, Daria; Tansel, Berrin

    2015-02-15

    When granular materials are applied to hydrophobic liquids floating over another liquid (i.e., water), particles form aggregates which can be separated from the floating phase. This concept can be used for controlling mobility of floating oils, especially after oil spills near coastal areas. The objectives of this research were to characterize oil capture efficiency and determine effectiveness of particles for converting the floating phase to a heavier phase for effective separation. Experiments were conducted with South Louisiana crude oil contaminated salt water, limestone and quartz sand. Although the oil removal efficiency increased with the increasing amount of granular material applied, it did not increase linearly. About 50% of the floating oil was removed by aggregates, regardless of the material used, when granular material to floating oil ratio was about 1 g/g. The aggregates separated had higher amounts of oil content when smaller amounts of granular materials were added.

  8. Instantaneous stabilization of floating oils by surface application of natural granular materials (beach sand and limestone).

    PubMed

    Boglaienko, Daria; Tansel, Berrin

    2015-02-15

    When granular materials are applied to hydrophobic liquids floating over another liquid (i.e., water), particles form aggregates which can be separated from the floating phase. This concept can be used for controlling mobility of floating oils, especially after oil spills near coastal areas. The objectives of this research were to characterize oil capture efficiency and determine effectiveness of particles for converting the floating phase to a heavier phase for effective separation. Experiments were conducted with South Louisiana crude oil contaminated salt water, limestone and quartz sand. Although the oil removal efficiency increased with the increasing amount of granular material applied, it did not increase linearly. About 50% of the floating oil was removed by aggregates, regardless of the material used, when granular material to floating oil ratio was about 1 g/g. The aggregates separated had higher amounts of oil content when smaller amounts of granular materials were added. PMID:25555617

  9. Water and Sand Transport Pathways Through the Delta Front, Wax Lake delta, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaw, J. B.; Mohrig, D.

    2011-12-01

    The Wax Lake delta (WLD) is considered a type example of the river dominated delta due to its fan-like shape and network of bifurcating channels. We investigate the formative processes of the WLD's morphology using water and sediment data collected during the 2011 spring flood. Our study focuses on the delta front; the ~4 km wide region seaward of the subaerial delta that is characterized by (a) sub-aqueous extensions of the sub-aerial channels, and (b) broad, shallow, unchannelized zones positioned between the sub-aqueous channels. We find that while water flux is widely distributed between the channelized and non-channelized zones, the sand flux is focused in the sub-aqueous channels of the delta front. Flow is faster in the channels than non-channelized areas (0.7 versus 0.15 m/s), but the large width discrepancy (200 m wide channels vs 3500 m wide non-channelized zones) permits large water discharges in the non-channelized zones. In one measured case, we calculate that 70% of discharge (670 m3/s) bled from neighboring channels into a non-channelized zone over 3 km of sub-aqueous channel length. In contrast, sand flux distribution is focused in sub-aqueous channels and extends no further than 200 m from the channel margin. Fine sand is transported in suspension because of sufficiently high shear velocities (u* = 2-5 cm/s). Sand is not transported through unchannelized zones due to insufficient shear (u* <1.4 cm/s). Levees on either side of a sub-aqueous channel define this strong lateral convergence of sand flux. Factors controlling cross-channel flux from channels to non-channelized zones are likely to be the velocity differential, the ratio of channel depth to levee depth and change in width of the unchannelized area with downstream distance (0.75 m/m). We hypothesize that under certain conditions, lateral transport of water and sand out of channels may initiate a channel bifurcation, more in the manner of an avulsion than of flow splitting by mouth bar

  10. Adsorption of surfactants on sand surface in enhanced oil recovery: Isotherms, kinetics and thermodynamic studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bera, Achinta; Kumar, T.; Ojha, Keka; Mandal, Ajay

    2013-11-01

    Adsorption of surfactants onto reservoir rock surface may result in the loss and reduction of their concentrations in surfactant flooding, which may render them less efficient or ineffective in practical applications of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques. Surfactant flooding for EOR received attraction due to its ability to increase the displacement efficiency by lowering the interfacial tension between oil and water and mobilizing the residual oil. This article highlights the adsorption of surfactants onto sand surface with variation of different influencing factors. It has been experimentally found that adsorption of cationic surfactant on sand surface is more and less for anionic surfactant, while non-ionic surfactant shows intermediate behaviour. X-ray diffraction (XRD) study of clean sand particles has been made to determine the main component present in the sand particles. The interaction between sand particles and surfactant has been studied by Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy of the sand particles before and after aging with surfactant. Salinity plays an important role in adsorption of anionic surfactant. Batch experiments were also performed to understand the effects of pH and adsorbent dose on the sorption efficiency. The sand particles exhibited high adsorption efficiency at low pH for anionic and nonionic surfactants. But opposite trend was found for cationic surfactant. Adsorption data were analyzed by fitting with Langmuir, Freundlich, Redlich-Peterson, and Sips isotherm models. Results show that the Langmuir isotherm and pseudo-second order kinetics models suit the equilibrium and kinetics of adsorption on sand surface. Thermodynamics feasibility of the adsorption process was also studied to verify the spontaneity of the process.

  11. Physical properties of soils contaminated by oil lakes, Kuwait

    SciTech Connect

    Mohammad, A.S.; Wahba, S.A.; Al-Khatieb, S.O.

    1996-08-01

    In preparation for a marine assault by the coalition forces, the Iraqi Army heavily mined Kuwait`s coastal zone and the oil fields. Over a million mines were placed on the Kuwait soil. Burning of 732 oil wells in the State of Kuwait due to the Iraqi invasion caused damages which had direct and indirect effect on environment. A total of 20-22 million barrels of spilled crude oil were collected in natural desert depressions and drainage network which formed more than 300 oil lakes. The total area covered with oil reached 49 km{sup 2}. More than 375 trenches revealed the existence of hard, massive caliche (CaCO{sub 3}) subsoil which prevent leached oil from reaching deeper horizons, and limited the maximum depth of penetration to 1.75 m. Total volume of soil contaminated reached 22,652,500 m{sup 3} is still causing environmental problems and needs an urgent cleaning and rehabilitation. Kuwait Oil Company has recovered approximately 21 million barrels from the oil lakes since the liberation of Kuwait. In our examined representative soil profiles the oil penetration was not deeper than 45 cm. Infiltration rate, soil permeability, grain size distribution, aggregates formation and water holding capacity were assessed. 15 refs., 5 figs., 5 tabs.

  12. An Overview of the Summer 2014 Airborne Study of Oil Sands Air Pollutants in Support of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring Plan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, S. M.; Hayden, K. L.; Cober, S.; Wolde, M.; Liggio, J.; Liu, P.; Leithead, A.; O'brien, J.; Wang, D. K.; Moussa, S. G.; Gordon, M.; Darlington, A. L.; McLaren, R.; Makar, P.; Stroud, C.; Wentzell, J. J. B.; Brook, J.; Narayan, J.; Elford, A.; Sung, K.; Sheppard, A.

    2014-12-01

    A short term airborne study of oil sands air pollutants was carried out in August and September 2013. The study had three objectives: 1. to validate emissions of criteria air contaminants (CACs) and other air pollutants from surface mining facilities in the Athabasca oil sands region, using airborne ambient air measurements; 2. to understand the transport and transformation of primary pollutants; and 3. to provide data for model and satellite retrieval validation. The data will be used for the evaluation and improvement of high-resolution air quality models for eventual application in determining the fates of these pollutants and their deposition to the downwind ecosystems. Various chemical species were measured from the National Research Council of Canada Convair-580 aircraft at high time resolution of 1-10 seconds. A total of 22 flights were flown, with 14 flights dedicated to emission validation, 5 flights to transport and transformation of oil sands pollutants, and 5 flights to satellite data validation. An algorithm will be shown to demonstrate how the data from the emission flights can be used to derive a top-down estimate of SO2 emission rates.

  13. Has Alberta Oil Sands Development Altered Delivery of Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds to the Peace-Athabasca Delta?

    PubMed Central

    Hall, Roland I.; Wolfe, Brent B.; Wiklund, Johan A.; Edwards, Thomas W. D.; Farwell, Andrea J.; Dixon, D. George

    2012-01-01

    Background The extent to which Alberta oil sands mining and upgrading operations have enhanced delivery of bitumen-derived contaminants via the Athabasca River and atmosphere to the Peace-Athabasca Delta (200 km to the north) is a pivotal question that has generated national and international concern. Accounts of rare health disorders in residents of Fort Chipewyan and deformed fish in downstream ecosystems provided impetus for several recent expert-panel assessments regarding the societal and environmental consequences of this multi-billion-dollar industry. Deciphering relative contributions of natural versus industrial processes on downstream supply of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) has been identified as a critical knowledge gap. But, this remains a formidable scientific challenge because loading from natural processes remains unknown. And, industrial activity occurs in the same locations as the natural bitumen deposits, which potentially confounds contemporary upstream-downstream comparisons of contaminant levels. Methods/Principal Findings Based on analyses of lake sediment cores, we provide evidence that the Athabasca Delta has been a natural repository of PACs carried by the Athabasca River for at least the past two centuries. We detect no measureable increase in the concentration and proportion of river-transported bitumen-associated indicator PACs in sediments deposited in a flood-prone lake since onset of oil sands development. Results also reveal no evidence that industrial activity has contributed measurably to sedimentary concentration of PACs supplied by atmospheric transport. Conclusions/Significance Findings suggest that natural erosion of exposed bitumen in banks of the Athabasca River and its tributaries is a major process delivering PACs to the Athabasca Delta, and the spring freshet is a key period for contaminant mobilization and transport. This baseline environmental information is essential for informed management of natural resources

  14. NMR relaxometry and diffusometry in characterizing structural, interfacial and colloidal properties of heavy oils and oil sands.

    PubMed

    Jones, Marc; Taylor, Spencer E

    2015-10-01

    We present a discussion of the use of NMR in the characterization of heavy oils and oil sands and their interactions with water and solid surfaces. The phenomena probed by the NMR techniques take place over different length scales, ranging from molecular, through colloidal to macroscopic. During the course of the last 15 years, NMR applications have grown from their initial use in studying conventional oils in rocks to the characterization of more viscous oils in unconsolidated porous media. In particular, (1)H NMR relaxometry and diffusometry are considered with a view to the identification of oil and water in oilfield fluids and their environment. After some theoretical considerations, various topics of current significance to petroleum recovery and production are discussed, including oil viscosity (with new experimental viscosity correlations added), oil sands characterization, heavy oil emulsions, and the identification of solvent effects on oil components and asphaltene solution behaviour and interactions. We show that, increasingly, NMR is becoming an invaluable and versatile characterization tool in petroleum science, in both laboratory and field.

  15. An oil spill surveillance program for Lake Pontchartrain.

    PubMed

    Boyd, Ezra; Pereira, Joao F; Retana, Gabriel; Baker, Andy; Lopez, John; McCorquodale, Alex

    2013-01-01

    This article describes an oil spill surveillance strategy implemented in response to BP's 2010 MC252 oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. A three-pronged strategy consisted of Geographic Information System (GIS) monitoring of the surface slick, hydrodynamic modeling of the potential movement of the slick within the Basin, and weekly field reconnaissance. Our analysis was completed in near real time during the event and the results and predictions helped local responders minimize oiling impacts in Lake Pontchartrain. No prior planning was undertaken before this crisis response, and this article reports our support activities as they happened. For the GIS component, a remote sensing derived surface slick outline layer was obtained to produce near daily maps showing the slick's proximity to Lake Pontchartrain along with weather conditions and deployed response assets. This regular monitoring of the slicks' location was complemented by hydrodynamic numerical modeling that simulated the currents that determined the trajectories of oil particles. These data were ground-truthed through weekly reconnaissance trips that assessed the potential routes of oil penetration into Lake Pontchartrain for the presence of sheen, tarballs, and other oil constituents. Despite the ad hoc design and on-the-fly implementation, these three assessments provided consistent and actionable information.

  16. The effect of sand composition on the degradation of buried oil.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Fernández, Sandra; Bernabeu, Ana M; Rey, Daniel; Mucha, Ana P; Almeida, C Marisa R; Bouchette, Frédéric

    2014-09-15

    The potential effects of the mineralogical composition of sediment on the degradation of oil buried on sandy beaches were investigated. Toward that purpose, a laboratory experiment was carried out with sandy sediment collected along NW Iberian Peninsula beaches, tar-balls from the Prestige oil spill (NW Spain) and seawater. The results indicate that the mineralogical composition is important for the physical appearance of the oil (tar-balls or oil coatings). This finding prompted a reassessment of the current sequence of degradation for buried oil based on compositional factors. Moreover, the halo development of the oil coatings might be enhanced by the carbonate concentration of the sand. These findings open new prospects for future monitoring and management programs for oiled sandy beaches. PMID:25044040

  17. Solar ponds in alkaline lake and oil well regions

    SciTech Connect

    Lodhi, M.A.K.

    1996-05-01

    Solar ponds are probably the simplest technology available for useful conversion of solar energy. The basic technology is proven. Solar ponds have been shown to be technically feasible and economically viable for many applications particularly for thermal use. The electrical conversion and use of solar energy via solar ponds is still questionable in general for economic viability. By putting the untapped sources together in the South Plains region it looks promising economically both for thermal and electrical conversions and applications. There are a number of alkaline lake basins randomly scattered in the South Plains region of the USA. In that area there are thousands of crude oil producing wells which produce brine in abundance. Selection of suitable alkaline lake basins as a solar pond site and as depository sites of brine from oil wells and using of this brine and salty water from alkaline lakes makes the solar pond economically viable for both thermal and electrical demands in the area.

  18. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology jointly sponsored research

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-01-01

    Accomplishments for the quarter are presented for the following areas of research: oil shale, tar sand, coal, advanced exploratory process technology, and jointly sponsored research. Oil shale research includes; oil shale process studies, environmental base studies for oil shale, and miscellaneous basic concept studies. Tar sand research covers process development. Coal research includes; underground coal gasification, coal combustion, integrated coal processing concepts, and solid waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes; advanced process concepts, advanced mitigation concepts, and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research includes: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; operation and evaluation of the CO[sub 2] HUFF-N-PUFF Process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid state NMR analysis of Mesa Verde Group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; flow-loop testing of double-wall pipe for thermal applications; characterization of petroleum residue; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced recovery techniques; and menu driven access to the WDEQ Hydrologic Data Management Systems.

  19. Potential for in situ chemical oxidation of acid extractable organics in oil sands process affected groundwater.

    PubMed

    Sohrabi, V; Ross, M S; Martin, J W; Barker, J F

    2013-11-01

    The process of bitumen extraction from oil sands in Alberta, Canada leads to an accumulation of toxic acid-extractable organics (AEOs) in oil sands process water (OSPW). Infiltration of OSPW from tailings ponds and from their retaining sand dykes and subsequent transport towards surface water has occurred. Given the apparent lack of significant natural attenuation of AEOs in groundwater, remediation may be required. This laboratory study evaluates the potential use of unactivated persulfate and permanganate as in situ oxidation agents for remediation of AEOs in groundwater. Naphthenic acids (NAs; CnH2n+zO2), which are a component of the acutely toxic AEOs, were degraded by both oxidants in OSPW samples. Permanganate oxidation yielded some residual dissolved organic carbon (DOC) whereas persulfate mineralized the AEO compounds with less residual DOC. Acid-extractable organics from oxidized OSPW had essentially no Microtox toxicity.

  20. Microbial communities involved in methane production from hydrocarbons in oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Penner, Tara; Klassen, Jonathan; Nesbø, Camilla; Foght, Julia M

    2012-09-01

    Microbial metabolism of residual hydrocarbons, primarily short-chain n-alkanes and certain monoaromatic hydrocarbons, in oil sands tailings ponds produces large volumes of CH(4) in situ. We characterized the microbial communities involved in methanogenic biodegradation of whole naphtha (a bitumen extraction solvent) and its short-chain n-alkane (C(6)-C(10)) and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) components using primary enrichment cultures derived from oil sands tailings. Clone libraries of bacterial 16S rRNA genes amplified from these enrichments showed increased proportions of two orders of Bacteria: Clostridiales and Syntrophobacterales, with Desulfotomaculum and Syntrophus/Smithella as the closest named relatives, respectively. In parallel archaeal clone libraries, sequences affiliated with cultivated acetoclastic methanogens (Methanosaetaceae) were enriched in cultures amended with n-alkanes, whereas hydrogenotrophic methanogens (Methanomicrobiales) were enriched with BTEX. Naphtha-amended cultures harbored a blend of these two archaeal communities. The results imply syntrophic oxidation of hydrocarbons in oil sands tailings, with the activities of different carbon flow pathways to CH(4) being influenced by the primary hydrocarbon substrate. These results have implications for predicting greenhouse gas emissions from oil sands tailings repositories.

  1. Method for Extraction and Multielement Analysis of Hypogymnia Physodes Samples from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    EPA Science Inventory

    A microwave-assisted digestion technique followed by ICPMS (inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) analysis was used to measure concentrations of 43 elements in Hypogymnia physodes samples collected in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of northern Alberta, Canad...

  2. Alberta`s oil sands: Update on regulatory and development issues

    SciTech Connect

    Precht, P.L.; Germain, R.R.; McMurray, D.R.

    1995-12-31

    In 1988, two papers were presented by staff from the Alberta Department of Energy to the Fourth UNITAR Conference. The first paper outlined various elements of the fiscal regimes applicable to Alberta`s oil sands. The second paper provided an overview of the economic development of the oil sands in Alberta. In 1991, a paper was presented to the Fifth UNITAR Conference outlining Alberta`s new oil sands lease tenure policy. This 1995 paper will update those earlier papers, outlining recent developments that have occurred in the oil sands respecting projects, production, fiscal regimes, and lease tenure policy. The 1988 papers were presented at the time of what was expected to be a {open_quotes}mega-project boom,{close_quotes} with governments and industry actively engaged in negotiating fiscal terms that would apply to the proposed mega-projects. Within months following the Fourth UNITAR Conference, there were government/industry announcements that agreements had been reached that would allow the Bi-Provincial and OSLO projects to proceed. At the time of the 1991 paper, these projects were still in the engineering phase or under construction. We now know the mega-project boom was a bust. This paper is intended to provide an objective and reasonable comprehensive overview of project and policy developments since 1988.

  3. Post-Secondary Learning Priorities of Workers in an Oil Sands Camp in Northern Alberta

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Fahy, Patrick J.; Steel, Nancy

    2008-01-01

    This paper reports results to date of a three-year project by Athabasca University, intended to determine the education and training needs and interests of employees in a work camp in northern Alberta's oil sands. (Future reports will address results of efforts to provide programming suiting the needs identified, and the uptake, satisfaction,…

  4. Examination of the mining of heavy oil and tar sands by overburden substitution

    SciTech Connect

    Fox, R.L.

    1982-02-01

    A mining procedure which removes the geologic formations above an oil or tar sand bearing reservoir by strip mining techniques, then floods the upper surface of the reservoir with a pool of water, is examined by computational models and laboratory scale experiments. The results of the studies indicate low production rates are achieved by such a procedure.

  5. Inhibition of ABC transport proteins by oil sands process affected water.

    PubMed

    Alharbi, Hattan A; Saunders, David M V; Al-Mousa, Ahmed; Alcorn, Jane; Pereira, Alberto S; Martin, Jonathan W; Giesy, John P; Wiseman, Steve B

    2016-01-01

    The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporter proteins is important for detoxification of xenobiotics. For example, ABC transporters from the multidrug-resistance protein (MRP) subfamily are important for excretion of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their metabolites. Effects of chemicals in the water soluble organic fraction of relatively fresh oil sands process affected water (OSPW) from Base Mine Lake (BML-OSPW) and aged OSPW from Pond 9 (P9-OSPW) on the activity of MRP transporters were investigated in vivo by use of Japanese medaka at the fry stage of development. Activities of MRPs were monitored by use of the lipophilic dye calcein, which is transported from cells by ABC proteins, including MRPs. To begin to identify chemicals that might inhibit activity of MRPs, BML-OSPW and P9-OSPW were fractionated into acidic, basic, and neutral fractions by use of mixed-mode sorbents. Chemical compositions of fractions were determined by use of ultrahigh resolution orbitrap mass spectrometry in ESI(+) and ESI(-) mode. Greater amounts of calcein were retained in fry exposed to BML-OSPW at concentration equivalents greater than 1× (i.e., full strength). The neutral and basic fractions of BML-OSPW, but not the acidic fraction, caused greater retention of calcein. Exposure to P9-OSPW did not affect the amount of calcein in fry. Neutral and basic fractions of BML-OSPW contained relatively greater amounts of several oxygen-, sulfur, and nitrogen-containing chemical species that might inhibit MRPs, such as O(+), SO(+), and NO(+) chemical species, although secondary fractionation will be required to conclusively identify the most potent inhibitors. Naphthenic acids (O2(-)), which were dominant in the acidic fraction, did not appear to be the cause of the inhibition. This is the first study to demonstrate that chemicals in the water soluble organic fraction of OSPW inhibit activity of this important class of proteins. However, aging of OSPW attenuates

  6. Inhibition of ABC transport proteins by oil sands process affected water.

    PubMed

    Alharbi, Hattan A; Saunders, David M V; Al-Mousa, Ahmed; Alcorn, Jane; Pereira, Alberto S; Martin, Jonathan W; Giesy, John P; Wiseman, Steve B

    2016-01-01

    The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of transporter proteins is important for detoxification of xenobiotics. For example, ABC transporters from the multidrug-resistance protein (MRP) subfamily are important for excretion of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their metabolites. Effects of chemicals in the water soluble organic fraction of relatively fresh oil sands process affected water (OSPW) from Base Mine Lake (BML-OSPW) and aged OSPW from Pond 9 (P9-OSPW) on the activity of MRP transporters were investigated in vivo by use of Japanese medaka at the fry stage of development. Activities of MRPs were monitored by use of the lipophilic dye calcein, which is transported from cells by ABC proteins, including MRPs. To begin to identify chemicals that might inhibit activity of MRPs, BML-OSPW and P9-OSPW were fractionated into acidic, basic, and neutral fractions by use of mixed-mode sorbents. Chemical compositions of fractions were determined by use of ultrahigh resolution orbitrap mass spectrometry in ESI(+) and ESI(-) mode. Greater amounts of calcein were retained in fry exposed to BML-OSPW at concentration equivalents greater than 1× (i.e., full strength). The neutral and basic fractions of BML-OSPW, but not the acidic fraction, caused greater retention of calcein. Exposure to P9-OSPW did not affect the amount of calcein in fry. Neutral and basic fractions of BML-OSPW contained relatively greater amounts of several oxygen-, sulfur, and nitrogen-containing chemical species that might inhibit MRPs, such as O(+), SO(+), and NO(+) chemical species, although secondary fractionation will be required to conclusively identify the most potent inhibitors. Naphthenic acids (O2(-)), which were dominant in the acidic fraction, did not appear to be the cause of the inhibition. This is the first study to demonstrate that chemicals in the water soluble organic fraction of OSPW inhibit activity of this important class of proteins. However, aging of OSPW attenuates

  7. Aerolian erosion, transport, and deposition of volcaniclastic sands among the shifting sand dunes, Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon: TIMS image analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ramsey, Michael S.; Christensen, Philip R.

    1995-01-01

    Remote sensing is a tool that, in the context of aeolian studies, offers a synoptic view of a dune field, sand sea, or entire desert region. Blount et al. (1990) presented one of the first studies demonstrating the power of multispectral images for interpreting the dynamic history of an aeolian sand sea. Blount's work on the Gran Desierto of Mexico used a Landsat TM scene and a linear spectral mixing model to show where different sand populations occur and along what paths these sands may have traveled before becoming incorporated into dunes. Interpretation of sand transport paths and sources in the Gran Desierto led to an improved understanding of the origin and Holocene history of the dunes. With the anticipated advent of the EOS-A platform and ASTER thermal infrared capability in 1998, it will become possible to look at continental sand seas and map sand transport paths using 8-12 mu m bands that are well-suited to tracking silicate sediments. A logical extension of Blount's work is to attempt a similar study using thermal infrared images. One such study has already begun by looking at feldspar, quartz, magnetite, and clay distributions in the Kelso Dunes of southern California. This paper describes the geology and application of TIMS image analysis of a less-well known Holocene dune field in south central Oregon using TIMS data obtained in 1991.

  8. Saturation dependence of the quadrature conductivity of oil-bearing sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmutz, M.; Blondel, A.; Revil, A.

    2012-02-01

    We have investigated the complex conductivity of oil-bearing sands with six distinct oil types including sunflower oil, silicone oil, gum rosin, paraffin, engine oil, and an industrial oil of complex composition. In all these experiments, the oil was the non-wetting phase. The in-phase (real) conductivity follows a power law relationship with the saturation (also known as the second Archie's law) but with a saturation exponent n raging from 1.1 to 3.1. In most experiments, the quadrature conductivity follows also a power law relationship with the water saturation but with a power law exponent p can be either positive or negative. For some samples, the quadrature conductivity first increases with saturation and then decreases indicating that two processes compete in controlling the quadrature conductivity. One is related to the insulating nature of the oil phase and a second could be associated with the surface area of the oil / water interface. The quadrature conductivity seems to be influenced not only by the value of the saturation exponent n (according to the Vinegar and Waxman model, p = n - 1), but also by the surface area between the oil phase and the water phase especially for very water-repellent oil having a fractal oil-water interface.

  9. Stable nitrogen isotopes of nestling tree swallows indicate exposure to different types of oil sands reclamation.

    PubMed

    Farwell, A J; Harms, N J; Smits, J E G; Dixon, D G

    2014-01-01

    Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) inhabiting reclaimed wetlands on the oil sands in northern Alberta are potentially exposed to elevated levels of oil sands constituents such as polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) through diet. While increased detoxification enzyme activity as measured using 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase in nestlings is a generally accepted indicator of exposure to oil sands constituents, there is no apparent method to detect dietary exposure specific to oil sands processed material (OSPM). In this study, stable C and N isotopes were analyzed from muscle and feathers of nestling tree swallows (15 d old) to distinguish dietary exposure of birds near reference and OSPM wetlands. High δ¹⁵N and low δ¹³C values in the nestling tissues differentiated those from the OSPM wetlands and reference sites. Lower δ¹⁵N values of nestlings compared to the δ¹⁵N values of larval chironomids from an earlier study suggested that the majority of the diet of the nestlings was derived from non-OSPM sources, despite residence near and on the OSPM wetlands. Our finding of limited utilization of OSPM resources by tree swallows indicates either low abundance or diversity of dietary items emerging from OSPM wetlands, or sensory avoidance of prey from those wetlands. Minimal consumption of OSPM-derived dietary sources may be attributed to published findings of limited adverse effects on tree swallow reproduction, or growth and development for these same nestlings. This study demonstrated that stable isotope analysis, particularly for N isotopes, may serve as a useful tool to trace dietary exposure to OSPM constituents as part of avian ecotoxicology assessments of reclaimed wetlands on the oil sands. PMID:24627996

  10. Stable nitrogen isotopes of nestling tree swallows indicate exposure to different types of oil sands reclamation.

    PubMed

    Farwell, A J; Harms, N J; Smits, J E G; Dixon, D G

    2014-01-01

    Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) inhabiting reclaimed wetlands on the oil sands in northern Alberta are potentially exposed to elevated levels of oil sands constituents such as polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) through diet. While increased detoxification enzyme activity as measured using 7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase in nestlings is a generally accepted indicator of exposure to oil sands constituents, there is no apparent method to detect dietary exposure specific to oil sands processed material (OSPM). In this study, stable C and N isotopes were analyzed from muscle and feathers of nestling tree swallows (15 d old) to distinguish dietary exposure of birds near reference and OSPM wetlands. High δ¹⁵N and low δ¹³C values in the nestling tissues differentiated those from the OSPM wetlands and reference sites. Lower δ¹⁵N values of nestlings compared to the δ¹⁵N values of larval chironomids from an earlier study suggested that the majority of the diet of the nestlings was derived from non-OSPM sources, despite residence near and on the OSPM wetlands. Our finding of limited utilization of OSPM resources by tree swallows indicates either low abundance or diversity of dietary items emerging from OSPM wetlands, or sensory avoidance of prey from those wetlands. Minimal consumption of OSPM-derived dietary sources may be attributed to published findings of limited adverse effects on tree swallow reproduction, or growth and development for these same nestlings. This study demonstrated that stable isotope analysis, particularly for N isotopes, may serve as a useful tool to trace dietary exposure to OSPM constituents as part of avian ecotoxicology assessments of reclaimed wetlands on the oil sands.

  11. Cell abundance and microbial community composition along a complete oil sand mining and reclamation process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lappé, M.; Schneider, B.; Kallmeyer, J.

    2012-12-01

    Hydrocarbons constitute an important energy source for microbes but can also be of environmental concern. Microbial activity causes hydrocarbon degradation and thereby loss of economical value, but also helps to remove hydrocarbons from the environment. The present study characterizes the abundance of microbes along the oil sand mining process in Alberta, Canada, as a first approach to assess the impact of mining and oil extraction on the microbial population. After mining the oil is extracted from the sediment by a hot-water extraction (50-60°C), resulting in three major fractions: crude oil, tailings sand and fine tailings. The tailings sand is used as substratum for newly developing soils on the reclamation areas. The very liquid fine tailings still have a TOC content of about 4.3% and are pumped into tailings ponds, where they need up to three decades to settle and solidify. After deposition, these mature fine tailings (MFTs) are enriched in organics (TOC content between 9.6 and 16.8%) and dredged out of the ponds and put on dumps for several years for dewatering. Finally they are brought out onto the reclamation sites and deposited below the sand layer. Cells were extracted from oily sediments according to the protocol of Lappé and Kallmeyer (2011), stained with SYBR Green I and counted by fluorescence microscopy. Cell abundance in the unprocessed oil sand is around 1.6 x 107 cells cm-3. After processing the fresh fine tailings still contain around 1.6 x 107 cells cm-3. Cell counts in the processed MFTs are 5.8 x 107 cells cm-3, whereas in the sand used as substratum for newly developing soils, they are twice as high (1.4 x 108). In root-bearing horizons, cell counts reach 1.1 x 109 cell cm-3. Cell numbers calculated from cultivation experiments are in the same range. Higher cell counts in the tailings sand are probably due to a higher nitrogen supply through the addition of a 35 cm top layer of a peat-mineral mix. In the sand nitrate concentrations are high

  12. New insights into halocarbon emissions in boreal regions: Forest fires and Alberta oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, I. J.; Barletta, B.; Meinardi, S.; Marrero, J.; Rowland, F. S.; Akagi, S. K.; Yokelson, R. J.; Blake, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    Boreal forest fires and Alberta oil sands represent two major co-located trace gas emission sources within the boreal ecosystem. During the airborne ARCTAS mission in summer 2008, UC-Irvine performed the most comprehensive characterization of halocarbon emissions from boreal forest fires to date. In summer 2008 and 2010 we also performed the first independent characterizations of halocarbon emissions from Alberta's oil sands industry. In both cases the measurements were made using whole air sampling followed by gas chromatography analysis using electron capture detection and mass spectrometer detection. In the case of boreal forest fires, of 26 speciated halocarbons that were measured, only the simplest halocarbons were emitted from the fires (CH3Cl, CH3Br, CH3I, 1,2-C2H4Cl2, C2H5Cl and CH2Br2) (Simpson et al., 2011). These compounds were released in relatively small quantities and together they represented <0.3% of the total carbon released from boreal forest fires in the form of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs). Even though CH3Cl was the most abundantly emitted halocarbon, its average global emission from boreal forest fires (0.011 ± 0.003 Tg yr-1) was very small compared to its global source budget. The poly-chlorinated compounds CH2Cl2, CHCl3 and CH3CCl3 were not released from the fires. In the case of the Alberta oil sands, based on airborne measurements during the ARCTAS mission, 15 of 26 measured halocarbons were statistically enhanced over the oil sands compared to local background values (Simpson et al., 2010). The short-lived solvents C2HCl3, C2Cl4, C2H5Cl and CHCl3 were the most strongly enhanced halocarbons, with maximum values that were 1.5-34× the local background. A subsequent ground-based study in 2010 detected even stronger halocarbon enhancements downwind of upgraders and tailings sand at the oil sands surface mining sites. For example C2HCl3 and CHBrCl2 mixing ratios were up to 60-85× the local background values. Long

  13. Assessing mobility and redistribution patterns of sand and oil agglomerates in the surf zone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Dalyander, P. Soupy; Long, Joesph W.; Plant, Nathaniel G.; Thompson, David M.

    2014-01-01

    Heavier-than-water sand and oil agglomerates that formed in the surf zone following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continued to cause beach re-oiling 3 years after initial stranding. To understand this phenomena and inform operational response now and for future spills, a numerical method to assess the mobility and alongshore movement of these “surface residual balls” (SRBs) was developed and applied to the Alabama and western Florida coasts. Alongshore flow and SRB mobility and potential flux were used to identify likely patterns of transport and deposition. Results indicate that under typical calm conditions, cm-size SRBs are unlikely to move alongshore, whereas mobility and transport is likely during storms. The greater mobility of sand compared to SRBs makes burial and exhumation of SRBs likely, and inlets were identified as probable SRB traps. Analysis of field data supports these model results.

  14. High-pressure ignition of oil sands samples in oxygen atmospheres containing various concentrations of diluents

    SciTech Connect

    Mehta, S.A.; Karim, G.A. )

    1990-12-01

    In-situ recovery of oil from oil sands deposits by combustion requires the injection of vast quantities of oxygen into the bed of deposits. Accordingly, there is a need to establish the ignition characteristics of high-grade Athabasca oil sands in environments containing pure oxygen at high-pressure and including the role of the presence of various diluents with the oxygen. A high-pressure constant volume bomb with a water calorimeter was employed as the test apparatus over the pressure range of 0.1 MPa to 4.0 MPa at ambient temperature. The paper presents the results of an experimental program that examined the effects of changes in the pressure, amounts of diluents and ignition energy on the ignition limits and subsequent combustion processes at ambient initial temperature. Moreover, the morphological changes to the samples at various stages of the process were also examined and discussed.

  15. Heavy and tar sand oil deposits of Europe

    SciTech Connect

    Cornelius, C.D.

    1984-09-01

    Several hundred heavy and extra-heavy oil and natural bitumen occurrences from 26 European countries (including European Turkey and the western borderlands of the USSR) were compiled. The definitions used for heavy crude oils and natural bitumens, as proposed by or prepared with the UNITAR/UNDP information center, were applied. Information on stratigraphy, lithology, and depth as well as on gravity, viscosity, and gas and water content, is given. Deposits are characteristically distributed along the flanks of the basins or within the separating uplifts. Nevertheless, they are found from the surface down to depths of 3000 m (9800 ft). Up to now, big accumulations have been exploited in Albania and Sicily, but they have been discovered also in the British North Sea, France, Spain, and West Germany. In carbonates, they were mostly encountered in fractures of synsedimentary or tectonic origin. The accumulations are the result of either intrusion of immature heavy oil from a source rock or of the immigration of mature oil, which was biodegraded afterward. In many cases, there have been at least two separate migration/accumulation events. In some cases paleoseepages did supply a source rock with asphaltic material or became an effective seal of a later hydrocarbon accumulation.

  16. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology, jointly sponsored research

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-01-01

    Progress made in five research programs is described. The subtasks in oil shale study include oil shale process studies and unconventional applications and markets for western oil shale.The tar sand study is on recycle oil pyrolysis and extraction (ROPE) process. Four tasks are described in coal research: underground coal gasification; coal combustion; integrated coal processing concepts; and sold waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes: advanced process concepts; advanced mitigation concepts; and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research covers: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; CROW field demonstration with Bell Lumber and Pole; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; PGI demonstration project; operation and evaluation of the CO[sub 2] HUFF-N-PUFF process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid state NMR analysis of Mesaverde group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; flow-loop testing of double-wall pipe for thermal applications; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced oil recovery techniques; NMR analysis of sample from the ocean drilling program; and menu driven access to the WDEQ hydrologic data management system.

  17. Sea sand disruption method (SSDM) as a valuable tool for isolating essential oil components from conifers.

    PubMed

    Dawidowicz, Andrzej L; Czapczyńska, Natalia B

    2011-11-01

    Essential oils are one of nature's most precious gifts with surprisingly potent and outstanding properties. Coniferous oils, for instance, are nowadays being used extensively to treat or prevent many types of infections, modify immune responses, soothe inflammations, stabilize moods, and to help ease all forms of non-acute pain. Given the broad spectrum of usage of coniferous essential oils, a fast, safe, simple, and efficient sample-preparation method is needed in the estimation procedure of essential oil components in fresh plant material. Generally, the time- and energy-consuming steam distillation (SD) is applied for this purpose. This paper will compare SD, pressurized liquid extraction (PLE), matrix solid-phase dispersion (MSPD), and the sea sand disruption method (SSDM) as isolation techniques to obtain aroma components from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), spruce (Picea abies), and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). According to the obtained data, SSDM is the most efficient sample preparation method in determining the essential oil composition of conifers. Moreover, SSDM requires small organic solvent amounts and a short extraction time, which makes it an advantageous alternative procedure for the routine analysis of coniferous oils. The superiority of SSDM over MSPD efficiency is ascertained, as there are no chemical interactions between the plant cell components and the sand. This fact confirms the reliability and efficacy of SSDM for the analysis of volatile oil components. PMID:22083917

  18. Pore Scale Analysis of Oil Shale/Sands Pyrolysis

    SciTech Connect

    Lin, Chen-Luh; Miller, Jan

    2011-03-01

    There are important questions concerning the quality and volume of pore space that is created when oil shale is pyrolyzed for the purpose of producing shale oil. In this report, 1.9 cm diameter cores of Mahogany oil shale were pyrolyzed at different temperatures and heating rates. Detailed 3D imaging of core samples was done using multiscale X-ray computed tomography (CT) before and after pyrolysis to establish the pore structure. The pore structure of the unreacted material was not clear. Selected images of a core pyrolyzed at 400oC were obtained at voxel resolutions from 39 microns (Οm) to 60 nanometers (nm). Some of the pore space created during pyrolysis was clearly visible at these resolutions and it was possible to distinguish between the reaction products and the host shale rock. The pore structure deduced from the images was used in Lattice Boltzmann simulations to calculate the permeability in the pore space. The permeabilities of the pyrolyzed samples of the silicate-rich zone were on the order of millidarcies, while the permeabilities of the kerogen-rich zone after pyrolysis were very anisotropic and about four orders of magnitude higher.

  19. Microbial community successional patterns in beach sands impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-R, Luis M; Overholt, Will A; Hagan, Christopher; Huettel, Markus; Kostka, Joel E; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T

    2015-09-01

    Although petroleum hydrocarbons discharged from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout were shown to have a pronounced impact on indigenous microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico, effects on nearshore or coastal ecosystems remain understudied. This study investigated the successional patterns of functional and taxonomic diversity for over 1 year after the DWH oil was deposited on Pensacola Beach sands (FL, USA), using metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene amplicon techniques. Gamma- and Alphaproteobacteria were enriched in oiled sediments, in corroboration of previous studies. In contrast to previous studies, we observed an increase in the functional diversity of the community in response to oil contamination and a functional transition from generalist populations within 4 months after oil came ashore to specialists a year later, when oil was undetectable. At the latter time point, a typical beach community had reestablished that showed little to no evidence of oil hydrocarbon degradation potential, was enriched in archaeal taxa known to be sensitive to xenobiotics, but differed significantly from the community before the oil spill. Further, a clear succession pattern was observed, where early responders to oil contamination, likely degrading aliphatic hydrocarbons, were replaced after 3 months by populations capable of aromatic hydrocarbon decomposition. Collectively, our results advance the understanding of how natural benthic microbial communities respond to crude oil perturbation, supporting the specialization-disturbance hypothesis; that is, the expectation that disturbance favors generalists, while providing (microbial) indicator species and genes for the chemical evolution of oil hydrocarbons during degradation and weathering. PMID:25689026

  20. Microbial community successional patterns in beach sands impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez-R, Luis M; Overholt, Will A; Hagan, Christopher; Huettel, Markus; Kostka, Joel E; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T

    2015-01-01

    Although petroleum hydrocarbons discharged from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout were shown to have a pronounced impact on indigenous microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico, effects on nearshore or coastal ecosystems remain understudied. This study investigated the successional patterns of functional and taxonomic diversity for over 1 year after the DWH oil was deposited on Pensacola Beach sands (FL, USA), using metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene amplicon techniques. Gamma- and Alphaproteobacteria were enriched in oiled sediments, in corroboration of previous studies. In contrast to previous studies, we observed an increase in the functional diversity of the community in response to oil contamination and a functional transition from generalist populations within 4 months after oil came ashore to specialists a year later, when oil was undetectable. At the latter time point, a typical beach community had reestablished that showed little to no evidence of oil hydrocarbon degradation potential, was enriched in archaeal taxa known to be sensitive to xenobiotics, but differed significantly from the community before the oil spill. Further, a clear succession pattern was observed, where early responders to oil contamination, likely degrading aliphatic hydrocarbons, were replaced after 3 months by populations capable of aromatic hydrocarbon decomposition. Collectively, our results advance the understanding of how natural benthic microbial communities respond to crude oil perturbation, supporting the specialization-disturbance hypothesis; that is, the expectation that disturbance favors generalists, while providing (microbial) indicator species and genes for the chemical evolution of oil hydrocarbons during degradation and weathering. PMID:25689026

  1. Microbial community successional patterns in beach sands impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez-R, Luis M; Overholt, Will A; Hagan, Christopher; Huettel, Markus; Kostka, Joel E; Konstantinidis, Konstantinos T

    2015-09-01

    Although petroleum hydrocarbons discharged from the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) blowout were shown to have a pronounced impact on indigenous microbial communities in the Gulf of Mexico, effects on nearshore or coastal ecosystems remain understudied. This study investigated the successional patterns of functional and taxonomic diversity for over 1 year after the DWH oil was deposited on Pensacola Beach sands (FL, USA), using metagenomic and 16S rRNA gene amplicon techniques. Gamma- and Alphaproteobacteria were enriched in oiled sediments, in corroboration of previous studies. In contrast to previous studies, we observed an increase in the functional diversity of the community in response to oil contamination and a functional transition from generalist populations within 4 months after oil came ashore to specialists a year later, when oil was undetectable. At the latter time point, a typical beach community had reestablished that showed little to no evidence of oil hydrocarbon degradation potential, was enriched in archaeal taxa known to be sensitive to xenobiotics, but differed significantly from the community before the oil spill. Further, a clear succession pattern was observed, where early responders to oil contamination, likely degrading aliphatic hydrocarbons, were replaced after 3 months by populations capable of aromatic hydrocarbon decomposition. Collectively, our results advance the understanding of how natural benthic microbial communities respond to crude oil perturbation, supporting the specialization-disturbance hypothesis; that is, the expectation that disturbance favors generalists, while providing (microbial) indicator species and genes for the chemical evolution of oil hydrocarbons during degradation and weathering.

  2. Diamonds in the rough: identification of individual napthenic acids in oil sands process water

    SciTech Connect

    Rowland, Steven J.; Scarlett, Alan G.; Jones, David; West, Charles E. ); Frank, Richard A.

    2011-03-10

    Expansion of the oil sands industry of Canada has seen a concomitant increase in the amount of process water produced and stored in large lagoons known as tailings ponds. Concerns have been raised, particularly about the toxic complex mixtures of water-soluble naphthenic acids (NA) in the process water. To date, no individual NA have been identified, despite numerous attempts, and while the toxicity of broad classes of acids is of interest, toxicity is often structure-specific, so identification of individual acids may also be very important. The chromatographic resolution and mass spectral identification of some individual NA from oil sands process water is described. The authors concluded that the presence of tricyclic diamondoid acids, never before even considered as NA, suggests an unprecedented degree of biodegradation of some of the oil in the oil sands. The identifications reported should now be followed by quantitative studies, and these used to direct toxicity assays of relevant NA and the method used to identify further NA to establish which, or whether all NA, are toxic. The two-dimensional comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method described may also be important for helping to better focus reclamation/remediation strategies for NA as well as in facilitating the identification of the sources of NA in contaminated surface waters (auth)

  3. Volatile Organic Compound Observations near Oil Sands Mining, Upgrading and Refining Facilities in Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, I. J.; Marrero, J.; Meinardi, S.; Barletta, B.; Krogh, E.; Blake, D. R.

    2012-12-01

    The oil sands of Alberta are the world's third-largest proven oil reserve. Even though the expansion of the oil sands industry has led to concerns about its impact on air quality, water quality and human health, emissions from the oil sands industry are very poorly characterized in the literature. During 2008-2012 our group collected 398 whole air samples downwind of (1) oil sands surface mining and upgrading facilities north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, and (2) chemical, petrochemical, and oil and gas facilities in the "Industrial Heartland" region of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. These high-precision measurements were made primarily in July 2008, August 2010, and July 2012 using canister sampling followed by multi-column gas chromatography analysis for 80 speciated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with ppt-level detection limits. Strong VOC enhancements were measured downwind of upgrading operations near Fort McMurray, especially alkanes, aromatics and solvents. For example, maximum concentrations of 2,3-dimethylbutane, p-xylene and n-octane were 800-2400× the local background value (LBV), and the industrial solvent trichloroethene was up to 260× the LBV. We measured only small VOC enhancements at sites of naturally exposed oil sands, confirming that degraded air quality results from industrial activity rather than emission from natural sources. Remarkably strong VOC enhancements were detected in the Industrial Heartland, which is the largest hydrocarbon processing region in Canada. Some of the largest VOC excesses were measured in samples designated as "no smell", showing that absence of odor is not necessarily an indicator of good air quality. The maximum concentrations of methyl tert-butyl ether and ethylbenzene were 6200× the LBV, and concentrations of 1,3-butadiene, a known carcinogen, were 2400× the LBV. Thirty VOCs were present at levels above 1 ppbv, and maximum propene and i-pentane levels exceeded 100 ppbv. Remarkably, the maximum propene

  4. Preliminary fingerprinting of Athabasca oil sands polar organics in environmental samples using electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Headley, J V; Barrow, M P; Peru, K M; Fahlman, B; Frank, R A; Bickerton, G; McMaster, M E; Parrott, J; Hewitt, L M

    2011-07-15

    There is a growing need to develop analytical methods that can distinguish compounds found within industrially derived oil sands process water (OSPW) from those derived from natural weathering of oil sands deposits. This is a difficult challenge as possible leakage beyond tailings pond containments will probably be in the form of mixtures of water-soluble organics that may be similar to those leaching naturally into aquatic environments. We have evaluated the potential of negative ion electrospray ionization high-resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICRMS) for comparing oil sands polar organics from tailing ponds, interceptor wells, groundwater, river and lake surface waters. Principal component analysis was performed for all species observed. which included the O(2) class (often assumed to be monocarbxoylic naphthenic acids) along with a wide range of other species including humic substances in the river and lake samples: O(n) where n=1-16; NO(n) and N(2)O(n) where n=1-13; and O(n)S and O(n)S(2) where n=1-10 and 1-8, respectively. A broad range of species was investigated because classical naphthenic acids can be a small fraction of the 'organics' detected in the polar fraction of OSPW, river water and groundwater. Aquatic toxicity and environmental chemistry are attributed to the total organics (not only the classical naphthenic acids). The distributions of the oil sands polar organics, particularly the sulfur-containing species, O(n)S and O(n)S(2), may have potential for distinguishing sources of OSPW. The ratios of species containing O(n) along with nitrogen-containing species: NO(n), and N(2)O(n), were useful for differentiating organic components derived from OSPW from those found in river and lake waters. Further application of the FTICRMS technique for a diverse range of OSPW of varying ages and composition, as well as the surrounding groundwater wells, may be critical in assessing whether leakage from industrial sources

  5. Oil sands development and its impact on atmospheric wet deposition of air pollutants to the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Lynam, Mary M; Dvonch, J Timothy; Barres, James A; Morishita, Masako; Legge, Allan; Percy, Kevin

    2015-11-01

    Characterization of air pollutant deposition resulting from Athabasca oil sands development is necessary to assess risk to humans and the environment. To investigate this we collected event-based wet deposition during a pilot study in 2010-2012 at the AMS 6 site 30 km from the nearest upgrading facility in Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. Sulfate, nitrate and ammonium deposition was (kg/ha) 1.96, 1.60 and 1.03, respectively. Trace element pollutant deposition ranged from 2 × 10(-5) - 0.79 and exhibited the trend Hg < Se < As < Cd < Pb < Cu < Zn < S. Crustal element deposition ranged from 1.4 × 10(-4) - 0.46 and had the trend: La < Ce < Sr < Mn < Al < Fe < Mg. S, Se and Hg demonstrated highest median enrichment factors (130-2020) suggesting emissions from oil sands development, urban activities and forest fires were deposited. High deposition of the elements Sr, Mn, Fe and Mg which are tracers for soil and crustal dust implies land-clearing, mining and hauling emissions greatly impacted surrounding human settlements and ecosystems.

  6. Oil Sands Characteristics and Time-Lapse and P-SV Seismic Steam Monitoring, Athabasca, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Takahashi, A.; Nakayama, T.; Kashihara, K.; Skinner, L.; Kato, A.

    2008-12-01

    A vast amount of oil sands exists in the Athabasca area, Alberta, Canada. These oil sands consist of bitumen (extra-heavy oil) and unconsolidated sand distributed from surface to a depth of 750 meters. Including conventional crude oil, the total number of proved remaining oil reserves in Canada ranks second place in the world after Saudi Arabia. For the production of bitumen from the reservoir 200 to 500 meters in depth, the Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) method (Steam Injection EOR) has been adopted as bitumen is not movable at original temperatures. It is essential to understand the detailed reservoir distribution and steam chamber development extent for optimizing the field development. Oil sands reservoir characterization is conducted using 3D seismic data acquired in February 2002. Conducting acoustic impedance inversion to improve resolution and subsequent multi-attribute analysis integrating seismic data with well data facilitates an understanding of the detailed reservoir distribution. These analyses enable the basement shale to be imaged, and enables identification to a certain degree of thin shale within the reservoir. Top and bottom depths of the reservoir are estimated in the range of 2.0 meters near the existing wells even in such a complex channel sands environment characterized by abrupt lateral sedimentary facies changes. In March 2006, monitoring 3D seismic data was acquired to delineate steam-affected areas. The 2002 baseline data is used as a reference data and the 2006 monitoring data is calibrated to the 2002 seismic data. Apparent differences in the two 3D seismic data sets with the exception of production related response changes are removed during the calibration process. P-wave and S-wave velocities of oil sands core samples are also measured with various pressures and temperatures, and the laboratory measurement results are then combined to construct a rock physics model used to predict velocity changes induced by steam

  7. Snowpack deposition of trace elements in the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada.

    PubMed

    Guéguen, C; Cuss, C W; Cho, S

    2016-06-01

    The total recoverable and dissolved concentrations of 29 metals and metalloids were analyzed in snowpack collected at 91 sites in the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada in winter 2011. Based on deposition pattern from geographical centre, three groups were found: Type-1 metals (i.e. dissolved and total recoverable V; Mo) showed a significant exponential decrease with distance, suggesting oil sands development sources; Type-2 elements (e.g. Al, Sb, As, Ba, Fe, Ni, Tl, and Ti and Zn) showed exponentially decline patterns but with some local point sources; Type-3 elements (e.g. Cd, Cl, Cr, Mn, Sr and Th) deposition pattern represented local sources. A self-organizing map showed that sites with the highest elemental concentrations (Cluster I) were mainly located in the vicinity of upgrading facilities and along the north-south transects. The lowest elemental concentration sites (Cluster III) were the most distal sites or located in the western region of the study area.

  8. Airborne LIDAR Measurements of Aerosol and Ozone Above the Alberta Oil Sands Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aggarwal, M.; Whiteway, J. A.; Seabrook, J.; Gray, L. H.

    2014-12-01

    Lidar measurements of ozone and aerosol were conducted from a Twin Otter aircraft above the oil sands region of northern Alberta. The field campaign was carried out with a total of five flights out of Fort McMurray, Alberta during the period between August 22 and August 26, 2013. Significant amounts of aerosol were observed within the boundary layer, up to a height of 1.6 km, but the ozone concentration remained at or below background levels. On August 24th the lidar observed a separated layer of aerosol above the boundary layer, at a height of 1.8 km, in which the ozone mixing ratio increased to 70 ppbv. Backward trajectory calculations revealed that the air containing this separated aerosol layer had passed over an area of forest fires. Directly below the layer of forest fire smoke, in the pollution from the oil sands industry, the measured ozone mixing ratio was lower than the background levels (≤35 ppbv).

  9. Atmospheric deposition of mercury and methylmercury to landscapes and waterbodies of the Athabasca oil sands region.

    PubMed

    Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; Gleason, Amber; Wang, Xiaowa; Lawson, Greg; Frank, Richard A; Lehnherr, Igor; Wrona, Fred

    2014-07-01

    Atmospheric deposition of metals originating from a variety of sources, including bitumen upgrading facilities and blowing dusts from landscape disturbances, is of concern in the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, Canada. Mercury (Hg) is of particular interest as methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxin which bioaccumulates through foodwebs, can reach levels in fish and wildlife that may pose health risks to human consumers. We used spring-time sampling of the accumulated snowpack at sites located varying distances from the major developments to estimate winter 2012 Hg loadings to a ∼20 000 km(2) area of the Athabasca oil sands region. Total Hg (THg; all forms of Hg in a sample) loads were predominantly particulate-bound (79 ± 12%) and increased with proximity to major developments, reaching up to 1000 ng m(-2). MeHg loads increased in a similar fashion, reaching up to 19 ng m(-2) and suggesting that oil sands developments are a direct source of MeHg to local landscapes and water bodies. Deposition maps, created by interpolation of measured Hg loads using geostatistical software, demonstrated that deposition resembled a bullseye pattern on the landscape, with areas of maximum THg and MeHg loadings located primarily between the Muskeg and Steepbank rivers. Snowpack concentrations of THg and MeHg were significantly correlated (r = 0.45-0.88, p < 0.01) with numerous parameters, including total suspended solids (TSS), metals known to be emitted in high quantities from the upgraders (vanadium, nickel, and zinc), and crustal elements (aluminum, iron, and lanthanum), which were also elevated in this region. Our results suggest that at snowmelt, a complex mixture of chemicals enters aquatic ecosystems that could impact biological communities of the oil sands region.

  10. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry

    PubMed Central

    Siddique, Tariq; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Arkell, Nicholas; Young, Rozlyn; Li, Carmen; Guigard, Selma; Underwood, Eleisha; Foght, Julia M.

    2014-01-01

    Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper describes the role of microbes in alteration of clay chemistry in tailings. Microbial metabolism in mature fine tailings (MFT) amended with an organic substrate (hydrolyzed canola meal) produced methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Dissolution of biogenic CO2 lowered the pH of amended MFT to pH 6.4 vs. unamended MFT (pH 7.7). About 12% more porewater was recovered from amended than unamended MFT during 2 months of active microbial metabolism, concomitant with consolidation of tailings. The lower pH in amended MFT dissolved carbonate minerals, thereby releasing divalent cations including calcium (Ca2+) and magnesium (Mg2+) and increasing bicarbonate (HCO−3) in porewater. The higher concentrations increased the ionic strength of the porewater, in turn reducing the thickness of the diffuse double layer (DDL) of clay particles by reducing the surface charge potential (repulsive forces) of the clay particles. The combination of these processes accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. In addition, ebullition of biogenic gases created transient physical channels for release of porewater. In contrast, saturating the MFT with non-biogenic CO2 had little effect on consolidation. These results have significant implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds and broad importance in anaerobic environments such as contaminated harbors and estuaries containing soft sediments rich in clays and organics. PMID:24711805

  11. Quantitative Methods for Reservoir Characterization and Improved Recovery: Application to Heavy Oil Sands

    SciTech Connect

    Castle, James W.; Molz, Fred J.

    2003-02-07

    Improved prediction of interwell reservoir heterogeneity is needed to increase productivity and to reduce recovery cost for California's heavy oil sands, which contain approximately 2.3 billion barrels of remaining reserves in the Temblor Formation and in other formations of the San Joaquin Valley. This investigation involved application of advanced analytical property-distribution methods conditioned to continuous outcrop control for improved reservoir characterization and simulation.

  12. Atmospheric deposition of mercury and methylmercury to landscapes and waterbodies of the Athabasca oil sands region.

    PubMed

    Kirk, Jane L; Muir, Derek C G; Gleason, Amber; Wang, Xiaowa; Lawson, Greg; Frank, Richard A; Lehnherr, Igor; Wrona, Fred

    2014-07-01

    Atmospheric deposition of metals originating from a variety of sources, including bitumen upgrading facilities and blowing dusts from landscape disturbances, is of concern in the Athabasca oil sands region of northern Alberta, Canada. Mercury (Hg) is of particular interest as methylmercury (MeHg), a neurotoxin which bioaccumulates through foodwebs, can reach levels in fish and wildlife that may pose health risks to human consumers. We used spring-time sampling of the accumulated snowpack at sites located varying distances from the major developments to estimate winter 2012 Hg loadings to a ∼20 000 km(2) area of the Athabasca oil sands region. Total Hg (THg; all forms of Hg in a sample) loads were predominantly particulate-bound (79 ± 12%) and increased with proximity to major developments, reaching up to 1000 ng m(-2). MeHg loads increased in a similar fashion, reaching up to 19 ng m(-2) and suggesting that oil sands developments are a direct source of MeHg to local landscapes and water bodies. Deposition maps, created by interpolation of measured Hg loads using geostatistical software, demonstrated that deposition resembled a bullseye pattern on the landscape, with areas of maximum THg and MeHg loadings located primarily between the Muskeg and Steepbank rivers. Snowpack concentrations of THg and MeHg were significantly correlated (r = 0.45-0.88, p < 0.01) with numerous parameters, including total suspended solids (TSS), metals known to be emitted in high quantities from the upgraders (vanadium, nickel, and zinc), and crustal elements (aluminum, iron, and lanthanum), which were also elevated in this region. Our results suggest that at snowmelt, a complex mixture of chemicals enters aquatic ecosystems that could impact biological communities of the oil sands region. PMID:24873895

  13. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway I: changes in porewater chemistry.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Arkell, Nicholas; Young, Rozlyn; Li, Carmen; Guigard, Selma; Underwood, Eleisha; Foght, Julia M

    2014-01-01

    Dispersed clay particles in mine tailings and soft sediments remain suspended for decades, hindering consolidation and challenging effective management of these aqueous slurries. Current geotechnical engineering models of self-weight consolidation of tailings do not consider microbial contribution to sediment behavior, however, here we show that microorganisms indigenous to oil sands tailings change the porewater chemistry and accelerate consolidation of oil sands tailings. A companion paper describes the role of microbes in alteration of clay chemistry in tailings. Microbial metabolism in mature fine tailings (MFT) amended with an organic substrate (hydrolyzed canola meal) produced methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Dissolution of biogenic CO2 lowered the pH of amended MFT to pH 6.4 vs. unamended MFT (pH 7.7). About 12% more porewater was recovered from amended than unamended MFT during 2 months of active microbial metabolism, concomitant with consolidation of tailings. The lower pH in amended MFT dissolved carbonate minerals, thereby releasing divalent cations including calcium (Ca(2+)) and magnesium (Mg(2+)) and increasing bicarbonate (HCO(-) 3) in porewater. The higher concentrations increased the ionic strength of the porewater, in turn reducing the thickness of the diffuse double layer (DDL) of clay particles by reducing the surface charge potential (repulsive forces) of the clay particles. The combination of these processes accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. In addition, ebullition of biogenic gases created transient physical channels for release of porewater. In contrast, saturating the MFT with non-biogenic CO2 had little effect on consolidation. These results have significant implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds and broad importance in anaerobic environments such as contaminated harbors and estuaries containing soft sediments rich in clays and organics. PMID:24711805

  14. Quantitative Methods for Reservoir Characterization and Improved Recovery: Application to Heavy Oil Sands

    SciTech Connect

    Castle, J.W.; Bridges, R.A.; Lorinovich, C.J.; Molz, Fred J.; Dinwiddie, C.L.; Lu, S.

    2003-02-07

    Improved prediction of interwell reservoir heterogeneity was needed to increase productivity and to reduce recovery cost for California's heavy oil sands, which contain approximately 2.3 billion barrels of remaining reserves in the Temblor Formation and in other formations of the San Joaquin Valley. This investigation involved application of advanced analytical property-distribution methods conditioned to continuous outcrop control for improved reservoir characterization and simulation.

  15. Satellite Based Analysis of Carbon Monoxide Levels Over Alberta Oil Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marey, H. S.; Hashisho, Z.; Fu, L.; Gille, J. C.

    2014-12-01

    The rapid expansion of oil sands activities and massive energy requirements to extract and upgrade the bitumen require a comprehensive understanding of their potential environmental impacts, particularly on air quality. In this study, satellite-based analysis of carbon monoxide (CO) levels was used to assess the magnitude and distribution of this pollutant throughout Alberta oil sands region. Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) V5 multispectral product that uses both near-infrared and the thermal-infrared radiances for CO retrieval were used. MOPITT-based climatology and inter-annual variations were examined for 12 years (2002-2013) on spatial and temporal scales. Seasonal climatological maps for CO total columns indicated conspicuous spatial variations in all seasons except in winter where the CO spatial variations are less prominent. High CO loadings are observed to extend from the North East to North West regions of Alberta, with highest values in spring. The CO mixing ratios at the surface level in winter and spring seasons exhibited dissimilar spatial distribution pattern where the enhancements are detected in south eastern rather than northern Alberta. Analyzing spatial distributions of Omega at 850 mb pressure level for four seasons implied that, conditions in northeastern Alberta are more favorable for up lofting while in southern Alberta, subsidence of CO emissions are more likely. Time altitude CO profile climatology as well as the inter-annual variability were investigated for the oil sands and main urban regions in Alberta to assess the impact of various sources on CO loading. Monthly variations over urban regions are consistent with the general seasonal cycle of CO in Northern Hemisphere which exhibits significant enhancement in winter and spring, and minimum mixing ratios in summer. The typical seasonal CO variations over the oil sands region are less prominent. This study has demonstrated the potential use of multispectral CO

  16. MODIS detects oil spills in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Chuanmin; Müller-Karger, Frank E.; Taylor, Charles (Judd); Myhre, Douglas; Murch, Brock; Odriozola, Ana L.; Godoy, Gonzalo

    Starting December 2002, the oil industry operating in and around Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela suffered a series of accidents (Figure 1). Fires, the sinking of two barges, rupture of oil pipelines, spills from floating oil storage and transfer stations, and malfunctioning of oil extraction platforms led to extensive oil spills. Local and federal Venezuelan government oil industry experts directly observed the series of spills from aircraft, helicopter, and various surface vessels. The spills were recorded in December by official photography and video of leaking infrastructure, and unofficial recordings continued in January and February 2003 (http://wwwcomlago.com.ve/fotosvideos. html).These surveys did not provide sufficient spatial or temporal coverage to assess the magnitude, area covered, or duration of the spills. Clear images of the spill were captured with NASAs Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), however. MODIS is effectively a sophisticated digital camera launched aboard the Terra satellite in December 1999, and aboard the Aqua satellite in April 2002 [Esaias et al., 1998; http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov]. Its medium-resolution bands (250 and 500 m resolution) are available to the public, and have great potential in coastal monitoring. This article demonstrates how MODIS can provide basic and critical assessments of oil spills.

  17. Characterization and distribution of metal and nonmetal elements in the Alberta oil sands region of Canada.

    PubMed

    Huang, Rongfu; McPhedran, Kerry N; Yang, Lingling; El-Din, Mohamed Gamal

    2016-03-01

    This review covers the characterization and distribution of metals and nonmetals in the Alberta oil sands region (AOSR) of Canada. The development of the oil sands industry has resulted in the release of organic, metal and nonmetal contaminants via air and water to the AOSR. For air, studies have found that atmospheric deposition of metals in the AOSR decreased exponentially with distance from the industrial emission sources. For water, toxic metal concentrations often exceeded safe levels leading to the potential for negative impacts to the receiving aquatic environments. Interestingly, although atmospheric deposition, surface waters, fish tissues, and aquatic bird eggs exhibited increasing level of metals in the AOSR, reported results from river sediments showed no increases over time. This could be attributed to physical and/or chemical dynamics of the river system to transport metals to downstream. The monitoring of the airborne emissions of relevant nonmetals (nitrogen and sulphur species) was also considered over the AOSR. These species were found to be increasing along with the oil sands developments with the resultant depositions contributing to nitrogen and sulphur accumulations resulting in ecosystem acidification and eutrophication impacts. In addition to direct monitoring of metals/nonmetals, tracing of air emissions using isotopes was also discussed. Further investigation and characterization of metals/nonmetals emissions in the AOSR are needed to determine their impacts to the ecosystem and to assess the need for further treatment measures to limit their continued output into the receiving environments. PMID:26766359

  18. Preliminary measurement-based estimates of PAH emissions from oil sands tailings ponds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Galarneau, Elisabeth; Hollebone, Bruce P.; Yang, Zeyu; Schuster, Jasmin

    2014-11-01

    Tailings ponds in the oil sands region (OSR) of western Canada are suspected sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to the atmosphere. In the absence of detailed characterization or direct flux measurements, we present preliminary measurement-based estimates of the emissions of thirteen priority PAHs from the ponds. Using air concentrations measured under the Joint Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring Plan and water concentrations from a small sampling campaign in 2013, the total flux of 13 US EPA priority PAHs (fluorene to benzo[ghi]perylene) was estimated to be upward from water to air and to total 1069 kg y-1 for the region as a whole. By comparison, the most recent air emissions reported to Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) from oil sands facilities totalled 231 kg y-1. Exchange fluxes for the three remaining priority PAHs (naphthalene, acenaphthylene and acenaphthene) could not be quantified but evidence suggests that they are also upward from water to air. These results indicate that tailings ponds may be an important PAH source to the atmosphere that is missing from current inventories in the OSR. Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses lend confidence to the estimated direction of air-water exchange being upward from water to air. However, more detailed characterization of ponds at other facilities and direct flux measurements are needed to confirm the quantitative results presented herein.

  19. Application of forward osmosis membrane technology for oil sands process-affected water desalination.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Yaxin; Liang, Jiaming; Liu, Yang

    2016-01-01

    The extraction process used to obtain bitumen from the oil sands produces large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). As a newly emerging desalination technology, forward osmosis (FO) has shown great promise in saving electrical power requirements, increasing water recovery, and minimizing brine discharge. With the support of this funding, a FO system was constructed using a cellulose triacetate FO membrane to test the feasibility of OSPW desalination and contaminant removal. The FO systems were optimized using different types and concentrations of draw solution. The FO system using 4 M NH4HCO3 as a draw solution achieved 85% water recovery from OSPW, and 80 to 100% contaminant rejection for most metals and ions. A water backwash cleaning method was applied to clean the fouled membrane, and the cleaned membrane achieved 77% water recovery, a performance comparable to that of new FO membranes. This suggests that the membrane fouling was reversible. The FO system developed in this project provides a novel and energy efficient strategy to remediate the tailings waters generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and processing.

  20. Airborne Lidar Measurements of Pollution above the Oil Sands Region in Northern Alberta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aggarwal, Monika; Whiteway, James; Seabrook, Jeffrey; Gray, Lawrence; Strawbridge, Kevin B.

    2016-06-01

    Lidar measurements of ozone and aerosol were conducted from a Twin Otter aircraft above the oil sands region of northern Alberta. For the majority of the flights, significant amounts of aerosol were observed within the boundary layer, up to an altitude of 2.0 km above sea level (ASL), while the ozone concentration remained at background levels (30-45 ppb) downwind of the industry. On August 24th the lidar measured a separated layer of aerosol above the boundary layer, at a height of 2.0 km ASL, in which the ozone mixing ratio increased to 70 ppb. Backward trajectory calculations revealed that the air containing this separated aerosol layer had passed over an area of forest fires. Directly below the layer of forest fire smoke, pollution from the oil sands industry was observed. Measurements of the backscatter linear depolarization ratio were obtained with a ground based lidar operated by Environment Canada within the oil sands region. The depolarization measurements aided in discriminating between the separate sources of pollution from industry and forest fires. The depolarization ratio was 5-6% in forest fire smoke and 7-10% in the industrial pollution.

  1. Ozonation of oil sands process water removes naphthenic acids and toxicity.

    PubMed

    Scott, Angela C; Zubot, Warren; MacKinnon, Michael D; Smith, Daniel W; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2008-03-01

    Naphthenic acids are naturally-occurring, aliphatic or alicyclic carboxylic acids found in petroleum. Water used to extract bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands becomes toxic to various organisms due to the presence of naphthenic acids released from the bitumen. Natural biodegradation was expected to be the most cost-effective method for reducing the toxicity of the oil sands process water (OSPW). However, naphthenic acids are poorly biodegraded in the holding ponds located on properties leased by the oil sands companies. In the present study, chemical oxidation using ozone was investigated as an option for mitigation of this toxicity. Ozonation of sediment-free OSPW was conducted using proprietary technology manufactured by Seair Diffusion Systems Inc. Ozonation for 50min generated a non-toxic effluent (based on the Microtox bioassay) and decreased the naphthenic acids concentration by approximately 70%. After 130min of ozonation, the residual naphthenic acids concentration was 2mgl(-1): <5% of the initial concentration in the filtered OSPW. Total organic carbon did not change with 130min of ozonation, whereas chemical oxygen demand decreased by approximately 50% and 5-d biochemical oxygen demand increased from an initial value of 2mgl(-1) to a final value of 15mgl(-1). GC-MS analysis showed that ozonation resulted in an overall decrease in the proportion of high molecular weight naphthenic acids (n> or = 22).

  2. Application of forward osmosis membrane technology for oil sands process-affected water desalination.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Yaxin; Liang, Jiaming; Liu, Yang

    2016-01-01

    The extraction process used to obtain bitumen from the oil sands produces large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). As a newly emerging desalination technology, forward osmosis (FO) has shown great promise in saving electrical power requirements, increasing water recovery, and minimizing brine discharge. With the support of this funding, a FO system was constructed using a cellulose triacetate FO membrane to test the feasibility of OSPW desalination and contaminant removal. The FO systems were optimized using different types and concentrations of draw solution. The FO system using 4 M NH4HCO3 as a draw solution achieved 85% water recovery from OSPW, and 80 to 100% contaminant rejection for most metals and ions. A water backwash cleaning method was applied to clean the fouled membrane, and the cleaned membrane achieved 77% water recovery, a performance comparable to that of new FO membranes. This suggests that the membrane fouling was reversible. The FO system developed in this project provides a novel and energy efficient strategy to remediate the tailings waters generated by oil sands bitumen extraction and processing. PMID:27120634

  3. Characterization and distribution of metal and nonmetal elements in the Alberta oil sands region of Canada.

    PubMed

    Huang, Rongfu; McPhedran, Kerry N; Yang, Lingling; El-Din, Mohamed Gamal

    2016-03-01

    This review covers the characterization and distribution of metals and nonmetals in the Alberta oil sands region (AOSR) of Canada. The development of the oil sands industry has resulted in the release of organic, metal and nonmetal contaminants via air and water to the AOSR. For air, studies have found that atmospheric deposition of metals in the AOSR decreased exponentially with distance from the industrial emission sources. For water, toxic metal concentrations often exceeded safe levels leading to the potential for negative impacts to the receiving aquatic environments. Interestingly, although atmospheric deposition, surface waters, fish tissues, and aquatic bird eggs exhibited increasing level of metals in the AOSR, reported results from river sediments showed no increases over time. This could be attributed to physical and/or chemical dynamics of the river system to transport metals to downstream. The monitoring of the airborne emissions of relevant nonmetals (nitrogen and sulphur species) was also considered over the AOSR. These species were found to be increasing along with the oil sands developments with the resultant depositions contributing to nitrogen and sulphur accumulations resulting in ecosystem acidification and eutrophication impacts. In addition to direct monitoring of metals/nonmetals, tracing of air emissions using isotopes was also discussed. Further investigation and characterization of metals/nonmetals emissions in the AOSR are needed to determine their impacts to the ecosystem and to assess the need for further treatment measures to limit their continued output into the receiving environments.

  4. Aeolian sand as a tool for understanding Mars: Thermal infrared remote sensing of volcaniclastic Mars-analog sand dunes in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.

    1996-10-01

    INTRODUCTION: On Earth, aeolian sand dunes are used as tools of scientific inquiry. Holocene and Pleistocene dunes preserve clues about Quaternary climate variations and human activities ranging from Ice Age hunting practices to Twentieth Century warfare. Modern dunes contain the sedimentary textures and structures necessary for interpreting ancient sandstones, and they provide natural laboratories for investigation of aeolian physics and desertification processes. The dunes of Mars can likewise be used as scientific tools. Dunes provide relatively dust-free surfaces. From a remote sensing perspective, martian dunes have much potential for providing clues about surface mineralogy and the interaction between the surface and atmosphere. Such information can in turn provide insights regarding crust composition, volcanic evolution, present and past climate events, and perhaps weathering rates. The Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) is expected to reach the planet in September 1997. TES will provide 6 to 50 micrometer spectra of the martian surface at ground resolutions of 3 to 9 km. Sandy aeolian environments on Mars might provide key information about bedrock composition. To prepare for the TES investigation, I have been examining a thermal infrared image of a Mars-composition analog dune field in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon. COMPOSITION AND GEOLOGIC SETTING: The "Shifting Sand Dunes" dune field is located at the eastern end of Christmas Lake Valley, in what was once the Pleistocene Fort Rock Lake [1]. Much of the sand that makes up the Shifting Sand Dunes dune field is reworked Mt. Mazama airfall from its terminal eruption 6,800 years ago, plus material deflated from the lake bed [1, 2]. The main constituents of the dunes are volcanic glass and devitrified glass fragments, plagioclase crystals, basalt lithic fragments, aggregates of silt and clay-size volcanic ash, pyroxenes, opaque oxide minerals (mostly magnetite), and trace occurrences of

  5. Three-phase measurements of oil and gas trapping in sand packs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Al Mansoori, Saleh K.; Iglauer, Stefan; Pentland, Christopher H.; Blunt, Martin J.

    2009-10-01

    We measure the trapped saturations of oil and gas as a function of initial saturation in water-wet sand packs. We start with a water-saturated column and inject octane (oil), while water and oil are produced from the bottom. Once water production has ceased, air (gas) then enters from the top, allowing oil and gas to drain under gravity for different times. Finally water is then injected from the bottom to trap both oil and gas. The columns are sliced and the fluids analyzed using gas chromatography. We find that for high initial gas saturations more gas can be trapped in the presence of oil than in a two-phase (gas/water) system. The residual gas saturation can be over 20% compared to 14% in two-phase flow [Al Mansoori SK, Iglauer S, Pentland CH, Bijeljic B, Blunt MJ. Measurements of non-wetting phase trapping applied to carbon dioxide storage. Energy Procedia 2009;1(1):3173-80]. This is unlike previous measurements on consolidated media, where the trapped gas saturation is either similar or lower to that reached in an equivalent two-phase experiment. For lower initial gas saturation, the amount of trapping follows the initial-residual trend seen in two-phase experiments. The amount of oil trapped is insensitive to initial gas saturation or the amount of gas that is trapped, again in contrast to measurements on consolidated media. More oil is trapped than would be predicted from an equivalent two-phase (oil/water) system, although the trapped saturation is never larger than the maximum reached in two-phase flow (around 11%) [Pentland CH, Al Mansoori SK, Iglauer S, Bijeljic B, Blunt MJ. Measurement of non-wetting phase trapping in sand packs. In: SPE 115697, proceedings of the SPE annual technical conference and exhibition, Denver, Colorado, USA; 21-24 September 2008]. These initially surprising results are explained in the context of oil layer stability and the competition between snap-off and piston-like advance. In two-phase systems, displacement is principally

  6. Class I cultural resource overview for oil shale and tar sands areas in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

    SciTech Connect

    O'Rourke, D.; Kullen, D.; Gierek, L.; Wescott, K.; Greby, M.; Anast, G.; Nesta, M.; Walston, L.; Tate, R.; Azzarello, A.; Vinikour, B.; Van Lonkhuyzen, B.; Quinn, J.; Yuen, R.; Environmental Science Division

    2007-11-01

    In August 2005, the U.S. Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. In Section 369 of this Act, also known as the 'Oil Shale, Tar Sands, and Other Strategic Unconventional Fuels Act of 2005', Congress declared that oil shale and tar sands (and other unconventional fuels) are strategically important domestic energy resources that should be developed to reduce the nation's growing dependence on oil from politically and economically unstable foreign sources. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate alternatives for establishing commercial oil shale and tar sands leasing programs in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. This PEIS evaluates the potential impacts of alternatives identifying BLM-administered lands as available for application for commercial leasing of oil shale resources within the three states and of tar sands resources within Utah. The scope of the analysis of the PEIS also includes an assessment of the potential effects of future commercial leasing. This Class I cultural resources study is in support of the Draft Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and is an attempt to synthesize archaeological data covering the most geologically prospective lands for oil shale and tar sands in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. This report is based solely on geographic information system (GIS) data held by the Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). The GIS data include the information that the BLM has provided to the SHPOs. The primary purpose of the Class I cultural resources overview is to provide information on the affected environment for the PEIS. Furthermore, this report provides recommendations to support planning decisions and the management of cultural resources that could be impacted by future oil shale and tar

  7. Massive dominance of Epsilonproteobacteria in formation waters from a Canadian oil sands reservoir containing severely biodegraded oil

    PubMed Central

    Hubert, Casey R J; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Fustic, Milovan; Gray, Neil D; Larter, Stephen R; Penn, Kevin; Rowan, Arlene K; Seshadri, Rekha; Sherry, Angela; Swainsbury, Richard; Voordouw, Gerrit; Voordouw, Johanna K; Head, Ian M

    2012-01-01

    Summary The subsurface microbiology of an Athabasca oil sands reservoir in western Canada containing severely biodegraded oil was investigated by combining 16S rRNA gene- and polar lipid-based analyses of reservoir formation water with geochemical analyses of the crude oil and formation water. Biomass was filtered from formation water, DNA was extracted using two different methods, and 16S rRNA gene fragments were amplified with several different primer pairs prior to cloning and sequencing or community fingerprinting by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Similar results were obtained irrespective of the DNA extraction method or primers used. Archaeal libraries were dominated by Methanomicrobiales (410 of 414 total sequences formed a dominant phylotype affiliated with a Methanoregula sp.), consistent with the proposed dominant role of CO2-reducing methanogens in crude oil biodegradation. In two bacterial 16S rRNA clone libraries generated with different primer pairs, > 99% and 100% of the sequences were affiliated with Epsilonproteobacteria (n = 382 and 72 total clones respectively). This massive dominance of Epsilonproteobacteria sequences was again obtained in a third library (99% of sequences; n = 96 clones) using a third universal bacterial primer pair (inosine-341f and 1492r). Sequencing of bands from DGGE profiles and intact polar lipid analyses were in accordance with the bacterial clone library results. Epsilonproteobacterial OTUs were affiliated with Sulfuricurvum, Arcobacter and Sulfurospirillum spp. detected in other oil field habitats. The dominant organism revealed by the bacterial libraries (87% of all sequences) is a close relative of Sulfuricurvum kujiense – an organism capable of oxidizing reduced sulfur compounds in crude oil. Geochemical analysis of organic extracts from bitumen at different reservoir depths down to the oil water transition zone of these oil sands indicated active biodegradation of dibenzothiophenes, and stable

  8. Early performance of native shrubs and trees planted on amended Athabasca oil sand tailings

    SciTech Connect

    Fedkenheuer, A.W.; Heacock, H.M.; Lewis, D.L.

    1980-01-01

    The present accepted end land uses for land disturbed by surface mining in the Athabasca oil sands deposit are forestry, wildlife and recreation, in that order of priority. Consistent with government requirements, the main objective of the reclamation program is the establishment of a system at least equal to the predisturbed state in terms of ecological productivity. This system should be consistent with the regional surface hydrology, the natural vegetation and the land use for forestry, wildlife and recreation. In addition, the plant communities in these systems will be permanent, self-supporting and maintenance free. The lack of available information regarding the procedures necessary to permanently reclaim the tailings sand left after extraction of the oil prompted Syncrude to initiate this study in 1977. Four replicated soil amendment treatments were established on a one meter deep experimental area of tailings sand located on the lease area. The plots were subsequently seeded with a grass-legume mix in July 1977. Trees and shrubs were planted in August 1977 and June 1978. Results to date indicate over-winter survival was very satisfactory with most plant species. A dry spell during the 1978 growing season had a pronounced effect on the survival of some of the tree and shrub seedlings. Those species which had the highest survival rates over the range of treatments were Amelanchier alnifolia, Pinus banksiana, Pinus contorta, Potentilla fruticosa, Shepherdia canadensis and Symphoricarpos albus. Performance of the other trees and shrubs was fair to poor, depending on the species and the treatment.

  9. Metal removal from oil sands tailings pond water by indigenous micro-alga.

    PubMed

    Mahdavi, Hamed; Ulrich, Ania C; Liu, Yang

    2012-09-01

    This paper reports the removal of ten target metals of environmental concern ((53)Cr, Mn, Co, (60)Ni, (65)Cu, (66)Zn, As, (88)Sr, (95)Mo, and Ba) from oil sands tailings pond water. The organism responsible for removal was found to be an indigenous green micro-alga identified as Parachlorella kessleri by sequencing of the 23S rRNA gene. P. kessleri grew in tailings pond water samples taken from two oil sands operators (Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Albian Sands Energy Inc.), and enriched with low (0.24 mM NO(3)(-) and 0.016 mM PO(4)(-3)) and high (1.98 mM NO(3)(-) and 0.20mM PO(4)(-3)) concentrations of nutrient supplements (the most realistic scenario). The removal of (60)Ni, (65)Cu, As, (88)Sr, (95)Mo, and Ba from Syncrude tailings pond water was significantly enhanced by high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, whereas the high nutrient concentrations adversely affected the removal of Co, (60)Ni, As, (88)Sr, and Mo in samples of Albian tailings pond water. Based on ANOVA two-factor analysis, higher nutrient concentration does not always result in higher metal removal, and TPW source must also be considered.

  10. Applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process to Oil Sands Environmental Compliance Risk Management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roux, Izak Johannes, III

    Oil companies in Alberta, Canada, invested $32 billion on new oil sands projects in 2013. Despite the size of this investment, there is a demonstrable deficiency in the uniformity and understanding of environmental legislation requirements that manifest into increased project compliance risks. This descriptive study developed 2 prioritized lists of environmental regulatory compliance risks and mitigation strategies and used multi-criteria decision theory for its theoretical framework. Information from compiled lists of environmental compliance risks and mitigation strategies was used to generate a specialized pairwise survey, which was piloted by 5 subject matter experts (SMEs). The survey was validated by a sample of 16 SMEs, after which the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was used to rank a total of 33 compliance risks and 12 mitigation strategy criteria. A key finding was that the AHP is a suitable tool for ranking of compliance risks and mitigation strategies. Several working hypotheses were also tested regarding how SMEs prioritized 1 compliance risk or mitigation strategy compared to another. The AHP showed that regulatory compliance, company reputation, environmental compliance, and economics ranked the highest and that a multi criteria mitigation strategy for environmental compliance ranked the highest. The study results will inform Alberta oil sands industry leaders about the ranking and utility of specific compliance risks and mitigations strategies, enabling them to focus on actions that will generate legislative and public trust. Oil sands leaders implementing a risk management program using the risks and mitigation strategies identified in this study will contribute to environmental conservation, economic growth, and positive social change.

  11. Biogeochemical characterization of MC252 oil:sand aggregates on a coastal headland beach.

    PubMed

    Urbano, Marilany; Elango, Vijaikrishnah; Pardue, John H

    2013-12-15

    MC252 oil:sand aggregates, termed surface residue balls (SRBs), were sampled for physical, chemical and microbial characteristics from different tidal zones on a coastal headland beach in Louisiana, USA. Supratidal SRBs were smaller, had low moisture content, and salinities that were <2 ppt. Intertidal SRBs were hypersaline and had higher N and sulfate concentrations, consistent with regular tidal inundation. Crude oil components were highest in the intertidal "oil mat" SRBs with C1- and C2-phenanthrenes, C2- and C3-dibenzothiophenes comprising the majority of the PAH concentrations. In the other SRB categories, PAHs and alkanes were depleted and profiles were skewed toward higher molecular weight compounds. Oxygen microelectrode measurements demonstrated that saturated O2 is present immediately after wetting, but O2 consumption in the interior of the aggregate occurs after a few days. Microbial populations varied with position on the beach but sequences similar to known PAH-degrading taxa (Mycobacterium sp. and Stenotrophomonas sp.) were observed.

  12. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals.

    PubMed

    Black, Jennifer C; Welday, Jennifer N; Buckley, Brian; Ferguson, Alesia; Gurian, Patrick L; Mena, Kristina D; Yang, Ill; McCandlish, Elizabeth; Solo-Gabriele, Helena M

    2016-08-27

    Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V) and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10(-6) range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children's beach play habits, which are necessary to more

  13. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals

    PubMed Central

    Black, Jennifer C.; Welday, Jennifer N.; Buckley, Brian; Ferguson, Alesia; Gurian, Patrick L.; Mena, Kristina D.; Yang, Ill; McCandlish, Elizabeth; Solo-Gabriele, Helena M.

    2016-01-01

    Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V) and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10−6 range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children’s beach play habits, which are necessary to more

  14. Risk Assessment for Children Exposed to Beach Sands Impacted by Oil Spill Chemicals.

    PubMed

    Black, Jennifer C; Welday, Jennifer N; Buckley, Brian; Ferguson, Alesia; Gurian, Patrick L; Mena, Kristina D; Yang, Ill; McCandlish, Elizabeth; Solo-Gabriele, Helena M

    2016-01-01

    Due to changes in the drilling industry, oil spills are impacting large expanses of coastlines, thereby increasing the potential for people to come in contact with oil spill chemicals. The objective of this manuscript was to evaluate the health risk to children who potentially contact beach sands impacted by oil spill chemicals from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. To identify chemicals of concern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) monitoring data collected during and immediately after the spill were evaluated. This dataset was supplemented with measurements from beach sands and tar balls collected five years after the spill. Of interest is that metals in the sediments were observed at similar levels between the two sampling periods; some differences were observed for metals levels in tar balls. Although PAHs were not observed five years later, there is evidence of weathered-oil oxidative by-products. Comparing chemical concentration data to baseline soil risk levels, three metals (As, Ba, and V) and four PAHs (benzo[a]pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, and dibenz[a,h]anthracene) were found to exceed guideline levels prompting a risk assessment. For acute or sub-chronic exposures, hazard quotients, computed by estimating average expected contact behavior, showed no adverse potential health effects. For cancer, computations using 95% upper confidence limits for contaminant concentrations showed extremely low increased risk in the 10(-6) range for oral and dermal exposure from arsenic in sediments and from dermal exposure from benzo[a]pyrene and benz[a]anthracene in weathered oil. Overall, results suggest that health risks are extremely low, given the limitations of available data. Limitations of this study are associated with the lack of toxicological data for dispersants and oil-spill degradation products. We also recommend studies to collect quantitative information about children's beach play habits, which are necessary to more

  15. Microbial metabolism alters pore water chemistry and increases consolidation of oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Arkell, Nicholas; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2015-01-01

    Tailings produced during bitumen extraction from surface-mined oil sands ores (tar sands) comprise an aqueous suspension of clay particles that remain dispersed for decades in tailings ponds. Slow consolidation of the clays hinders water recovery for reuse and retards volume reduction, thereby increasing the environmental footprint of tailings ponds. We investigated mechanisms of tailings consolidation and revealed that indigenous anaerobic microorganisms altered porewater chemistry by producing CO and CH during metabolism of acetate added as a labile carbon amendment. Entrapped biogenic CO decreased tailings pH, thereby increasing calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) cations and bicarbonate (HCO) concentrations in the porewater through dissolution of carbonate minerals. Soluble ions increased the porewater ionic strength, which, with higher exchangeable Ca and Mg, decreased the diffuse double layer of clays and increased consolidation of tailings compared with unamended tailings in which little microbial activity was observed. These results are relevant to effective tailings pond management strategies. PMID:25602329

  16. Where Has All the Oil Gone? The use of trace metals as potential indicators of oil contamination in marine sediments and beach sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roeder, T. K.; Hastings, D. W.; Holzinger, C.; Playle, E.; Brooks, G.; Huettel, M. H.; Kostka, J. E.; Larson, R. A.; Flower, B. P.

    2011-12-01

    We report initial results to determine if select trace metals are effective indicators for the magnitude and spatial extent of Deep Water Horizon (DWH) oil contamination in Gulf of Mexico marine sediments and beach sands. Since crude oil is known to have elevated concentrations of nickel and vanadium, contamination can be detected even after the degradation of oil by measuring enrichment of these metals within marine sediments and beach sands. A sample of crude oil from the Macondo Prospect, source of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill, was fully digested and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. Results indicate the crude oil is enriched in nickel, vanadium, and cobalt, with concentrations of 0.86 ppm, 2.76 ppm, and 84 ppb, respectively. With this known trace metal enrichment in DWH oil, Gulf of Mexico marine sediments from 400 and 1100m water depth near DeSoto Canyon and beach sands from Pensacola, FL were examined for enrichment of V, Ni, and Co. Both marine sediment and beach sand samples were partially digested with HNO3 before analysis via ICP-MS. With marine sediments, the visually contaminated layer at or near the surface typically exhibited an enrichment in Ni, V, and Co compared to the pristine control sediments. Vanadium and nickel enrichment in marine sediments varied from 10 to 32% and 0 to 22%, respectively. Visible contamination in beach sands was found between 20-60cm beneath the surface and, likewise, showed Ni, V, and Co enrichment up to 33%, 45%, and 100%. This data shows that enrichment of V, Ni, and Co in marine sediments and beach sands may be an effective proxy for contamination even after the degradation of oil. Marine sediments and beach sands will continue to be monitored for trace metal enrichment in an effort to assess the continuing impacts of the DWH spill on the Gulf of Mexico.

  17. SOVENT BASED ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY FOR IN-SITU UPGRADING OF HEAVY OIL SANDS

    SciTech Connect

    Munroe, Norman

    2009-01-30

    With the depletion of conventional crude oil reserves in the world, heavy oil and bitumen resources have great potential to meet the future demand for petroleum products. However, oil recovery from heavy oil and bitumen reservoirs is much more difficult than that from conventional oil reservoirs. This is mainly because heavy oil or bitumen is partially or completely immobile under reservoir conditions due to its extremely high viscosity, which creates special production challenges. In order to overcome these challenges significant efforts were devoted by Applied Research Center (ARC) at Florida International University and The Center for Energy Economics (CEE) at the University of Texas. A simplified model was developed to assess the density of the upgraded crude depending on the ratio of solvent mass to crude oil mass, temperature, pressure and the properties of the crude oil. The simplified model incorporated the interaction dynamics into a homogeneous, porous heavy oil reservoir to simulate the dispersion and concentration of injected CO2. The model also incorporated the characteristic of a highly varying CO2 density near the critical point. Since the major challenge in heavy oil recovery is its high viscosity, most researchers have focused their investigations on this parameter in the laboratory as well as in the field resulting in disparaging results. This was attributed to oil being a complex poly-disperse blend of light and heavy paraffins, aromatics, resins and asphaltenes, which have diverse behaviors at reservoir temperature and pressures. The situation is exacerbated by a dearth of experimental data on gas diffusion coefficients in heavy oils due to the tedious nature of diffusivity measurements. Ultimately, the viscosity and thus oil recovery is regulated by pressure and its effect on the diffusion coefficient and oil swelling factors. The generation of a new phase within the crude and the differences in mobility between the new crude matrix and the

  18. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water.

    PubMed

    Frankel, Mathew L; Demeter, Marc A; Lemire, Joe A; Turner, Raymond J

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW)-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment. PMID:26849649

  19. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water

    PubMed Central

    Frankel, Mathew L.; Demeter, Marc A.; Lemire, Joe A.; Turner, Raymond J.

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada’s oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings–oil sands process water (OSPW)–are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment. PMID:26849649

  20. Responsible management of peatlands in Canada, from peat industry to oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rochefort, Line

    2013-04-01

    Canada harbors one third of the peat resources of the world. Peat is an accumulated organic matter composed of dead and partly decomposed plant material, forming huge deposit through time in wetlands like peatlands and boreal coniferous swamps. Peat is a valuable resource as a growing media and soil amendments, an eco-friendly absorbent, also used as biofilters, for body care and for wastewater treatment. Peatlands also offer valuable ecological services : for example, they are the most efficient terrestrial ecosystem to store carbon on a long-term basis. Their ability to "cool off" the planet warrants a good look at their management. The horticultural peat industry of Canada has invested 22 years in R&D in habitat restoration and is now a strong leader in managing industrial peatlands in a sustainable way. The oil sand industry, which is strongly impacting the wetland landscapes of northern Canada, does realize that it has to reduce its ecological footprint, which is heavily criticized around the world. Decommissioned open mines near Fort McMurray have already begun recreating peatland ecosystems, and some restoration attempts of former oil pads are underway in the Peace River region. But the restoration of the largely disturbed wetland landscape of the oil sands is commanding innovative solutions.

  1. Third international conference on heavy crudes and tar sands. Part I. World dialogue despite oil glut

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1985-08-21

    An international conference on heavy crude and tar sands took place July 21-31 in Long Beach, California, where some 600 hard-core technical experts adhered to a principal established in 1979: that the world needs energy supply security from advance preparation to use huge untapped resources of heavy crudes and tar sands. The conventional oil market has pushed widescale development into the late 1990s. Due to the contributions at Long Beach of those that have no choice but to maximize the role of heavy oil in the market, uninterrupted world dialogue will benefit future oil-dependent generations. This issue also contains: (1) Venezuela's refined petroleum-product prices as of Aug. 9, 1985; (2) Canada, Venezuela, and N. Antilles export prices to the USA for 1984 and through Aug. 1985; (3) refining netback data for US Gulf and West Coast. Rotterdam, and Singapore as of Aug. 13, 1985; (4) and the fuel price/tax series and principal industrial fuel prices as of July 1985 for countries of the Eastern Hemisphere.

  2. Evaluating the Metal Tolerance Capacity of Microbial Communities Isolated from Alberta Oil Sands Process Water.

    PubMed

    Frankel, Mathew L; Demeter, Marc A; Lemire, Joe A; Turner, Raymond J

    2016-01-01

    Anthropogenic activities have resulted in the intensified use of water resources. For example, open pit bitumen extraction by Canada's oil sands operations uses an estimated volume of three barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced. The waste tailings-oil sands process water (OSPW)-are stored in holding ponds, and present an environmental concern as they are comprised of residual hydrocarbons and metals. Following the hypothesis that endogenous OSPW microbial communities have an enhanced tolerance to heavy metals, we tested the capacity of planktonic and biofilm populations from OSPW to withstand metal ion challenges, using Cupriavidus metallidurans, a known metal-resistant organism, for comparison. The toxicity of the metals toward biofilm and planktonic bacterial populations was determined by measuring the minimum biofilm inhibitory concentrations (MBICs) and planktonic minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) using the MBEC ™ assay. We observed that the OSPW community and C. metallidurans had similar tolerances to 22 different metals. While thiophillic elements (Te, Ag, Cd, Ni) were found to be most toxic, the OSPW consortia demonstrated higher tolerance to metals reported in tailings ponds (Al, Fe, Mo, Pb). Metal toxicity correlated with a number of physicochemical characteristics of the metals. Parameters reflecting metal-ligand affinities showed fewer and weaker correlations for the community compared to C. metallidurans, suggesting that the OSPW consortia may have developed tolerance mechanisms toward metals present in their environment.

  3. Bringing Context to the Oil Sands Debate: understanding the role of nature versus man

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fennell, J.; Gibson, J. J.; Birks, S. J.; YI, Y.; Jasechko, S.; Moncur, M. C.

    2013-12-01

    The Canadian oil sands represent an important resource to the national economy, and a strategic supply-line to the United States of America. These hydrocarbon deposits reside beneath a vast area in northern Alberta, and have been exposed to the environment for millennia as a result of erosion by the Athabasca River and its tributaries. Further complexity to the geochemical setting occurs due to the existence of faulted pathways extending from deeper, highly saline, Devonian intervals to surface. Situated within this natural setting are large waste management structures used to contain mine tailings and oil sands produced water. Many of these structures are situated in close proximity to aquatic receptors and have the potential to affect local water quality due to seepage losses. As such, these structures are coming under increasing scrutiny as a potential source of environmental impact. Discharge of oil sands contaminants to the rivers, and the accumulation of these materials in the Peace-Athabasca Delta, has been cited as a factor leading to adverse health effects at downstream communities. However, the role that natural discharge of contaminants plays has never been fully acknowledged. To address this critical gap, a reconnaissance of the Athabasca River was conducted. Areas of elevated terrain conductivity (detected by EM31 survey) were identified both in background locations and areas suspected of industrial releases. Water samples were collected from various sites and from multiple depth intervals (up to 3 m) within the hyporheic zone of the river sediments. This was achieved using drive-point wells. Each sample was then analyzed for a comprehensive suite of parameters including: i) major ions; ii) dissolved trace elements; iii) dissolved organics; and iv) selected stable and radiogenic isotopes. Results of the investigation identified large areas (in excess of 10km) of groundwater discharge to the Athabasca River well outside the influence of oil sands

  4. Effects of oil and gas production on Lake Meredith sediments, 1964-99

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mahler, Barbara J.; Van Metre, Peter C.

    2001-01-01

    Lake Meredith lies on the dry and windswept High Plains of the Texas Panhandle and is a popular recreation area for the region. Oil and gas exploration and extraction have been ongoing at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area since about 1930. More than 250 wells, including those abandoned or relocated, are within the boundaries of the recreation area. Oil and gas wells in the watershed of Lake Meredith number in the thousands.

  5. Fifteen-year trends in criteria air pollutants in oil sands communities of Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Bari, Md; Kindzierski, Warren B

    2015-01-01

    An investigation of ambient air quality was undertaken at three communities within the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of Alberta, Canada (Fort McKay, Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan). Daily and seasonal patterns and 15-year trends were investigated for several criteria air pollutants over the period of 1998 to 2012. A parametric trend detection method using percentiles from frequency distributions of 1h concentrations for a pollutant during each year was used. Variables representing 50th, 65th, 80th, 90th, 95th and 98th percentile concentrations each year were identified from frequency distributions and used for trend analysis. Small increasing concentration trends were observed for nitrogen dioxide (<1ppb/year) at Fort McKay and Fort McMurray over the period consistent with increasing emissions of oxides of nitrogen (ca. 1000tons/year) from industrial developments. Emissions from all oil sands facilities appear to be contributing to the trend at Fort McKay, whereas both emissions from within the community (vehicles and commercial) and oil sands facility emissions appear to be contributing to the trend at Fort McMurray. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from industrial developments in the AOSR were unchanged during the period (101,000±7000tons/year; mean±standard deviation) and no meaningful trends were judged to be occurring at all community stations. No meaningful trends occurred for ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at all community stations and carbon monoxide at one station in Fort McMurray. Air quality in Fort Chipewyan was much better and quite separate in terms of absence of factors influencing criteria air pollutant concentrations at the other community stations. PMID:25454237

  6. A two-step flocculation process on oil sands tailings treatment using oppositely charged polymer flocculants.

    PubMed

    Lu, Qiuyi; Yan, Bin; Xie, Lei; Huang, Jun; Liu, Yang; Zeng, Hongbo

    2016-09-15

    Water management and treatment of mineral tailings and oil sands tailings are becoming critical challenges for the sustainable development of natural resources. Polymeric flocculants have been widely employed to facilitate the flocculation and settling of suspended fine solid particles in tailings, resulting in the separation of released water and solid sediments. In this study, a new flocculation process was developed for the treatment of oil sands tailings by using two oppositely charged polymers, i.e. an anionic polyacrylamide and a natural cationic biopolymer, chitosan. The new process was able to not only improve the clarity of supernatant after settling but also achieve a high settling efficiency. Treatment of the oil sands tailings using pure anionic polyacrylamide showed relatively high initial settling rate (ISR) of ~10.3m/h but with poor supernatant clarity (>1000NTU); while the treatment using pure cationic polymer resulted in clear supernatant (turbidity as low as 22NTU) but relatively low ISR of >2m/h. In the new flocculation process, the addition of anionic polyacrylamide to the tailings was followed by a cationic polymer, which showed both a high ISR (~7.7m/h) and a low turbidity (71NTU) of the supernatant. The flocculation mechanism was further investigated via the measurements of floc size, zeta potential and surface forces. The new flocculation process was revealed to include two steps: (1) bridging of fine solids by anionic polyacrylamide, and (2) further aggregation and flocculation mediated by charge neutralisation of the cationic polymer, which significantly eliminated the fine solids in the supernatants as well as increases floc size. Our results provide insights into the basic understanding of the interactions between polymer flocculants and solid particles in tailings treatment, as well as the development of novel tailings treatment technologies. PMID:27179318

  7. Fifteen-year trends in criteria air pollutants in oil sands communities of Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Bari, Md; Kindzierski, Warren B

    2015-01-01

    An investigation of ambient air quality was undertaken at three communities within the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of Alberta, Canada (Fort McKay, Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan). Daily and seasonal patterns and 15-year trends were investigated for several criteria air pollutants over the period of 1998 to 2012. A parametric trend detection method using percentiles from frequency distributions of 1h concentrations for a pollutant during each year was used. Variables representing 50th, 65th, 80th, 90th, 95th and 98th percentile concentrations each year were identified from frequency distributions and used for trend analysis. Small increasing concentration trends were observed for nitrogen dioxide (<1ppb/year) at Fort McKay and Fort McMurray over the period consistent with increasing emissions of oxides of nitrogen (ca. 1000tons/year) from industrial developments. Emissions from all oil sands facilities appear to be contributing to the trend at Fort McKay, whereas both emissions from within the community (vehicles and commercial) and oil sands facility emissions appear to be contributing to the trend at Fort McMurray. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from industrial developments in the AOSR were unchanged during the period (101,000±7000tons/year; mean±standard deviation) and no meaningful trends were judged to be occurring at all community stations. No meaningful trends occurred for ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) at all community stations and carbon monoxide at one station in Fort McMurray. Air quality in Fort Chipewyan was much better and quite separate in terms of absence of factors influencing criteria air pollutant concentrations at the other community stations.

  8. Measurements of oxygenated volatile organic compounds in the oil sands region of Alberta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moussa, S. G.; Leithead, A.; Li, S. M.; Gordon, M.; Hayden, K. L.; Wang, D. K.; Staebler, R. M.; Liu, P.; O'Brien, J.; Mittermeier, R.; Liggio, J.

    2014-12-01

    Oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, and represent an important fraction of volatile organic compounds. Additionally some OVOC species may pose health risks. OVOCs can affect the oxidative and radiative budget of the atmosphere since they are precursors to ground level ozone, hydroxyl radicals and secondary organic aerosols (SOA). OVOCs such as methanol, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, crotonaldehyde, methylvinylketone (MVK), methylethylketone (MEK) and acrolein can be emitted from anthropogenic and biogenic sources. Additionally, they are the secondary products of the photo-oxidation of hydrocarbons (biogenic and anthropogenic). Understanding the magnitude of these sources is a prerequisite for accurate representations of radical cycling, ozone production and SOA formation in air quality models. The sources of OVOCs in the Alberta Oil Sands (OS) region have not previously been well characterized. In the summer of 2013, airborne measurements of various OVOCs were made in the Athabasca oil sands region between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) was used to measure methanol, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, crotonaldehyde, MVK, MEK, acrolein as well as other hydrocarbons. Emission ratios (ER) for several OVOCs (relative to carbon monoxide; CO) were used to estimate direct anthropogenic emissions from OS industrial sources, while the calculated OH radical exposures were used to estimate the production and removal of secondary anthropogenic OVOCs. The results indicate that OVOCs such as acetaldehyde, crotonaldehyde and MVK have both primary and secondary anthropogenic and biogenic sources. However, species such as methanol and acrolein are from biogenic and anthropogenic sources, respectively. The results of this work will help to characterize sources of OVOCs and the factors influencing their atmospheric fate in the Oil Sands region.

  9. A two-step flocculation process on oil sands tailings treatment using oppositely charged polymer flocculants.

    PubMed

    Lu, Qiuyi; Yan, Bin; Xie, Lei; Huang, Jun; Liu, Yang; Zeng, Hongbo

    2016-09-15

    Water management and treatment of mineral tailings and oil sands tailings are becoming critical challenges for the sustainable development of natural resources. Polymeric flocculants have been widely employed to facilitate the flocculation and settling of suspended fine solid particles in tailings, resulting in the separation of released water and solid sediments. In this study, a new flocculation process was developed for the treatment of oil sands tailings by using two oppositely charged polymers, i.e. an anionic polyacrylamide and a natural cationic biopolymer, chitosan. The new process was able to not only improve the clarity of supernatant after settling but also achieve a high settling efficiency. Treatment of the oil sands tailings using pure anionic polyacrylamide showed relatively high initial settling rate (ISR) of ~10.3m/h but with poor supernatant clarity (>1000NTU); while the treatment using pure cationic polymer resulted in clear supernatant (turbidity as low as 22NTU) but relatively low ISR of >2m/h. In the new flocculation process, the addition of anionic polyacrylamide to the tailings was followed by a cationic polymer, which showed both a high ISR (~7.7m/h) and a low turbidity (71NTU) of the supernatant. The flocculation mechanism was further investigated via the measurements of floc size, zeta potential and surface forces. The new flocculation process was revealed to include two steps: (1) bridging of fine solids by anionic polyacrylamide, and (2) further aggregation and flocculation mediated by charge neutralisation of the cationic polymer, which significantly eliminated the fine solids in the supernatants as well as increases floc size. Our results provide insights into the basic understanding of the interactions between polymer flocculants and solid particles in tailings treatment, as well as the development of novel tailings treatment technologies.

  10. Ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry of simulated runoff from treated oil sands mature fine tailings.

    PubMed

    Headley, John V; Armstrong, Sarah A; Peru, Kerry M; Mikula, Randy J; Germida, James J; Mapolelo, Mmilili M; Rodgers, Ryan P; Marshall, Alan G

    2010-08-30

    There is interest in using mature fine tailings (MFT) in reclamation strategies of oil sands mining operations. However, simulated runoff from different dried MFT treatments is known to have elevated levels of salts, toxic ions, and naphthenic acids, and alkaline pH and it is phytotoxic to the emergent macrophyte, common reed (Phragmites australis). Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) of the acidic species in the runoff confirmed that the distribution of oil sands naphthenic acids and associated oil sand acids was dependent on the MFT treatment. Furthermore, FT-ICR MS studies of the acidic species in hydroponic systems revealed that there was no plant-mediated change in the electrospray ionization mass spectra of the runoff. O(o)-containing species were prevalent (>90%), O(o)S(s) were predominant (<10% relative abundance), and O(o)N(n) were least abundant in all runoff water samples. O(o)S(s) species were predominant in all the samples investigated. The heteroatomic classes present in runoff water at greater than 1% relative abundance include: O(2)N(1), O(3)N(1), O(2), O(2)S(1) O(3), O(3)S(1), O(4), O(4)S(1), O(5), O(5)S(1), O(6), O(6)S(1), O(7), O(7)S(1), O(8) and O(8)S(1). Assuming the same response factor for all O(o) species, the O(4) class, presumably dicarboxylic acids, was generally more prevalent than the O(2) class in all samples. The O(2) class is indicative of classical naphthenic acids. However, dicarboxylic acids will form negative ions more readily than the monocarboxylic acids as there are two acidic hydrogens available for formation of these species. PMID:20635394

  11. Performance of wetland forbs transplanted into marshes amended with oil sands processed water.

    PubMed

    Mollard, Federico P O; Roy, Marie-Claude; Foote, A Lee

    2015-03-01

    Companies mining oil sands in Alberta (Canada) face the challenge of reclaiming wetlands under water use restrictions. Wetland reclamation after mining will generate marshes characterized by elevated salinity and residual hydrocarbons. Oil sands wetlands are also impoverished in forbs, suggesting that their establishment may be constrained by water chemistry. We transplanted skullcap, mint, and smartweed plants into experimental trenches that simulated two possible reclamation scenarios: wetlands amended with on-site freshwater or with oil sands processed water (OSPW). The main scientific question was is OSPW a suitable water amendment as freshwater for reclaiming wetland forb habitat? As a surrogate of plant health, we studied plant ecophysiology (gas exchange, leaf fluorescence), leaf chemistry, and plant growth. Results showed that there were no differences in skullcap mineral contents under either treatment; however, mint and smartweed plants subjected to OSPW had a significantly higher Na content than those under freshwater. Smartweed dark-adapted leaf fluorescence showed a reduced photochemistry in OSPW relative to plants in freshwater. Mint leaves exhibited lower stomatal conductance in OSPW than in freshwater, a condition that negatively affected transpiration and carboxylation. Skullcap plants grown in OSPW had lower net CO2 assimilation rates than those in freshwater but did not show any other ecophysiological difference between treatments. Mint plants experienced growth reductions (i.e., shoot height) in OSPW. Our results show, for the first time in the literature, that plants photosynthetic capacity was negatively affected by OSPW. Conditions in OSPW proved to be suitable for establishment as transplanted forbs showed 100 % survival after the first growing season. However, impaired physiological functions in plants subjected to OSPW indicated that OSPW amendment created a less hospitable habitat for wetland forbs than freshwater. PMID:25697311

  12. Trace metal mobilization from oil sands froth treatment thickened tailings exhibiting acid rock drainage.

    PubMed

    Kuznetsova, Alsu; Kuznetsov, Petr; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2016-11-15

    Froth treatment thickened tailings (TT) are a waste product of bitumen extraction from surface-mined oil sands ores. When incubated in a laboratory under simulated moist oxic environmental conditions for ~450d, two different types of TT (TT1 and TT2) exhibited the potential to generate acid rock drainage (ARD) by producing acid leachate after 250 and 50d, respectively. We report here the release of toxic metals from TT via ARD, which could pose an environmental threat if oil sands TT deposits are not properly managed. Trace metal concentrations in leachate samples collected periodically revealed that Mn and Sr were released immediately even before the onset of ARD. Spikes in Co and Ni concentrations were observed both pre-ARD and during active ARD, particularly in TT1. For most elements measured (Fe, Cr, V, As, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, and Se), leaching was associated with ARD production. Though equivalent acidification (pH2) was achieved in leachate from both TT types, greater metal release was observed from TT2 where concentrations reached 10,000ppb for Ni, 5000ppb for Co, 3000ppb for As, 2000ppb for V, and 1000ppb for Cr. Generally, metal concentrations decreased in leachate with time during ARD and became negligible by the end of incubation (~450d) despite appreciable metals remaining in the leached TT. These results suggest that using TT for land reclamation purposes or surface deposition for volume reduction may unfavorably impact the environment, and warrants application of appropriate strategies for management of pyrite-enriched oil sands tailings streams. PMID:27443453

  13. Trace metal mobilization from oil sands froth treatment thickened tailings exhibiting acid rock drainage.

    PubMed

    Kuznetsova, Alsu; Kuznetsov, Petr; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2016-11-15

    Froth treatment thickened tailings (TT) are a waste product of bitumen extraction from surface-mined oil sands ores. When incubated in a laboratory under simulated moist oxic environmental conditions for ~450d, two different types of TT (TT1 and TT2) exhibited the potential to generate acid rock drainage (ARD) by producing acid leachate after 250 and 50d, respectively. We report here the release of toxic metals from TT via ARD, which could pose an environmental threat if oil sands TT deposits are not properly managed. Trace metal concentrations in leachate samples collected periodically revealed that Mn and Sr were released immediately even before the onset of ARD. Spikes in Co and Ni concentrations were observed both pre-ARD and during active ARD, particularly in TT1. For most elements measured (Fe, Cr, V, As, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, and Se), leaching was associated with ARD production. Though equivalent acidification (pH2) was achieved in leachate from both TT types, greater metal release was observed from TT2 where concentrations reached 10,000ppb for Ni, 5000ppb for Co, 3000ppb for As, 2000ppb for V, and 1000ppb for Cr. Generally, metal concentrations decreased in leachate with time during ARD and became negligible by the end of incubation (~450d) despite appreciable metals remaining in the leached TT. These results suggest that using TT for land reclamation purposes or surface deposition for volume reduction may unfavorably impact the environment, and warrants application of appropriate strategies for management of pyrite-enriched oil sands tailings streams.

  14. Transport of Colloid-Size Oil Droplets in Saturated and Unsaturated Sand Columns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weisbrod, N.; Travis, M.; Gross, A.

    2011-12-01

    Oil in wastewater poses significant treatment and subsequent environmental challenges. Accumulation of oils in soil leads to hydrophobicity, and the transport of colloidal-sized oil droplets may facilitate the co-transport of oil soluble contaminants such as pesticides or pharmaceutical materials. In order to determine transport characteristics of colloidal-sized, edible oil droplets, short-pulse column breakthrough experiments were conducted. Oil droplets (mean diameter 0.7 μm, ζ-potential -34±1, density 0.92 g cm-3) were injected simultaneously with latex microspheres (0.02, 0.2 and 1.0 μm, ζ-potentials -16±1, -30±2, and -49±1, respectively, density 1.055 g cm-3) and bromide in saturated and unsaturated quartz sand (ζ-potential -63±2 mV). Breakthrough of oil droplets was consistently detected first and recovery of oil droplets from the column was 20% greater than similarly sized microspheres in the saturated column, and 16% greater in high (0.18±0.01) volumetric water content (VWC) unsaturated columns. Higher variability was observed in the lower VWC (0.14±0.01) column experiments, and oil droplet recovery was just slightly greater than similarly sized microspheres and statistically higher only compared to the 0.02 μm microspheres. The research demonstrated that oil droplets are able to be transported as colloids in both saturated and unsaturated porous media. An important finding was that transport of oil droplets exceeded that of microspheres within the same size range and similar electrostatic properties. Classical filtration theory indicates that oil droplets in the diameter range of about 0.5 to 2 μm will exhibit reduced deposition due to buoyancy. However, current improvements to the theory do not accommodate prediction of buoyant particle transport and the theory needs review. High recovery of oil droplets in unsaturated porous media is a novel finding. As expected, straining appeared to be an important removal mechanism in unsaturated

  15. Model for reworked deltaic sands - Example from South Lake Arthur, Bayou Gentily, and Bayou Lery Fields

    SciTech Connect

    Saxena, R.S. )

    1990-09-01

    Reworked deltaic sands are beach-barrier sand bodies that are produced by the reworking of abandoned deltaic lobes. The facies association of these sand bodies makes them ideal reservoirs, and although abundant hydrocarbons are trapped in this type of sandstone, their genesis is seldom understood in the petroleum world. Criteria and models are developed for the recognition of reworked deltaic sand bodies from the subsurface by comparing a Holocene analog from the eastern periphery of the modern Mississippi delta with an ancient example from the Carboniferous of the northern Appalachian plateau. A simulated seismic model and several subsurface examples are presented.

  16. Quantitative Methods for Reservoir Characterization and Improved Recovery: Application to Heavy Oil Sands

    SciTech Connect

    Castle, James W.; Molz, Fred W.; Bridges, Robert A.; Dinwiddie, Cynthia L.; Lorinovich, Caitlin J.; Lu, Silong

    2003-02-07

    This project involved application of advanced analytical property-distribution methods conditioned to continuous outcrop control for improved reservoir characterization and simulation. The investigation was performed in collaboration with Chevron Production Company U.S.A. as an industrial partner, and incorporates data from the Temblor Formation in Chevron's West Coalinga Field, California. Improved prediction of interwell reservoir heterogeneity was needed to increase productivity and to reduce recovery cost for California's heavy oil sands, which contained approximately 2.3 billion barrels of remaining reserves in the Temblor Formation and in other formations of the San Joaquin Valley.

  17. Tracing industrial ammonium in atmospheric deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mayer, B.; Proemse, B. C.; Fenn, M. E.

    2013-12-01

    The expanding industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) in northeastern Alberta, Canada, has raised concerns about increasing nitrogen (N) emissions from oil sands operations and their potential effects on the surrounding terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Stable isotope techniques may help to trace industrial emissions provided that they are isotopically distinct from background isotope ratios of atmospheric N compounds. Ammonium deposition rates (NH4-N) typically exceed nitrate deposition rates (NO3-N) in the AOSR (Proemse et al., 2013), suggesting that emissions of reduced nitrogen compounds play a significant role for the atmospheric nitrogen budget in the AOSR. We collected atmospheric ammonium in open field bulk deposition and throughfall using ion exchange resins over ~6 months time periods from summer 2007 to summer 2011 located at distances between 3 to 113 km to one of the major oil sands developments in the AOSR. Ammonium deposition rates and δ15N-NH4 values were determined using ion chromatography and the ammonium diffusion method (Sebilo et al., 2004) on resin extracts. Atmospheric ammonium deposition rates in open field bulk collectors and throughfall collectors ranged from 1.0 to 4.7 kg ha-1 yr-1 NH4-N, and from 1.0 to 18.3 kg ha-1 yr-1 NH4-N, respectively. δ15N-NH4 values varied from -6.3 to +14.8‰ with the highest δ15N values typically associated with elevated NH4-N deposition rates. δ15N-NH4 values of up to +20.1‰ were observed for industrially emitted NH4 in particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions (Proemse et al., 2012) suggesting that industrial NH3 and NH4 emissions are associated with elevated δ15N values providing a potential tracer. Applying a two-end-member mixing analysis using a background δ15N-NH4 value of -3.6‰ for summer and -3.2‰ for winter periods revealed that particularly sites within ~30 km radius from the main oil sands developments are significantly affected by industrial contributions to

  18. Dominance of an ~150-year cycle of sand-supply change in late Holocene dune-building along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Loope, W.L.; Arbogast, A.F.

    2000-01-01

    Outcrops of buried soils on lake-plains and glacial headlands along Lake Michigan's eastern shore suggest that periodic dune-building has occurred there after relatively long (≥100 yr) periods of low sand supply. We located, described, and radiocarbon dated 75 such buried soils that crop out in 32 coastal dune fields beside the lake. We assume that peaks in probability distributions of calibrated 14C ages obtained from wood, charcoal, and other organic matter from buried A horizons approximate the time of soil burial by dunes. Plotted against a late Holocene lake-level curve for Lake Michigan, these peaks are closely associated with many ∼150-yr lake highstands previously inferred from beach ridge studies. Intervening periods of lower lake levels and relative sand starvation apparently permitted forestation and soil development at the sites we studied. While late Holocene lake-level change led to development and preservation of prominent foredunes along the southern and southwestern shores of Lake Michigan, the modern dune landscape of the eastern shore is dominated by perched dunes formed during ∼150-yr lake highstands over the past 1500 yr.

  19. Timing and petroleum sources for the Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group oil sands of northern Alberta based on 4-D modeling

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Higley, D.K.; Lewan, M.D.; Roberts, L.N.R.; Henry, M.

    2009-01-01

    The Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group oil sands of northern Alberta have an estimated 270.3 billion m3 (BCM) (1700 billion bbl) of in-place heavy oil and tar. Our study area includes oil sand accumulations and downdip areas that partially extend into the deformation zone in western Alberta. The oil sands are composed of highly biodegraded oil and tar, collectively referred to as bitumen, whose source remains controversial. This is addressed in our study with a four-dimensional (4-D) petroleum system model. The modeled primary trap for generated and migrated oil is subtle structures. A probable seal for the oil sands was a gradual updip removal of the lighter hydrocarbon fractions as migrated oil was progressively biodegraded. This is hypothetical because the modeling software did not include seals resulting from the biodegradation of oil. Although the 4-D model shows that source rocks ranging from the Devonian-Mississippian Exshaw Formation to the Lower Cretaceous Mannville Group coals and Ostracode-zone-contributed oil to Mannville Group reservoirs, source rocks in the Jurassic Fernie Group (Gordondale Member and Poker Chip A shale) were the initial and major contributors. Kinetics associated with the type IIS kerogen in Fernie Group source rocks resulted in the early generation and expulsion of oil, as early as 85 Ma and prior to the generation from the type II kerogen of deeper and older source rocks. The modeled 50% peak transformation to oil was reached about 75 Ma for the Gordondale Member and Poker Chip A shale near the west margin of the study area, and prior to onset about 65 Ma from other source rocks. This early petroleum generation from the Fernie Group source rocks resulted in large volumes of generated oil, and prior to the Laramide uplift and onset of erosion (???58 Ma), which curtailed oil generation from all source rocks. Oil generation from all source rocks ended by 40 Ma. Although the modeled study area did not include possible western

  20. The effects of season and sand mining activities on thermal regime and water quality in a large shallow tropical lake.

    PubMed

    Sharip, Zati; Zaki, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Ahmad

    2014-08-01

    Thermal structure and water quality in a large and shallow lake in Malaysia were studied between January 2012 and June 2013 in order to understand variations in relation to water level fluctuations and in-stream mining activities. Environmental variables, namely temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, electrical conductivity, chlorophyll-A and transparency, were measured using a multi-parameter probe and a Secchi disk. Measurements of environmental variables were performed at 0.1 m intervals from the surface to the bottom of the lake during the dry and wet seasons. High water level and strong solar radiation increased temperature stratification. River discharges during the wet season, and unsustainable sand mining activities led to an increased turbidity exceeding 100 NTU, and reduced transparency, which changed the temperature variation and subsequently altered the water quality pattern.

  1. Fluid flow and sand production in heavy-oil reservoirs under solution-gas drive

    SciTech Connect

    Smith, G.E.

    1988-05-01

    The production of heavy oil in Canada has led to a number of anomalous results, most of which have been excused as high-permeability channels resulting from sand production. The methods of soil mechanics predict gross formation failure resulting from high fluid compressability, small cohesion, and high viscosity. Gross failure results in excellent productivity but reduced in-situ stress (and fracture stress). Solution-gas drive in these reservoirs involves simultaneous-mixture flow of a gas as very tiny little bubbles entrained in heavy oil. Stress, geometry, and permeability alteration resulting from matrix deformation combined with peculiar pressure-depended multiphase-flow properties result in a new model of reservoir performance. A field observation of stress modification is discussed, as are the contributions of the four components discussed previously to the observed phenomena.

  2. Power generation and oil sands process-affected water treatment in microbial fuel cells.

    PubMed

    Choi, Jeongdong; Liu, Yang

    2014-10-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), a product of bitumen isolation in the oil sands industry, is a source of pollution if not properly treated. In present study, OSPW treatment and voltage generation were examined in a single chamber air-cathode microbial fuel cell (MFC) under the effect of inoculated carbon source and temperature. OSPW treatment with an anaerobic sludge-inoculated MFC (AS-MFC) generated 0.55 ± 0.025 V, whereas an MFC inoculated with mature-fine tailings (MFT-MFC) generated 0.41 ± 0.01 V. An additional carbon source (acetate) significantly improved generated voltage. The voltage detected increased to 20-23% in MFCs when the condition was switched from ambient to mesophilic. The mesophilic condition increased OSPW treatment efficiency in terms of lowering the chemical oxygen demand and acid-extractable organics. Pyrosequencing analysis of microbial consortia revealed that Proteobacteria were the most abundant in MFCs and microbial communities in the AS-MFC were more diverse than those in the MFT-MFC.

  3. Sublethal health effects in laboratory rodents from environmentally relevant exposures to oil sands contaminants.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; North, Michelle A; Smits, Judit E G

    2015-12-01

    Increasing activity of oil sands extraction and processing in northern Alberta is marked by ongoing controversy about the nature and extent of associated environmental impacts. Bitumen contains a mixture of toxic chemicals, including metals and residual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), whose release into the environment poses a distinct risk to the surrounding environment, plus wildlife and human health. In the present study, the authors evaluated several subclinical biomarkers of exposure and effect to mixtures of metals (Pb, Cd, and Hg) and/or PAHs (3 alkylated forms) at environmentally relevant concentrations (100-fold and 10-fold higher than the maximum dissolved concentrations found in snow, to simulate a worst-case scenario), using laboratory mice as a model for future studies of small mammals in the wild. Both metals and alkyl-PAHs exposure were associated with 1) increased relative liver, kidney, and spleen size; 2) alterations in the homeostasis of the antioxidant vitamins A and E in liver; and 3) compromised glutathione redox status in testes, with results also indicating synergistic interactions from co-exposure. The combination of morphometric and oxidative stress biomarkers provide reliable and sensitive measures of the response to contaminant exposure in a mammalian model, suggesting associated physiological costs. Based on the present experimental study, the authors propose that wild small mammals will prove to be valuable sentinel species reflecting sublethal health effects from oil sands-related contaminants. The present study's results also present a basis for the interpretation of future field data. PMID:26139097

  4. Snowpack deposition of trace elements in the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada.

    PubMed

    Guéguen, C; Cuss, C W; Cho, S

    2016-06-01

    The total recoverable and dissolved concentrations of 29 metals and metalloids were analyzed in snowpack collected at 91 sites in the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada in winter 2011. Based on deposition pattern from geographical centre, three groups were found: Type-1 metals (i.e. dissolved and total recoverable V; Mo) showed a significant exponential decrease with distance, suggesting oil sands development sources; Type-2 elements (e.g. Al, Sb, As, Ba, Fe, Ni, Tl, and Ti and Zn) showed exponentially decline patterns but with some local point sources; Type-3 elements (e.g. Cd, Cl, Cr, Mn, Sr and Th) deposition pattern represented local sources. A self-organizing map showed that sites with the highest elemental concentrations (Cluster I) were mainly located in the vicinity of upgrading facilities and along the north-south transects. The lowest elemental concentration sites (Cluster III) were the most distal sites or located in the western region of the study area. PMID:27031808

  5. Oil sands tailings ponds harbour a small core prokaryotic microbiome and diverse accessory communities.

    PubMed

    Wilson, S L; Li, C; Ramos-Padrón, E; Nesbø, C; Soh, J; Sensen, C W; Voordouw, G; Foght, J; Gieg, L M

    2016-10-10

    Oil sands tailings ponds store the waste slurry generated by extracting bitumen from surface-mined oil (tar) sands ores. The ponds support diverse microbial communities involved in element cycling, greenhouse gas production, and hydrocarbon biodegradation that influence pond management and their environmental footprint. Since previous reports indicate that there are similar microbial metabolic functions amongst ponds, analogous microbiomes may be expected but ponds actually harbour distinct communities. Partial 16S rRNA gene pyrotag sequences from 95 samples were obtained from six ponds managed by three operators. From these we discerned a core prokaryotic microbiome, a subset of microbes shared amongst different samples, defined as operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at the lowest taxonomic level identifiable in individual ponds and pooled pond datatsets. Of the ∼1500-2700 OTUs detected per pond, 4-10 OTUs were shared among ≥75% of the samples per pond, but these few OTUs represented 39-54% of the ponds' sequence reads. Only 2-5 OTUs were shared by the majority of samples from all ponds. Thus the prokaryotic communities within these ponds consist of a few core taxa and numerous accessory members that likely afford resiliency and functional redundancy including roles in iron-, nitrogen- and sulfur-cycling, syntrophy, fermentation, and methanogenesis. PMID:27378620

  6. Vegetation community composition in wetlands created following oil sand mining in Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Roy, Marie-Claude; Foote, Lee; Ciborowski, Jan J H

    2016-05-01

    Reclaiming wetlands following open pit mining for industrial oil sand extraction is challenging due to the physical and chemical conditions of the post-mined landscape. The aim of our study was to examine and compare the influence of oil sands process water (OSPW) and material (fine fluid tails or FFT) on the plant community composition of created wetlands. Compared to created-unamended and natural wetlands, the created wetlands amended with OSPW and/or FFT (created-tailings wetlands) had significantly higher water salinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen concentration and lower oxidative-reductive potential. Water chemistry parameters of created-unamended did not differ significantly from those of natural wetlands. The sediment of created wetlands had significantly less moisture, total nitrogen, and organic content than the natural wetlands. The application of OSPW/FFT in created wetlands will likely lead to initial vegetation composition atypical of natural regional wetlands. For the objective of reclaiming vegetation composition to the status of natural regional wetlands, unamended wetlands were the best reclamation option, based on the physical and chemical parameters measured. Despite being the favored reclamation option, created-unamended wetlands' physical and chemical characteristics remain atypical of natural wetlands. Most significantly, the basin morphometry of created wetlands was significantly different from that of naturally-formed wetlands in the region, and this appears to partly explain difference in vegetation composition. We also demonstrate that species richness alone is not a useful measure in wetland monitoring. Instead, plant community composition is a better indicator of wetland conditions.

  7. Oil sands tailings ponds harbour a small core prokaryotic microbiome and diverse accessory communities.

    PubMed

    Wilson, S L; Li, C; Ramos-Padrón, E; Nesbø, C; Soh, J; Sensen, C W; Voordouw, G; Foght, J; Gieg, L M

    2016-10-10

    Oil sands tailings ponds store the waste slurry generated by extracting bitumen from surface-mined oil (tar) sands ores. The ponds support diverse microbial communities involved in element cycling, greenhouse gas production, and hydrocarbon biodegradation that influence pond management and their environmental footprint. Since previous reports indicate that there are similar microbial metabolic functions amongst ponds, analogous microbiomes may be expected but ponds actually harbour distinct communities. Partial 16S rRNA gene pyrotag sequences from 95 samples were obtained from six ponds managed by three operators. From these we discerned a core prokaryotic microbiome, a subset of microbes shared amongst different samples, defined as operational taxonomic units (OTUs) at the lowest taxonomic level identifiable in individual ponds and pooled pond datatsets. Of the ∼1500-2700 OTUs detected per pond, 4-10 OTUs were shared among ≥75% of the samples per pond, but these few OTUs represented 39-54% of the ponds' sequence reads. Only 2-5 OTUs were shared by the majority of samples from all ponds. Thus the prokaryotic communities within these ponds consist of a few core taxa and numerous accessory members that likely afford resiliency and functional redundancy including roles in iron-, nitrogen- and sulfur-cycling, syntrophy, fermentation, and methanogenesis.

  8. Microbially-accelerated consolidation of oil sands tailings. Pathway II: solid phase biogeochemistry

    PubMed Central

    Siddique, Tariq; Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Li, Carmen; Young, Rozlyn; Arocena, Joselito M.; Foght, Julia M.

    2014-01-01

    Consolidation of clay particles in aqueous tailings suspensions is a major obstacle to effective management of oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada. We have observed that microorganisms indigenous to the tailings ponds accelerate consolidation of mature fine tailings (MFT) during active metabolism by using two biogeochemical pathways. In Pathway I, microbes alter porewater chemistry to indirectly increase consolidation of MFT. Here, we describe Pathway II comprising significant, direct and complementary biogeochemical reactions with MFT mineral surfaces. An anaerobic microbial community comprising Bacteria (predominantly Clostridiales, Synergistaceae, and Desulfobulbaceae) and Archaea (Methanolinea/Methanoregula and Methanosaeta) transformed FeIII minerals in MFT to amorphous FeII minerals during methanogenic metabolism of an added organic substrate. Synchrotron analyses suggested that ferrihydrite (5Fe2O3. 9H2O) and goethite (α-FeOOH) were the dominant FeIII minerals in MFT. The formation of amorphous iron sulfide (FeS) and possibly green rust entrapped and masked electronegative clay surfaces in amended MFT. Both Pathways I and II reduced the surface charge potential (repulsive forces) of the clay particles in MFT, which aided aggregation of clays and formation of networks of pores, as visualized using cryo-scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These reactions facilitated the egress of porewater from MFT and increased consolidation of tailings solids. These results have large-scale implications for management and reclamation of oil sands tailings ponds, a burgeoning environmental issue for the public and government regulators. PMID:24711806

  9. Pyrolysis of Uinta Basin Oil Sands in fluidized bed and rotary kiln reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Nagpal, S.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.

    1995-12-31

    A pilot-scale fluidized bed reactor (FBR) was used to pyrolyze the mined and crushed ore from the PR Spring oil sands deposit which is located in the Uinta Basin of Utah. Liquid yields of approximately 80 wt% of the bitumen fed to the reactor were obtained. This compares to 55-70 wt% obtained from smaller laboratory scale fluidized bed reactors and a pilot-scale rotary kiln. The product yields and distributions exhibited no discernable trends with reactor temperature or solids retention time. The liquid products obtained from the pilot-scale fluidized bed reactor were upgraded compared to the bitumen in terms of volatility, viscosity, molecular weight, and metals (Ni and V) content. The nitrogen and sulphur contents of the total liquid products were also reduced relative to the bitumen. A comparison of oil sands pyrolysis yields from a pilot scale FBR and a rotary kiln of the same diameter (15.2 cm) was made. Under similar pyrolysis conditions, the rotary kiln produced a slightly more upgraded product but at lower total liquid yields. Kinetic modeling of the various reactors indicates that the pilot-scale FBR product distributions may be explained using a simplified two-reaction scheme. It is proposed that secondary cracking is suppressed in the large diameter FBR due to elimination of slugging and the superior quality of fluidization in the reactor. More experimental studies with the rotary kiln and an economic evaluation will be required before concluding which reactor is preferred for the thermal recovery process.

  10. Acid deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region: a policy perspective.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Colin J; Watmough, Shaun A

    2015-12-01

    Industrial emissions of sulphur (S) and nitrogen (N) to the atmosphere associated with the oil sands industry in north-eastern Alberta are of interest as they represent the largest localized source in Canada (with potential for future growth) and the region features acid-sensitive upland terrain. Existing emission management policy for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, where the industry is located, is based on a time-to-effect approach that relies on dynamic model simulations of temporal changes in chemistry and features highly protective chemical criteria. In practice, the policy is difficult to implement and it is unlikely that a scientifically defensible estimate of acidification risk can be put forward due to the limitations primarily associated with issues of scale, chemical endpoint designation (selection of chemical limit for ecosystem protection from acidification) and data availability. A more implementable approach would use a steady-state critical load (CL) assessment approach to identify at-risk areas. The CL assessment would consider areas of elevated acid deposition associated with oil sands emissions rather than targeted political jurisdictions. Dynamic models should only be (strategically) used where acidification risk is identified via CL analysis, in order to characterize the potential for acidification-induced changes that can be detrimental to sensitive biota within the lifespan of the industry. PMID:26607154

  11. Solar photocatalytic degradation of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Leshuk, Tim; Wong, Timothy; Linley, Stuart; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Gu, Frank

    2016-02-01

    Bitumen mining in the Canadian oil sands creates large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), the toxicity of which is due in part to naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO). The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of solar photocatalysis over TiO2 to remove AEO from OSPW. One day of photocatalytic treatment under natural sunlight (25 MJ/m(2) over ∼14 h daylight) eradicated AEO from raw OSPW, and acute toxicity of the OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was eliminated. Nearly complete mineralization of organic carbon was achieved within 1-7 day equivalents of sunlight exposure, and degradation was shown to proceed through a superoxide-mediated oxidation pathway. High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of oxidized intermediate compounds indicated preferential degradation of the heavier and more cyclic NAs (higher number of double bond equivalents), which are the most environmentally persistent fractions. The photocatalyst was shown to be recyclable for multiple uses, and thus solar photocatalysis may be a promising "green" advanced oxidation process (AOP) for OSPW treatment. PMID:26539710

  12. Acid deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region: a policy perspective.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Colin J; Watmough, Shaun A

    2015-12-01

    Industrial emissions of sulphur (S) and nitrogen (N) to the atmosphere associated with the oil sands industry in north-eastern Alberta are of interest as they represent the largest localized source in Canada (with potential for future growth) and the region features acid-sensitive upland terrain. Existing emission management policy for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, where the industry is located, is based on a time-to-effect approach that relies on dynamic model simulations of temporal changes in chemistry and features highly protective chemical criteria. In practice, the policy is difficult to implement and it is unlikely that a scientifically defensible estimate of acidification risk can be put forward due to the limitations primarily associated with issues of scale, chemical endpoint designation (selection of chemical limit for ecosystem protection from acidification) and data availability. A more implementable approach would use a steady-state critical load (CL) assessment approach to identify at-risk areas. The CL assessment would consider areas of elevated acid deposition associated with oil sands emissions rather than targeted political jurisdictions. Dynamic models should only be (strategically) used where acidification risk is identified via CL analysis, in order to characterize the potential for acidification-induced changes that can be detrimental to sensitive biota within the lifespan of the industry.

  13. Biodegradation of naphthenic acids in oils sands process waters in an immobilized soil/sediment bioreactor.

    PubMed

    McKenzie, Natalie; Yue, Siqing; Liu, Xudong; Ramsay, Bruce A; Ramsay, Juliana A

    2014-08-01

    Aqueous extraction of bitumen in the Alberta oil sands industry produces large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) containing naphthenic acids (NAs), a complex mixture of carboxylic acids that are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms. Although aerobic biodegradation reduces NA concentrations and OSPW toxicity, treatment times are long, however, immobilized cell reactors have the potential to improve NA removal rates. In this study, two immobilized soil/sediment bioreactors (ISBRs) operating in series were evaluated for treatment of NAs in OSPW. A biofilm was established from microorganisms associated with sediment particles from an OSPW contaminated wetland on a non-woven textile. At 16 months of continuous operation with OSPW as the sole source of carbon and energy, 38±7% NA removal was consistently achieved at a residence time of 160 h at a removal rate of 2.32 mg NAs L(-1)d(-1). The change in NA profile measured by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry indicated that biodegradability decreased with increasing cyclicity. These results indicate that such treatment can significantly reduce NA removal rates compared to most studies, and the treatment of native process water in a bioreactor has been demonstrated. Amplification of bacterial 16S rRNA genes and sequencing using Ion Torrent sequencing characterized the reactors' biofilm populations and found as many as 235 and 198 distinct genera in the first and second bioreactor, respectively, with significant populations of ammonium- and nitrite-oxidizers.

  14. Solar photocatalytic degradation of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Leshuk, Tim; Wong, Timothy; Linley, Stuart; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Gu, Frank

    2016-02-01

    Bitumen mining in the Canadian oil sands creates large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), the toxicity of which is due in part to naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO). The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of solar photocatalysis over TiO2 to remove AEO from OSPW. One day of photocatalytic treatment under natural sunlight (25 MJ/m(2) over ∼14 h daylight) eradicated AEO from raw OSPW, and acute toxicity of the OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was eliminated. Nearly complete mineralization of organic carbon was achieved within 1-7 day equivalents of sunlight exposure, and degradation was shown to proceed through a superoxide-mediated oxidation pathway. High resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of oxidized intermediate compounds indicated preferential degradation of the heavier and more cyclic NAs (higher number of double bond equivalents), which are the most environmentally persistent fractions. The photocatalyst was shown to be recyclable for multiple uses, and thus solar photocatalysis may be a promising "green" advanced oxidation process (AOP) for OSPW treatment.

  15. Impacts of oil sands process water on fen plants: implications for plant selection in required reclamation projects.

    PubMed

    Pouliot, Rémy; Rochefort, Line; Graf, Martha D

    2012-08-01

    Fen plant growth in peat contaminated with groundwater discharges of oil sands process water (OSPW) was assessed in a greenhouse over two growing seasons. Three treatments (non-diluted OSPW, diluted OSPW and rainwater) were tested on five vascular plants and four mosses. All vascular plants tested can grow in salinity and naphthenic acids levels currently produced by oil sands activity in northwestern Canada. No stress sign was observed after both seasons. Because of plant characteristics, Carex species (C. atherodes and C. utriculata) and Triglochin maritima would be more useful for rapidly restoring vegetation and creating a new peat-accumulating system. Groundwater discharge of OSPW proved detrimental to mosses under dry conditions and ensuring adequate water levels would be crucial in fen creation following oil sands exploitation. Campylium stellatum would be the best choice to grow in contaminated areas and Bryum pseudotriquetrum might be interesting as it has spontaneously regenerated in all treatments.

  16. Compromised metamorphosis and thyroid hormone changes in wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) raised on reclaimed wetlands on the Athabasca oil sands.

    PubMed

    Hersikorn, Blair D; Smits, Judit E G

    2011-02-01

    The wet landscape approach to oil sands tailings reclamation in the Athabasca Oil Sands region involves creating wetlands from fluid tailings in mined-out pits. We measured time to metamorphosis, thyroid hormone status, and detoxification enzyme (EROD) induction in Wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpoles raised on reclaimed oil sands wetlands of different ages [young (≤ 7 yr) vs. old (> 7 yr)] and compared data with tadpoles raised on reference (control) wetlands. Metamorphosis was delayed or never occurred in tadpoles raised in young tailings; those exposed to older tailings developed similarly to those in reference wetlands. Thyroid hormone disruption likely played an important role in the metamorphosis delay as the T3:T4 ratio was lowest in tadpoles raised in young, tailings-affected wetlands. Our findings suggest tailings wetlands become less toxic with age, and that these amphibians will be able to complete their life cycle in tailing wetlands that have sufficiently detoxified with age.

  17. Root growth, mycorrhization and physiological effects of plants growing on oil tailing sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boldt-Burisch, Katja M.; Naeth, Anne M.; Schneider, Bernd Uwe; Hüttl, Reinhard F.

    2015-04-01

    Surface mining creates large, intense disturbances of soils and produces large volumes of by-products and waste materials. After mining processes these materials often provide the basis for land reclamation and ecosystem restoration. In the present study, tailing sands (TS) and processed mature fine tailings (pMFT) from Fort McMurray (Alberta, Canada) were used. They represent challenging material for ecosystem rebuilding because of very low nutrient contents of TS and oil residuals, high density of MFT material. In this context, little is known about the interactions of pure TS, respectively mixtures of TS and MFT and root growth, mycorrhization and plant physiological effects. Four herbaceous plant species (Elymus trachycaulus, Koeleria macrantha, Deschampsia cespitosa, Lotus corniculatus) were chosen to investigate root development, chlorophyll fluorescence and mycorrhization intensity with and without application of Glomus mosseae (arbuscular mycorrhizae) on mainly tailing sands. Surprisingly both, plants growing on pure TS and plants growing on TS with additional AM-application showed mycorrhization of roots. In general, the mycorrhization intensity was lower for plants growing on pure tailings sands, but it is an interesting fact that there is a potential for mycorrhization available in tailing sands. The mycorrhizal intensity strongly increased with application of G. mosseae for K. macrantha and L. corniculatus and even more for E. trachycaulus. For D. cespitosa similar high mycorrhiza infection frequency was found for both variants, with and without AM-application. By the application of G. mosseae, root growth of E. trachycaulus and K. macrantha was significantly positively influenced. Analysis of leaf chlorophyll fluorescence showed no significant differences for E. trachycaulus but significant positive influence of mycorrhizal application on the physiological status of L. corniculatus. However, this effect could not be detected when TS was mixed with MFT

  18. Barley, a potential species for initial reclamation of saline composite tailings of oil sands.

    PubMed

    Renault, Sylvie; MacKinnon, Mike; Qualizza, Clara

    2003-01-01

    The oil sands industry in Alberta (Canada) has developed the composite tailings (CT) process to reduce the fluid fine tails resulting from the processing of oil sands. This process uses a chemical coagulant (gypsum or alum) to produce aggregated fines (clay), so they are retained with the coarse sand fraction of the extraction tailings to form CT, from which fines-free water is released relatively quickly compared with untreated tailings. The resulting CT and CT waters are saline-sodic, with Na+, SO4(2-), and Cl- being the dominant ions. When freshly deposited, the CT deposits are too soft for access by reclamation equipment, and the time required for these deposits to remove the water sufficiently to support traffic is uncertain. A greenhouse study was designed to determine the suitability of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for reclamation of fresh CT deposits and to evaluate benefits of peat amendments. This study assessed germination, early plant growth, chlorophyll content, and survival of barley growing in alum- and gypsum-treated CT, with and without peat amendment. Ion and trace metal accumulation in the root and shoot tissues of barley was determined. Amendment of CT with peat improved germination, survival, and growth of barley, but did not prevent leaf injury (probably due to Na and Cl- and possibly multiple nutrient deficiency). Field studies will be undertaken to validate our greenhouse results suggesting that barley could be used to improve dewatering of the freshly deposited substrates, reduce soil erosion, and facilitate leaching of ions by root penetration into the substrate. PMID:14674548

  19. Barley, a potential species for initial reclamation of saline composite tailings of oil sands.

    PubMed

    Renault, Sylvie; MacKinnon, Mike; Qualizza, Clara

    2003-01-01

    The oil sands industry in Alberta (Canada) has developed the composite tailings (CT) process to reduce the fluid fine tails resulting from the processing of oil sands. This process uses a chemical coagulant (gypsum or alum) to produce aggregated fines (clay), so they are retained with the coarse sand fraction of the extraction tailings to form CT, from which fines-free water is released relatively quickly compared with untreated tailings. The resulting CT and CT waters are saline-sodic, with Na+, SO4(2-), and Cl- being the dominant ions. When freshly deposited, the CT deposits are too soft for access by reclamation equipment, and the time required for these deposits to remove the water sufficiently to support traffic is uncertain. A greenhouse study was designed to determine the suitability of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) for reclamation of fresh CT deposits and to evaluate benefits of peat amendments. This study assessed germination, early plant growth, chlorophyll content, and survival of barley growing in alum- and gypsum-treated CT, with and without peat amendment. Ion and trace metal accumulation in the root and shoot tissues of barley was determined. Amendment of CT with peat improved germination, survival, and growth of barley, but did not prevent leaf injury (probably due to Na and Cl- and possibly multiple nutrient deficiency). Field studies will be undertaken to validate our greenhouse results suggesting that barley could be used to improve dewatering of the freshly deposited substrates, reduce soil erosion, and facilitate leaching of ions by root penetration into the substrate.

  20. Characterization of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emissions at Sites of Oil Sands Extraction and Upgrading in northern Alberta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marrero, J.; Simpson, I. J.; Meinardi, S.; Blake, D. R.

    2011-12-01

    The crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands are second only to Saudi Arabia, holding roughly 173 billion barrels of oil in the form of bitumen, an unconventional crude oil which does not flow and cannot be pumped without heating or dilution. Oil sands deposits are ultimately used to make the same petroleum products as conventional forms of crude oil, though more processing is required. Hydrocarbons are the basis of oil, coal and natural gas and are an important class of gases emitted into the atmosphere during oil production, particularly because of their effects on air quality and human health. However, they have only recently begun to be independently assessed in the oil sands regions. As part of the 2008 ARCTAS airborne mission, whole air samples were collected in the boundary layer above the surface mining operations of northern Alberta. Gas chromatography analysis revealed enhanced concentrations of 53 VOCs (C2 to C10) over the mining region. When compared to local background levels, the measured concentrations were enhanced up to 1.1-400 times for these compounds. To more fully characterize emissions, ground-based studies were conducted in summer 2010 and winter 2011 in the oil sands mining and upgrading areas. The data from the 200 ground-based samples revealed enhancements in the concentration of 65 VOCs. These compounds were elevated up to 1.1-3000 times above background concentrations and include C2-C8 alkanes, C1-C5 alkyl nitrates, C2-C4 alkenes and potentially toxic aromatic compounds such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes.

  1. Salting-out effects on the characterization of naphthenic acids from Athabasca oil sands using electrospray ionization.

    PubMed

    Headley, John V; Barrow, Mark P; Peru, Kerry M; Derrick, Peter J

    2011-01-01

    There is growing interest in the mass spectrometric characterization of oil sands acids present in natural waters and contaminated soils. This interest stems from efforts to isolate the principal toxic components of oil sands acid extractable organics in aquatic environment. Salting-out effects are demonstrated for nanospray ionization mass spectra of Athabasca oil sands acid extractable organics (naphthenic acids), using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry. The differences in spectra obtained for the sodium naphthenates in dichloromethane/acetonitrile cosolvents compared to spectra obtained in the absence of saturated sodium chloride salts, are used here as a surrogate to indicate the more bioavailable or toxic components in natural waters. Whereas, monocarboxylic compounds (C(n)H(2n+Z)O(2)) were prevalent in the Z =-4, -6, and -12 (2, 3 and 6-ring naphthenic acids respectively) family in the carbon number range of 13 to 19 in the dichloromethane/acetonitrile cosolvent systems, salting-out effects resulted in a general enhancement of Z =-4 species, relative to others. Likewise, the shift in relative intensities of species containing O(1), O(3), O(4), O(2)S and O(3)S was dramatic for systems with and without saturated salts present. The O(4) and O(3)S species for example, were prevalent in the dichloromethane/acetonitrile cosolvent but were non-detected in the presence of saturated salts. Interactions of oil sands acids with salts are expected to occur in oil sands processed waters and natural saline waters. As evident by the distribution of species observed, salting-out effects will play a major role in limiting the bioavailability of oil sands acids in aquatic systems.

  2. Undiscovered oil and gas resources underlying the U.S. portions of the Great Lakes, 2005

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Coleman, James L.; Swezey, Christopher S.; Ryder, Robert T.; Charpentier, Ronald R.

    2006-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of the undiscovered oil and gas potential of the U.S. portions of the Appalachian Basin and the Michigan Basin in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Following the assessments of these two basins, oil and gas allocations were assigned to the U.S. portions of the Great Lakes - Lake Superior (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), Lake Michigan (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin), Lake Huron (Michigan), Lake Erie (Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), and Lake Ontario (New York). Allocations for Lake St. Clair (Michigan) were included with those of Lake Erie. The allocations are based on the geologic elements of each total petroleum system defined in the region and the projected extent of those elements from onshore beneath each of the lakes. These geologic elements include the hydrocarbon source rocks, reservoir rocks, and traps. By using this geologic framework, the USGS defined 8 total petroleum systems and 21 assessment units within the Great Lakes and estimated the quantity of undiscovered technically recoverable oil and gas resources within 16 of the 21 assessment units in the Great Lakes.

  3. Microbial turnover and incorporation of organic compounds in oil sand mining reclamation sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lappé, M.; Kallmeyer, J.

    2013-12-01

    Microorganisms play an important role in the development of new soils and in the reclamation of disturbed landscapes. Especially in hydrocarbon-contaminated soils their ability to degrade organic matter and pollutants makes them essential to re-establish full ecosystem functionality. Microbes are also involved in the mobilization of nutrients for plant growth and in the production of greenhouse gases. Reclamation sites from oil sand mining activities in Alberta, Canada, contain residual bitumen as well as other hydrocarbons. So, these areas provide a great opportunity to study microbial degradation of residual contaminants from oil sand. To get an impression of degradation rates as well as metabolic pathways, incubation experiments were performed in the lab. We measured microbial turnover (catabolic metabolism) and incorporation (anabolic metabolism) rates of different common organic compounds in samples from differently treated reclamation sites - with plant cover and without plant cover. About 10 g of sample material was suspended in 10 mL of a solution that mimics the in-situ concentration of dissolved ions. Radioactively labelled 14C-acetate was added as a common substrate, whereas 14C-naphthenic acid was chosen to investigate the microbial community's capability to utilize a typical hydrocarbon pollutant in oil sand tailings as a nutrient source. To test for the influence of fertilizers on microbial activity, phosphate, nitrate and potassium were added to some samples in different combinations. Incubations were run over two different time periods (7 and 14 days). At the end of each incubation experiment, the amount of produced 14CO2, 14C incorporated into the cells and the remaining unreacted 14C in the slurry were measured. First results show that most of the added 14C-acetate is used for respiration as it is mostly released as 14CO2. In upper soil layers only about 3% of 14C is incorporated into cells, whereas in deeper horizons with lower cell abundances

  4. Geochemical behavior and dissolved species control in acid sand pit lakes, Sepetiba sedimentary basin, Rio de Janeiro, SE - Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marques, Eduardo D.; Sella, Sílvia M.; Bidone, Edison D.; Silva-Filho, Emmanoel V.

    2010-12-01

    This work shows the influence of pluvial waters on dissolved components and mineral equilibrium of four sand pit lakes, located in the Sepetiba sedimentary basin, SE Brazil. The sand mining activities promote sediment oxidation, lowering pH and increasing SO 4 contents. The relatively high acidity of these waters, similar to ore pit lakes environment and associated acid mine drainage, increases weathering rate, especially of silicate minerals, which produces high Al concentrations, the limiting factor for fish aquaculture. During the dry season, basic cations (Ca, Mg, K and Na), SiO 2 and Al show their higher values due to evapoconcentration and pH are buffered. In the beginning of the wet season, the dilution factor by rainwater increases SO 4 and decreases pH values. The aluminum monomeric forms (Al(OH) 2+ and Al(OH) 2+), the most toxic species for aquatic organisms, occur during the dry season, while AlSO 4+ species predominate during the wet season. Gibbsite, allophane, alunite and jurbanite are the reactive mineral phases indicated by PHREEQC modeling. During the dry season, hydroxialuminosilicate allophane is the main phase in equilibrium with the solution, while the sulphate salts alunite and jurbanite predominate in the rainy season due to the increasing of SO 4 values. Gibbsite is also in equilibrium with sand pit lakes waters, pointing out that hydrolysis reaction is a constant process in the system. Comparing to SiO 2, sulphate is the main Al retriever in the pit waters because the most samples (alunite and jurbanite) are in equilibrium with the solution in both seasons. This Al hydrochemical control allied to some precaution, like pH correction and fertilization of these waters, allows the conditions for fishpond culture. Equilibrium of the majority samples with kaolinite (Ca, Mg, Na diagrams) and primary minerals (K diagram) points to moderate weathering rate in sand pit sediments, which cannot be considered for the whole basin due to the anomalous

  5. Small mammals as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants and health effects in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2016-02-01

    The extraction of bitumen in areas of northeastern Alberta (Canada) has been associated with the release of complex mixtures of metals, metalloids, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) to the environment. To mitigate effects on ecosystems, Canadian legislation mandates that disturbed areas be reclaimed to an ecologically sustainable state after active operations. However, as part of reclamation activities, exposure to, and effects on wildlife living in these areas is not generally assessed. To support successful reclamation, the development of efficient methods to assess exposure and health effects in potentially exposed wildlife is required. In the present study, we investigated the usefulness of two native mammalian species (deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus, and meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus) as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants by examining biomarkers of exposure and indicators of biological costs. Tissue residues of 31 metals and metalloids in kidneys and muscle, activity of the hepatic detoxification enzyme EROD (as a biomarker of exposure to organic contaminants), body condition, and the relative mass of liver, kidney, spleen, and testes were compared in animals from one reclaimed area and a reference site. Deer mice from the reclaimed site had higher renal levels of Co, Se and Tl compared to animals from the reference site, which was associated with reduced body condition. Lower testis mass was another feature that distinguished mice from the reclaimed site in comparison to those from the reference site. One mouse and one vole from the reclaimed site also showed increased hepatic EROD activity. In marked contrast, no changes were evident for these variables in meadow voles. Our results show that deer mouse is a sensitive sentinel species and that the biomarkers and indicators used here are efficient means to detect local contamination and associated biological effects in native mammals inhabiting reclaimed areas on active oil sands mine

  6. Isolation and characterization of acutely toxic fractions in oil sands wastewater

    SciTech Connect

    Verbeek, A.; Mackay, W.; MacKinnon, M.

    1995-12-31

    Extraction of oil from oil sand using the hot water flotation method results in the production of large volumes of wastewater that are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms. At Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Oil Sands Group Inc., this wastewater is stored in large tailings ponds that must eventually be reclaimed. The acute toxicity of these wastewaters was assessed and the acutely toxic fractions were identified. Samples were collected from the surface and fine tails zones of the Syncrude and Suncor tailings ponds during the summers of 1991 and 1992. The Microtox bioassay was used to assess the acute toxicity before and after various treatments. Where significant reductions in acute toxicity were found, further acute toxicity tests were carried out using Daphnia magna and rainbow trout. The Microtox IC{sub 50} of all centrifuged tailings pond water samples varied between 26.5 and 46%. Daphnia LC{sub 50}s varied between 76 and 98% and a rainbow trout LC{sub 50} was 12.5 %. Organic compounds that have a non-polar component, as removed by solid phase extraction with C{sub 18} sorbent, accounted for all the acute toxicity (100%) of all samples. Organic ``acids``, as removed by precipitation at pH 2.5, also accounted for all the acute toxicity (100%) of all samples except those from pond 1A of Suncor. In pond 1A, organic ``acids`` accounted for approximately 55--60% of the acute toxicity, nonpolar organic volatile compounds accounted for approximately 20--35% and the balance of the acute toxicity was due to non-polar organic compounds that were neither volatile nor organic ``acids``, as removed by precipitation at pH 2.5.

  7. Small mammals as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants and health effects in northeastern Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2016-02-01

    The extraction of bitumen in areas of northeastern Alberta (Canada) has been associated with the release of complex mixtures of metals, metalloids, and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) to the environment. To mitigate effects on ecosystems, Canadian legislation mandates that disturbed areas be reclaimed to an ecologically sustainable state after active operations. However, as part of reclamation activities, exposure to, and effects on wildlife living in these areas is not generally assessed. To support successful reclamation, the development of efficient methods to assess exposure and health effects in potentially exposed wildlife is required. In the present study, we investigated the usefulness of two native mammalian species (deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus, and meadow vole Microtus pennsylvanicus) as sentinels of oil sands related contaminants by examining biomarkers of exposure and indicators of biological costs. Tissue residues of 31 metals and metalloids in kidneys and muscle, activity of the hepatic detoxification enzyme EROD (as a biomarker of exposure to organic contaminants), body condition, and the relative mass of liver, kidney, spleen, and testes were compared in animals from one reclaimed area and a reference site. Deer mice from the reclaimed site had higher renal levels of Co, Se and Tl compared to animals from the reference site, which was associated with reduced body condition. Lower testis mass was another feature that distinguished mice from the reclaimed site in comparison to those from the reference site. One mouse and one vole from the reclaimed site also showed increased hepatic EROD activity. In marked contrast, no changes were evident for these variables in meadow voles. Our results show that deer mouse is a sensitive sentinel species and that the biomarkers and indicators used here are efficient means to detect local contamination and associated biological effects in native mammals inhabiting reclaimed areas on active oil sands mine

  8. Well-to-Wheels Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Canadian Oil Sands Products: Implications for U.S. Petroleum Fuels.

    PubMed

    Cai, Hao; Brandt, Adam R; Yeh, Sonia; Englander, Jacob G; Han, Jeongwoo; Elgowainy, Amgad; Wang, Michael Q

    2015-07-01

    Greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations affecting U.S. transportation fuels require holistic examination of the life-cycle emissions of U.S. petroleum feedstocks. With an expanded system boundary that included land disturbance-induced GHG emissions, we estimated well-to-wheels (WTW) GHG emissions of U.S. production of gasoline and diesel sourced from Canadian oil sands. Our analysis was based on detailed characterization of the energy intensities of 27 oil sands projects, representing industrial practices and technological advances since 2008. Four major oil sands production pathways were examined, including bitumen and synthetic crude oil (SCO) from both surface mining and in situ projects. Pathway-average GHG emissions from oil sands extraction, separation, and upgrading ranged from ∼6.1 to ∼27.3 g CO2 equivalents per megajoule (in lower heating value, CO2e/MJ). This range can be compared to ∼4.4 g CO2e/MJ for U.S. conventional crude oil recovery. Depending on the extraction technology and product type output of oil sands projects, the WTW GHG emissions for gasoline and diesel produced from bitumen and SCO in U.S. refineries were in the range of 100-115 and 99-117 g CO2e/MJ, respectively, representing, on average, about 18% and 21% higher emissions than those derived from U.S. conventional crudes. WTW GHG emissions of gasoline and diesel derived from diluted bitumen ranged from 97 to 103 and 96 to 104 g CO2e/MJ, respectively, showing the effect of diluent use on fuel emissions.

  9. Steam sand dryer in northeast part of sand tower. View ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    Steam sand dryer in northeast part of sand tower. View to northeast - Duluth & Iron Range Rail Road Company Shops, Sand Tower, Southwest of downtown Two Harbors, northwest of Agate Bay, Two Harbors, Lake County, MN

  10. Increased thyroid hormone levels in tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on reclaimed wetlands of the athabasca oil sands.

    PubMed

    Gentes, Marie-Line; McNabb, Anne; Waldner, Cheryl; Smits, Judit E G

    2007-08-01

    The oil sands of Alberta, Canada are one of the world's largest reserves of crude oil. Oil sands mining companies are now investigating the ecological impacts of reclamation strategies in which wetlands are used for the bioremediation of waste materials. To examine the endocrine disrupting potential of chemicals in Oil Sands Process Materials (OSPM), thyroid hormone concentrations were measured in plasma and thyroid glands of nestling tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) from wetlands partly filled with mine tailings. Plasma triiodothyronine (T(3)) concentrations and thyroxine (T(4)) content within thyroid glands were elevated in nestlings from OSPM sites compared to those from the reference site. Results suggested enhanced hormone synthesis by the thyroid glands independently of activation of the pituitary-thyroid axis, as well as increased deiodination of T(4) into T(3) in peripheral tissues. This might have resulted from exposure to oil sands associated chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and from environmental factors such as food availability. Modulation of thyroid function might have negative effects on metabolism, behavior, feather development, and molt, which could compromise postfledging survival.

  11. S reactivity of an oil sands composite tailings deposit undergoing reclamation wetland construction.

    PubMed

    Reid, Michelle L; Warren, Lesley A

    2016-01-15

    This study is the first to characterize the S stability of a composite tailings (CT) deposit undergoing pilot wetland reclamation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR, Alberta, Canada). As CT is sulfur, organic carbon and bacterially rich, the goal of this study was to characterize the in situ aqueous distribution of sulfur compounds across the wetland, sand cap and underlying CT zones of the deposit, in an effort to establish the potential for microbial sulfur cycling and generation of H2S, an explosive, corrosive and toxicity risk. Porewater samples from three depths spanning the different layers of the deposit, as well as wetland surface ponded water samples were collected for geochemical analyses (July and Sept 2013), and for microbial enrichments (both S reducing and S oxidizing bacteria) in June 2014. While porewater ΣH2S(aq) was detected at all depths across the three zones of the deposit, results identify that the sand cap layer required for construction, acts as a mixing zone generating the highest solution H2S concentrations (>500 uM or 18 mg/L) and H2S gas levels (over 100 and up to 180 ppm) observed. Porewater dissolved sulfate concentrations (0.14-6.97 mM) were orders of magnitude higher and did not correlate to the observed distribution of ΣH2S concentrations throughout the deposit. Unique to the sandcap, dissolved organic carbon positively correlated with the observed maxima of ΣH2S(aq) seen in this layer. The water management of the deposit is a critical factor in the observed S trends. Active dewatering of the CT resulted in migration of S rich water up into the sandcap, while downwelling labile organic carbon from the developing wetland acted in concert to stimulate microbial generation of the H2S in this structural layer to the highest levels observed. Functional enrichments identified that diverse S reducing and oxidizing microbial metabolisms are widespread throughout the deposit, indicating that these waste materials are

  12. S reactivity of an oil sands composite tailings deposit undergoing reclamation wetland construction.

    PubMed

    Reid, Michelle L; Warren, Lesley A

    2016-01-15

    This study is the first to characterize the S stability of a composite tailings (CT) deposit undergoing pilot wetland reclamation in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR, Alberta, Canada). As CT is sulfur, organic carbon and bacterially rich, the goal of this study was to characterize the in situ aqueous distribution of sulfur compounds across the wetland, sand cap and underlying CT zones of the deposit, in an effort to establish the potential for microbial sulfur cycling and generation of H2S, an explosive, corrosive and toxicity risk. Porewater samples from three depths spanning the different layers of the deposit, as well as wetland surface ponded water samples were collected for geochemical analyses (July and Sept 2013), and for microbial enrichments (both S reducing and S oxidizing bacteria) in June 2014. While porewater ΣH2S(aq) was detected at all depths across the three zones of the deposit, results identify that the sand cap layer required for construction, acts as a mixing zone generating the highest solution H2S concentrations (>500 uM or 18 mg/L) and H2S gas levels (over 100 and up to 180 ppm) observed. Porewater dissolved sulfate concentrations (0.14-6.97 mM) were orders of magnitude higher and did not correlate to the observed distribution of ΣH2S concentrations throughout the deposit. Unique to the sandcap, dissolved organic carbon positively correlated with the observed maxima of ΣH2S(aq) seen in this layer. The water management of the deposit is a critical factor in the observed S trends. Active dewatering of the CT resulted in migration of S rich water up into the sandcap, while downwelling labile organic carbon from the developing wetland acted in concert to stimulate microbial generation of the H2S in this structural layer to the highest levels observed. Functional enrichments identified that diverse S reducing and oxidizing microbial metabolisms are widespread throughout the deposit, indicating that these waste materials are

  13. Culturing oil sands microbes as mixed species communities enhances ex situ model naphthenic acid degradation.

    PubMed

    Demeter, Marc A; Lemire, Joseph A; Yue, Gordon; Ceri, Howard; Turner, Raymond J

    2015-01-01

    Oil sands surface mining for bitumen results in the formation of oil sands process water (OSPW), containing acutely toxic naphthenic acids (NAs). Potential exists for OSPW toxicity to be mitigated by aerobic degradation of the NAs by microorganisms indigenous to the oil sands tailings ponds, the success of which is dependent on the methods used to exploit the metabolisms of the environmental microbial community. Having hypothesized that the xenobiotic tolerant biofilm mode-of-life may represent a feasible way to harness environmental microbes for ex situ treatment of OSPW NAs, we aerobically grew OSPW microbes as single and mixed species biofilm and planktonic cultures under various conditions for the purpose of assaying their ability to tolerate and degrade NAs. The NAs evaluated were a diverse mixture of eight commercially available model compounds. Confocal microscopy confirmed the ability of mixed and single species OSPW cultures to grow as biofilms in the presence of the NAs evaluated. qPCR enumeration demonstrated that the addition of supplemental nutrients at concentrations of 1 g L(-1) resulted in a more numerous population than 0.001 g L(-1) supplementation by approximately 1 order of magnitude. GC-FID analysis revealed that mixed species cultures (regardless of the mode of growth) are the most effective at degrading the NAs tested. All constituent NAs evaluated were degraded below detectable limits with the exception of 1-adamantane carboxylic acid (ACA); subsequent experimentation with ACA as the sole NA also failed to exhibit degradation of this compound. Single species cultures degraded select few NA compounds. The degradation trends highlighted many structure-persistence relationships among the eight NAs tested, demonstrating the effect of side chain configuration and alkyl branching on compound recalcitrance. Of all the isolates, the Rhodococcus spp. degraded the greatest number of NA compounds, although still less than the mixed species cultures

  14. Culturing oil sands microbes as mixed species communities enhances ex situ model naphthenic acid degradation

    PubMed Central

    Demeter, Marc A.; Lemire, Joseph A.; Yue, Gordon; Ceri, Howard; Turner, Raymond J.

    2015-01-01

    Oil sands surface mining for bitumen results in the formation of oil sands process water (OSPW), containing acutely toxic naphthenic acids (NAs). Potential exists for OSPW toxicity to be mitigated by aerobic degradation of the NAs by microorganisms indigenous to the oil sands tailings ponds, the success of which is dependent on the methods used to exploit the metabolisms of the environmental microbial community. Having hypothesized that the xenobiotic tolerant biofilm mode-of-life may represent a feasible way to harness environmental microbes for ex situ treatment of OSPW NAs, we aerobically grew OSPW microbes as single and mixed species biofilm and planktonic cultures under various conditions for the purpose of assaying their ability to tolerate and degrade NAs. The NAs evaluated were a diverse mixture of eight commercially available model compounds. Confocal microscopy confirmed the ability of mixed and single species OSPW cultures to grow as biofilms in the presence of the NAs evaluated. qPCR enumeration demonstrated that the addition of supplemental nutrients at concentrations of 1 g L-1 resulted in a more numerous population than 0.001 g L-1 supplementation by approximately 1 order of magnitude. GC-FID analysis revealed that mixed species cultures (regardless of the mode of growth) are the most effective at degrading the NAs tested. All constituent NAs evaluated were degraded below detectable limits with the exception of 1-adamantane carboxylic acid (ACA); subsequent experimentation with ACA as the sole NA also failed to exhibit degradation of this compound. Single species cultures degraded select few NA compounds. The degradation trends highlighted many structure-persistence relationships among the eight NAs tested, demonstrating the effect of side chain configuration and alkyl branching on compound recalcitrance. Of all the isolates, the Rhodococcus spp. degraded the greatest number of NA compounds, although still less than the mixed species cultures

  15. Decay of genetic markers for fecal bacterial indicators and pathogens in sand from Lake Superior.

    PubMed

    Eichmiller, Jessica J; Borchert, Andrew J; Sadowsky, Michael J; Hicks, Randall E

    2014-08-01

    Beach sands impact water quality and pathogen loads, however, the comparative decay of the fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli, and pathogens in freshwater sand have not been examined. In this study, freshwater sand microcosms were inoculated with sewage and pure cultures of bacterial pathogens to compare relative decay rates. The abundance of culturable Enterococcus spp. and E. coli, genetic markers for Enterococcus spp. (Entero1), total Bacteroides (AllBac), and human-specific Bacteroides (HF183), and genetic markers for the pathogens Campylobacter jejuni, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Typhimurium, and Shigella flexneri were monitored over the course of two weeks using conventional culture methods and quantitative PCR (qPCR). The effect of moisture on the persistence of culturable FIB and all genetic markers was also determined. In addition, propidium monoazide (PMA) treatment was used to examine differences in the persistence of total genetic markers and those from live cells. Decay rates were statistically compared using Tukey's test. Moisture had a significant (p ≤ 0.05) effect on the decay rates of culturable indicator bacteria, total AllBac markers, and genetic markers for FIB, Salmonella, and MRSA from live cells. At 14% sand moisture, the decay rate of total markers was slower than that of live cells for all qPCR assays, but at 28% moisture, there was no difference in the decay rates of total and live markers for any assay. AllBac and MRSA markers increased in sand at 28% moisture, probably indicating cellular growth. Overall, culturable FIB and HF183 had decay rates that were most comparable to the bacterial pathogen markers examined in this study, whereas Entero1 and AllBac rarely exhibited decay rates similar to the bacterial pathogens in this study. The choice of FIB for assessment of fecal contamination in freshwater sand should take into account

  16. Wood species affect the degradation of crude oil in beach sand.

    PubMed

    Jandl, Gerald; Rodríguez Arranz, Alberto; Baum, Christel; Leinweber, Peter

    2015-01-01

    The addition of wood chips as a co-substrate can promote the degradation of oil in soil. Therefore, in the present study, the tree species-specific impact of wood chips of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) and Western balsam poplar (Populus trichocarpa L.) on the degradation of crude oil was tested in beach sand in a 4-week incubation experiment. The CO2-C release increased in the order of control without wood chips < +spruce < +pine < +poplar. Initial and final hydrocarbon concentrations (C10 to C40), as indicators for the oil degradation, were determined with gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID). The degradation increased for the light fraction (C10 to C22), the heavy fraction (C23 to C40) as well as the whole range (C10 to C40) in the order of control without wood chips (f(degrad.) = 23% vs. 0% vs. 12%) < +poplar (f(degrad.) = 49% vs. 19% vs. 36%) < +spruce (f(degrad.) = 55% vs. 34% vs. 46%) < +pine (f(degrad.) = 60% vs. 44% vs. 53%), whereas the heavy fraction was less degraded in comparison to the light fraction. It can be concluded, that the tree species-specific wood quality is a significant control of the impact on the degradation of hydrocarbons, and pine wood chips might be promising, possibly caused by their lower decomposability and lower substrate replacement than the other wood species.

  17. Wood species affect the degradation of crude oil in beach sand.

    PubMed

    Jandl, Gerald; Rodríguez Arranz, Alberto; Baum, Christel; Leinweber, Peter

    2015-01-01

    The addition of wood chips as a co-substrate can promote the degradation of oil in soil. Therefore, in the present study, the tree species-specific impact of wood chips of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) and Western balsam poplar (Populus trichocarpa L.) on the degradation of crude oil was tested in beach sand in a 4-week incubation experiment. The CO2-C release increased in the order of control without wood chips < +spruce < +pine < +poplar. Initial and final hydrocarbon concentrations (C10 to C40), as indicators for the oil degradation, were determined with gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID). The degradation increased for the light fraction (C10 to C22), the heavy fraction (C23 to C40) as well as the whole range (C10 to C40) in the order of control without wood chips (f(degrad.) = 23% vs. 0% vs. 12%) < +poplar (f(degrad.) = 49% vs. 19% vs. 36%) < +spruce (f(degrad.) = 55% vs. 34% vs. 46%) < +pine (f(degrad.) = 60% vs. 44% vs. 53%), whereas the heavy fraction was less degraded in comparison to the light fraction. It can be concluded, that the tree species-specific wood quality is a significant control of the impact on the degradation of hydrocarbons, and pine wood chips might be promising, possibly caused by their lower decomposability and lower substrate replacement than the other wood species. PMID:26305901

  18. Dry mature fine tailings as oil sands reclamation substrates for three native grasses.

    PubMed

    Luna Wolter, Gabriela L; Naeth, M Anne

    2014-07-01

    Mature fine tailings (MFT) are a by-product of oil sands mining that must be reclaimed through capping or use as a reclamation substrate. Some chemical and physical properties of MFT make it inhospitable for plant growth, such as high concentrations of sodium, sulfate, chloride, and hydrocarbons. A greenhouse study assessed whether substrates of various mixes of dry MFT, overburden sand, and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) and caps of forest floor organic material (LFH) and PMM would support the emergence and growth of three native grass species commonly used in land reclamation. Select vegetation properties were monitored for 16 wk in the greenhouse; select chemical and physical substrate properties were determined in the laboratory. was more tolerant of dry MFT than and . Mean aboveground and belowground biomass were more than twice as high on substrates with <60% MFT than on 100% MFT. Aboveground biomass was two to four times greater with capping than without and 30% greater on LFH than PMM caps. Cover and density followed similar trends. Belowground biomass on capped substrates was at least double that on uncapped substrates. Aboveground biomass was almost doubled with the use of fertilizer. High concentrations of hydrocarbons and exchangeable ions were associated with reduced plant growth and health. Results from this study show that capping, amendments, and fertilizer may improve the reclamation potential of dry MFT.

  19. Dry mature fine tailings as oil sands reclamation substrates for three native grasses.

    PubMed

    Luna Wolter, Gabriela L; Naeth, M Anne

    2014-07-01

    Mature fine tailings (MFT) are a by-product of oil sands mining that must be reclaimed through capping or use as a reclamation substrate. Some chemical and physical properties of MFT make it inhospitable for plant growth, such as high concentrations of sodium, sulfate, chloride, and hydrocarbons. A greenhouse study assessed whether substrates of various mixes of dry MFT, overburden sand, and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) and caps of forest floor organic material (LFH) and PMM would support the emergence and growth of three native grass species commonly used in land reclamation. Select vegetation properties were monitored for 16 wk in the greenhouse; select chemical and physical substrate properties were determined in the laboratory. was more tolerant of dry MFT than and . Mean aboveground and belowground biomass were more than twice as high on substrates with <60% MFT than on 100% MFT. Aboveground biomass was two to four times greater with capping than without and 30% greater on LFH than PMM caps. Cover and density followed similar trends. Belowground biomass on capped substrates was at least double that on uncapped substrates. Aboveground biomass was almost doubled with the use of fertilizer. High concentrations of hydrocarbons and exchangeable ions were associated with reduced plant growth and health. Results from this study show that capping, amendments, and fertilizer may improve the reclamation potential of dry MFT. PMID:25603099

  20. A Relevance Vector Machine-Based Approach with Application to Oil Sand Pump Prognostics

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Jinfei; Tse, Peter W.

    2013-01-01

    Oil sand pumps are widely used in the mining industry for the delivery of mixtures of abrasive solids and liquids. Because they operate under highly adverse conditions, these pumps usually experience significant wear. Consequently, equipment owners are quite often forced to invest substantially in system maintenance to avoid unscheduled downtime. In this study, an approach combining relevance vector machines (RVMs) with a sum of two exponential functions was developed to predict the remaining useful life (RUL) of field pump impellers. To handle field vibration data, a novel feature extracting process was proposed to arrive at a feature varying with the development of damage in the pump impellers. A case study involving two field datasets demonstrated the effectiveness of the developed method. Compared with standalone exponential fitting, the proposed RVM-based model was much better able to predict the remaining useful life of pump impellers. PMID:24051527

  1. Control of small mammal damage in the Alberta oil sands reclamation and afforestation program

    SciTech Connect

    Radvanyi, A.

    1980-12-01

    Open-pit mining procedures being conducted in the oil sands of northeast Alberta greatly disrupt many acres of the environment. The reclamation and afforestation program intended to restore the forest habitat encountered an unanticipated problem when a large percentage of young nursery-raised trees planted on a tailings pond dyke and on overburden dump sites were found to have been girdled by a population of meadow voles which had become established in the dense grass habitat created to stabilize steep sandy slopes of the spoil piles. The study monitored small mammal populations through a high, low, and a second high level commensurate with the 3- to 4-year population cycle of small mammals. A control technique utilizing grain treated with an anticoagulant rodenticide made available to the mice in poisoned bait feeder stations effectively reduced small mammal numbers to very low levels and reduced girdling damage from an average of 50% to 1-2%.

  2. Airborne Petcoke Dust is a Major Source of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yifeng; Shotyk, William; Zaccone, Claudio; Noernberg, Tommy; Pelletier, Rick; Bicalho, Beatriz; Froese, Duane G; Davies, Lauren; Martin, Jonathan W

    2016-02-16

    Oil sands mining has been linked to increasing atmospheric deposition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), but known sources cannot explain the quantity of PAHs in environmental samples. PAHs were measured in living Sphagnum moss (24 sites, n = 68), in sectioned peat cores (4 sites, n = 161), and snow (7 sites, n = 19) from ombrotrophic bogs in the AOSR. Prospective source samples were also analyzed, including petroleum coke (petcoke, from both delayed and fluid coking), fine tailings, oil sands ore, and naturally exposed bitumen. Average PAH concentrations in near-field moss (199 ng/g, n = 11) were significantly higher (p = 0.035) than in far-field moss (118 ng/g, n = 13), and increasing temporal trends were detected in three peat cores collected closest to industrial activity. A chemical mass-balance model estimated that delayed petcoke was the major source of PAHs to living moss, and among three peat core the contribution to PAHs from delayed petcoke increased over time, accounting for 45-95% of PAHs in contemporary layers. Petcoke was also estimated to be a major source of vanadium, nickel, and molybdenum. Scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy confirmed large petcoke particles (>10 μm) in snow at near-field sites. Petcoke dust has not previously been considered in environmental impact assessments of oil sands upgrading, and improved dust control from growing stockpiles may mitigate future risks.

  3. Airborne Petcoke Dust is a Major Source of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yifeng; Shotyk, William; Zaccone, Claudio; Noernberg, Tommy; Pelletier, Rick; Bicalho, Beatriz; Froese, Duane G; Davies, Lauren; Martin, Jonathan W

    2016-02-16

    Oil sands mining has been linked to increasing atmospheric deposition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), but known sources cannot explain the quantity of PAHs in environmental samples. PAHs were measured in living Sphagnum moss (24 sites, n = 68), in sectioned peat cores (4 sites, n = 161), and snow (7 sites, n = 19) from ombrotrophic bogs in the AOSR. Prospective source samples were also analyzed, including petroleum coke (petcoke, from both delayed and fluid coking), fine tailings, oil sands ore, and naturally exposed bitumen. Average PAH concentrations in near-field moss (199 ng/g, n = 11) were significantly higher (p = 0.035) than in far-field moss (118 ng/g, n = 13), and increasing temporal trends were detected in three peat cores collected closest to industrial activity. A chemical mass-balance model estimated that delayed petcoke was the major source of PAHs to living moss, and among three peat core the contribution to PAHs from delayed petcoke increased over time, accounting for 45-95% of PAHs in contemporary layers. Petcoke was also estimated to be a major source of vanadium, nickel, and molybdenum. Scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy confirmed large petcoke particles (>10 μm) in snow at near-field sites. Petcoke dust has not previously been considered in environmental impact assessments of oil sands upgrading, and improved dust control from growing stockpiles may mitigate future risks. PMID:26771587

  4. Estimating fugitive methane emissions from oil sands mining using extractive core samples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, Matthew R.; Crosland, Brian M.; McEwen, James D.; Hager, Darcy B.; Armitage, Joshua R.; Karimi-Golpayegani, Mojgan; Picard, David J.

    2016-11-01

    Fugitive methane emissions from oil sands mining activities are a potentially important source of greenhouse gas emissions for which there are significant uncertainties and a lack of open data. This paper investigates the potential of a control-system approach to estimating fugitive methane emissions by analyzing releasable gas volumes in core samples extracted from undeveloped mine regions. Field experiments were performed by leveraging routine winter drilling activities that are a component of normal mine planning and development, and working in conjunction with an on-site drill crew using existing equipment. Core samples were extracted from two test holes, sealed at the surface, and transported for off-site lab analysis. Despite the challenges of the on-site sample collection and the limitations of the available drilling technology, notable quantities of residual methane (mean of 23.8 mgCH4/kg-core-sample (+41%/-35%) or 779 mgCH4/kg-bitumen (+69%/-34%) at 95% confidence) were measured in the collected core samples. If these factors are applied to the volumes of bitumen mined in Alberta in 2015, they imply fugitive methane emissions equivalent to 2.1 MtCO2e (as correlated with bitumen content) or 1.4 MtCO2e (as correlated with total mined material) evaluated on a 100-year time horizon. An additional ∼0.2 Mt of fugitive CO2 emissions could also be expected. Although additional measurements at a larger number of locations are warranted to determine whether these emissions should be considered as additive to, or inclusive of, current estimates based on flux chamber measurements at the mine face, these first-of-their-kind results demonstrate an intriguing alternate method for quantifying fugitive emissions from oil sands mining and extraction.

  5. Airborne Measurements of Secondary Organic Aerosol Formation in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liggio, J.; Hayden, K.; Liu, P.; Leithead, A.; Moussa, S. G.; Staebler, R. M.; Gordon, M.; O'brien, J.; Li, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    The Alberta oil sands (OS) region represents a strategic natural resource and is a key driver of economic development. Its rapid expansion has led to a need for a more comprehensive understanding of the associated potential cumulative environmental impacts. In summer 2013, airborne measurements of various gaseous and particulate substances were made in the Athabasca oil sands region between August 13 and Sept 7, 2013. In particular, organic aerosol mass and composition measurements were performed with a High Resolution Time of flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) supported by gaseous measurements of organic aerosol precursors with Proton Transfer Reaction (PTR) and Chemical Ionization (CI) mass spectrometers. These measurement data on selected flights were used to estimate the potential for local anthropogenic OS emissions to form secondary organic aerosol (SOA) downwind of precursor sources, and to investigate the importance of the surrounding biogenic emissions to the overall SOA burden in the region. The results of several flights conducted to investigate these transformations demonstrate that multiple distinct plumes were present downwind of OS industrial sources, each with differing abilities to form SOA depending upon factors such as NOx level, precursor VOC composition, and oxidant concentration. The results indicate that approximately 100 km downwind of an OS industrial source most of the measured organic aerosol (OA) was secondary in nature, forming at rates of ~6.4 to 13.6 μgm-3hr-1. Positive matrix factor (PMF) analysis of the HR-ToF-AMS data suggests that the SOA was highly oxidized (O/C~0.6) resulting in a measured ΔOA (difference above regional background OA) of approximately 2.5 - 3 despite being 100 km away from sources. The relative contribution of biogenic SOA to the total SOA and the factors affecting SOA formation during a number of flights in the OS region will be described.

  6. Factors influencing stable isotopes and growth of algae in oil sands aquatic reclamation.

    PubMed

    Boutsivongsakd, Monique; Farwell, Andrea J; Chen, Hao; Dixon, D George

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies reported (15)N enrichment of biota in reclamation wetlands that contain oil sands processed material (e.g., processed water and tailings); however, there is little information on the factors controlling (15)N enrichment in these systems. In this microcosm study, the aim was to examine stable C and N isotopes and growth (chlorophyll a [chl a] and dry weight) of algae as a function of exposure to different sources and concentrations of water-soluble fractions (WSF) derived from tailings. Two sources of tailings including mature fine tailings (MFT) and consolidated tailings (CT) and peat-mineral overburden were utilized to generate separate WSF that differed in water quality. In general, there was (15)N enrichment of filamentous algae along the increasing gradient of WSF/nutrient concentrations in both CT and peat microcosms, and among the different sources, algae were more (15)N enriched in CT WSF than in peat WSF. Growth of filamentous algae was inhibited at higher WSF concentrations, possibly due to reduced light availability at elevated levels of fine clay particles in MFT microcosms and colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in peat microcosms. Filamentous algae displayed lower biomass and (15)N depletion in 100% peat WSF. This study indicated that both the quality (source) and quantity of WSF affected algal growth and directly and/or indirectly influenced δ(15)N of algae. The distinct (15)N enrichment of primary producers derived from tailings suggest that stable N isotopes might be useful to trace exposure to oil sands processed material in biota that utilize these resources in reclaimed systems constructed with tailings or natural systems that receive tailings dyke seepage. PMID:25506635

  7. First results from the oil sands passive air monitoring network for polycyclic aromatic compounds.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Jasmin K; Harner, Tom; Su, Ky; Mihele, Cristian; Eng, Anita

    2015-03-01

    Results are reported from an ongoing passive air monitoring study for polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) in the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada. Polyurethane foam (PUF) disk passive air samplers were deployed for consecutive 2-month periods from November 2010 to June 2012 at 17 sites. Samples were analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, dibenzothiophene and its alkylated derivatives (DBTs). Relative to parent PAHs, alkylated PAHs and DBTs are enriched in bitumen and therefore considered to be petrogenic markers. Concentrations in air were in the range 0.03-210 ng/m(3), 0.15-230 ng/m(3) and 0.01-61 ng/m(3) for ∑PAHs, ∑alkylated PAHs and ΣDBTs, respectively. An exponential decline of the PAC concentrations in air with distance from mining areas and related petrogenic sources was observed. The most significant exponential declines were for the alkylated PAHs and DBTs and attributed to their association with mining-related emissions and near-source deposition, due to their lower volatility and greater association with depositing particles. Seasonal trends in concentrations in air for PACs were not observed for any of the compound classes. However, a forest fire episode during April to July 2011 resulted in greatly elevated PAH levels at all passive sampling locations. Alkylated PAHs and DBTs were not elevated during the forest fire period, supporting their association with petrogenic sources. Based on the results of this study, an "Athabasca PAC profile" is proposed as a potential source marker for the oil sands region. The profile is characterized by ∑PAHs/∑Alkylated PAHs = ∼0.2 and ∑PAHs/∑DBTs = ∼5.

  8. Factors influencing stable isotopes and growth of algae in oil sands aquatic reclamation.

    PubMed

    Boutsivongsakd, Monique; Farwell, Andrea J; Chen, Hao; Dixon, D George

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies reported (15)N enrichment of biota in reclamation wetlands that contain oil sands processed material (e.g., processed water and tailings); however, there is little information on the factors controlling (15)N enrichment in these systems. In this microcosm study, the aim was to examine stable C and N isotopes and growth (chlorophyll a [chl a] and dry weight) of algae as a function of exposure to different sources and concentrations of water-soluble fractions (WSF) derived from tailings. Two sources of tailings including mature fine tailings (MFT) and consolidated tailings (CT) and peat-mineral overburden were utilized to generate separate WSF that differed in water quality. In general, there was (15)N enrichment of filamentous algae along the increasing gradient of WSF/nutrient concentrations in both CT and peat microcosms, and among the different sources, algae were more (15)N enriched in CT WSF than in peat WSF. Growth of filamentous algae was inhibited at higher WSF concentrations, possibly due to reduced light availability at elevated levels of fine clay particles in MFT microcosms and colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in peat microcosms. Filamentous algae displayed lower biomass and (15)N depletion in 100% peat WSF. This study indicated that both the quality (source) and quantity of WSF affected algal growth and directly and/or indirectly influenced δ(15)N of algae. The distinct (15)N enrichment of primary producers derived from tailings suggest that stable N isotopes might be useful to trace exposure to oil sands processed material in biota that utilize these resources in reclaimed systems constructed with tailings or natural systems that receive tailings dyke seepage.

  9. Vegetation community composition in wetlands created following oil sand mining in Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Roy, Marie-Claude; Foote, Lee; Ciborowski, Jan J H

    2016-05-01

    Reclaiming wetlands following open pit mining for industrial oil sand extraction is challenging due to the physical and chemical conditions of the post-mined landscape. The aim of our study was to examine and compare the influence of oil sands process water (OSPW) and material (fine fluid tails or FFT) on the plant community composition of created wetlands. Compared to created-unamended and natural wetlands, the created wetlands amended with OSPW and/or FFT (created-tailings wetlands) had significantly higher water salinity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen concentration and lower oxidative-reductive potential. Water chemistry parameters of created-unamended did not differ significantly from those of natural wetlands. The sediment of created wetlands had significantly less moisture, total nitrogen, and organic content than the natural wetlands. The application of OSPW/FFT in created wetlands will likely lead to initial vegetation composition atypical of natural regional wetlands. For the objective of reclaiming vegetation composition to the status of natural regional wetlands, unamended wetlands were the best reclamation option, based on the physical and chemical parameters measured. Despite being the favored reclamation option, created-unamended wetlands' physical and chemical characteristics remain atypical of natural wetlands. Most significantly, the basin morphometry of created wetlands was significantly different from that of naturally-formed wetlands in the region, and this appears to partly explain difference in vegetation composition. We also demonstrate that species richness alone is not a useful measure in wetland monitoring. Instead, plant community composition is a better indicator of wetland conditions. PMID:26921562

  10. Determining the ecological viability of constructed wetlands for the treatment of oil sands wastewater

    SciTech Connect

    Lai, J.; Kiehlmann, E.; Pinto, L.; Bendell-Young, L.; Moore, M.; Nix, P.

    1995-12-31

    To determine the conditions for optimal degradation of naphthenic acids (C{sub n}H{sub 2n+z}O{sub 2}), the most toxic component of oil sands wastewater, the authors have monitored the mineralization of 2 representative naphthenic acids (NA), U-{sup 14}C-palmitic acid (linear, Z = 0) and 8-{sup 14}C-decahydro-2-naphthoic acid (bicyclic, Z = {minus}4) under varying conditions of temperature, phosphate and oxygen. The radiolabeled NA was added to biometer flasks containing wastewater {+-} amendments and evolved {sup 14}C-CO{sub 2} was trapped in a side arm and counted by LSC. The results indicate that low temperature (5 C) and anaerobiasis greatly inhibited NA degradation over the four week incubation period. Addition of phosphate (as buffered KP{sub i}) significantly increased {sup 14}C-CO{sub 2} production for both Z = 0 and Z = {minus}4 compounds; however, the subsequent high microbial growth rates also decreased PO{sub 2} which limited NA mineralization. Effluent toxicity was monitored at week 0 and week 4 using Microtox and fathead minnow tests. Although there was increased survival of fathead minnows in the phosphate-amended effluent, the IC{sub 20} values of the Microtox assay showed no improvement in either the phosphate-treated or untreated effluents. These results show that naphthenic acid analogues are readily degraded by indigenous microorganisms in oil sands wastewater and that phosphate addition accelerated the mineralization of these compounds if PO{sub 2} remained high.

  11. Steroidal aromatic 'naphthenic acids' in oil sands process-affected water: structural comparisons with environmental estrogens.

    PubMed

    Rowland, Steven J; West, Charles E; Jones, David; Scarlett, Alan G; Frank, Richard A; Hewitt, L Mark

    2011-11-15

    The large volumes, acute toxicity, estrogenicity, and antiandrogenicity of process-affected waters accruing in tailings ponds from the operations of the Alberta oil sands industries pose a significant task for environmental reclamation. Synchronous fluorescence spectra (SFS) suggest that oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) may contain aromatic carboxylic acids, which are among the potentially environmentally important toxicants, but no such acids have yet been identified, limiting interpretations of the results of estrogenicity and other assays. Here we show that multidimensional comprehensive gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCxGC-MS) of methyl esters of acids in an OSPW sample produces mass spectra consistent with their assignment as C(19) and C(20) C-ring monoaromatic hydroxy steroid acids, D-ring opened hydroxy and nonhydroxy polyhydrophenanthroic acids with one aromatic and two alicyclic rings and A-ring opened steroidal keto acids. High resolution MS data support the assignment of several of the so-called 'O3' species. When fractions of distilled, esterified, OSPW acid-extractable organics were examined, the putative aromatics were mainly present in a high boiling fraction; when examined by argentation thin layer chromatography, some were present in a fraction with a retardation factor between that of the methyl esters of synthetic monoalicyclic and monoaromatic acids. Ultraviolet absorption spectra of these fractions indicated the presence of benzenoid moieties. SFS of model octahydro- and tetrahydrophenanthroic acids produced emissions at the characteristic excitation wavelengths observed in some OSPW extracts, consistent with the postulations from ultraviolet spectroscopy and mass spectrometry data. We suggest the acids originate from extensive biodegradation of C-ring monoaromatic steroid hydrocarbons and offer a means of differentiating residues at different biodegradation stages in tailings ponds. Structural similarities with estrone and

  12. Assessing Risks of Shallow Riparian Groundwater Quality Near an Oil Sands Tailings Pond.

    PubMed

    Roy, J W; Bickerton, G; Frank, R A; Grapentine, L; Hewitt, L M

    2016-07-01

    The potential discharge of groundwater contaminated by oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is a concern for aquatic ecosystems near tailings ponds. Groundwater in the area, but unaffected by OSPW, may contain similar compounds, complicating the assessment of potential ecological impacts. In this study, 177 shallow groundwater samples were collected from riparian areas along the Athabasca River and tributaries proximate to oil sands developments. For "pond-site" samples (71; adjacent to study tailings pond), Canadian aquatic life guidelines were exceeded for 11 of 20 assessed compounds. However, "non-pond" samples (54; not near any tailings pond) provided similar exceedances. Statistical analyses indicate that pond-site and non-pond samples were indistinguishable for all but seven parameters assessed, including salts, many trace metals, and fluorescence profiles of aromatic naphthenic acids (ANA). This suggests that, regarding the tested parameters, groundwater adjacent to the study tailings pond generally poses no greater ecological risk than other nearby groundwaters at this time. Multivariate analyses applied to the groundwater data set separated into 11 smaller zones support this conclusion, but show some variation between zones. Geological and potential OSPW influences could not be distinguished based on major ions and metals concentrations. However, similarities in indicator parameters, namely ANA, F, Mo, Se, and Na-Cl ratio, were noted between a small subset of samples from two pond-site zones and two OSPW samples and two shallow groundwater samples documented as likely OSPW affected. This indicator-based screening suggests that OSPW-affected groundwater may be reaching Athabasca River sediments at a few locations. PMID:26743232

  13. 33 CFR 157.27 - Discharges: Tank vessels carrying oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less... HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) POLLUTION RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT RELATING TO TANK... on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less than 150...

  14. 33 CFR 157.27 - Discharges: Tank vessels carrying oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less... HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) POLLUTION RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT RELATING TO TANK... on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less than 150...

  15. 33 CFR 157.27 - Discharges: Tank vessels carrying oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less... HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) POLLUTION RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT RELATING TO TANK... on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less than 150...

  16. 33 CFR 157.27 - Discharges: Tank vessels carrying oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less... HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) POLLUTION RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT RELATING TO TANK... on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less than 150...

  17. 33 CFR 157.27 - Discharges: Tank vessels carrying oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... oil exclusively on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less... HOMELAND SECURITY (CONTINUED) POLLUTION RULES FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT RELATING TO TANK... on rivers, lakes, bays, sounds, and the Great Lakes, and seagoing tank vessels of less than 150...

  18. Aeolian sands and buried soils in the Mecklenburg Lake District, NE Germany: Holocene land-use history and pedo-geomorphic response

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Küster, Mathias; Fülling, Alexander; Kaiser, Knut; Ulrich, Jens

    2014-04-01

    The present study is a pedo-geomorphic approach to reconstructing Holocene aeolian sand dynamics in the Mecklenburg Lake District (NE Germany). Stratigraphical, sedimentological and soil research supplemented by morphogenetic interpretations of the genesis of dunes and aeolian sands are discussed. A complex Late Holocene aeolian stratigraphy within a drift sand area was developed at the shore of Lake Müritz. The results were confirmed using palynological records, archaeological data and regional history. Accelerated aeolian activity was triggered by the intensification of settlement and land-use activities during the 13th and in the 15th to 16th century AD. After a period of stability beginning with population decline during the ‘Thirty Years War' and continuing through the 18th century, a final aeolian phase due to the establishment of glassworks was identified during the 19th century AD. We assume a direct link between Holocene aeolian dynamics and human activities. Prehistoric Holocene drift sands on terrestrial sites have not been documented in the Mecklenburg Lake District so far. This might be explained either by erosion and incorporation of older aeolian sediments during younger aeolian phases and/or a lower regional land-use intensity in older periods of the Holocene. The investigated drift sands are stratigraphically and sedimentologically characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity, reflecting the spatial and temporal variability of Holocene human impact.

  19. Simulating Lake and Wetland Areal Coverage and Numbers under Scenarios of Future Groundwater Recharge: Lake Mega-system of the Nebraska Sand Hills

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zlotnik, V. A.; Rossman, N. R.; Rowe, C. M.

    2015-12-01

    Integrated groundwater (GW) and surface water (SW) systems in arid parts of the world respond to and recover slowly from climate changes. This creates multi-generational issues with dramatic economic, social, and ecological consequences, and could likely be the case in the future for the High Plains aquifer. Despite the semi-arid climate of the Nebraska Sand Hills (NSH), groundwater recharge (GR) rates are the highest in the entire High Plains aquifer region, mostly because of thick, highly permeable sand dunes. Along with the large capacity aquifer, the GR rates in the NSH contribute to relatively steady stream baseflows and a shallow water table, creating a very complex system of several thousands of shallow (about 0.8 m on average) closed-basin lakes, and wetlands, integrated with GW. To explore the GW dynamics and address the possibility, and uncertainty range of impacts caused by future climate change on surface water, we quantified potential changes to GR rates resulting from three thoughtfully-selected Global Circulation Model (GCM) projections from the WCRP CMIP3 archive. Cumulative future period GR (as the difference between precipitation and evapotranspiration) was used as the criterion to select GCM runs, including total cumulative GR (from 2010 to 2099) nearest to the median (±1 standard deviation). This allows for: determining the most likely GR estimates, characterization of uncertainty, retaining the temporal variability of individual GCMs, while reducing time needed to perform hydrological simulations. Future GR changes from the three selected GCM runs were averaged by decade and used to force transient groundwater model runs within a 40,000 km2 part of the NSH. Dynamics of lake and wetland spatial distribution and total areal coverage and numbers, were simulated with the GW model from 2010 to 2099. Addition model runs, with fixed end-of-century GR rates, elucidate response time required for the GW system to reach equilibrium under the changed

  20. Performance of a constructed fen peatland: Reclamation of oil sands landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, J. S.

    2013-12-01

    Wetlands cover >60% of the landscape in the Athabasca oils sands development region. These are predominantly fen peatlands, that rely to varying extent on base-rich surface- and/or ground-water derived from adjacent mineral lands. Large areas of peatland are removed by surface stripping to access the bitumen. Reclamation of post-mined landscapes to peatland has not previously been attempted. Groundwater modeling was used to guide design choices on the optimal geometry, placement (layering) and hydraulic properties of locally available materials; these include processed tailings sand, as well peat and forest soils from newly developed lease areas. The constructed system comprises a ~3 ha fen with 2 m of peat and an adjacent upland specifically designed to supply the requisite water to maintain suitable hydrological conditions. The upland is primarily tailings sand covered by a forest soil. The constructed fen/upland system was set within a ~30 ha basin that was reclaimed using standard techniques and materials, and supplements water inputs to the designed system. Both fen and upland were placed at water contents well below equilibrium levels, so there was concern about the wetland function during the years following construction. However, in its first year following construction (2013), a higher than normal snowpack flooded the system, but by surface inflow rather than seepage from the upland. Ground-ice in the fen limited the general infiltration and percolation of meltwater into the peat, although fortuitously a localized recharge pipe developed through thermal erosion and substantially recharged the fen. Water was redistributed beneath the fen through a highly permeable sublayer (petroleum coke) designed for this purpose, and created artesian pressures. Backflow into the upland also resulted, although much of the upland remains well below design water contents. Modification of the upland soils by plowing, and development of local recharge basins, is expected to

  1. QUANTITATIVE METHODS FOR RESERVOIR CHARACTERIZATION AND IMPROVED RECOVERY: APPLICATION TO HEAVY OIL SANDS

    SciTech Connect

    James W. Castle; Fred J. Molz; Ronald W. Falta; Cynthia L. Dinwiddie; Scott E. Brame; Robert A. Bridges

    2002-10-30

    Improved prediction of interwell reservoir heterogeneity has the potential to increase productivity and to reduce recovery cost for California's heavy oil sands, which contain approximately 2.3 billion barrels of remaining reserves in the Temblor Formation and in other formations of the San Joaquin Valley. This investigation involves application of advanced analytical property-distribution methods conditioned to continuous outcrop control for improved reservoir characterization and simulation, particularly in heavy oil sands. The investigation was performed in collaboration with Chevron Production Company U.S.A. as an industrial partner, and incorporates data from the Temblor Formation in Chevron's West Coalinga Field. Observations of lateral variability and vertical sequences observed in Temblor Formation outcrops has led to a better understanding of reservoir geology in West Coalinga Field. Based on the characteristics of stratigraphic bounding surfaces in the outcrops, these surfaces were identified in the subsurface using cores and logs. The bounding surfaces were mapped and then used as reference horizons in the reservoir modeling. Facies groups and facies tracts were recognized from outcrops and cores of the Temblor Formation and were applied to defining the stratigraphic framework and facies architecture for building 3D geological models. The following facies tracts were recognized: incised valley, estuarine, tide- to wave-dominated shoreline, diatomite, and subtidal. A new minipermeameter probe, which has important advantages over previous methods of measuring outcrop permeability, was developed during this project. The device, which measures permeability at the distal end of a small drillhole, avoids surface weathering effects and provides a superior seal compared with previous methods for measuring outcrop permeability. The new probe was used successfully for obtaining a high-quality permeability data set from an outcrop in southern Utah. Results obtained

  2. Development of wear resistant nanostructured duplex coatings by high velocity oxy-fuel process for use in oil sands industry.

    PubMed

    Saha, Gobinda C; Khan, Tahir I; Glenesk, Larry B

    2009-07-01

    Oil sands deposits in Northern Alberta, Canada represent a wealth of resources attracting huge capital investment and significant research focus in recent years. As of 2005, crude oil production from the current oil sands operators accounted for 50% of Canada's domestic production. Alberta's oil sands deposits contain approximately 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen, of which over 175 billion are recoverable with current technology, and 315 billion barrels are ultimately recoverable with technological advances. A major problem of operating machinery and equipment in the oil sands is the unpredictable failure from operating in this highly aggressive environment. One of the significant causes of that problem is premature material wear. An approach to minimize this wear is the use of protective coatings and, in particular, a cermet thin coating. A high level of coating homogeneity is critical for components such as bucketwheels, draglines, conveyors, shovels, heavyhauler trucks etc. that are subjected to severe degradation through abrasive wear. The identification, development and application of optimum wear solutions for these components pose an ongoing challenge. Nanostructured cermet coatings have shown the best results of achieving the degree of homogeneity required for these applications. In this study, WC-17Co cermet powder with nanocrystalline WC core encapsulated with 'duplex' Co layer was used to obtain a nanostructured coating. To apply this coating, high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) thermal spraying technique was used, as it is known for producing wear-resistant coatings superior to those obtained from plasma-based techniques. Mechanical, sliding wear and microstructural behavior of the coating was compared with those of the microstructured coating obtained from spraying WC-10Co-4Cr cermet powder by HVOF technique. Results from the nanostructured coating, among others, showed an average of 25% increase in microhardness, 30% increase in sliding wear resistance and

  3. Oil Sands Operations in Alberta, Canada: A large source of secondary organic aerosol

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liggio, J.; Li, S. M.; Hayden, K.; Taha, Y. M.; Stroud, C.; Darlington, A. L.; Drollette, B.; Gordon, M.; Lee, P.; Liu, P.; Leithead, A.; Moussa, S.; Wang, D.; O'Brien, J.; Mittermeier, R. L.; Brook, J.; Lu, G.; Staebler, R. M.; Han, Y.; Tokarek, T. W.; Osthoff, H. D.; Makar, P.; Zhang, J.; Plata, D.; Gentner, D. R.

    2015-12-01

    Little is known of the reaction products of emissions to the atmosphere from extraction of oil from unconventional sources in the oil sands (OS) region of Alberta, Canada. This study examines these reaction products, and in particular, the extent to which they form secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which can significantly contribute to regional particulate matter formation. An aircraft measurement campaign was conducted over the Athabasca oil sands region between August 13 and September 7, 2013. A broad suite of measurements were made during 22 flights, including organic aerosol mass and composition with a High Resolution Time of Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) and organic aerosol gas-phase precursors by Proton Transfer Reaction (PTR) and off-line gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Large concentrations of organic aerosol were measured downwind of the OS region, which we show to be entirely secondary in nature. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that bitumen (the mined product) contains semi-volatile vapours in the C12-C18 range that will be emitted at ambient temperatures. When oxidized, these vapours form SOA with highly similar HR-ToF-AMS spectra to the SOA measured in the flights. Box modelling of the OS plume evolution indicated that the measured levels of traditional volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are not capable of accounting for the amount of SOA formed in OS plumes. This discrepancy is only reconciled in the model by including bitumen vapours along with their oxidation and condensation into the model. The concentration of bitumen vapours required to produce SOA matching observations is similar to that of traditional VOC precursors of SOA. It was further estimated that the cumulative SOA mass formation approximately 100 km downwind of the OS during these flights, and under these meteorological conditions was up to 82 tonnes/day. The combination of airborne measurements, laboratory experiments and box modelling indicated that semi

  4. MERCURY IN STAMP SAND DISCHARGES: IMPLICATIONS FOR LAKE SUPERIOR MERCURY CYCLING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Approximately a half billion tons of waste rock from the extraction of native copper and silver ores was discharged into the Lake Superior basin. Stamping was the method of choice to recover these metals from the surrounding poor rock. This process created large amounts of extre...

  5. Pseudomonas diversity in crude-oil-contaminated intertidal sand samples obtained after the Prestige oil spill.

    PubMed

    Mulet, Magdalena; David, Zoyla; Nogales, Balbina; Bosch, Rafael; Lalucat, Jorge; García-Valdés, Elena

    2011-02-01

    The Galicia seashore, in northwestern Spain, was one of the shorelines affected by the Prestige oil spill in November 2002. The diversity of autochthonous Pseudomonas populations present at two beaches (Carnota municipality) was analyzed using culture-independent and culture-dependent methods. The first analysis involved the screening of an rpoD gene library. The second involved the isolation of 94 Pseudomonas strains that were able to grow on selective media by direct plating or after serial enrichments on several carbon sources: biphenyl, gentisate, hexadecane, methylnaphthalene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, salicylate, xylene, and succinate. Eight denitrifying Pseudomonas strains were also isolated by their ability to grow anaerobically with nitrate. The calculated coverage index for Pseudomonas species was 89% when clones and isolates were considered together, and there were 29 phylospecies detected. The most abundant were members of the species P. stutzeri, P. putida, P. anguilliseptica, and P. oleovorans. Thirty-one isolates could not be identified at the species level and were considered representatives of 16 putative novel Pseudomonas species. One isolate was considered representative of a novel P. stutzeri genomovar. Concordant results were obtained when the diversities of the cloned DNA library and the cultured strains were compared. The clone library obtained by the rpoD PCR method was a useful tool for evaluating Pseudomonas communities and also for microdiversity studies of Pseudomonas populations. PMID:21131512

  6. Pseudomonas diversity in crude-oil-contaminated intertidal sand samples obtained after the Prestige oil spill.

    PubMed

    Mulet, Magdalena; David, Zoyla; Nogales, Balbina; Bosch, Rafael; Lalucat, Jorge; García-Valdés, Elena

    2011-02-01

    The Galicia seashore, in northwestern Spain, was one of the shorelines affected by the Prestige oil spill in November 2002. The diversity of autochthonous Pseudomonas populations present at two beaches (Carnota municipality) was analyzed using culture-independent and culture-dependent methods. The first analysis involved the screening of an rpoD gene library. The second involved the isolation of 94 Pseudomonas strains that were able to grow on selective media by direct plating or after serial enrichments on several carbon sources: biphenyl, gentisate, hexadecane, methylnaphthalene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, salicylate, xylene, and succinate. Eight denitrifying Pseudomonas strains were also isolated by their ability to grow anaerobically with nitrate. The calculated coverage index for Pseudomonas species was 89% when clones and isolates were considered together, and there were 29 phylospecies detected. The most abundant were members of the species P. stutzeri, P. putida, P. anguilliseptica, and P. oleovorans. Thirty-one isolates could not be identified at the species level and were considered representatives of 16 putative novel Pseudomonas species. One isolate was considered representative of a novel P. stutzeri genomovar. Concordant results were obtained when the diversities of the cloned DNA library and the cultured strains were compared. The clone library obtained by the rpoD PCR method was a useful tool for evaluating Pseudomonas communities and also for microdiversity studies of Pseudomonas populations.

  7. Sand patties provide evidence for the presence of Deepwater Horizon oil on the beaches of the West Florida Shelf.

    PubMed

    McDaniel, L D; Basso, J; Pulster, E; Paul, J H

    2015-08-15

    The ecological consequences of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill are both long-term and pervasive. The distribution of toxicity and mutagenicity in the Gulf of Mexico suggests oil from the DWH spill could have contaminated the West Florida Shelf (WFS). We utilized polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) analysis to determine presence and potential origin of oil contaminants in beach sand patty samples. PAH profiles from WFS beaches were statistically significantly similar to DWH contaminated samples from the Northeast Gulf of Mexico (Gulf Shores, AL; Ft. Pickens, FL). Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DOSS), a major component of Corexit 9500 dispersant was also detected in the sediments. DOSS concentrations ranged from 1.6 to 5.5ngg(-1) dry weight. Additionally, two samples from DWH oil contaminated beaches were acutely toxic and one WFS beach sediment sample was mutagenic. These observations provide support for the theory that DWH oil made its way onto beaches of the WFS.

  8. Dielectric properties of oil sands at 2.45 GHz with TE1,0,11 mode determined by a rectangular cavity resonator.

    PubMed

    Erdogan, Levent; Akyel, Cevdet; Ghannouchi, Fadhel M

    2011-01-01

    Oil obtained from oil sands resources constitute an important portion of the oil industry in Canada. Extraction of the bitumen from oil sands is very crucial process because of its cost and environmental impact. Microwave energy applicators by heating oil sands at microwave frequencies can be an excellent alternative to extract bitumen with the advantages of being potentially cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of extraction. In order to design and manufacture a microwave energy applicator, its dielectric properties must be known. In this study, as the first part of our ultimate microwave energy applicator project, in advance, the complex permittivity of oil sands was measured by using rectangular cavity resonator, designed and fabricated in Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal laboratories, at 2.45 GHz with TE1,0,1 mode. The accuracy of the permittivity measurement results obtained with the developed system was verified against those obtained using a commercial open-ended probe system as well the values of well known materials documented in open literature. Since there is no study found in the literature about the complex permittivity values of oil sands at 2.45 GHz, the present study would be of great help and important guide for those who plan to design and manufacture microwave energy applicators in order to extract the bitumen from the oil sands. PMID:24427869

  9. Bioprocessing-Based Approach for Bitumen/Water/Fines Separation and Hydrocarbon Recovery from Oil Sands Tailings

    DOE PAGES

    Brigmon, Robin L.; Berry, Christopher J.; Wade, Arielle; Simpson, Waltena

    2016-05-04

    Oil sands are a major source of oil, but their industrial processing generates tailings ponds that are an environmental hazard. The main concerns are mature fine tailings (MFT) composed of residual hydrocarbons, water, and fine clay. Tailings ponds include toxic contaminants such as heavy metals, and toxic organics including naphthenics. Naphthenic acids and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) degrade very slowly and pose a long-term threat to surface and groundwater, as they can be transported in the MFT. Research into improved technologies that would enable densification and settling of the suspended particles is ongoing. In batch tests, BioTiger™, a microbial consortium thatmore » can metabolize PAHs, demonstrated improved oil sands tailings settling from a Canadian tailings pond. Results also showed, depending on the timing of the measurements, lower suspended solids and turbidity. Elevated total organic carbon was observed in the first 48 hours in the BioTiger™-treated columns and then decreased in overlying water. Oil sands tailings mixed with BioTiger™ showed a two-fold reduction in suspended solids within 24 hours as compared to abiotic controls. The tailings treated with BioTiger™ increased in microbial densities three orders of magnitude from 8.5 × 105 CFU/mL to 1.2 × 108 CFU/mL without any other carbon or energy source added, indicating metabolism of hydrocarbons and other available nutrients. Results demonstrated that bioaugmentation of BioTiger™ increased separation of organic carbon from particles in oil sands and enhanced settling with tailings with improved water quality.« less

  10. Atmospheric dry deposition of sulfur and nitrogen in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Yu-Mei; Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Fenn, Mark E; Percy, Kevin E

    2016-10-15

    Due to the potential ecological effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems from atmospheric deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, this study was implemented to estimate atmospheric nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) inputs. Passive samplers were used to measure ambient concentrations of ammonia (NH3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric acid/nitrous acid (HNO3/HONO), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the AOSR. Concentrations of NO2 and SO2 in winter were higher than those in summer, while seasonal differences of NH3 and HNO3/HONO showed an opposite trend, with higher values in summer. Concentrations of NH3, NO2 and SO2 were high close to the emission sources (oil sands operations and urban areas). NH3 concentrations were also elevated in the southern portion of the domain indicating possible agricultural and urban emission sources to the southwest. HNO3, an oxidation endpoint, showed wider ranges of concentrations and a larger spatial extent. Concentrations of NH3, NO2, HNO3/HONO and SO2 from passive measurements and their monthly deposition velocities calculated by a multi-layer inference model (MLM) were used to calculate dry deposition of N and S. NH3 contributed the largest fraction of deposited N across the network, ranging between 0.70-1.25kgNha(-1)yr(-1), HNO3/HONO deposition ranged between 0.30-0.90kgNha(-1)yr(-1), and NO2 deposition between 0.03-0.70kgNha(-1)yr(-1). During the modeled period, average dry deposition of the inorganic gaseous N species ranged between 1.03 and 2.85kgNha(-1)yr(-1) and SO4-S deposition ranged between 0.26 and 2.04kgha(-1)yr(-1). Comparisons with co-measured ion exchange resin throughfall data (8.51kgSha(-1)yr(-1)) indicate that modeled dry deposition combined with measured wet deposition (1.37kgSha(-1)yr(-1)) underestimated S deposition. Gas phase NH3 (71%) and HNO3 plus NO2 (79%) dry deposition fluxes dominated the total deposition of NH4-N and NO3-N, respectively.

  11. Airborne Measurements of Aerosol Emissions From the Alberta Oil Sands Complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S. G.; Clarke, A. D.; McNaughton, C. S.; Freitag, S.

    2012-12-01

    The Alberta oil sands contain a vast reservoir of fossil hydrocarbons. The extremely viscous bitumen requires significant energy to extract and upgrade to make a fluid product suitable for pipelines and further refinement. The mining and upgrading process constitute a large industrial complex in an otherwise sparsely populated area of Canada. During the ARCTAS project in June/July 2008, while studying forest fire plumes, the NASA DC-8 and P-3B flew through the plume a total of 5 times. Once was a coordinated visit by both aircraft; the other 3 were fortuitous passes downwind. One study has been published about gas emissions from the complex. Here we concentrate on aerosol emissions and aging. As previously reported, there appear to be at least 2 types of plumes produced. One is an industrial-type plume with vast numbers of ultrafine particles, SO2, sulfate, black carbon (BC), CO, and NO2. The other, probably from the mining, has more organic aerosol and BC together with dust-like aerosols at 3 μm and a 1 μm mode of unknown origin. The DC-8 crossed the plume about 10 km downwind of the industrial site, giving time for the boundary layer to mix and enabling a very crude flux calculation suggesting that sulfate and organic aerosols were each produced at about 500 g/s (estimated errors are a factor of 2, chiefly due to concerns about vertical mixing). Since this was a single flight during a project dedicated to other purposes and operating conditions and weather may change fluxes considerably, this may not be a typical flux. As the plume progresses downwind, the ultrafine particles grow to sizes effective as cloud condensation nucei (CCN), SO2 is converted to sulfate, and organic aerosol is produced. During fair weather in the summer, as was the case during these flights, cloud convection pumps aerosol above the mixed layer. While the aerosol plume is difficult to detect from space, NO2 is measured by the OMI instrument an the Aura satellite and the oil sands plume

  12. Atmospheric dry deposition of sulfur and nitrogen in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Hsu, Yu-Mei; Bytnerowicz, Andrzej; Fenn, Mark E; Percy, Kevin E

    2016-10-15

    Due to the potential ecological effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems from atmospheric deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, this study was implemented to estimate atmospheric nitrogen (N) and sulfur (S) inputs. Passive samplers were used to measure ambient concentrations of ammonia (NH3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric acid/nitrous acid (HNO3/HONO), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the AOSR. Concentrations of NO2 and SO2 in winter were higher than those in summer, while seasonal differences of NH3 and HNO3/HONO showed an opposite trend, with higher values in summer. Concentrations of NH3, NO2 and SO2 were high close to the emission sources (oil sands operations and urban areas). NH3 concentrations were also elevated in the southern portion of the domain indicating possible agricultural and urban emission sources to the southwest. HNO3, an oxidation endpoint, showed wider ranges of concentrations and a larger spatial extent. Concentrations of NH3, NO2, HNO3/HONO and SO2 from passive measurements and their monthly deposition velocities calculated by a multi-layer inference model (MLM) were used to calculate dry deposition of N and S. NH3 contributed the largest fraction of deposited N across the network, ranging between 0.70-1.25kgNha(-1)yr(-1), HNO3/HONO deposition ranged between 0.30-0.90kgNha(-1)yr(-1), and NO2 deposition between 0.03-0.70kgNha(-1)yr(-1). During the modeled period, average dry deposition of the inorganic gaseous N species ranged between 1.03 and 2.85kgNha(-1)yr(-1) and SO4-S deposition ranged between 0.26 and 2.04kgha(-1)yr(-1). Comparisons with co-measured ion exchange resin throughfall data (8.51kgSha(-1)yr(-1)) indicate that modeled dry deposition combined with measured wet deposition (1.37kgSha(-1)yr(-1)) underestimated S deposition. Gas phase NH3 (71%) and HNO3 plus NO2 (79%) dry deposition fluxes dominated the total deposition of NH4-N and NO3-N, respectively. PMID:27295600

  13. Oil sands thickened froth treatment tailings exhibit acid rock drainage potential during evaporative drying.

    PubMed

    Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2015-02-01

    Bitumen extraction from oil sands ores after surface mining produces different tailings waste streams: 'froth treatment tailings' are enriched in pyrite relative to other streams. Tailings treatment can include addition of organic polymers to produce thickened tailings (TT). TT may be further de-watered by deposition into geotechnical cells for evaporative drying to increase shear strength prior to reclamation. To examine the acid rock drainage (ARD) potential of TT, we performed predictive analyses and laboratory experiments on material from field trials of two types of thickened froth treatment tailings (TT1 and TT2). Acid-base accounting (ABA) of initial samples showed that both TT1 and TT2 initially had net acid-producing potential, with ABA values of -141 and -230 t CaCO₃ equiv. 1000 t(-1) of TT, respectively. In long-term kinetic experiments, duplicate ~2-kg samples of TT were incubated in shallow trays and intermittently irrigated under air flow for 459 days to simulate evaporative field drying. Leachates collected from both TT samples initially had pH~6.8 that began decreasing after ~50 days (TT2) or ~250 days (TT1), stabilizing at pH~2. Correspondingly, the redox potential of leachates increased from 100-200 mV to 500-580 mV and electrical conductivity increased from 2-5 dS m(-1) to 26 dS m(-1), indicating dissolution of minerals during ARD. The rapid onset and prolonged ARD observed with TT2 is attributed to its greater pyrite (13.4%) and lower carbonate (1.4%) contents versus the slower onset of ARD in TT1 (initially 6.0% pyrite and 2.5% carbonates). 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing analysis revealed rapid shift in microbial community when conditions became strongly acidic (pH~2) favoring the enrichment of Acidithiobacillus and Sulfobacillus bacteria in TT. This is the first report showing ARD potential of TT and the results have significant implications for effective management of pyrite-enriched oil sands tailings streams/deposits. PMID:25306090

  14. Oil sands thickened froth treatment tailings exhibit acid rock drainage potential during evaporative drying.

    PubMed

    Kuznetsov, Petr; Kuznetsova, Alsu; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2015-02-01

    Bitumen extraction from oil sands ores after surface mining produces different tailings waste streams: 'froth treatment tailings' are enriched in pyrite relative to other streams. Tailings treatment can include addition of organic polymers to produce thickened tailings (TT). TT may be further de-watered by deposition into geotechnical cells for evaporative drying to increase shear strength prior to reclamation. To examine the acid rock drainage (ARD) potential of TT, we performed predictive analyses and laboratory experiments on material from field trials of two types of thickened froth treatment tailings (TT1 and TT2). Acid-base accounting (ABA) of initial samples showed that both TT1 and TT2 initially had net acid-producing potential, with ABA values of -141 and -230 t CaCO₃ equiv. 1000 t(-1) of TT, respectively. In long-term kinetic experiments, duplicate ~2-kg samples of TT were incubated in shallow trays and intermittently irrigated under air flow for 459 days to simulate evaporative field drying. Leachates collected from both TT samples initially had pH~6.8 that began decreasing after ~50 days (TT2) or ~250 days (TT1), stabilizing at pH~2. Correspondingly, the redox potential of leachates increased from 100-200 mV to 500-580 mV and electrical conductivity increased from 2-5 dS m(-1) to 26 dS m(-1), indicating dissolution of minerals during ARD. The rapid onset and prolonged ARD observed with TT2 is attributed to its greater pyrite (13.4%) and lower carbonate (1.4%) contents versus the slower onset of ARD in TT1 (initially 6.0% pyrite and 2.5% carbonates). 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing analysis revealed rapid shift in microbial community when conditions became strongly acidic (pH~2) favoring the enrichment of Acidithiobacillus and Sulfobacillus bacteria in TT. This is the first report showing ARD potential of TT and the results have significant implications for effective management of pyrite-enriched oil sands tailings streams/deposits.

  15. The extraction of bitumen from western oil sands. Final report, July 1989--September 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Oblad, A.G.; Bunger, J.W.; Dahlstrom, D.A.; Deo, M.D.; Fletcher, J.V.; Hanson, F.V.; Miller, J.D.; Seader, J.D.

    1994-03-01

    Research and development of surface extraction and upgrading processes of western tar sands are described. Research areas included modified hot water, fluidized bed, and rotary kiln pyrolysis of tar sands for extraction of bitumen. Bitumen upgrading included solvent extraction of bitumen, and catalytic hydrotreating of bitumen. Characterization of Utah tar sand deposits is also included.

  16. Deepwater Horizon Oil-Protection Sand Berm and its Morphologic Interactions with a Natural Barrier Island: an Overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sallenger, A. H.; Plant, N. G.; Flocks, J.; Long, J. W.; Miselis, J. L.; Sherwood, C. R.; Hansen, M.; Nayegandhi, A.; Wright, W.

    2011-12-01

    After the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, Louisiana received permission to build a sand berm parallel to and offshore of the ~30-km-long Chandeleur Islands to capture floating oil and keep it from reaching mainland marshes. The berm was built with dredged sand to a height of approximately 2 m above mean sea level and within 100 m of the Gulf-side of the natural barrier island. Here, we update the status of the sand berm and how its morphology has evolved since construction began in June 2010. This is part of a study of morphologic change involving time series of airborne lidar topographic and bathymetric surveys, boat acoustic bathymetric surveys, satellite imagery, and modeling of sediment transport. Waves and sea level are being monitored with models and in-situ sensors. We will examine, as of our latest surveys, whether the introduction of new sand from the berm has significantly changed peak elevations, Dhigh, along the natural islands and hence changed island vulnerability to being overtopped by storm-driven water levels, such as still-water level (η, due to tides, surge, and wave setup) and runup (R, due to swash). Vulnerabilities to overwash, where R > Dhigh, and inundation, where η > Dhigh, will be identified. We will investigate the impacts on the berm and island of extra-tropical storms through June 2011 and tropical storms through the hurricane season of summer and early fall 2011. For example, during a storm in early January 2011, significant wave heights of 4.9 m generated runup on the berm where R > Dhigh. Four breaches were cut through the berm, the largest 590 m wide. This study provides a unique opportunity to investigate the wave and current transport of a large quantity of introduced sand and determine whether and how the sand nourishes a severely eroding barrier island.

  17. Technology assessment: environmental, health, and safety impacts associated with oil recovery from US tar-sand deposits

    SciTech Connect

    Daniels, J.I.; Anspaugh, L.R.; Ricker, Y.E.

    1981-10-13

    The tar-sand resources of the US have the potential to yield as much as 36 billion barrels (bbls) of oil. The tar-sand petroleum-extraction technologies now being considered for commercialization in the United States include both surface (above ground) systems and in situ (underground) procedures. The surface systems currently receiving the most attention include: (1) thermal decomposition processes (retorting); (2) suspension methods (solvent extraction); and (3) washing techniques (water separation). Underground bitumen extraction techniques now being field tested are: (1) in situ combustion; and (2) in situ steam-injection procedures. At this time, any commercial tar-sand facility in the US will have to comply with at least 7 major federal regulations in addition to state regulations; building, electrical, and fire codes; and petroleum-industry construction standards. Pollution-control methods needed by tar-sand technologies to comply with regulatory standards and to protect air, land, and water quality will probably be similar to those already proposed for commercial oil-shale systems. The costs of these systems could range from about $1.20 to $2.45 per barrel of oil produced. Estimates of potential pollution-emisson levels affecting land, air, and water were calculated from available data related to current surface and in situ tar-sand field experiments in the US. These data were then extrapolated to determine pollutant levels expected from conceptual commercial surface and in situ facilities producing 20,000 bbl/d. The likelihood-of-occurrence of these impacts was then assessed. Experience from other industries, including information concerning health and ecosystem damage from air pollutants, measurements of ground-water transport of organic pollutants, and the effectiveness of environmental-control technologies was used to make this assessment.

  18. Examination of mercury and organic carbon dynamics from a constructed fen in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada using in situ and laboratory fluorescence measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oswald, C.; Carey, S. K.

    2013-12-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region, mined landscapes must be reclaimed to a functioning natural ecosystem as part of the mine closure process. To test wetland construction techniques on oil sands tailings, 55 ha of mined landscape on the Syncrude Canada Ltd. property is being reclaimed to a watershed containing a graminoid fen. The 18 ha constructed fen consists of an approximately 50 cm thick peat-mineral soil layer separated from underlying tailings sand by a thin layer of clay till. The water table in the fen is maintained by pumping water into the fen from a nearby lake and controlling outflow with under-drains. The objective of this study was to assess total mercury (THg) and methyl mercury (MeHg) concentration dynamics in water exported from the fen in relation to organic carbon quantity and composition. Water quality data from summer 2012 when the fen pumps were first turned on show that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations are on average twice as high in water flowing through the underlying tailings sand aquifer (median: 42.0 mg/L) compared to DOC concentrations in water flowing through the fen peat package (median: 20.3 mg/L). Given these DOC concentrations, filtered THg concentrations are very low (median values are 0.81 ng/L and 0.17 ng/L for water flowing through the fen peat and sand tailings, respectively) compared to concentrations reported for other boreal wetlands. Although a relationship was identified between filtered THg and DOC (r2=0.60), its slope (0.06 ng Hg/mg C) is an order-of-magnitude smaller than the typical range of slopes found at other wetland sites potentially suggesting a small pool of mercury in the peat and/or limited partitioning of mercury into solution. Filtered MeHg concentrations in all water samples are near the limit of detection and suggest that biogeochemical conditions conducive to methylation did not exist in the fen peat or tailings sand at the time of sampling. In addition to these baseline THg and Me

  19. Environmental, health, safety, and socioeconomic concerns associated with oil recovery from US tar-sand deposits: state-of-knowledge

    SciTech Connect

    Daniels, J.I.; Anspaugh, L.R.; Ricker, Y.E.

    1982-01-08

    Tar-sand petroleum-extraction procedures undergoing field testing for possible commercial application in the US include both surface (above-ground) and in situ (underground) procedures. The surface tar-sand systems currently being field tested in the US are thermal decomposition processes (retorting), and suspension methods (solvent extraction). Underground bitumen extraction procedures that are also being field tested domestically are in situ combustion and steam-injection. Environmental, health, safety, and socioeconomic concerns associated with construction and operation of 20,000-bbl/d commercial tar-sand surface and in situ facilities have been estimated and are summarized in this report. The principal regulations that commercial tar-sand facilities will need to address are also discussed, and environmental control technologies are summarized and wherever possible, projected costs of emission controls are stated. Finally, the likelihood-of-occurrence of potential environmental, health, and safety problems that have been determined are reviewed, and from this information inference is made as to the environmental acceptability of technologically feasible 20,000-bbl/d commercial tar-sand oil-extraction procedures.

  20. Predicting project environmental performance under market uncertainties: case study of oil sands coke.

    PubMed

    McKellar, Jennifer M; Bergerson, Joule A; Kettunen, Janne; MacLean, Heather L

    2013-06-01

    A method combining life cycle assessment (LCA) and real options analyses is developed to predict project environmental and financial performance over time, under market uncertainties and decision-making flexibility. The method is applied to examine alternative uses for oil sands coke, a carbonaceous byproduct of processing the unconventional petroleum found in northern Alberta, Canada. Under uncertainties in natural gas price and the imposition of a carbon price, our method identifies that selling the coke to China for electricity generation by integrated gasification combined cycle is likely to be financially preferred initially, but eventually hydrogen production in Alberta is likely to be preferred. Compared to the results of a previous study that used life cycle costing to identify the financially preferred alternative, the inclusion of real options analysis adds value as it accounts for flexibility in decision-making (e.g., to delay investment), increasing the project's expected net present value by 25% and decreasing the expected life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 11%. Different formulations of the carbon pricing policy or changes to the natural gas price forecast alter these findings. The combined LCA/real options method provides researchers and decision-makers with more comprehensive information than can be provided by either technique alone. PMID:23675646

  1. Modeling soil acidification in the Athabasca Oil Sands region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Whitfield, Colin J; Aherne, Julian; Watmough, Shaun A

    2009-08-01

    Industrial activities have proliferated across Canada's Athabasca Oil Sands Region in recent years, stimulating concerns over the impact of atmospheric sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions on acid-sensitive terrain. Upland jack pine forests have been identified as possibly the most sensitive ecosystem in the region but despite high emissions of SO2, sulfur (S) deposition is relatively low across much of the region. The response of forest soils at 11 locations that exhibit low estimated weathering rates (< 10 mmol(c) x m(-2) x yr(-1)) was simulated for the period 1900-2100 using a dynamic hydrogeochemical model assuming no change or doubling of S deposition. The model predicted minimal impact on soil base saturation (BS), but a decline in soil solution base cation (BC) to aluminum (Al) ratio (BC:Al). The regional effects-based emissions management framework uses modeled changes in these two parameters relative to site-specific chemical thresholds to trigger actions to reduce S emissions. Modeled changes in BS are insufficient to invoke a response. Under base case conditions, modeled BC:Al reaches the chemical threshold at two and three sites within 15 and 30 years, respectively. Under conditions of double S deposition, seven sites are simulated to reach the threshold within 30 years. Nonetheless, the chemical thresholds are stringent relative to critical chemical criteria used elsewhere and the impacts of acidic deposition in the region are anticipated to be limited.

  2. Oxidation of Oil Sands Process-Affected Water by Potassium Ferrate(VI).

    PubMed

    Wang, Chengjin; Klamerth, Nikolaus; Huang, Rongfu; Elnakar, Haitham; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2016-04-19

    This paper investigates the oxidation of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) by potassium ferrate(VI). Due to the selectivity of ferrate(VI) oxidation, two-ring and three-ring fluorescing aromatics were preferentially removed at doses <100 mg/L Fe(VI), and one-ring aromatics were removed only at doses ≥100 mg/L Fe(VI). Ferrate(VI) oxidation achieved 64.0% and 78.4% removal of naphthenic acids (NAs) at the dose of 200 mg/L and 400 mg/L Fe(VI) respectively, and NAs with high carbon number and ring number were removed preferentially. (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H NMR) spectra indicated that the oxidation of fluorescing aromatics resulted in the opening of some aromatic rings. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) analysis detected signals of organic radical intermediates, indicating that one-electron transfer is one of the probable mechanisms in the oxidation of NAs. The inhibition effect of OSPW on Vibrio fischeri and the toxicity effect on goldfish primary kidney macrophages (PKMs) were both reduced after ferrate(VI) oxidation. The fluorescing aromatics in OSPW were proposed to be an important contributor to this acute toxicity. Degradation of model compounds with ferrate(VI) was also investigated and the results confirmed our findings in OSPW study. PMID:27008571

  3. Air Quality Over the Canadian Oil Sands: A First Assessment Using Satellite Observations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McLinden, C. A.; Fioletov, V.; Boersma, K. F.; Krotkov, N.; Sioris, C. E.; Veefkind, J. P.; Yang, K.

    2012-01-01

    Results from the first assessment of air quality over the Canadian oil sands -- one ofthe largest industrial undertakings in human history -- using satellite remote sensing observations of two pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (N0O) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are presented. High-resolution maps were created that revealed distinct enhancements in both species over an area (roughly 30 km x 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 NO2 between 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.

  4. Sulfate reducing bacteria and their activities in oil sands process-affected water biofilm.

    PubMed

    Liu, Hong; Yu, Tong; Liu, Yang

    2015-12-01

    Biofilm reactors were constructed to grow stratified multispecies biofilm in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) supplemented with growth medium. The development of sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) within the biofilm and the biofilm treatment of OSPW were evaluated. The community structure and potential activity of SRB in the biofilm were investigated with H2S microsensor measurements, dsrB gene-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), and the real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Multispecies biofilm with a thickness of 1000 μm was successfully developed on engineered biocarriers. H2S production was observed in the deeper anoxic zone of the biofilm from around 750 μm to 1000 μm below the bulk water-biofilm interface, revealing sulfate reduction in the deeper zone of the stratified biofilm. The biofilm removed chemical oxygen demand (COD), sulfate, and nitrogen. The study expands current knowledge of biofilm treatment of OSPW and the function of anaerobic SRB in OSPW biofilm, and thus provides information for future bioreactor development in the reclamation of OSPW.

  5. Woody plant establishment in grassed reclamation areas of the Athabasca oil sands

    SciTech Connect

    Fedkenheuer, A.W.

    1980-12-01

    The primary end land use for areas disturbed by the Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands surface mining venture is forest cover. Short term erosion control is of concern, however, and this results in the early establishment of a grass and legume cover. Problems have subsequently been encountered in attempts to establish woody plants in the grass and legume cover. Vegetation competition for soil moisture and nutrients and rodent damage to woody seedlings have been the major problem areas. A study was initiated in 1978 to evaluate methods of manipulating the grass and legume cover sufficiently to improve success rates in establishing a variety of shrubs and trees. Five replicated treatments using the chemical herbicide glyphosate, soil scarification and fire alone plus soil scarification were established on an area seeded to grass and legumes in spring 1976. Woody plant survival and rodent damage, populations and distribution are being assessed annually in spring and fall. Rodent damage to woody seedlings was heavy in fall 1978 with 80 percent of the deciduous seedlings on non-scarified plots being damaged. In June 1979, 98 percent of the deciduous plants on the control and herbicide treatment areas were damaged. Damage to conifers was approximately 30 percent less during this time. Prescribed burning and mechanical scarification substantially reduced rodent damage. Seedling survival was variable with Amelanchier alnifolia, Pinus contorta and Populus tremuloides consistently exhibiting the highest survival rates.

  6. Identification of estrogenic compounds in oil sands process waters by effect directed analysis.

    PubMed

    Yue, Siqing; Ramsay, Bruce A; Brown, R Stephen; Wang, Jiaxi; Ramsay, Juliana A

    2015-01-01

    Using effect directed analysis, the presence of estrogenic components in untreated and biologically treated oil sands process water (OSPW) was detected with the yeast estrogenic screening assay after fractionation with solid phase extraction followed by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. Comparison of the composition, as determined by electrospray ionization combined with high-resolution linear trap quadropole (LTQ)-Orbitrap Velos Pro hybrid mass spectrometry (negative ion) of selected estrogenic and nonestrogenic fractions identified compounds that were uniquely present in the estrogenic samples, biologically treated and untreated. Of the 30 most abundant compounds, there were 14 possible nonaromatic structures and 16 possible aromatic structures. Based on the published literature, the latter are the most likely to cause estrogenicity and were O2, O3 and O4 C17 to C20 compounds with double bond equivalents between 6 and 10 and chemical formulas similar to estrone- and estradiol-like compounds. This study shows exact formulas and masses of possible estrogenic compounds in OSPW. These findings will help to focus study on the most environmentally significant components in OSPW.

  7. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) vertical column density measurements by Pandora spectrometer over the Canadian oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fioletov, Vitali E.; McLinden, Chris A.; Cede, Alexander; Davies, Jonathan; Mihele, Cristian; Netcheva, Stoyka; Li, Shao-Meng; O'Brien, Jason

    2016-07-01

    Vertical column densities (VCDs) of SO2 retrieved by a Pandora spectral sun photometer at Fort McKay, Alberta, Canada, from 2013 to 2015 were analysed. The Fort McKay site is located in the Canadian oil sands region, approximately 20 km north of two major SO2 sources (upgraders), with total emission of about 45 kt yr-1. Elevated SO2 VCD values were frequently recorded by the instrument, with the highest values of about 9 Dobson Units (DU; DU = 2.69 × 1016 molecules cm-2). Comparisons with co-located in situ measurements demonstrated that there was a very good correlation between VCDs and surface concentrations in some cases, while in other cases, elevated VCDs did not correspond to high surface concentrations, suggesting the plume was above the ground. Elevated VCDs and surface concentrations were observed when the wind direction was from south to southeast, i.e. from the direction of the two local SO2 sources. The precision of the SO2 measurements, estimated from parallel measurements by two Pandora instruments at Toronto, is 0.17 DU. The total uncertainty of Pandora SO2 VCD, estimated using measurements when the wind direction was away from the sources, is less than 0.26 DU (1σ). Comparisons with integrated SO2 profiles from concurrent aircraft measurements support these estimates.

  8. Predicting project environmental performance under market uncertainties: case study of oil sands coke.

    PubMed

    McKellar, Jennifer M; Bergerson, Joule A; Kettunen, Janne; MacLean, Heather L

    2013-06-01

    A method combining life cycle assessment (LCA) and real options analyses is developed to predict project environmental and financial performance over time, under market uncertainties and decision-making flexibility. The method is applied to examine alternative uses for oil sands coke, a carbonaceous byproduct of processing the unconventional petroleum found in northern Alberta, Canada. Under uncertainties in natural gas price and the imposition of a carbon price, our method identifies that selling the coke to China for electricity generation by integrated gasification combined cycle is likely to be financially preferred initially, but eventually hydrogen production in Alberta is likely to be preferred. Compared to the results of a previous study that used life cycle costing to identify the financially preferred alternative, the inclusion of real options analysis adds value as it accounts for flexibility in decision-making (e.g., to delay investment), increasing the project's expected net present value by 25% and decreasing the expected life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 11%. Different formulations of the carbon pricing policy or changes to the natural gas price forecast alter these findings. The combined LCA/real options method provides researchers and decision-makers with more comprehensive information than can be provided by either technique alone.

  9. Toxicity and composition profiles of solid phase extracts of oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Yue, Siqing; Ramsay, Bruce A; Wang, Jiaxi; Ramsay, Juliana

    2015-12-15

    After fractionation using sequential solid phase extraction, the presence of toxic components in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) was detected by the Microtox® acute toxicity assay using effect-directed analysis. The composition of each fraction was determined by high-resolution electrospray ionization-Orbitrap mass spectrometry. Partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) was used to determine which chemical constituents in all seven fractions co-varied most strongly with toxicity. Although O2 compounds with double bond equivalence (DBE) between 3 and 9 positively correlated with toxicity, C15-C18 O2-NAs with DBE=4 (tricyclic structure), as well as C14-C17 O2-NAs with DBE=3 (bicyclic structure), were found to be most likely associated with OSPW toxicity, consistent with published toxicity studies of surrogate NAs. O4, many O3 (i.e. possibly hydroxylated O2 c-NAs) and a few O2 compounds were found to negatively correlate with toxicity. The results demonstrate the utility of the fractionation and the PLS-DA approach for evaluating composition-response relationships in a complex mixture and also contribute to a better understanding of the toxic compounds in OSPW. These findings will help to focus study on the most environmentally significant components in OSPW. PMID:26318810

  10. Identification of estrogenic compounds in oil sands process waters by effect directed analysis.

    PubMed

    Yue, Siqing; Ramsay, Bruce A; Brown, R Stephen; Wang, Jiaxi; Ramsay, Juliana A

    2015-01-01

    Using effect directed analysis, the presence of estrogenic components in untreated and biologically treated oil sands process water (OSPW) was detected with the yeast estrogenic screening assay after fractionation with solid phase extraction followed by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. Comparison of the composition, as determined by electrospray ionization combined with high-resolution linear trap quadropole (LTQ)-Orbitrap Velos Pro hybrid mass spectrometry (negative ion) of selected estrogenic and nonestrogenic fractions identified compounds that were uniquely present in the estrogenic samples, biologically treated and untreated. Of the 30 most abundant compounds, there were 14 possible nonaromatic structures and 16 possible aromatic structures. Based on the published literature, the latter are the most likely to cause estrogenicity and were O2, O3 and O4 C17 to C20 compounds with double bond equivalents between 6 and 10 and chemical formulas similar to estrone- and estradiol-like compounds. This study shows exact formulas and masses of possible estrogenic compounds in OSPW. These findings will help to focus study on the most environmentally significant components in OSPW. PMID:25521156

  11. Impact of polymeric membrane filtration of oil sands process water on organic compounds quantification.

    PubMed

    Moustafa, Ahmed M A; Kim, Eun-Sik; Alpatova, Alla; Sun, Nian; Smith, Scott; Kang, Seoktae; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2014-01-01

    The interaction between organic fractions in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) and three polymeric membranes with varying hydrophilicity (nylon, polyvinylidene fluoride and polytetrafluoroethylene) at different pHs was studied to evaluate the impact of filtration on the quantification of acid-extractable fraction (AEF) and naphthenic acids (NAs). Four functional groups predominated in OSPW (amine, phosphoryl, carboxyl and hydroxyl) as indicated by the linear programming method. The nylon membranes were the most hydrophilic and exhibited the lowest AEF removal at pH of 8.7. However, the adsorption of AEF on the membranes increased as the pH of OSPW decreased due to hydrophobic interactions between the membrane surfaces and the protonated molecules. The use of ultra pressure liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (UPLC/HRMS) showed insignificant adsorption of NAs on the tested membranes at pH 8.7. However, 26±2.4% adsorption of NAs was observed at pH 5.3 following the protonation of NAs species. For the nylon membrane, excessive carboxylic acids in the commercial NAs caused the formation of negatively charged assisted hydrogen bonds, resulting in increased adsorption at pH 8.2 (25%) as compared to OSPW (0%). The use of membranes for filtration of soluble compounds from complex oily wastewaters before quantification analysis of AEF and NAs should be examined prior to application.

  12. Pseudomonads biodegradation of aromatic compounds in oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yanyan; McPhedran, Kerry N; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2015-07-15

    Aromatic naphthenic acids (NAs) have been shown to be more toxic than the classical NAs found in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). To reduce this toxicity, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Pseudomonas putida were used to determine their ability to biodegrade aromatic compounds including treatments considering the impacts of external carbon and iron addition. Results showed that with added carbon P. fluorescens and P. putida have the capability of biodegrading these aromatics. In the presence of external carbon, gene expression of a functional PAH-ring hydroxylating dioxygenase (PAH-RHDα) was determined through reverse transcription real-time PCR, suggesting active degradation of OSPW aromatic compounds. Although no significant classical NAs removal was observed during this process, toxicity was reduced by 49.3% under optimal conditions. OSPW toxicity was eliminated with the combination of ozonation at a dose of 80 mg/L followed by biodegradation, indicating that it is a promising combined OSPW treatment approach for the safe discharge to the aquatic environment.

  13. Receptor Modeling of Epiphytic Lichens to Elucidate the Sources and SpatialDistribution of Inorganic Air Pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    EPA Science Inventory

    The contribution of inorganic air pollutant emissions to atmospheric deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of Alberta, Canada was investigated in the surrounding boreal forests, using a common epiphytic lichen bio-indicator species (Hypogymnia physodes) and applyi...

  14. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in caribou, moose, and wolf scat samples from three areas of the Alberta oil sands.

    PubMed

    Lundin, Jessica I; Riffell, Jeffrey A; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-11-01

    Impacts of toxic substances from oil production in the Alberta oil sands (AOS), such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), have been widely debated. Studies have been largely restricted to exposures from surface mining in aquatic species. We measured PAHs in Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), moose (Alces americanus), and Grey wolf (Canis lupus) across three areas that varied in magnitude of in situ oil production. Our results suggest a distinction of PAH level and source profile (petro/pyrogenic) between study areas and species. Caribou samples indicated pyrogenic sourced PAHs in the study area previously devastated by forest fire. Moose and wolf samples from the high oil production area demonstrated PAH ratios indicative of a petrogenic source and increased PAHs, respectively. These findings emphasize the importance of broadening monitoring and research programs in the AOS.

  15. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in caribou, moose, and wolf scat samples from three areas of the Alberta oil sands.

    PubMed

    Lundin, Jessica I; Riffell, Jeffrey A; Wasser, Samuel K

    2015-11-01

    Impacts of toxic substances from oil production in the Alberta oil sands (AOS), such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), have been widely debated. Studies have been largely restricted to exposures from surface mining in aquatic species. We measured PAHs in Woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), moose (Alces americanus), and Grey wolf (Canis lupus) across three areas that varied in magnitude of in situ oil production. Our results suggest a distinction of PAH level and source profile (petro/pyrogenic) between study areas and species. Caribou samples indicated pyrogenic sourced PAHs in the study area previously devastated by forest fire. Moose and wolf samples from the high oil production area demonstrated PAH ratios indicative of a petrogenic source and increased PAHs, respectively. These findings emphasize the importance of broadening monitoring and research programs in the AOS. PMID:26284348

  16. 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)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noah, M.; Vieth-Hillebrand, A.; Wilkes, H.

    2012-04-01

    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

  17. Monitoring the Effects of Oil Sands Process-Affected Water (OSPW) on Thecamoebian Assemblages: An Experimental Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christie, D. G.; McCarthy, F. F.; Penner, T.; MacKinnon, M. M.

    2009-05-01

    Thecamoebian (testate amoeba) assemblages have been shown to respond over short time periods to environmental conditions in aquatic reclamation options under development at oil sands operations in northeastern Alberta. This makes them a useful bio-monitoring tool for assessing reclamation success. Thecamoebian responses to Oil Sands Process Water (OSPW) have been monitored in the field at lacustrine and wetland test sites established by Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Ltd. These field studies have confirmed that the generation times of testate amoebas is sufficiently rapid to permit the construction of a controlled laboratory experiment to be completed within one year, where controlled exposures of a natural assemblage of thecamoebians to OSPW can be undertaken to better understand the community responses to stressors We intend to culture these protists in the lab and monitor their response to different concentrations of OSPW in a controlled environment. Survival and changes in relative community composition (difflugiids vs. centropyxids) will be used to establish the dilution of OSPW in which thecameobians can survive and examine how a natural assemblage changes over time in response to increased concentrations of OSPW. This will assist in reclamation management in the Oil Sands region of Alberta.

  18. Plasma proteome profiles of White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) from the Athabasca River within the oil sands deposit.

    PubMed

    Simmons, Denina B D; Sherry, James P

    2016-09-01

    There are questions about the potential for oil sands related chemicals to enter the Athabasca River, whether from tailing ponds, atmospheric deposition, precipitation, or transport of mining dust, at concentrations sufficient to negatively impact the health of biota. We applied shotgun proteomics to generate protein profiles of mature male and female White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) that were collected from various sites along the main stem of the Athabasca River in 2011 and 2012. On average, 399±131 (standard deviation) proteins were identified in fish plasma from each location in both years. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis software was used to determine the proteins' core functions and to compare the datasets by location, year, and sex. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to determine if variation in the number of proteins related to a core function among all male and female individuals from both sampling years was affected by location. The core biological functions of plasma proteins that were common to both sampling years for males and females from each location were also estimated separately (based on Ingenuity's Knowledge Base). PCA revealed site-specific differences in the functional characteristics of the plasma proteome from white sucker sampled from downstream of oil sands extraction facilities compared with fish from upstream. Plasma proteins that were unique to fish downstream of oil sands extraction were related to lipid metabolism, small molecule biochemistry, vitamin and mineral metabolism, endocrine system disorders, skeletal and muscular development and function, neoplasia, carcinomas, and gastrointestinal disease. PMID:27013027

  19. A Decade of Change in NO2 and SO2 over the Canadian Oil Sands As Seen from Space.

    PubMed

    McLinden, Chris A; Fioletov, Vitali; Krotkov, Nickolay A; Li, Can; Boersma, K Folkert; Adams, Cristen

    2016-01-01

    A decade (2005-2014) of observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) were used to examine trends in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) over a large region of western Canada and the northern United States, with a focus on the Canadian oil sands. In the oil sands, primarily over an area of intensive surface mining, NO2 tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) are seen to be increasing by as much as 10%/year, with the location of the largest trends in a newly developing NO2 "lobe" well removed from surface monitoring stations. SO2 VCDs in the oil sands have remained approximately constant. The only other significant increase in the region was seen in NO2 over Bakken gas fields in North Dakota which showed increases of up to 5%/yr. By contrast, other locations in the region show substantial declines in both pollutants, providing strong evidence to the efficacy of environmental pollution control measures implemented by both nations. The OMI-derived trends were found to be consistent with those from the Canadian surface monitoring network, although in the case of SO2, it was necessary to apply a correction in order to remove the residual signal from volcanic eruptions present in the OMI data. PMID:26642237

  20. A Decade of Change in NO2 and SO2 over the Canadian Oil Sands As Seen from Space.

    PubMed

    McLinden, Chris A; Fioletov, Vitali; Krotkov, Nickolay A; Li, Can; Boersma, K Folkert; Adams, Cristen

    2016-01-01

    A decade (2005-2014) of observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) were used to examine trends in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) over a large region of western Canada and the northern United States, with a focus on the Canadian oil sands. In the oil sands, primarily over an area of intensive surface mining, NO2 tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) are seen to be increasing by as much as 10%/year, with the location of the largest trends in a newly developing NO2 "lobe" well removed from surface monitoring stations. SO2 VCDs in the oil sands have remained approximately constant. The only other significant increase in the region was seen in NO2 over Bakken gas fields in North Dakota which showed increases of up to 5%/yr. By contrast, other locations in the region show substantial declines in both pollutants, providing strong evidence to the efficacy of environmental pollution control measures implemented by both nations. The OMI-derived trends were found to be consistent with those from the Canadian surface monitoring network, although in the case of SO2, it was necessary to apply a correction in order to remove the residual signal from volcanic eruptions present in the OMI data.

  1. Variability and uncertainty in life cycle assessment models for greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian oil sands production.

    PubMed

    Brandt, Adam R

    2012-01-17

    Because of interest in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels production, a number of recent life cycle assessment (LCA) studies have calculated GHG emissions from oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining pathways. The results from these studies vary considerably. This paper reviews factors affecting energy consumption and GHG emissions from oil sands extraction. It then uses publicly available data to analyze the assumptions made in the LCA models to better understand the causes of variability in emissions estimates. It is found that the variation in oil sands GHG estimates is due to a variety of causes. In approximate order of importance, these are scope of modeling and choice of projects analyzed (e.g., specific projects vs industry averages); differences in assumed energy intensities of extraction and upgrading; differences in the fuel mix assumptions; treatment of secondary noncombustion emissions sources, such as venting, flaring, and fugitive emissions; and treatment of ecological emissions sources, such as land-use change-associated emissions. The GHGenius model is recommended as the LCA model that is most congruent with reported industry average data. GHGenius also has the most comprehensive system boundaries. Last, remaining uncertainties and future research needs are discussed.

  2. Understanding ozone formation and the radical budget during oil sands plume transport in the Athabasca region of Alberta

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moussa, S. G.; Leithead, A.; Li, S. M.; Wang, D. K.; O'brien, J.; Mittermeier, R. L.; Gordon, M.; Staebler, R. M.; Liu, P.; Liggio, J.

    2015-12-01

    The sources of ozone and hydroxyl radicals (OH) in the Alberta oil sands (OS) region have not previously been well characterized. In the summer of 2013, airborne measurements of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO2+NO) and ozone were made in the Athabasca OS region between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Proton Transfer Reaction-Time of Flight-Mass Spectrometry (PTR-ToF-MS) and whole air samples were used to measure VOCs. A box model incorporating the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM v3.3), was constrained by measured chemical species and meteorological parameters and used to simulate the evolution of an OS plume. In doing so, an improved understanding of the chemical factors controlling the radical budget and the evolution of ozone in oil sands plumes is achieved. Our results indicate that approximately 20% of the in-plume generated OH radicals are derived from primary sources (HCHO, O3 and HONO photolysis). The remaining OH is derived from the recycling of hydroperoxyl radical (HO2). The HO2 and alkyl peroxyl radical (RO2) chemistry leads to 35% of the ozone formation in the plume, while the main sink for ozone in the plume was via reactions with alkenes (anthropogenic and biogenic). The results of this work will help to characterize ozone formation and the factors influencing its atmospheric fate in the oil sands region.

  3. Modified biopolymers as sorbents for the removal of naphthenic acids from oil sands process affected water (OSPW).

    PubMed

    Arshad, Muhammad; Khosa, M A; Siddique, Tariq; Ullah, Aman

    2016-11-01

    Oil sands operations consume large volumes of water in bitumen extraction process and produce tailings that express pore water to the surface of tailings ponds known as oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). The OSPW is toxic and cannot be released into the environment without treatment. In addition to metals, dissolved solids, dissolved gases, hydrocarbons and polyaromatic compounds etc., OSPW also contains a complex mixture of dissolved organic acids, referred to as naphthenic acids (NAs). The NAs are highly toxic and react with metals to develop highly corrosive functionalities which cause corrosion in the oil sands processing and refining processes. We have chemically modified keratin biopolymer using polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) nanocages and goethite dopant to unfold keratinous structure for improving functionality. The untreated neat keratin and two modified sorbents were characterized to investigate structural, morphological, dimensional and thermal properties. These sorbents were then tested for the removal of NAs from OSPW. The NAs were selectively extracted and quantified before and after sorption process. The biosorption capacity (Q), rejection percentage (R%) and isotherm models were studied to investigate NAs removal efficiency of POSS modified keratin biopolymer (PMKB) and goethite modified keratin biopolymer (GMKB) from aliquots of OSPW. PMID:27552693

  4. Characterization and quantification of mining-related "naphthenic acids" in groundwater near a major oil sands tailings pond.

    PubMed

    Ahad, Jason M E; Pakdel, Hooshang; Savard, Martine M; Calderhead, Angus I; Gammon, Paul R; Rivera, Alfonso; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V

    2013-05-21

    The high levels of acid extractable organics (AEOs) containing naphthenic acids (NAs) found in oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) are a growing concern in monitoring studies of aquatic ecosystems in the Athabasca oil sands region. The complexity of these compounds has substantially hindered their accurate analysis and quantification. Using a recently developed technique which determines the intramolecular carbon isotope signature of AEOs generated by online pyrolysis (δ(13)Cpyr), natural abundance radiocarbon, and high resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry analyses, we evaluated the sources of AEOs along a groundwater flow path from a major oil sands tailings pond to the Athabasca River. OSPW was characterized by a δ(13)Cpyr value of approximately -21‰ and relatively high proportions of O₂ and O₂S species classes. In contrast, AEO samples located furthest down-gradient from the tailings pond and from the Athabasca River were characterized by a δ(13)Cpyr value of around -29‰, a greater proportion of highly oxygenated and N-containing compound classes, and a significant component of nonfossil and, hence, non-bitumen-derived carbon. The groundwater concentrations of mining-related AEOs determined using a two end-member isotopic mass balance were between 1.6 and 9.3 mg/L lower than total AEO concentrations, implying that a less discriminating approach to quantification would have overestimated subsurface levels of OSPW. This research highlights the need for accurate characterization of "naphthenic acids" in order to quantify potential seepage from tailings ponds. PMID:23607666

  5. A Decade of Change in NO2 and SO2 over the Canadian Oil Sands As Seen from Space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mclinden, Chris A.; Fioletov, Vitali; Krotkov, Nickolay A.; Li, Can; Boersma, K. Folkert; Adams, Cristen

    2015-01-01

    A decade (20052014) of observations from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) were used to examine trends in nitrogen dioxide(NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) over a large region of western Canada and the northern United States, with a focus on the Canadian oil sands. In the oil sands, primarily over an area of intensive surface mining, NO2 tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) are seen to be increasing by as much as 10year, with the location of the largest trends in a newly developing NO2 lobe well removed from surface monitoring stations. SO2 VCDs in the oil sands have remained approximately constant. The only other significant increase in the region was seen in NO2 over Bakken gas fields in North Dakota which showed increases of up to5yr. By contrast, other locations in the region show substantial declines in both pollutants, providing strong evidence to the efficacy of environmental pollution control measures implemented by both nations. The OMI-derived trends were found to be consistent with those from the Canadian surface monitoring network, although in the case of SO2, it was necessary to apply a correction in order to remove the residual signal from volcanic eruptions present in the OMI data.

  6. Scanning electron microscopic investigations of root structural modifications arising from growth in crude oil-contaminated sand.

    PubMed

    Balasubramaniyam, Anuluxshy; Harvey, Patricia J

    2014-11-01

    The choice of plant for phytoremediation success requires knowledge of how plants respond to contaminant exposure, especially their roots which are instrumental in supporting rhizosphere activity. In this study, we investigated the responses of plants with different architectures represented by beetroot (Beta vulgaris), a eudicot with a central taproot and many narrower lateral roots, and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), a monocot possessing a mass of threadlike fibrous roots to grow in crude oil-treated sand. In this paper, scanning electron microscopy was used to investigate modifications to plant root structure caused by growth in crude oil-contaminated sand. Root structural disorders were evident and included enhanced thickening in the endodermis, increased width of the root cortical zone and smaller diameter of xylem vessels. Inhibition in the rate of root elongation correlated with the increase in cell wall thickening and was dramatically pronounced in beetroot compared to the roots of treated fescue. The latter possessed significantly fewer (p < 0.001) and significantly shorter (p < 0.001) root hairs compared to control plants. Possibly, root hairs that absorb the hydrophobic contaminants may prevent contaminant absorption into the main root and concomitant axile root thickening by being sloughed off from roots. Tall fescue exhibited greater root morphological adaptability to growth in crude oil-treated sand than beetroot and, thus, a potential for long-term phytoremediation. PMID:24958531

  7. Characterization and quantification of mining-related "naphthenic acids" in groundwater near a major oil sands tailings pond.

    PubMed

    Ahad, Jason M E; Pakdel, Hooshang; Savard, Martine M; Calderhead, Angus I; Gammon, Paul R; Rivera, Alfonso; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V

    2013-05-21

    The high levels of acid extractable organics (AEOs) containing naphthenic acids (NAs) found in oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) are a growing concern in monitoring studies of aquatic ecosystems in the Athabasca oil sands region. The complexity of these compounds has substantially hindered their accurate analysis and quantification. Using a recently developed technique which determines the intramolecular carbon isotope signature of AEOs generated by online pyrolysis (δ(13)Cpyr), natural abundance radiocarbon, and high resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry analyses, we evaluated the sources of AEOs along a groundwater flow path from a major oil sands tailings pond to the Athabasca River. OSPW was characterized by a δ(13)Cpyr value of approximately -21‰ and relatively high proportions of O₂ and O₂S species classes. In contrast, AEO samples located furthest down-gradient from the tailings pond and from the Athabasca River were characterized by a δ(13)Cpyr value of around -29‰, a greater proportion of highly oxygenated and N-containing compound classes, and a significant component of nonfossil and, hence, non-bitumen-derived carbon. The groundwater concentrations of mining-related AEOs determined using a two end-member isotopic mass balance were between 1.6 and 9.3 mg/L lower than total AEO concentrations, implying that a less discriminating approach to quantification would have overestimated subsurface levels of OSPW. This research highlights the need for accurate characterization of "naphthenic acids" in order to quantify potential seepage from tailings ponds.

  8. Modified biopolymers as sorbents for the removal of naphthenic acids from oil sands process affected water (OSPW).

    PubMed

    Arshad, Muhammad; Khosa, M A; Siddique, Tariq; Ullah, Aman

    2016-11-01

    Oil sands operations consume large volumes of water in bitumen extraction process and produce tailings that express pore water to the surface of tailings ponds known as oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). The OSPW is toxic and cannot be released into the environment without treatment. In addition to metals, dissolved solids, dissolved gases, hydrocarbons and polyaromatic compounds etc., OSPW also contains a complex mixture of dissolved organic acids, referred to as naphthenic acids (NAs). The NAs are highly toxic and react with metals to develop highly corrosive functionalities which cause corrosion in the oil sands processing and refining processes. We have chemically modified keratin biopolymer using polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes (POSS) nanocages and goethite dopant to unfold keratinous structure for improving functionality. The untreated neat keratin and two modified sorbents were characterized to investigate structural, morphological, dimensional and thermal properties. These sorbents were then tested for the removal of NAs from OSPW. The NAs were selectively extracted and quantified before and after sorption process. The biosorption capacity (Q), rejection percentage (R%) and isotherm models were studied to investigate NAs removal efficiency of POSS modified keratin biopolymer (PMKB) and goethite modified keratin biopolymer (GMKB) from aliquots of OSPW.

  9. Water, Energy and Carbon Balance Research: Recovery Trajectories For Oil Sands Reclamation and Disturbed Watersheds in the Western Boreal Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petrone, R. M.; Carey, S. K.

    2014-12-01

    The Oil Sand Region (OSR) of North-Central Alberta exists within the sub-humid Boreal Plains (BP) ecozone, with a slight long-term moisture deficit regime. Despite this deficit, the BP is comprised of productive wetland and mixed wood (aspen and conifer dominated) forests. Reclamation activities are now underway at a large number of surface mining operations in the OSR, where target ecosystems are identified, soil prescriptions placed and commercial forest species planted. Some watersheds have been created that now contain wetlands. However, recent work in the BP suggests that over time wetlands supply moisture for the productivity of upland forests. Thus, water use of reclaimed forests is going to be critical in determining the sustainability of these systems and adjacent wetlands, and whether in time, either will achieve some form of equivalent capability that will allow for certification by regulators. A critical component in the success of any reclamation is that sufficient water is available to support target ecosystems through the course of natural climate cycles in the region. Water Use Efficiency (WUE), which links photosynthesis (GEP) with water use (Evapotranspiration (ET)), provides a useful metric to compare ecosystems and evaluate their utilization of resources. In this study, 41 site years of total growing season water and carbon flux data over 8 sites (4 reclamation, 4 regeneration) were evaluated using eddy covariance micrometeorological towers. WUE shows clear discrimination among ecosystem types as aspen stands assimilate more carbon per unit weight of water than conifers. WUEs also change with time as ecosystems become more effective at transpiring water through plant pathways compared with bare-soil evaporation, which allows an assessment of ability to limit water loss without carbon uptake. In addition, clonal rooting systems allow aspen forests to recover quicker after disturbance than reclamation sites in terms of their WUE. For reclamation

  10. An examination of the toxic properties of water extracts in the vicinity of an oil sand extraction site.

    PubMed

    Gagné, F; André, C; Douville, M; Talbot, A; Parrott, J; McMaster, M; Hewitt, M

    2011-11-01

    The industrial extraction of oil sands (OS) in northern Alberta, Canada, has raised concerns about the quality of the Athabasca River. The purpose of this study was to examine the toxic properties of various water extracts on Oncorhynchus mykiss trout hepatocytes. The water samples were fractionated on a reverse-phase C(18) cartridge and the levels of light-, medium- and heavy-weight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined by fluorescence spectroscopy. Primary cultures of trout hepatocytes were exposed for 48 h at 15 °C to increasing concentrations of the C(18) extract corresponding to 0.02, 0.1, 0.5 and 2.5X concentrations from upstream/downstream sites in the Athabasca River, lake and groundwater samples, OS tailings and interceptor well-water samples. Changes in cell viability, phase I and phase II biotransformation enzymes (cytochrome P4501A and glutathione S-transferase activities), oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation LPO) and genotoxicity (single and double DNA strand breaks) were monitored in post-exposure cells. The water samples decreased cell viability and increased all the above endpoints at thresholds of between 0.02 and 0.1X the water concentration. The most responsive biomarker was DNA damage but it also offered the least discrimination among sites. LPO was higher at sites downstream of the industrial operations compared to upstream sites. A decision tree analysis was performed to formulate a set of rules by which to identify the distinctive properties of each type of water samples. The analysis revealed that OS tailings and interceptor waters were characterized by an increased concentration in light PAHs (>42 μg L(-1)) and this fraction represented more than 85% of the total PAHs. These samples also inhibited GST activity, which could compromise the elimination of genotoxic PAHs present in the system. An analysis of groundwater samples revealed a contamination pattern similar to that for OS tailings. There is a need for more

  11. The symbiotic relationship of sediment and biofilm dynamics at the sediment water interface of oil sands industrial tailings ponds.

    PubMed

    Reid, T; VanMensel, D; Droppo, I G; Weisener, C G

    2016-09-01

    Within the oil sands industry, tailings ponds are used as a means of retaining tailings until a reclamation technology such as end pit lakes (EPLs) can be developed and optimized to remediate such tailings with a water cap (although dry-land strategies for tailing reclamation are also being developed). EPLs have proven successful for other mining ventures (e.g. metal rock mines) in eventually mitigating contaminant loads to receiving waters once biochemical remediation has taken place (although the duration for this to occur may be decades). While the biological interactions at the sediment water interface of tailings ponds or EPLs have been shown to control biogeochemical processes (i.e. chemical fluxes and redox profiles), these have often been limited to static microcosm conditions. Results from such experiments may not tell the whole story given that the sediment water interface often represents a dynamic environment where erosion and deposition may be occurring in association with microbial growth and decay. Mobilization of sediments and associated contaminants may therefore have a profound effect on remediation rates and, as such, may decrease the effectiveness of EPLs as viable reclamation strategies for mining industries. Using a novel core erosion system (U-GEMS), this paper examines how the microbial community can influence sediment water interface stability and how the biofilm community may change with tailings age and after disturbance (biofilm reestablishment). Shear strength, eroded mass measurements, density gradients, high-resolution microscopy, and microbial community analyses were made on 2 different aged tailings (fresh and ∼38 years) under biotic and abiotic conditions. The same experiments were repeated as duplicates with both sets of experiments having consolidation/biostabilization periods of 21 days. Results suggest that the stability of the tailings varies between types and conditions with the fresh biotic tailings experiencing up to 75

  12. Hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria and the bacterial community response in gulf of Mexico beach sands impacted by the deepwater horizon oil spill.

    PubMed

    Kostka, Joel E; Prakash, Om; Overholt, Will A; Green, Stefan J; Freyer, Gina; Canion, Andy; Delgardio, Jonathan; Norton, Nikita; Hazen, Terry C; Huettel, Markus

    2011-11-01

    A significant portion of oil from the recent Deepwater Horizon (DH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was transported to the shoreline, where it may have severe ecological and economic consequences. The objectives of this study were (i) to identify and characterize predominant oil-degrading taxa that may be used as model hydrocarbon degraders or as microbial indicators of contamination and (ii) to characterize the in situ response of indigenous bacterial communities to oil contamination in beach ecosystems. This study was conducted at municipal Pensacola Beach, FL, where chemical analysis revealed weathered oil petroleum hydrocarbon (C₈ to C₄₀) concentrations ranging from 3.1 to 4,500 mg kg⁻¹ in beach sands. A total of 24 bacterial strains from 14 genera were isolated from oiled beach sands and confirmed as oil-degrading microorganisms. Isolated bacterial strains were primarily Gammaproteobacteria, including representatives of genera with known oil degraders (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter, Pseudomonas, and Acinetobacter). Sequence libraries generated from oiled sands revealed phylotypes that showed high sequence identity (up to 99%) to rRNA gene sequences from the oil-degrading bacterial isolates. The abundance of bacterial SSU rRNA gene sequences was ∼10-fold higher in oiled (0.44 × 10⁷ to 10.2 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) versus clean (0.024 × 10⁷ to 1.4 × 10⁷ copies g⁻¹) sand. Community analysis revealed a distinct response to oil contamination, and SSU rRNA gene abundance derived from the genus Alcanivorax showed the largest increase in relative abundance in contaminated samples. We conclude that oil contamination from the DH spill had a profound impact on the abundance and community composition of indigenous bacteria in Gulf beach sands, and our evidence points to members of the Gammaproteobacteria (Alcanivorax, Marinobacter) and Alphaproteobacteria (Rhodobacteraceae) as key players in oil degradation there.

  13. Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy studies of yellow organic dyestuffs and lake pigments in oil paint.

    PubMed

    Mayhew, Hannah E; Fabian, David M; Svoboda, Shelley A; Wustholz, Kristin L

    2013-08-21

    Identifying natural, organic dyes and pigments is important for the conservation, preservation, and historical interpretation of works of art. Although previous SERS studies have demonstrated high sensitivity and selectivity for red lake pigments using various pretreatment conditions, corresponding investigations of yellow lake pigments and paints are relatively sparse. Here, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy is used to identify a variety of yellow organic dyestuffs and lake pigments in oil paint. High-quality SERS spectra of yellow dyestuffs (i.e., turmeric, old fustic, Buckthorn berries) and corresponding paints could be obtained with or without sample pretreatment using microliter quantities of HCl and methanol at room temperature. However, the SERS spectra of yellow lake pigments (i.e., Stil de Grain, Reseda lake) and their corresponding oil paints were only observed upon sample pretreatment. Ultimately, we demonstrate a reliable sample treatment protocol for SERS-based identification of turmeric, old fustic, Buckthorn berries, Stil de Grain, and Reseda lake as well as for microscopic samples of the corresponding oil paints. PMID:23722232

  14. Abrupt sand-dune accumulation at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau challenges the wet MIS3a inferred from numerous lake-highstands

    PubMed Central

    Long, Hao; Fuchs, Markus; Yang, Linhai; Cheng, Hongyi

    2016-01-01

    Over the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent regions, numerous 14C-based lake records revealed a ubiquitous wet climatic period during 40–25 ka (late MIS 3), which is in contradiction with the global pattern of generally cold and dry climates. This paper focuses on OSL dating results of a large set of sand dunes and alluvial sediments (50 OSL ages) from the Qinwangchuan (QWC) Basin at the northeast edge of the Tibetan Plateau, with the aim to test the validity of the anomalous wet condition for the late MIS 3 interval, evidenced by numerous lake highstands. The abrupt sand dune accumulation as indication of increased aridity in the study area was OSL dated to ~40–13 ka. This dry climatic inference of the sand dune system from QWC apparently shows no wet MIS 3a event. Thus, the anomalous wet conditions revealed by high lake levels for the late MIS 3 phase may not be a universal phenomena across entire western China. PMID:27172907

  15. Abrupt sand-dune accumulation at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau challenges the wet MIS3a inferred from numerous lake-highstands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Long, Hao; Fuchs, Markus; Yang, Linhai; Cheng, Hongyi

    2016-05-01

    Over the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent regions, numerous 14C-based lake records revealed a ubiquitous wet climatic period during 40–25 ka (late MIS 3), which is in contradiction with the global pattern of generally cold and dry climates. This paper focuses on OSL dating results of a large set of sand dunes and alluvial sediments (50 OSL ages) from the Qinwangchuan (QWC) Basin at the northeast edge of the Tibetan Plateau, with the aim to test the validity of the anomalous wet condition for the late MIS 3 interval, evidenced by numerous lake highstands. The abrupt sand dune accumulation as indication of increased aridity in the study area was OSL dated to ~40–13 ka. This dry climatic inference of the sand dune system from QWC apparently shows no wet MIS 3a event. Thus, the anomalous wet conditions revealed by high lake levels for the late MIS 3 phase may not be a universal phenomena across entire western China.

  16. Abrupt sand-dune accumulation at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau challenges the wet MIS3a inferred from numerous lake-highstands.

    PubMed

    Long, Hao; Fuchs, Markus; Yang, Linhai; Cheng, Hongyi

    2016-01-01

    Over the Tibetan Plateau and adjacent regions, numerous (14)C-based lake records revealed a ubiquitous wet climatic period during 40-25 ka (late MIS 3), which is in contradiction with the global pattern of generally cold and dry climates. This paper focuses on OSL dating results of a large set of sand dunes and alluvial sediments (50 OSL ages) from the Qinwangchuan (QWC) Basin at the northeast edge of the Tibetan Plateau, with the aim to test the validity of the anomalous wet condition for the late MIS 3 interval, evidenced by numerous lake highstands. The abrupt sand dune accumulation as indication of increased aridity in the study area was OSL dated to ~40-13 ka. This dry climatic inference of the sand dune system from QWC apparently shows no wet MIS 3a event. Thus, the anomalous wet conditions revealed by high lake levels for the late MIS 3 phase may not be a universal phenomena across entire western China. PMID:27172907

  17. Fine root dynamics in lodgepole pine and white spruce stands along productivity gradients in reclaimed oil sands sites.

    PubMed

    Jamro, Ghulam Murtaza; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Duan, Min; House, Jason

    2015-10-01

    Open-pit mining activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, create disturbed lands that, by law, must be reclaimed to a land capability equivalent to that existed before the disturbance. Re-establishment of forest cover will be affected by the production and turnover rate of fine roots. However, the relationship between fine root dynamics and tree growth has not been studied in reclaimed oil sands sites. Fine root properties (root length density, mean surface area, total root biomass, and rates of root production, turnover, and decomposition) were assessed from May to October 2011 and 2012 using sequential coring and ingrowth core methods in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench.) Voss) stands. The pine and spruce stands were planted on peat mineral soil mix placed over tailings sand and overburden substrates, respectively, in reclaimed oil sands sites in Alberta. We selected stands that form a productivity gradient (low, medium, and high productivities) of each tree species based on differences in tree height and diameter at breast height (DBH) increments. In lodgepole pine stands, fine root length density and fine root production, and turnover rates were in the order of high > medium > low productivity sites and were positively correlated with tree height and DBH and negatively correlated with soil salinity (P < 0.05). In white spruce stands, fine root surface area was the only parameter that increased along the productivity gradient and was negatively correlated with soil compaction. In conclusion, fine root dynamics along the stand productivity gradients were closely linked to stand productivity and were affected by limiting soil properties related to the specific substrate used for reconstructing the reclaimed soil. Understanding the impact of soil properties on fine root dynamics and overall stand productivity will help improve land reclamation outcomes. PMID:26668730

  18. Fine root dynamics in lodgepole pine and white spruce stands along productivity gradients in reclaimed oil sands sites.

    PubMed

    Jamro, Ghulam Murtaza; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Duan, Min; House, Jason

    2015-10-01

    Open-pit mining activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, create disturbed lands that, by law, must be reclaimed to a land capability equivalent to that existed before the disturbance. Re-establishment of forest cover will be affected by the production and turnover rate of fine roots. However, the relationship between fine root dynamics and tree growth has not been studied in reclaimed oil sands sites. Fine root properties (root length density, mean surface area, total root biomass, and rates of root production, turnover, and decomposition) were assessed from May to October 2011 and 2012 using sequential coring and ingrowth core methods in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Dougl.) and white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench.) Voss) stands. The pine and spruce stands were planted on peat mineral soil mix placed over tailings sand and overburden substrates, respectively, in reclaimed oil sands sites in Alberta. We selected stands that form a productivity gradient (low, medium, and high productivities) of each tree species based on differences in tree height and diameter at breast height (DBH) increments. In lodgepole pine stands, fine root length density and fine root production, and turnover rates were in the order of high > medium > low productivity sites and were positively correlated with tree height and DBH and negatively correlated with soil salinity (P < 0.05). In white spruce stands, fine root surface area was the only parameter that increased along the productivity gradient and was negatively correlated with soil compaction. In conclusion, fine root dynamics along the stand productivity gradients were closely linked to stand productivity and were affected by limiting soil properties related to the specific substrate used for reconstructing the reclaimed soil. Understanding the impact of soil properties on fine root dynamics and overall stand productivity will help improve land reclamation outcomes.

  19. Dissolved organic carbon in a constructed and natural fens in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Khadka, Bhupesh; Munir, Tariq M; Strack, Maria

    2016-07-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, peatlands are disturbed extensively in order to recover bitumen below the surface. Hence, following oil sands mining, landscape reclamation is a part of the mine closure process in order to return functioning ecosystems, including peatlands, to the region. This study was conducted at a pilot fen reclamation project and three other diverse natural (poor, rich and saline) fens in the oil sands region during the growing seasons of 2013 and 2014, the first and second year post-construction. Ecosystem functioning of the constructed fen (CF) was evaluated with reference to natural fens based on pore water dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and chemistry. Significant variation of DOC concentration among the reference fens was observed, varying from an average of 42.0mg/L at the rich fen (RF) to 70.8mg/L at the saline fen (SF). Dissolved organic carbon concentration at CF was significantly lower than at all reference fens, but increased significantly over the first two years. Seasonal variation of DOC concentration was also observed in each site with concentration increasing over the growing season. At CF, DOC was comprised of larger, more humic and complex aromatic compounds than reference fens in the first year post-construction based on its spectrophotometric properties; however, these differences were reduced in the second year. Initial DOC concentration and chemistry at CF was indicative of the source being largely the peat placed during fen construction. Changes in chemistry and increasing concentration of DOC in the second growing season likely resulted from increasing inputs from plants established on site. These results suggest that DOC concentration is likely to increase in future at CF as vascular plant productivity increases and in response to salinity sourced from tailing sand used to construct the catchment.

  20. Dissolved organic carbon in a constructed and natural fens in the Athabasca oil sands region, Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Khadka, Bhupesh; Munir, Tariq M; Strack, Maria

    2016-07-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, peatlands are disturbed extensively in order to recover bitumen below the surface. Hence, following oil sands mining, landscape reclamation is a part of the mine closure process in order to return functioning ecosystems, including peatlands, to the region. This study was conducted at a pilot fen reclamation project and three other diverse natural (poor, rich and saline) fens in the oil sands region during the growing seasons of 2013 and 2014, the first and second year post-construction. Ecosystem functioning of the constructed fen (CF) was evaluated with reference to natural fens based on pore water dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration and chemistry. Significant variation of DOC concentration among the reference fens was observed, varying from an average of 42.0mg/L at the rich fen (RF) to 70.8mg/L at the saline fen (SF). Dissolved organic carbon concentration at CF was significantly lower than at all reference fens, but increased significantly over the first two years. Seasonal variation of DOC concentration was also observed in each site with concentration increasing over the growing season. At CF, DOC was comprised of larger, more humic and complex aromatic compounds than reference fens in the first year post-construction based on its spectrophotometric properties; however, these differences were reduced in the second year. Initial DOC concentration and chemistry at CF was indicative of the source being largely the peat placed during fen construction. Changes in chemistry and increasing concentration of DOC in the second growing season likely resulted from increasing inputs from plants established on site. These results suggest that DOC concentration is likely to increase in future at CF as vascular plant productivity increases and in response to salinity sourced from tailing sand used to construct the catchment. PMID:27037879

  1. Total and methyl mercury concentrations in sediment and water of a constructed wetland in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Oswald, Claire J; Carey, Sean K

    2016-06-01

    In the Athabasca Oil Sands Region in northeastern Alberta, Canada, oil sands operators are testing the feasibility of peatland construction on the post-mining landscape. In 2009, Syncrude Canada Ltd. began construction of the 52 ha Sandhill Fen pilot watershed, including a 15 ha, hydrologically managed fen peatland built on sand-capped soft oil sands tailings. An integral component of fen reclamation is post-construction monitoring of water quality, including salinity, fluvial carbon, and priority pollutant elements. In this study, the effects of fen reclamation and elevated sulfate levels on mercury (Hg) fate and transport in the constructed system were assessed. Total mercury (THg) and methylmercury (MeHg) concentrations in the fen sediment were lower than in two nearby natural fens, which may be due to the higher mineral content of the Sandhill Fen peat mix and/or a loss of Hg through evasion during the peat harvesting, stockpiling and placement processes. Porewater MeHg concentrations in the Sandhill Fen typically did not exceed 1.0 ng L(-1). The low MeHg concentrations may be a result of elevated porewater sulfate concentrations (mean 346 mg L(-1)) and an increase in sulphide concentrations with depth in the peat, which are known to suppress MeHg production. Total Hg and MeHg concentrations increased during a controlled mid-summer flooding event where the water table rose above the ground surface in most of the fen. The Hg dynamics during this event showed that hydrologic fluctuations in this system exacerbate the release of THg and MeHg downstream. In addition, the elevated SO4(2-) concentrations in the peat porewaters may become a problem with respect to downstream MeHg production once the fen is hydrologically connected to a larger wetland network that is currently being constructed. PMID:27017139

  2. Imaging of sand production in horizontal packs by x-ray computed tomography

    SciTech Connect

    Tremblay, B.; Sedgwick, G.; Forshner, K.

    1995-12-31

    Production rates for wells in the Cold Lake area of Alberta that are on {open_quotes}coldflow{close_quotes} production can be much higher than expected from estimates based on radial Darcy flow. Coldflow production here refers to a recovery process used in unconsolidated heavy oil reservoirs in which sand and oil are produced together under primary conditions. A laboratory experiment was designed to model sand production into a perforation in a vertical well drilled into the heavy oil formation. In this experiment, heavy oil (21,500 cP) flowed through a horizontal sand pack and into an orifice simulating a perforation. The flowing oil induced the co-production of sand from the pack when the pressure gradient at the orifice reached 33 Mpa/cm. The sand pack was scanned using X-ray computed tomography (CT). The CT images revealed that a high permeability circular channel (wormhole) had formed in the pack while sand was being produced. The wormhole followed the regions within the sand pack where the porosity was higher and consequently the compressive strength was lower. The porosity within the wormhole was much higher (55%) than the porosity within the undisturbed sand pack (32 %). No significant fines migration was observed before sand production occurred. The particle size distribution of the produced sand was the same as that remaining within the wormhole.

  3. Elevated Nitrogen Deposition from Alberta Oil Sands Development Stimulates Phosphatase Activity in Dominant Sphagnum Moss Species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kashi, N. N.; Wieder, R.; Vile, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    Emissions of NOx associated with Alberta oil sands (AOS) development are leading to locally elevated atmospheric N deposition, in a region where background N deposition has been historically quite low (< 1 kg/ha/yr). This elevated N deposition has the potential to alter the ecosystem structure and function of nutrient-poor boreal peatlands. Nitrogen enrichment may alter soil microbial activity, which could be manifested in changes in extracellular enzyme activities. Since 2011, we have been experimentally adding N as NH4NO3 in simulated precipitation at 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 kg N ha/yr/ plus no-water controls to a boreal bog and a poor fen (3 replicate plots per treatment). In 2013, acid phosphatase activities in living plant capitulum of Sphagnum angustifolium, Sphagnum fuscum, and Sphagnum magellanicum were quantified in June and July using 4-methyumbelliferylphosphate and fluorescence detection of the enzymatically released methylumbelliferone (MUF). Phosphatase activities did not differ with N treatment for S. angustifolium in the bog (p=0.3409) or the poor fen (p=0.0629), or for S. fuscum in the bog (p=0.1950), averaging 35.0 × 0.7, 61.6 × 1.2, and 41.6 × 0.9 μmol MUF/g DWT/hr, respectively. For S. fuscum in the poor fen, phosphatase activities differed between N treatments (p=0.0275), ranging 40.6 × 1.1 μmol MUF/g DWT/hr in the control plots to 73.7 × 2.0 μmol MUF/g DWT/hr in the 5 kg/ha/yr N treatment plots; increasing N deposition did not result in a gradual change in enzyme activity. On the other hand, S. magellanicum phosphatase activities differed between N treatments (p=0.0189) and showed a pattern of generally increasing activity with increasing N deposition (37.4 × 0.5 μmol MUF/g DWT/hr in control plots; 97.9 × 4.5 μmol MUF/g DWT/hr in the 25 kg/ha/yr N treatment plots). The differing phosphatase responses between these dominant Sphagnum species suggest unique differences in nutrient balance and/or microbial activity. Combining the

  4. Modeling potential impacts of the Garrison Diversion Unit project on Sand Lake and Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuges: a feasibility analysis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hamilton, David B.; Auble, Gregor T.; Farmer, Adrian H.; Roelle, James E.

    1987-01-01

    The Garrison Diversion Unit (GDU) of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin program was authorized in 1965, with the purpose of diverting Missouri River water to the James River for irrigation, municipal and industrial water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, and flood control. The project was reauthorized in 1986, with the specification that comprehensive studies be conducted to address a variety of issues. One of these ongoing studies addresses potential impacts of GDU construction and operation on lands of the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) system, including Arrowwood and Sand Lake Refuges (the Refuges) on the James River. A number of concerns at these Refuges have been identified; the primary concerns addressed in this report include increased winter return flows, which would limit control of rough fish; increased turbidity during project construction, which would decrease production of sago pondweed; and increased water level fluctuations in the late spring and early summer, which would destroy the nests of some over-water nesting birds. The facilitated workshop described in this report was conducted February 18-20, 1987, under the joint sponsorship of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The primary objectives of the workshop were to evaluate the feasibility of using simulation modeling techniques to estimate GDU impacts on Arrowwood and Sand Lake Refuges and to suggest enhancements to the James River Refuge monitoring program. The workshop was structured around the formulation of four submodels: a Hydrology and Water Quality submodel to simulate changes in Refuge pool elevations, turnover rates, and water quality parameters (e.g., total dissolved solids, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, water temperature, pesticides) due to GDU construction and operation; a Vegetation submodel to simulate concomitant changes in wetland communities (e.g., sago pondweed, wet meadows, deep

  5. Molybdenum carbide nanoparticles as catalysts for oil sands upgrading: Dynamics and free-energy profiles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Xingchen; Salahub, Dennis R.

    2015-12-01

    There is no doubt that a huge gap exists in understanding heterogeneous catalysis between a cluster model of a few atoms and a bulk model of periodic slabs. Nanoparticles, which are crucial in heterogeneous catalysis in industry, lie in the middle of the gap. We present here our work on the computational modelling of molybdenum carbide nanoparticles (MCNPs) as the catalysts for the upgrading of oil sands in the in-situ environment, using benzene hydrogenation as a model reaction. With a cluster model, efforts were first made to understand the mechanism of the reaction with a density functional theory (DFT) study on the adsorption of benzene and its hydrogenation product - cyclohexane, as well as the cyclic hydrogenation reaction intermediates on the Mo2C(0001) surface. From the thermodynamic data, along with literature information, it was found that the benzene hydrogenation reaction on molybdenum carbide happens most likely through a Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism with the gradual lifting up of the benzene molecule. The electron localization function (ELF) was then used to help understand the nature of the interactions between the MCNPs, identifying strong multi-center interactions between the adsorbates and the MCNPs. To enable the treatment of larger nanoparticles, a fast semi-empirical density functional tight-binding (DFTB) method was parameterized. With this method, the potential energy profiles of benzene hydrogenation reactions on different sizes of MCNPs are calculated. The study was then extended to consider a MCNP embedded in solvent (benzene), using a quantum mechanical (DFTB) / molecular mechanical approach. Calculations on the free energies profiles with the umbrella sampling method show that the entropy of the MCNPs and the solvent are essential in understanding the catalytic activity of the transition metal related nanoparticles for solid/liquid heterogeneous catalysis.

  6. Roles of Thermophiles and Fungi in Bitumen Degradation in Mostly Cold Oil Sands Outcrops.

    PubMed

    Wong, Man-Ling; An, Dongshan; Caffrey, Sean M; Soh, Jung; Dong, Xiaoli; Sensen, Christoph W; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Larter, Steve R; Voordouw, Gerrit

    2015-10-01

    Oil sands are surface exposed in river valley outcrops in northeastern Alberta, where flat slabs (tablets) of weathered, bitumen-saturated sandstone can be retrieved from outcrop cliffs or from riverbeds. Although the average yearly surface temperature of this region is low (0.7°C), we found that the temperatures of the exposed surfaces of outcrop cliffs reached 55 to 60°C on sunny summer days, with daily maxima being 27 to 31°C. Analysis of the cooccurrence of taxa derived from pyrosequencing of 16S/18S rRNA genes indicated that an aerobic microbial network of fungi and hydrocarbon-, methane-, or acetate-oxidizing heterotrophic bacteria was present in all cliff tablets. Metagenomic analyses indicated an elevated presence of fungal cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in these samples. This network was distinct from the heterotrophic community found in riverbeds, which included fewer fungi. A subset of cliff tablets had a network of anaerobic and/or thermophilic taxa, including methanogens, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae, in the center. Long-term aerobic incubation of outcrop samples at 55°C gave a thermophilic microbial community. Analysis of residual bitumen with a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer indicated that aerobic degradation proceeded at 55°C but not at 4°C. Little anaerobic degradation was observed. These results indicate that bitumen degradation on outcrop surfaces is a largely aerobic process with a minor anaerobic contribution and is catalyzed by a consortium of bacteria and fungi. Bitumen degradation is stimulated by periodic high temperatures on outcrop cliffs, which cause significant decreases in bitumen viscosity. PMID:26209669

  7. Reclamation of peat-based wetlands affected by Alberta, Canada's oil sands development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foote, Lee; Ciborowski, Jan; Dixon, D. George; Liber, Karsten; Smits, Judit

    2013-04-01

    The ability to construct or reclaim functional peat-based wetlands as a replacement for those lost to development activity is uncertain. Oil sands development in northern Alberta, Canada will ultimately result in the removal of over 85 km2 of peat-based wetlands. To examine potential replacement of these lost peatlands we compared four treatments assigned to 16 known-age wetlands where we followed plant community, carbon dynamics, water quality, invertebrates and top predators for 5 years. Key questions followed by a synopsis of findings include: (1) Will wetland communities become more natural with age? - Yes, however industrial effluents of salinity and napthenates will slow succession and may truncate development compared to natural systems; (2) Can community succession be accelerated? - Yes, the addition of carbon-rich soils can facilitate development in some zones but cautions are raised about a "green desert" of vigorous plant stands with low insect and vertebrate diversity; (3) Is productivity sustainable? - Maybe, limitations of water chemistry (salinity and napthenates) and hydrologic regime appear to play large roles; (4) Will production support top predators? Sometimes; insectivorous birds, some small fish and a few amphibians persisted under all except the most saline and napthenate-enriched sites; (5) What is the role of the compromised water quality in reclamation? - Reduced diversity of plants, insects and vertebrates, reduced plant physiological efficiency and thus slower rates of reclamation. It is axiomatic and well demonstrated throughout Europe that it is easier and more cost effective to protect peatlands than it is to reclaim or create them. This is complicated, though, where mineral or property values soar to over 1 million per hectare. Industrial planners, governments and the public need to understand the options, possibilities, time frames and costs of peatland replacement to make the best land use decisions possible. Our research provides

  8. Influence of In-Situ Oil Sands Development on Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Movement.

    PubMed

    Muhly, Tyler; Serrouya, Robert; Neilson, Eric; Li, Haitao; Boutin, Stan

    2015-01-01

    In-situ oil sands development (ISD) involves a network of facilities, wells, roads and pipelines to extract and transport subsurface bitumen. This technology is rapidly expanding and there is uncertainty whether ISDs restrict animal movement, leading to increased extinction probabilities for some wide-ranging species. Here we test for effects of simulated future (i.e., 50 years from now) and current ISDs on simulated movements of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus), a threatened species across North America. In simulations of future scenarios, we varied the spacing and permeability of ISDs and the presence/absence of protected areas. Permeability was measured as the number of times simulated caribou crossed ISDs with different levels of modelled permeability. We estimated the effects of these factors on caribou step length and annual home range size, key metrics of small and large spatiotemporal scales of movement, respectively. Current caribou crossings of above-ground pipeline features of ISDs were measured using camera traps and compared to expected caribou crossing rates based on present-day caribou movement simulations. Current crossing rates were evaluated within the context of predicted future crossing success rates necessary to maintain caribou step lengths and home ranges. With few exceptions, permeability across ISDs was the main factor affecting caribou movement, more so than spacing between developments or the presence of protected areas. However, minimal permeability (crossing rates of c. 15% to 60%, relative to an undisturbed site was needed to maintain existing home range size and step lengths. The effect of permeability on home range size and step length was non-linear, suggesting that small increases in permeability would provide a disproportionately greater benefit to caribou movement. Our predictions demonstrate that maintaining permeability across ISDs is more important than spacing between leases or including protected areas, and thus provides

  9. Roles of Thermophiles and Fungi in Bitumen Degradation in Mostly Cold Oil Sands Outcrops.

    PubMed

    Wong, Man-Ling; An, Dongshan; Caffrey, Sean M; Soh, Jung; Dong, Xiaoli; Sensen, Christoph W; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Larter, Steve R; Voordouw, Gerrit

    2015-10-01

    Oil sands are surface exposed in river valley outcrops in northeastern Alberta, where flat slabs (tablets) of weathered, bitumen-saturated sandstone can be retrieved from outcrop cliffs or from riverbeds. Although the average yearly surface temperature of this region is low (0.7°C), we found that the temperatures of the exposed surfaces of outcrop cliffs reached 55 to 60°C on sunny summer days, with daily maxima being 27 to 31°C. Analysis of the cooccurrence of taxa derived from pyrosequencing of 16S/18S rRNA genes indicated that an aerobic microbial network of fungi and hydrocarbon-, methane-, or acetate-oxidizing heterotrophic bacteria was present in all cliff tablets. Metagenomic analyses indicated an elevated presence of fungal cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in these samples. This network was distinct from the heterotrophic community found in riverbeds, which included fewer fungi. A subset of cliff tablets had a network of anaerobic and/or thermophilic taxa, including methanogens, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae, in the center. Long-term aerobic incubation of outcrop samples at 55°C gave a thermophilic microbial community. Analysis of residual bitumen with a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer indicated that aerobic degradation proceeded at 55°C but not at 4°C. Little anaerobic degradation was observed. These results indicate that bitumen degradation on outcrop surfaces is a largely aerobic process with a minor anaerobic contribution and is catalyzed by a consortium of bacteria and fungi. Bitumen degradation is stimulated by periodic high temperatures on outcrop cliffs, which cause significant decreases in bitumen viscosity.

  10. Molybdenum carbide nanoparticles as catalysts for oil sands upgrading: Dynamics and free-energy profiles

    SciTech Connect

    Liu, Xingchen; Salahub, Dennis R.

    2015-12-31

    There is no doubt that a huge gap exists in understanding heterogeneous catalysis between a cluster model of a few atoms and a bulk model of periodic slabs. Nanoparticles, which are crucial in heterogeneous catalysis in industry, lie in the middle of the gap. We present here our work on the computational modelling of molybdenum carbide nanoparticles (MCNPs) as the catalysts for the upgrading of oil sands in the in-situ environment, using benzene hydrogenation as a model reaction. With a cluster model, efforts were first made to understand the mechanism of the reaction with a density functional theory (DFT) study on the adsorption of benzene and its hydrogenation product – cyclohexane, as well as the cyclic hydrogenation reaction intermediates on the Mo{sub 2}C(0001) surface. From the thermodynamic data, along with literature information, it was found that the benzene hydrogenation reaction on molybdenum carbide happens most likely through a Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism with the gradual lifting up of the benzene molecule. The electron localization function (ELF) was then used to help understand the nature of the interactions between the MCNPs, identifying strong multi-center interactions between the adsorbates and the MCNPs. To enable the treatment of larger nanoparticles, a fast semi-empirical density functional tight-binding (DFTB) method was parameterized. With this method, the potential energy profiles of benzene hydrogenation reactions on different sizes of MCNPs are calculated. The study was then extended to consider a MCNP embedded in solvent (benzene), using a quantum mechanical (DFTB) / molecular mechanical approach. Calculations on the free energies profiles with the umbrella sampling method show that the entropy of the MCNPs and the solvent are essential in understanding the catalytic activity of the transition metal related nanoparticles for solid/liquid heterogeneous catalysis.

  11. Roles of Thermophiles and Fungi in Bitumen Degradation in Mostly Cold Oil Sands Outcrops

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Man-Ling; An, Dongshan; Caffrey, Sean M.; Soh, Jung; Dong, Xiaoli; Sensen, Christoph W.; Oldenburg, Thomas B. P.; Larter, Steve R.

    2015-01-01

    Oil sands are surface exposed in river valley outcrops in northeastern Alberta, where flat slabs (tablets) of weathered, bitumen-saturated sandstone can be retrieved from outcrop cliffs or from riverbeds. Although the average yearly surface temperature of this region is low (0.7°C), we found that the temperatures of the exposed surfaces of outcrop cliffs reached 55 to 60°C on sunny summer days, with daily maxima being 27 to 31°C. Analysis of the cooccurrence of taxa derived from pyrosequencing of 16S/18S rRNA genes indicated that an aerobic microbial network of fungi and hydrocarbon-, methane-, or acetate-oxidizing heterotrophic bacteria was present in all cliff tablets. Metagenomic analyses indicated an elevated presence of fungal cytochrome P450 monooxygenases in these samples. This network was distinct from the heterotrophic community found in riverbeds, which included fewer fungi. A subset of cliff tablets had a network of anaerobic and/or thermophilic taxa, including methanogens, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae, in the center. Long-term aerobic incubation of outcrop samples at 55°C gave a thermophilic microbial community. Analysis of residual bitumen with a Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer indicated that aerobic degradation proceeded at 55°C but not at 4°C. Little anaerobic degradation was observed. These results indicate that bitumen degradation on outcrop surfaces is a largely aerobic process with a minor anaerobic contribution and is catalyzed by a consortium of bacteria and fungi. Bitumen degradation is stimulated by periodic high temperatures on outcrop cliffs, which cause significant decreases in bitumen viscosity. PMID:26209669

  12. Influence of In-Situ Oil Sands Development on Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Movement

    PubMed Central

    Muhly, Tyler; Serrouya, Robert; Neilson, Eric; Li, Haitao; Boutin, Stan

    2015-01-01

    In-situ oil sands development (ISD) involves a network of facilities, wells, roads and pipelines to extract and transport subsurface bitumen. This technology is rapidly expanding and there is uncertainty whether ISDs restrict animal movement, leading to increased extinction probabilities for some wide-ranging species. Here we test for effects of simulated future (i.e., 50 years from now) and current ISDs on simulated movements of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus), a threatened species across North America. In simulations of future scenarios, we varied the spacing and permeability of ISDs and the presence/absence of protected areas. Permeability was measured as the number of times simulated caribou crossed ISDs with different levels of modelled permeability. We estimated the effects of these factors on caribou step length and annual home range size, key metrics of small and large spatiotemporal scales of movement, respectively. Current caribou crossings of above-ground pipeline features of ISDs were measured using camera traps and compared to expected caribou crossing rates based on present-day caribou movement simulations. Current crossing rates were evaluated within the context of predicted future crossing success rates necessary to maintain caribou step lengths and home ranges. With few exceptions, permeability across ISDs was the main factor affecting caribou movement, more so than spacing between developments or the presence of protected areas. However, minimal permeability (crossing rates of c. 15% to 60%, relative to an undisturbed site was needed to maintain existing home range size and step lengths. The effect of permeability on home range size and step length was non-linear, suggesting that small increases in permeability would provide a disproportionately greater benefit to caribou movement. Our predictions demonstrate that maintaining permeability across ISDs is more important than spacing between leases or including protected areas, and thus provides

  13. Influence of In-Situ Oil Sands Development on Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Movement.

    PubMed

    Muhly, Tyler; Serrouya, Robert; Neilson, Eric; Li, Haitao; Boutin, Stan

    2015-01-01

    In-situ oil sands development (ISD) involves a network of facilities, wells, roads and pipelines to extract and transport subsurface bitumen. This technology is rapidly expanding and there is uncertainty whether ISDs restrict animal movement, leading to increased extinction probabilities for some wide-ranging species. Here we test for effects of simulated future (i.e., 50 years from now) and current ISDs on simulated movements of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus), a threatened species across North America. In simulations of future scenarios, we varied the spacing and permeability of ISDs and the presence/absence of protected areas. Permeability was measured as the number of times simulated caribou crossed ISDs with different levels of modelled permeability. We estimated the effects of these factors on caribou step length and annual home range size, key metrics of small and large spatiotemporal scales of movement, respectively. Current caribou crossings of above-ground pipeline features of ISDs were measured using camera traps and compared to expected caribou crossing rates based on present-day caribou movement simulations. Current crossing rates were evaluated within the context of predicted future crossing success rates necessary to maintain caribou step lengths and home ranges. With few exceptions, permeability across ISDs was the main factor affecting caribou movement, more so than spacing between developments or the presence of protected areas. However, minimal permeability (crossing rates of c. 15% to 60%, relative to an undisturbed site was needed to maintain existing home range size and step lengths. The effect of permeability on home range size and step length was non-linear, suggesting that small increases in permeability would provide a disproportionately greater benefit to caribou movement. Our predictions demonstrate that maintaining permeability across ISDs is more important than spacing between leases or including protected areas, and thus provides

  14. Carbon and sulfur cycling by microbial communities in a gypsum-treated oil sands tailings pond.

    PubMed

    Ramos-Padrón, Esther; Bordenave, Sylvain; Lin, Shiping; Bhaskar, Iyswarya Mani; Dong, Xiaoli; Sensen, Christoph W; Fournier, Joseph; Voordouw, Gerrit; Gieg, Lisa M

    2011-01-15

    Oil sands tailings ponds receive and store the solid and liquid waste from bitumen extraction and are managed to promote solids densification and water recycling. The ponds are highly stratified due to increasing solids content as a function of depth but can be impacted by tailings addition and removal and by convection due to microbial gas production. We characterized the microbial communities in relation to microbial activities as a function of depth in an active tailings pond routinely treated with gypsum (CaSO(4)·2H(2)O) to accelerate densification. Pyrosequencing of 16S rDNA gene sequences indicated that the aerobic surface layer, where the highest level of sulfate (6 mM) but no sulfide was detected, had a very different community profile than the rest of the pond. Deeper anaerobic layers were dominated by syntrophs (Pelotomaculum, Syntrophus, and Smithella spp.), sulfate- and sulfur-reducing bacteria (SRB, Desulfocapsa and Desulfurivibrio spp.), acetate- and H(2)-using methanogens, and a variety of other anaerobes that have been implicated in hydrocarbon utilization or iron and sulfur cycling. The SRB were most abundant from 10 to 14 mbs, bracketing the zone where the sulfate reduction rate was highest. Similarly, the most abundant methanogens and syntrophs identified as a function of depth closely mirrored the fluctuating methanogenesis rates. Methanogenesis was inhibited in laboratory incubations by nearly 50% when sulfate was supplied at pond-level concentrations suggesting that in situ sulfate reduction can substantially minimize methane emissions. Based on our data, we hypothesize that the emission of sulfide due to SRB activity in the gypsum treated pond is also limited due to its high solubility and oxidation in surface waters. PMID:21128661

  15. Potential methane production and oxidation in soil reclamation covers of an oil sands mining site in Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pum, Lisa; Reichenauer, Thomas; Germida, Jim

    2015-04-01

    Anthropogenic activities create a number of significant greenhouse gases and thus potentially contribute to global warming. Methane production is significant in some agricultural production systems and from wetlands. In soil, methane can be oxidised by methanotrophic bacteria. However, little is known about methane production and oxidation in oil sand reclamation covers. The purpose of this study was to investigate methane production and oxidation potential of tailing sands and six different reclamation layers of oil sands mining sites in Alberta, Canada. Methane production and oxidation potential were investigated in laboratory scale microcosms through continuous headspace analysis using gas chromatography. Samples from a reclamation layer were collected at the Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) reclamation site at depths of 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm and 20-40 cm in October 2014. In addition, tailing sands provided by Suncor Energy Inc. and soil from a CNRL wetland were studied for methane production. Samples were dried, crushed and sieved to 4 mm, packed into serum bottle microcosms and monitored for eight weeks. Methane production potential was assessed by providing an anoxic environment and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 100 %. Methane oxidation potential was examined by an initial application of 2 vol % methane to the microcosms and by adjusting the samples to a moisture holding capacity of 50 %. Microcosm headspace gas was analysed for methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and oxygen. All experiments were carried out in triplicates, including controls. SF6 and Helium were used as internal standards to detect potential leaks. Our results show differences for methane production potential between the soil depths, tailing sands and wetlands. Moreover, there were differences in the methane oxidation potential of substrate from the three depths investigated and between the reclamation layers. In conclusion, the present study shows that

  16. Nigeria to step up tar sands activity

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1987-03-01

    The Nigerian government has directed its Ministry of Mines, Power and Steel to assume responsibility for the exploration and exploitation of tar sands deposits in Bendel, Ondo and Oyo States. The directive resulted from a survey report by the University of Ife's geological consultancy unit on bituminous sand deposits in the area. The statement said the government was satisfied that there were large commercial quantities of the sands in the three states. The survey had reported that Nigeria could recover between 31 and 40 billion barrels of heavy crude from the tar sand deposits. Exploration for hydrocarbons is currently going on in Anambra and Lake Chad basins as well as the Benue Trough. Apart from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Petroleum and Gulf Oil have begun exploration activities in the Ondo area. Meanwhile, Nigeria has had to import heavy crude from Venezuela, for processing at the Kaduna refinery.

  17. Accurate reservoir evaluation from borehole imaging techniques and thin bed log analysis: Case studies in shaly sands and complex lithologies in Lower Eocene Sands, Block III, Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela

    SciTech Connect

    Coll, C.; Rondon, L.

    1996-08-01

    Computer-aided signal processing in combination with different types of quantitative log evaluation techniques is very useful for predicting reservoir quality in complex lithologies and will help to increase the confidence level to complete and produce a reservoir. The Lower Eocene Sands in Block III are one of the largest reservoirs in Block III and it has produced light oil since 1960. Analysis of Borehole Images shows the reservoir heterogeneity by the presence of massive sands with very few shale laminations and thinnly bedded sands with a lot of laminations. The effect of these shales is a low resistivity that has been interpreted in most of the cases as water bearing sands. A reduction of the porosity due to diagenetic processes has produced a high-resistivity behaviour. The presence of bed boundaries and shales is detected by the microconductivity curves of the Borehole Imaging Tools allowing the estimation of the percentage of shale on these sands. Interactive computer-aided analysis and various image processing techniques are used to aid in log interpretation for estimating formation properties. Integration between these results, core information and production data was used for evaluating producibility of the reservoirs and to predict reservoir quality. A new estimation of the net pay thickness using this new technique is presented with the consequent improvement on the expectation of additional recovery. This methodology was successfully applied in a case by case study showing consistency in the area.

  18. Distribution of Hexagenia nymphs and visible oil in sediments of the Upper Great Lakes connecting channels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schloesser, Donald W.; Edsall, Thomas A.; Manny, Bruce A.; Nichols, Susan J.

    1991-01-01

    As part of the study of the Upper Great Lakes Connecting Channels sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examined the occurrence ofHexagenia nymphs and visible oil in sediments at 250 stations throughout the St. Marys River and the St. Clair-Detroit River system from May 14 to June 11, 1985. The mean density of Hexagenianymphs per square meter averaged 194 for the total study area, 224 in the St. Marys River, 117 in the St. Clair River, 279 in Lake St. Clair, and 94 in the Detroit River. The maximum density of nymphs ranged from 1,081 to 1,164 m-2 in the three rivers and was 3,099 m-2 in Lake St. Clair. A comparison of nymph density at 46 stations where oil was observed in sediments physically suitable for nymphs showed that densities were lower in oiled sediments (61 m-2) than in sediments without oil (224 m-2). Densities of nymphs were relatively high at only four stations where oil was observed in sediments. In general, oiled sediments and low densities of nymphs occurred together downstream from industrial and municipal discharges.

  19. Preliminary risk assessment of the wet landscape option for reclamation of oil sands mine tailings: bioassays with mature fine tailings pore water.

    PubMed

    Madill, R E; Orzechowski, M T; Chen, G; Brownlee, B G; Bunce, N J

    2001-06-01

    Chemical and biological assays have been carried out on the "pore water" that results from the settling of the tailings that accompany bitumen recovery from the Athabasca oil sands. Examination of the nonacidic extracts of pore water by gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy allowed the identification of numerous two- to three-ring polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), to a total concentration of 2.6 micrograms/L of pore water. The PACs were biodegraded by microflora naturally present in the pore water. Acute toxicity was associated principally with the acidic fraction (naphthenic acids) of pore water extracts according to the Microtox assay; other work has shown that acute toxicity dissipates fairly rapidly. Both individual PACs and concentrated pore water extracts showed minimal levels of binding to the rat Ah receptor and induced minimal ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity in primary rat hepatocytes, showing an insignificant risk of inducing monooxygenase activity. Taken together with previous work showing negligible mutagenic activity of these extracts, we conclude that it should be possible to develop tailing slurries into biologically productive artificial lakes.

  20. Toxic effects of oil sand naphthenic acids on the biomass accumulation of 21 potential phytoplankton remediation candidates.

    PubMed

    Woodworth, Adam P J; Frank, Richard A; McConkey, Brendan J; Müller, Kirsten M

    2012-12-01

    The oil sands of northern Alberta, Canada contain an estimated 170 billion barrels of crude oil. Extraction processes produce large amounts of liquid tailings known as oil sand process affected water (OSPW) that are toxic to aquatic organisms. Naphthenic acids (NAs), and their sodium salts, represent a significant contributor to the toxicity of these waters. Due to the recalcitrant nature of these compounds, an effective mode of remediation has yet to be established. This study investigates the suitability of the use of phytoplankton for remediation efforts based on two criteria: the ability of phytoplankton strains to withstand the toxic effects of NAs, and their rate of biomass accumulation. A total of 21 phytoplankton strains were isolated from waters containing NAs, cultured, and maintained under unialgal conditions. These strains were then exposed to NAs in concentrations ranging from 0mg L(-1) to 1000mg L(-1) over a 14 day period. Inhibition of growth was observed at 30mg L(-1) NA (one strain), 100mg L(-1) NA (one strain), 300mg L(-1) NA (six strains), and 1000mg L(-1) NA (six strains). Five strains failed to show any growth inhibition at any test concentration and two strains could not be analysed due to poor growth during the test period. Strains were then ranked based on their suitability for use in remediation efforts.

  1. Long-term reliability of the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada) as the water source for oil sands mining.

    PubMed

    Sauchyn, David J; St-Jacques, Jeannine-Marie; Luckman, Brian H

    2015-10-13

    Exploitation of the Alberta oil sands, the world's third-largest crude oil reserve, requires fresh water from the Athabasca River, an allocation of 4.4% of the mean annual flow. This allocation takes into account seasonal fluctuations but not long-term climatic variability and change. This paper examines the decadal-scale variability in river discharge in the Athabasca River Basin (ARB) with (i) a generalized least-squares (GLS) regression analysis of the trend and variability in gauged flow and (ii) a 900-y tree-ring reconstruction of the water-year flow of the Athabasca River at Athabasca, Alberta. The GLS analysis removes confounding transient trends related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Pacific North American mode (PNA). It shows long-term declining flows throughout the ARB. The tree-ring record reveals a larger range of flows and severity of hydrologic deficits than those captured by the instrumental records that are the basis for surface water allocation. It includes periods of sustained low flow of multiple decades in duration, suggesting the influence of the PDO and PNA teleconnections. These results together demonstrate that low-frequency variability must be considered in ARB water allocation, which has not been the case. We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record. PMID:26392554

  2. Long-term reliability of the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada) as the water source for oil sands mining

    PubMed Central

    Sauchyn, David J.; St-Jacques, Jeannine-Marie; Luckman, Brian H.

    2015-01-01

    Exploitation of the Alberta oil sands, the world’s third-largest crude oil reserve, requires fresh water from the Athabasca River, an allocation of 4.4% of the mean annual flow. This allocation takes into account seasonal fluctuations but not long-term climatic variability and change. This paper examines the decadal-scale variability in river discharge in the Athabasca River Basin (ARB) with (i) a generalized least-squares (GLS) regression analysis of the trend and variability in gauged flow and (ii) a 900-y tree-ring reconstruction of the water-year flow of the Athabasca River at Athabasca, Alberta. The GLS analysis removes confounding transient trends related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Pacific North American mode (PNA). It shows long-term declining flows throughout the ARB. The tree-ring record reveals a larger range of flows and severity of hydrologic deficits than those captured by the instrumental records that are the basis for surface water allocation. It includes periods of sustained low flow of multiple decades in duration, suggesting the influence of the PDO and PNA teleconnections. These results together demonstrate that low-frequency variability must be considered in ARB water allocation, which has not been the case. We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record. PMID:26392554

  3. Degradation and aquatic toxicity of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected waters using simulated wetlands.

    PubMed

    Toor, Navdeep S; Franz, Eric D; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Michael D; Liber, Karsten

    2013-01-01

    Oil sands process-affected waters (OSPWs) produced during the extraction of bitumen at the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) located in northeastern Alberta, Canada, are toxic to many aquatic organisms. Much of this toxicity is related to a group of dissolved organic acids known as naphthenic acids (NAs). Naphthenic acids are a natural component of bitumen and are released into process water during the separation of bitumen from the oil sand ore by a caustic hot water extraction process. Using laboratory microcosms as an analogue of a proposed constructed wetland reclamation strategy for OSPW, we evaluated the effectiveness of these microcosms in degrading NAs and reducing the aquatic toxicity of OSPW over a 52-week test period. Experimental manipulations included two sources of OSPW (one from Syncrude Canada Ltd. and one from Suncor Energy Inc.), two different hydraulic retention times (HRTs; 40 and 400 d), and increased nutrient availability (added nitrate and phosphate). Microcosms with a longer HRT (for both OSPWs) showed higher reductions in total NAs concentrations (64-74% NAs reduction, p<0.05) over the test period, while nutrient enrichment appeared to have little effect. A 96 h static acute rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) bioassay showed that the initial acute toxicity of Syncrude OSPW (LC50=67% v/v) was reduced (LC50>100% v/v) independent of HRT. However, EC20s from separate Microtox® bioassays were relatively unchanged when comparing the input and microcosm waters at both HRTs over the 52-week study period (p>0.05), indicating that some sub-lethal toxicity persisted under these experimental conditions. The present study demonstrated that given sufficiently long HRTs, simulated wetland microcosms containing OSPW significantly reduced total NAs concentrations and acute toxicity, but left behind a persistent component of the NAs mixture that appeared to be associated with residual chronic toxicity.

  4. Determining air pollutant emission rates based on mass balance using airborne measurement data over the Alberta oil sands operations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gordon, M.; Li, S.-M.; Staebler, R.; Darlington, A.; Hayden, K.; O'Brien, J.; Wolde, M.

    2015-09-01

    Top-down approaches to measure total integrated emissions provide verification of bottom-up, temporally resolved, inventory-based estimations. Aircraft-based measurements of air pollutants from sources in the Canadian oil sands were made in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring during a summer intensive field campaign between 13 August and 7 September 2013. The measurements contribute to knowledge needed in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring. This paper describes the top-down emission rate retrieval algorithm (TERRA) to determine facility emissions of pollutants, using SO2 and CH4 as examples, based on the aircraft measurements. In this algorithm, the flight path around a facility at multiple heights is mapped to a two-dimensional vertical screen surrounding the facility. The total transport of SO2 and CH4 through this screen is calculated using aircraft wind measurements, and facility emissions are then calculated based on the divergence theorem with estimations of box-top losses, horizontal and vertical turbulent fluxes, surface deposition, and apparent losses due to air densification and chemical reaction. Example calculations for two separate flights are presented. During an upset condition of SO2 emissions on one day, these calculations are within 5 % of the industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. During a return to normal operating conditions, the SO2 emissions are within 11 % of industry-reported, bottom-up measurements. CH4 emissions calculated with the algorithm are relatively constant within the range of uncertainties. Uncertainty of the emission rates is estimated as less than 30 %, which is primarily due to the unknown SO2 and CH4 mixing ratios near the surface below the lowest flight level.

  5. Impact of Oils Sands Mining on Nitrogen-Limited Peatland Ecosystems in Alberta Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vile, M. A.; Wieder, R.; Scott, K.; Prsa, T.; Quinn, J.; Vitt, D. H.

    2010-12-01

    Peatlands of boreal Canada represent large reservoirs of sequestered carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Cycling of C and N in peatlands is intrinsically linked, especially in bogs - peatlands isolated from ground- and surface-water inputs, receiving nutrients exclusively from the atmosphere, which in the absence of N pollution, ensures an N-limited, nutrient-poor ecosystem. A growing concern associated with the development of Alberta’s Oil Sands Mining (OSM) is the potential for regionally elevated deposition of N-compounds (NOx). Prior to OSM, N inputs to bogs were limited exclusively to (1) biological N fixation, and (2) bulk atmospheric deposition. Currently, data examining the effect of purported increases in N and S deposition in this region are limited. Our goal was to determine patterns in atmospheric N deposition on N concentrations in bog porewaters at 5 sites spanning varying distances from the OSM region: Mildred, McKay, McMurray, Anzac and Utikuma bog (14, 24, 51, 71 and 300 km, respectively). Specifically, we wanted to test the hypothesis that OSM results in higher N deposition leading to elevated N in porewaters. Deposition of N was greatest at Mildred, followed by McKay, McMurray, and Anzac, and significantly lowest at Utikuma Bog (F4,49 = 5.9, p < 0.0006), supporting the first part of our hypothesis (Fig. 1). In contrast, dissolved inorganic N (TIN) concentrations in porewaters demonstrated significantly highest concentrations at Anzac, followed by significantly lower concentrations at McMurray, and least at McKay and Mildred (F3,147 = 25.9, p < 0.0001; Fig. 1), refuting the latter half of our hypothesis. Subsequent analyses reveal that site differences emerge with significantly elevated TIN in the 3 deepest depths (70-100 cm), with NH 4 + comprising the majority (~ 95 %) of TIN, suggesting the role of N deposition to bogs on in-situ N cycling processes be explored further. Figure 1. Atmospheric TIN (nitrate + ammonium) deposition (purple) and dissolved

  6. Evaluating microbial carbon sources in Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds using natural abundance stable and radiocarbon isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahad, J. M.; Pakdel, H.

    2013-12-01

    Natural abundance stable (δ13C) and radiocarbon (Δ14C) isotopes of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) were used to evaluate the carbon sources utilized by the active microbial populations in surface sediments from Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds. The absence of algal-specific PLFAs at three of the four sites investigated, in conjunction with δ13C signatures for PLFAs that were generally within ~3‰ of that reported for oil sands bitumen (~ -30‰), indicated that the microbial communities growing on petroleum constituents were dominated by aerobic heterotrophs. The Δ14C values of PLFAs ranged from -906 to -586‰ and pointed to a significant uptake of fossil carbon (up to ~90% of microbial carbon derived from petroleum), particularly in PLFAs (e.g., cy17:0 and cy19:0) often associated with petroleum hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. The comparatively higher levels of 14C in other, less specific PLFAs (e.g., 16:0) indicated the preferential uptake of younger organic matter by the general microbial population (~50-80% of microbial carbon derived from petroleum). Since the main carbon pools in tailings sediment were essentially 'radiocarbon dead' (i.e., no detectable 14C), the principal source for this modern carbon is considered to be the Athabasca River, which provides the bulk of the water used in the bitumen extraction process. The preferential uptake of the minor amount of young and presumably more biodegradable material present in systems otherwise dominated by recalcitrant petroleum constituents has important implications for remediation strategies. On the one hand, it implies that mining-related organic contaminants could persist in the environment long after tailings pond reclamation has begun. Alternatively, it may be that the young, labile organic matter provided by the Athabasca River plays an important role in stimulating or supporting the microbial utilization of petroleum carbon in oil sands tailings ponds via co-metabolism or priming processes

  7. Advances in mass spectrometric characterization of naphthenic acids fraction compounds in oil sands environmental samples and crude oil--A review.

    PubMed

    Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Barrow, Mark P

    2016-01-01

    There has been a recent surge in the development of mass spectrometric methods for detailed characterization of naphthenic acid fraction compounds (all C(c)H(h)N(n)O(o)S(s), species, including heteroatomic and aromatic components in the acid-extractable fraction) in environmental samples. This surge is driven by the increased activity in oil sands environmental monitoring programs in Canada, the exponential increase in research studies on the isolation and toxicity identification of components in oil sands process water (OSPW), and the analytical requirements for development of technologies for treatment of OSPW. There has been additional impetus due to the parallel studies to control corrosion from naphthenic acids during the mining and refining of heavy bitumen and crude oils. As a result, a range of new mass spectrometry tools have been introduced since our last major review of this topic in 2009. Of particular significance are the developments of combined mass spectrometric methods that incorporate technologies such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, and ion mobility. There has been additional progress with respect to improved visualization methods for petroleomics and oil sands environmental forensics. For comprehensive coverage and more reliable characterization of samples, an approach based on multiple-methods that employ two or more ionization modes is recommended. On-line or off-line fractionation of isolated extracts, with or without derivatization, might also be used prior to mass spectrometric analyses. Individual ionization methods have their associated strengths and weaknesses, including biases, and thus dependence upon a single ionization method is potentially misleading. There is also a growing trend to not rely solely on low-resolution mass spectrometric methods (<20,000 resolving power at m/z 200) for characterization of complex samples. Future research is anticipated to focus upon (i) structural elucidation of components to determine

  8. Advances in mass spectrometric characterization of naphthenic acids fraction compounds in oil sands environmental samples and crude oil--A review.

    PubMed

    Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Barrow, Mark P

    2016-01-01

    There has been a recent surge in the development of mass spectrometric methods for detailed characterization of naphthenic acid fraction compounds (all C(c)H(h)N(n)O(o)S(s), species, including heteroatomic and aromatic components in the acid-extractable fraction) in environmental samples. This surge is driven by the increased activity in oil sands environmental monitoring programs in Canada, the exponential increase in research studies on the isolation and toxicity identification of components in oil sands process water (OSPW), and the analytical requirements for development of technologies for treatment of OSPW. There has been additional impetus due to the parallel studies to control corrosion from naphthenic acids during the mining and refining of heavy bitumen and crude oils. As a result, a range of new mass spectrometry tools have been introduced since our last major review of this topic in 2009. Of particular significance are the developments of combined mass spectrometric methods that incorporate technologies such as gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, and ion mobility. There has been additional progress with respect to improved visualization methods for petroleomics and oil sands environmental forensics. For comprehensive coverage and more reliable characterization of samples, an approach based on multiple-methods that employ two or more ionization modes is recommended. On-line or off-line fractionation of isolated extracts, with or without derivatization, might also be used prior to mass spectrometric analyses. Individual ionization methods have their associated strengths and weaknesses, including biases, and thus dependence upon a single ionization method is potentially misleading. There is also a growing trend to not rely solely on low-resolution mass spectrometric methods (<20,000 resolving power at m/z 200) for characterization of complex samples. Future research is anticipated to focus upon (i) structural elucidation of components to determine

  9. Determination of thermodynamic and transport parameters of naphthenic acids and organic process chemicals in oil sand tailings pond water.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaomeng; Robinson, Lisa; Wen, Qing; Kasperski, Kim L

    2013-07-01

    Oil sand tailings pond water contains naphthenic acids and process chemicals (e.g., alkyl sulphates, quaternary ammonium compounds, and alkylphenol ethoxylates). These chemicals are toxic and can seep through the foundation of the tailings pond to the subsurface, potentially affecting the quality of groundwater. As a result, it is important to measure the thermodynamic and transport parameters of these chemicals in order to study the transport behavior of contaminants through the foundation as well as underground. In this study, batch adsorption studies and column experiments were performed. It was found that the transport parameters of these chemicals are related to their molecular structures and other properties. The computer program (CXTFIT) was used to further evaluate the transport process in the column experiments. The results from this study show that the transport of naphthenic acids in a glass column is an equilibrium process while the transport of process chemicals seems to be a non-equilibrium process. At the end of this paper we present a real-world case study in which the transport of the contaminants through the foundation of an external tailings pond is calculated using the lab-measured data. The results show that long-term groundwater monitoring of contaminant transport at the oil sand mining site may be necessary to avoid chemicals from reaching any nearby receptors. PMID:23736740

  10. Long-Term Incubation Reveals Methanogenic Biodegradation of C5 and C6 iso-Alkanes in Oil Sands Tailings.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Mohamad Shahimin, Mohd Faidz; Zamir, Saima; Semple, Kathleen; Li, Carmen; Foght, Julia M

    2015-12-15

    iso-Alkanes are major components of petroleum and have been considered recalcitrant to biodegradation under methanogenic conditions. However, indigenous microbes in oil sands tailings ponds exposed to solvents rich in 2-methylbutane, 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane, n-pentane, and n-hexane produce methane in situ. We incubated defined mixtures of iso- or n-alkanes with mature fine tailings from two tailings ponds of different ages historically exposed to different solvents: one, ~10 years old, receiving C5-C6 paraffins and the other, ~35 years old, receiving naphtha. A lengthy incubation (>6 years) revealed iso-alkane biodegradation after lag phases of 900-1800 and ~280 days, respectively, before the onset of methanogenesis, although lag phases were shorter with n-alkanes (~650-1675 and ~170 days, respectively). 2-Methylpentane and both n-alkanes were completely depleted during ~2400 days of incubation, whereas 2-methylbutane and 3-methylpentane were partially depleted only during active degradation of 2-methylpentane, suggesting co-metabolism. In both cases, pyrotag sequencing of 16S rRNA genes showed codominance of Peptococcaceae with acetoclastic (Methanosaeta) and hydrogenotrophic (Methanoregula and Methanolinea) methanogens. These observations are important for predicting long-term greenhouse-gas emissions from oil sands tailings ponds and extend the known range of hydrocarbons susceptible to methanogenic biodegradation in petroleum-impacted anaerobic environments. PMID:26571341

  11. Determination of thermodynamic and transport parameters of naphthenic acids and organic process chemicals in oil sand tailings pond water.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaomeng; Robinson, Lisa; Wen, Qing; Kasperski, Kim L

    2013-07-01

    Oil sand tailings pond water contains naphthenic acids and process chemicals (e.g., alkyl sulphates, quaternary ammonium compounds, and alkylphenol ethoxylates). These chemicals are toxic and can seep through the foundation of the tailings pond to the subsurface, potentially affecting the quality of groundwater. As a result, it is important to measure the thermodynamic and transport parameters of these chemicals in order to study the transport behavior of contaminants through the foundation as well as underground. In this study, batch adsorption studies and column experiments were performed. It was found that the transport parameters of these chemicals are related to their molecular structures and other properties. The computer program (CXTFIT) was used to further evaluate the transport process in the column experiments. The results from this study show that the transport of naphthenic acids in a glass column is an equilibrium process while the transport of process chemicals seems to be a non-equilibrium process. At the end of this paper we present a real-world case study in which the transport of the contaminants through the foundation of an external tailings pond is calculated using the lab-measured data. The results show that long-term groundwater monitoring of contaminant transport at the oil sand mining site may be necessary to avoid chemicals from reaching any nearby receptors.

  12. Bio-physicochemical effects of gamma irradiation treatment for naphthenic acids in oil sands fluid fine tailings.

    PubMed

    Boudens, Ryan; Reid, Thomas; VanMensel, Danielle; Prakasan M R, Sabari; Ciborowski, Jan J H; Weisener, Christopher G

    2016-01-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) are persistent compounds that are components of most petroleum, including those found in the Athabasca oil sands. Their presence in freshly processed tailings is of significant environmental concern due to their toxicity to aquatic organisms. Gamma irradiation (GI) was used to reduce the toxicity and concentration of NAs in oil sands process water (OSPW) and fluid fine tailings (FFT). This investigation systematically studied the impact of GI on the biogeochemical development and progressive reduction of toxicity using laboratory incubations of fresh and aged tailings under anoxic and oxic conditions. GI reduced NA concentrations in OSPW by up to 97% in OSPW and in FFT by 85%. The GI-treated FFT exhibited increased rates of biogeochemical change, dependent on the age of the tailings source. Dissolved oxygen (DO) flux was enhanced in GI-treated FFT from fresh and aged source materials, whereas hydrogen sulfide (HS(-)) flux was stimulated only in the fresh FFT. Acute toxicity to Vibrio fischeri was immediately reduced following GI treatment of fresh OSPW. GI treatment followed by 4-week incubation reduced toxicity of aged OSPW to V. fischeri. PMID:26356184

  13. Granular activated carbon for simultaneous adsorption and biodegradation of toxic oil sands process-affected water organic compounds.

    PubMed

    Islam, Md Shahinoor; Zhang, Yanyan; McPhedran, Kerry N; Liu, Yang; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2015-04-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) released into oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) during bitumen processing in Northern Alberta are problematic for oil sands industries due to their toxicity in the environment and resistance to degradation during conventional wastewater treatment processes. Granular activated carbon (GAC) has shown to be an effective media in removing biopersistent organics from wastewater using a combination of adsorption and biodegradation removal mechanisms. A simultaneous GAC (0.4 g GAC/L) adsorption and biodegradation (combined treatment) study was used for the treatment of raw and ozonated OSPW. After 28 days of batch treatment, classical and oxidized NAs removals for raw OSPW were 93.3% and 73.7%, and for ozonated OSPW were 96.2% and 77.1%, respectively. Synergetic effects of the combined treatment process were observed in removals of COD, the acid extractable fraction, and oxidized NAs, which indicated enhanced biodegradation and bioregeneration in GAC biofilms. A bacteria copy number >10(8) copies/g GAC on GAC surfaces was found using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction after treatment for both raw and ozonated OSPW. A Microtox(®) acute toxicity test (Vibrio fischeri) showed effective toxicity removal (>95.3%) for the combined treatments. Therefore, the simultaneous GAC adsorption and biodegradation treatment process is a promising technology for the elimination of toxic OSPW NAs.

  14. In vitro microbial degradation of bituminous hydrocarbons and in situ colonization of bitumen surfaces within the athabasca oil sands deposit.

    PubMed

    Wyndham, R C; Costerton, J W

    1981-03-01

    Bituminous hydrocarbons extracted from the Athabasca oil sands of north-eastern Alberta were adsorbed onto filter supports and placed at sites in the Athabasca River and its tributaries where these rivers come in contact with the oil sands formation. Colonization of the hydrocarbon surfaces at summer and winter ambient temperatures was examined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy as well as by epifluorescence microscopy of acridine orange-stained cross sections. Ruthenium red and alkaline bismuth stains visualized an association of bacteria with the hydrocarbon surface which was mediated by bacterial polysaccharides. Bacteria apparently lacking a glycocalyx were also found closely associated with the surface of the hydrophobic substrate and in channels within the substrate. A solvent precipitation and column chromatographic fractionation of the bitumen was followed by cross-tests for growth on the fractions by various isolated sediment microorganisms, as determined by epifluorescence count. All fractions except the asphaltenes supported the growth of at least two of the isolates, although fractionation of degraded bitumen revealed that the saturate, aromatic, and first polar fractions were preferentially degraded. PMID:16345738

  15. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research advanced exploratory process technology, jointly sponsored research. Quarterly technical progress report, October--December 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Speight, J.G.

    1992-12-31

    Accomplishments for the past quarter are presented for the following five tasks: oil shale; tar sand; coal; advanced exploratory process technology; and jointly sponsored research. Oil shale research covers oil shale process studies. Tar sand research is on process development of Recycle Oil Pyrolysis and Extraction (ROPE) Process. Coal research covers: coal combustion; integrated coal processing concepts; and solid waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes: advanced process concepts;advanced mitigation concepts; and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research includes: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; CROW field demonstration with Bell Lumber and Pole; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; PGI demonstration project; operation and evaluation of the CO{sub 2} HUFF-N-PUFF Process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid state NMR analysis of Mesaverde Group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; flow-loop testing of double-wall pipe for thermal applications; characterization of petroleum residue; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced oil recovery techniques; surface process study for oil recovery using a thermal extraction process; NMR analysis of samples from the ocean drilling program; in situ treatment of manufactured gas plant contaminated soils demonstration program; and solid state NMR analysis of naturally and artificially matured kerogens.

  16. Detection of residual oil-sand-derived organic material in developing soils of reclamation sites by ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Noah, Mareike; Poetz, Stefanie; Vieth-Hillebrand, Andrea; Wilkes, Heinz

    2015-06-01

    The reconstruction of disturbed landscapes back to working ecosystems is an issue of increasing importance for the oil sand areas in Alberta, Canada. In this context, the fate of oil-sand-derived organic material in the tailings sands used for reclamation is of utmost environmental importance. Here we use electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry of maltene fractions to identify compositional variations over a complete oil sand mining and recultivation process chain. On the basis of bulk compound class distributions and percentages of unique elemental compositions, we identify specific compositional features that are related to the different steps of the process chain. The double bond equivalent and carbon number distributions of the N1 and S1O2 classes are almost invariant along the process chain, despite a significant decrease in overall abundance. We thus suggest that these oil-sand-derived components can be used as sensitive tracers of residual bitumen, even in soils from relatively old reclamation sites. The patterns of the O2, O3, and O4 classes may be applied to assess process-chain-related changes in organic matter composition, including the formation of plant-derived soil organic matter on the reclamation sites. The N1O2 species appear to be related to unidentified processes in the tailings ponds but do not represent products of aerobic biodegradation of pyrrolic nitrogen compounds.

  17. Detection of residual oil-sand-derived organic material in developing soils of reclamation sites by ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Noah, Mareike; Poetz, Stefanie; Vieth-Hillebrand, Andrea; Wilkes, Heinz

    2015-06-01

    The reconstruction of disturbed landscapes back to working ecosystems is an issue of increasing importance for the oil sand areas in Alberta, Canada. In this context, the fate of oil-sand-derived organic material in the tailings sands used for reclamation is of utmost environmental importance. Here we use electrospray ionization Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry of maltene fractions to identify compositional variations over a complete oil sand mining and recultivation process chain. On the basis of bulk compound class distributions and percentages of unique elemental compositions, we identify specific compositional features that are related to the different steps of the process chain. The double bond equivalent and carbon number distributions of the N1 and S1O2 classes are almost invariant along the process chain, despite a significant decrease in overall abundance. We thus suggest that these oil-sand-derived components can be used as sensitive tracers of residual bitumen, even in soils from relatively old reclamation sites. The patterns of the O2, O3, and O4 classes may be applied to assess process-chain-related changes in organic matter composition, including the formation of plant-derived soil organic matter on the reclamation sites. The N1O2 species appear to be related to unidentified processes in the tailings ponds but do not represent products of aerobic biodegradation of pyrrolic nitrogen compounds. PMID:25961672

  18. Prolonging storage time of baby ginger by using a sand-based storage medium and essential oil treatment.

    PubMed

    Liu, Ji; Sui, Guoliang; He, Yongzhou; Liu, Dongjie; Yan, Jing; Liu, Shuxiang; Qin, Wen

    2014-04-01

    Wilt and rot occur readily during storage of baby ginger because of its tender skin and high moisture content (MC). A storage medium, which consisted of sand, 20% water, and 3.75% super absorbent polymers delayed weight loss and loss of firmness at 12 °C and 90% relative humidity. Microorganisms were isolated and purified from decayed rhizomes; among these, 3 fungi were identified as pathogens. The results of 18S rDNA sequence analysis showed that these fungi belonged to Penicillium, Fusarium, and Mortierella genera. The use of essential oil for controlling these pathogens was then investigated in vitro. Essential oils extracted from Cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) and Thymus vulgaris (thyme) completely inhibited the growth of all of the above pathogens at a concentration of 2000 ppm. Cinnamon oil showed higher antifungal activity in the drug sensitivity test with minimal fungicidal concentration (<500 ppm against all pathogens). In the in vivo test, cinnamon fumigation at a concentration of 500 ppm reduced infection rates of Penicillium, Fusarium, and Mortierella by 50.3%, 54.3%, and 60.7%, respectively. We recommended cinnamon oil fumigation combined with medium storage at 12 °C as an integrated approach to baby ginger storage.

  19. Prolonging storage time of baby ginger by using a sand-based storage medium and essential oil treatment.

    PubMed

    Liu, Ji; Sui, Guoliang; He, Yongzhou; Liu, Dongjie; Yan, Jing; Liu, Shuxiang; Qin, Wen

    2014-04-01

    Wilt and rot occur readily during storage of baby ginger because of its tender skin and high moisture content (MC). A storage medium, which consisted of sand, 20% water, and 3.75% super absorbent polymers delayed weight loss and loss of firmness at 12 °C and 90% relative humidity. Microorganisms were isolated and purified from decayed rhizomes; among these, 3 fungi were identified as pathogens. The results of 18S rDNA sequence analysis showed that these fungi belonged to Penicillium, Fusarium, and Mortierella genera. The use of essential oil for controlling these pathogens was then investigated in vitro. Essential oils extracted from Cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) and Thymus vulgaris (thyme) completely inhibited the growth of all of the above pathogens at a concentration of 2000 ppm. Cinnamon oil showed higher antifungal activity in the drug sensitivity test with minimal fungicidal concentration (<500 ppm against all pathogens). In the in vivo test, cinnamon fumigation at a concentration of 500 ppm reduced infection rates of Penicillium, Fusarium, and Mortierella by 50.3%, 54.3%, and 60.7%, respectively. We recommended cinnamon oil fumigation combined with medium storage at 12 °C as an integrated approach to baby ginger storage. PMID:24547773

  20. Relevance of the Sea Sand Disruption Method (SSDM) for the biometrical differentiation of the essential-oil composition from conifers.

    PubMed

    Dawidowicz, Andrzej L; Czapczyńska, Natalia B; Wianowska, Dorota

    2013-02-01

    Sea Sand Disruption Method (SSDM) is a simple and cheap sample-preparation procedure allowing the reduction of organic solvent consumption, exclusion of sample component degradation, improvement of extraction efficiency and selectivity, and elimination of additional sample clean-up and pre-concentration step before chromatographic analysis. This article deals with the possibility of SSDM application for the differentiation of essential-oils components occurring in the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens L.) needles from Madrid (Spain), Laganas (Zakhyntos, Greece), Cala Morell (Menorca, Spain), Lublin (Poland), Helsinki (Finland), and Oradea (Romania). The SSDM results are related to the analogous - obtained applying two other sample preparation methods - steam distillation and Pressurized Liquid Extraction (PLE). The results presented established that the total amount and the composition of essential-oil components revealed by SSDM are equivalent or higher than those obtained by one of the most effective extraction technique, PLE. Moreover, SSDM seems to provide the most representative profile of all essential-oil components as no heat is applied. Thus, this environmentally friendly method is suggested to be used as the main extraction procedure for the differentiation of essential-oil components in conifers for scientific and industrial purposes. PMID:23418171

  1. Relevance of the Sea Sand Disruption Method (SSDM) for the biometrical differentiation of the essential-oil composition from conifers.

    PubMed

    Dawidowicz, Andrzej L; Czapczyńska, Natalia B; Wianowska, Dorota

    2013-02-01

    Sea Sand Disruption Method (SSDM) is a simple and cheap sample-preparation procedure allowing the reduction of organic solvent consumption, exclusion of sample component degradation, improvement of extraction efficiency and selectivity, and elimination of additional sample clean-up and pre-concentration step before chromatographic analysis. This article deals with the possibility of SSDM application for the differentiation of essential-oils components occurring in the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and cypress (Cupressus sempervirens L.) needles from Madrid (Spain), Laganas (Zakhyntos, Greece), Cala Morell (Menorca, Spain), Lublin (Poland), Helsinki (Finland), and Oradea (Romania). The SSDM results are related to the analogous - obtained applying two other sample preparation methods - steam distillation and Pressurized Liquid Extraction (PLE). The results presented established that the total amount and the composition of essential-oil components revealed by SSDM are equivalent or higher than those obtained by one of the most effective extraction technique, PLE. Moreover, SSDM seems to provide the most representative profile of all essential-oil components as no heat is applied. Thus, this environmentally friendly method is suggested to be used as the main extraction procedure for the differentiation of essential-oil components in conifers for scientific and industrial purposes.

  2. Solute movement through unsaturated fen peat: Lab and greenhouse experiments for transport study of contaminants from Athabasca oil sands tailing pond water

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Price, J. S.; Rezanezhad, F.; Graf, M.; Rochefort, L.

    2009-12-01

    In the Athabasca oil sands region, wetlands specially peatland dominate the landscape. Processing oil sands produces large volumes of wet material called oil sands tailing water. Discharge of organic liquid contaminants such as Naphthenic Acids (NA) and Sodium (Na) from tailing waters have a toxic effect on plants in this region. One of the greatest barriers to peatland creation will be the elevated amount of toxins (naphthenic acid, metals and salinity) present in the post-mined landscapes. Variability in solute transport properties in the unsaturated zone is of growing concern due to environmental hazards and there are no many scientific challenges in the field of organic liquid contaminants transport through the unsaturated peat soils. The attenuation, degradation and transport of NA and Na in peat are essentially unknown. The ionizable nature of NA and Na along with the complex structure of peat soils poses challenges to characterizing the transport properties of NA and Na in the filed and laboratory. In this experimental research project, we examine the plant responses in 64 greenhouse tubs filled with peat and process-water; and study the transport and attenuation processes of NA and Na through peat in a series of laboratory column experiments. We developed an analytical method for evaluating the transport and adsorption characteristics of NA and Na to derive a clear understanding of the transport, sorption mechanisms and desorption behaviour of NA and Na with temporal evolution of the solute concentration distribution from groundwater to fen plants. The goal of this research project is to investigate how oil sands process-affected waters will affect peatland vegetation, specifically fen vegetation. In particular, we would like to know how contaminants present in oil sand process affected water will be transported through peat and how typical fen vegetation will react to a realistic contamination scenario in a controlled macrocosm environment? Research that

  3. Scavenging ratio of polycyclic aromatic compounds in rain and snow at the Athabasca oil sands region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, L.; Cheng, I.; Muir, D.; Charland, J.-P.

    2014-07-01

    Athabasca oil sands industry in northern Alberta, Canada is a possible source of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Monitored PACs, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, and dibenzothiophenes, in precipitation and in air at three near-source sites in the Fort MacKay and Fort McMurray area during May 2011 to August 2012 were analyzed to generate a database of scavenging (or washout) ratios (Wt) for PACs scavenged by both snow and rain. Median precipitation and air concentrations of parent PAHs over the May 2011 to August 2012 period ranged from 0.3-184.9 (chrysene) ng L-1 and 0.01-3.9 (naphthalene) ng m-3, respectively, which were comparable to literature values. Higher concentrations in precipitation and air were observed for alkylated PAHs and dibenzothiophenes. The median precipitation and air concentrations were 11.3-646.7 (C3-fluoranthene/pyrene) ng L-1 and 0.21-16.9 (C3-naphthalene) ng m-3, respectively, for alkylated PAHs, and 8.5-530.5 (C4-dibenzothiophene) ng L-1 and 0.13-6.6 (C2-dibenzothiophene) ng m-3 for dibenzothiophenes and their alkylated derivatives. Median Wt over the measurement period were 6100-1.1 × 106 from snow scavenging and 350-2.3 × 105 from rain scavenging depending on the PAC species. Median Wt for parent PAHs were within the range of those observed at other urban and suburban locations. But Wt for acenaphthylene in snow samples was 2-7 times higher. Some individual snow and rain samples exceeded literature values by a factor of 10. Wt for benzo(a)pyrene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, and benzo(g,h,i)perylene in snow samples had reached 107, which is the maximum for PAH snow scavenging ratios reported in literature. From the analysis of data subsets, Wt for particulate-phase dominant PACs were 14-20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in snow samples and 7-20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in rain samples. Wt from snow scavenging was ∼9 times greater than rain scavenging for particulate

  4. Scavenging ratios of polycyclic aromatic compounds in rain and snow in the Athabasca oil sands region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, L.; Cheng, I.; Muir, D.; Charland, J.-P.

    2015-02-01

    The Athabasca oil sands industry in northern Alberta, Canada, is a possible source of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs). Monitored PACs, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated PAHs, and dibenzothiophenes (DBTs), in precipitation and in air at three near-source sites in the Fort MacKay and Fort McMurray area during January 2011 to May 2012, were used to generate a database of scavenging ratios (Wt) for PACs scavenged by both snow and rain. Higher concentrations in precipitation and air were observed for alkylated PAHs and DBTs compared to the other PACs. The sums of the median precipitation concentrations over the period of data analyzed were 0.48 μ g L-1 for the 18 PAHs, 3.38 μ g L-1 for the 20 alkylated PAHs, and 0.94 μ g L-1 for the 5 DBTs. The sums of the median air concentrations for parent PAHs, alkylated PAHs, and DBTs were 8.37, 67.26, and 11.83 ng m-3, respectively. Median Wt over the measurement period were 6100 - 1.1 × 106 from snow scavenging and 350 - 2.3 × 105 from rain scavenging depending on the PAC species. Median Wt for parent PAHs were within the range of those observed at other urban and suburban locations, but Wt for acenaphthylene in snow samples were 2-7 times higher compared to other urban and suburban locations. Wt for some individual snow and rain samples exceeded literature values by a factor of 10. Wt for benzo(a)pyrene, dibenz(a,h)anthracene, and benzo(g,h,i)perylene in snow samples had reached 107, which is the maximum for PAH snow scavenging ratios reported in the literature. From the analysis of data subsets, Wt for particulate-phase dominant PACs were 14-20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in snow samples and 7-20 times greater than gas-phase dominant PACs in rain samples. Wt from snow scavenging were ~ 9 times greater than from rain scavenging for particulate-phase dominant PACs and 4-9.6 times greater than from rain scavenging for gas-phase dominant PACs. Gas-particle fractions of each PAC

  5. Simonette Beaverhill Lake oil pool: Discovery history, reservoir characterization and depletion strategy

    SciTech Connect

    Ollenberger, L.R.; Cortis, T.L.

    1996-12-31

    A significant light oil discovery was made in reefal carbonates of the Middle-Upper Devonian Swan Hills Formation of the Beaverhill Lake Group in west-central Alberta in September, 1993. The discovery well, Chevron Simonette 7-20-64-26W5, encountered a dolomitized Swan Hills reef margin with 28 meters of net oil pay and was capable of producing 750 ml (4700 barrels) of oil per day. A total of eighteen wells have been drilled into the pool to date. The accumulation at Simonette is divided into two pools (Beaverhill Lake A and B) by a north-south trending fault. The pools are the twelfth and fourteenth largest Swan Hills oil pools discovered to date and the largest Swan Hills oil pools discovered since 1962. The pools have an average net pay of 13.5 meters, with average porosity of approximately 9% and average water saturation of 7%. Porosity is present within both dolomite and limestone and the distribution of the reservoir is controlled by depositional facies. The density of the oil is 808 kg/m{sup 3} (43{degrees} API) and the gas/oil ratio is 325 m{sup 3}/m{sup 3}. The solution gas has an H{sub 2}S content of 1.5%. Initial reservoir studies indicate that 48% of the oil in place in the A Pool can be recovered with a hydrocarbon miscible flood, which was initiated in March, 1995. A water flood, with anticipated recovery of 41% of the oil in place, will be initiated in the B Pool in early 1996.

  6. Simonette Beaverhill Lake oil pool: Discovery history, reservoir characterization and depletion strategy

    SciTech Connect

    Ollenberger, L.R. ); Cortis, T.L. )

    1996-01-01

    A significant light oil discovery was made in reefal carbonates of the Middle-Upper Devonian Swan Hills Formation of the Beaverhill Lake Group in west-central Alberta in September, 1993. The discovery well, Chevron Simonette 7-20-64-26W5, encountered a dolomitized Swan Hills reef margin with 28 meters of net oil pay and was capable of producing 750 ml (4700 barrels) of oil per day. A total of eighteen wells have been drilled into the pool to date. The accumulation at Simonette is divided into two pools (Beaverhill Lake A and B) by a north-south trending fault. The pools are the twelfth and fourteenth largest Swan Hills oil pools discovered to date and the largest Swan Hills oil pools discovered since 1962. The pools have an average net pay of 13.5 meters, with average porosity of approximately 9% and average water saturation of 7%. Porosity is present within both dolomite and limestone and the distribution of the reservoir is controlled by depositional facies. The density of the oil is 808 kg/m[sup 3] (43[degrees] API) and the gas/oil ratio is 325 m[sup 3]/m[sup 3]. The solution gas has an H[sub 2]S content of 1.5%. Initial reservoir studies indicate that 48% of the oil in place in the A Pool can be recovered with a hydrocarbon miscible flood, which was initiated in March, 1995. A water flood, with anticipated recovery of 41% of the oil in place, will be initiated in the B Pool in early 1996.

  7. Spatial Distribution of Lead Isotope Ratios and Inorganic Element Concentrations in Epiphytic Lichens from the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graney, J. R.; Landis, M. S.; Puckett, K.; Edgerton, E.; Krupa, S.; Percy, K.

    2013-12-01

    Coupled studies of inorganic element concentrations and lead (Pb) isotope ratios have been conducted on Hypogymnia physodes samples collected in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Alberta, Canada in 2002, 2008, and 2011. To investigate the spatial extent of air emissions, the lichens were collected from sites as far as 160 km from the mining and processing operations. 30 milligram sub-samples of the lichens were microwave digested, and the extracts were analyzed using DRC-ICPMS to determine elemental concentrations, and sector field ICPMS to measure Pb isotope ratios. Concentrations of elements in the lichens were found to reflect proximity to mining and oil processing sites as well as topography, ecosystem differences, and the metabolic biogeochemistry of the lichens. An exponential decrease in concentration of metals associated with fugitive dust (aluminum and others) versus distance from the mining sites, suggests elevated coarse particle emissions associated with mining operations. Near source concentrations of metals with an oil signature (vanadium and others) are less enhanced and more homogeneous than the metals in the fugitive dust, reflecting emission and deposition of smaller diameter particles at greater distances from oil processing sources. The mining and oil processing signatures are superimposed over elemental concentrations that reflect the nutrient needs of the lichens. These findings are being confirmed through ongoing studies using dichot samplers to collect coarse and fine particulate aerosol samples. The lichen samples collected beyond 50 km from the mining and processing sites cluster into a Pb isotope grouping with a 207Pb / 206Pb ratio of 0.8650 and a 208Pb / 206Pb ratio near 2.095. This grouping likely reflects the regional background Pb isotope ratio signature. 207Pb / 206Pb and 208Pb / 206Pb ratios decrease as one nears the mining and processing operations. This indicates that other Pb source(s), (e.g. Pb in the bitumen from the oil

  8. Distribution of Total Dissolved Solids in McMurray Formation Water in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada: Implications for Oil Sands Mining and In Situ Resource Development

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cowie, B.; Mayer, B.

    2013-12-01

    Saline water management is a significant environmental challenge for mining and in-situ resource development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada. In the AOSR, the Cretaceous aged McMurray formation that bears the majority of the oil sands resources is underlain by saline Devonian formations containing saline water. Vertical connectivity between Devonian and Cretaceous aquifer systems has been uncovered by mining operations in the AOSR over the past several years, inducing occasional and local saline water flow into mining areas. The observed upward flow of groundwater from Devonian to Cretaceous systems necessitates detailed characterization of the spatial extent of high salinity formation waters to improve water management decisions in the AOSR. This study used published data from recent government reports and Environmental Impact Assessments to map total dissolved solids (TDS) of 355 McMurray formation water samples across the Athabasca oil sands region (54 to 58° N and 110 to 114° W). McMurray formation waters varied from non-saline (TDS < 4 000 mg/L) to brine (TDS > 100 000 mg/L) with a locally high salinity formation waters trending parallel to the dissolution edge of the Devonian-aged Prairie evaporite formation across the AOSR. The simplest hydrogeological explanation for the observed formation water salinity data is that Devonian aquifers are locally connected to the McMurray formation via conduits in the sub-Cretaceous karst system in the region overlying the partial dissolution edge of the Prairie evaporite formation. The driving force for upward formation water flow was provided by the Pleistocene glaciation events that reversed the regional flow system in the Devonian strata over the past 2 Ma. This study demonstrates that a detailed approach to hydrogeological assessment is required to elucidate total dissolved solids concentrations in McMurray formation waters at an individual lease-area scale, and to manage potential impacts

  9. Erosion-corrosion in carbon dioxide saturated systems in presence of sand, inhibitor, oil, and high concentration of salt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hassani, Shokrollah

    Oil and gas production is usually accompanied by formation water which typically contains high levels of chloride. Some effects of chloride concentration on corrosion are not widely known in the literature, and this can result in misleading conclusions. One goal of this research was to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of chloride concentration in CO2 corrosion. Experimental and theoretical studies conducted in the present work have shown that increasing the NaCl concentration in solution has three important effects on corrosion results. First, standard pH meter readings in high NaCl concentration solutions require corrections. Second, increasing the NaCl concentration decreases the CO2 concentration in solution and therefore contributes to a decrease in the corrosion rate. Third, increasing the NaCl concentration increases the solubility of FeCO3 and therefore reduces the likelihood of forming an iron carbonate scale. High NaCl concentration also decreases the sand erosion rate of the metal slightly by increasing the density and viscosity of the liquid. There are two main contributions of this research. The first contribution is the experimental characterization of inhibited erosion-corrosion behavior of mild steel under CO2-saturated conditions with a high salt concentration. Chemical inhibition is one the most important techniques for controlling erosion-corrosion in offshore mild steel pipelines, tubing and pipe fittings in oil and gas industry. The second contribution is the introduction of a new approach for predicting inhibited erosion-corrosion in mild steel pipes including the effects of flow and environmental conditions, sand production, and an oil phase. Sand erosion can decrease the efficiency of corrosion protection systems including iron-carbonate scale formation and chemical inhibition. The need to be able to predict inhibitor performance under sand production conditions is particularly acute when the wells are deep or off

  10. Distribution of naphthenic acids in tissues of laboratory-exposed fish and in wild fishes from near the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Young, Rozlyn F; Michel, Lorelei Martínez; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2011-05-01

    Naphthenic acids, which have a variety of commercial applications, occur naturally in conventional crude oil and in highly biodegraded petroleum such as that found in the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada. Oil sands extraction is done using a caustic aqueous extraction process. The alkaline pH releases the naphthenic acids from the oil sands and dissolves them into water as their soluble naphthenate forms, which are anionic surfactants. These aqueous extracts contain concentrations of naphthenates that are acutely lethal to fishes and other aquatic organisms. Previous research has shown that naphthenic acids can be taken up by fish, but the distribution of these acids in various tissues of the fish has not been determined. In this study, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) were exposed to commercial (Merichem) naphthenic acids in the laboratory. After a 10-d exposure to approximately 3mg naphthenic acids/L, the fish were dissected and samples of gills, heart, liver, kidney, muscle, and eggs were extracted and analyzed for free (unconjugated) naphthenic acids by a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry method. Each of the tissues contained naphthenic acids and non-parametric statistical analyses showed that gills and livers contained higher concentrations than the muscles and that the livers had higher concentrations than the hearts. Four different species of fish (two fish of each species) were collected from the Athabasca River near two oil sands mining and extraction operations. No free naphthenic acids were detected in the muscle or liver of these fish.

  11. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology, jointly sponsored research. Quarterly technical progress report, January--March 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-09-01

    Accomplishments for the past quarter are briefly described for the following areas of research: oil shale; tar sand; coal; advanced exploratory process technology; and jointly sponsored research. Oil shale and tar sand researches cover processing studies. Coal research includes: coal combustion; integrated coal processing concepts; and solid waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology covers: advanced process concepts; advanced mitigation concepts; and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research includes: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; CROW{sup TM} field demonstration with Bell Lumber and Pole; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; operation and evaluation of the CO{sub 2} HUFF-N-PUFF Process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid-state NMR analysis of Mesaverde Group, Greater Green River Basin tight gas sands; characterization of petroleum residue; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced oil recovery techniques; surface process study for oil recovery using a thermal extraction process; oil field waste cleanup using tank bottom recovery process; remote chemical sensor development; in situ treatment of manufactured gas plant contaminated soils demonstration program; solid-state NMR analysis of naturally and artificially matured kerogens; and development of an effective method for the clean-up of natural gas.

  12. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils

    PubMed Central

    Kwak, Jin-Hyeob; Chang, Scott X.; Naeth, M. Anne; Schaaf, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM) and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD) can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP) and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM) × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD) factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen) CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (p<0.05) in FMM than in PMM, in July, and August 2013 and July 2014, and greater (p<0.05) near CWD than away from CWD in FMM in July and August samplings. Soil microbial CLPP differed between FMM and PMM (p<0.01) according to a principal component analysis and CWD changed microbial CLPP in FMM (p<0.05) but not in PMM. Coarse woody debris increased microbial community functional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates) in both cover soils (p<0.05) in August and September 2014. Carbon degrading soil enzyme activities were greater in FMM than in PMM (p<0.05) regardless of distance from CWD but were not affected by CWD. Greater microbial biomass and enzyme activities in FMM than in PMM will increase organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, improving plant growth. Enhanced microbial community functional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining. PMID:26618605

  13. Coarse Woody Debris Increases Microbial Community Functional Diversity but not Enzyme Activities in Reclaimed Oil Sands Soils.

    PubMed

    Kwak, Jin-Hyeob; Chang, Scott X; Naeth, M Anne; Schaaf, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Forest floor mineral soil mix (FMM) and peat mineral soil mix (PMM) are cover soils commonly used for upland reclamation post open-pit oil sands mining in northern Alberta, Canada. Coarse woody debris (CWD) can be used to regulate soil temperature and water content, to increase organic matter content, and to create microsites for the establishment of microorganisms and vegetation in upland reclamation. We studied the effects of CWD on soil microbial community level physiological profile (CLPP) and soil enzyme activities in FMM and PMM in a reclaimed landscape in the oil sands. This experiment was conducted with a 2 (FMM vs PMM) × 2 (near CWD vs away from CWD) factorial design with 6 replications. The study plots were established with Populus tremuloides (trembling aspen) CWD placed on each plot between November 2007 and February 2008. Soil samples were collected within 5 cm from CWD and more than 100 cm away from CWD in July, August and September 2013 and 2014. Microbial biomass was greater (p<0.05) in FMM than in PMM, in July, and August 2013 and July 2014, and greater (p<0.05) near CWD than away from CWD in FMM in July and August samplings. Soil microbial CLPP differed between FMM and PMM (p<0.01) according to a principal component analysis and CWD changed microbial CLPP in FMM (p<0.05) but not in PMM. Coarse woody debris increased microbial community functional diversity (average well color development in Biolog Ecoplates) in both cover soils (p<0.05) in August and September 2014. Carbon degrading soil enzyme activities were greater in FMM than in PMM (p<0.05) regardless of distance from CWD but were not affected by CWD. Greater microbial biomass and enzyme activities in FMM than in PMM will increase organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling, improving plant growth. Enhanced microbial community functional diversity by CWD application in upland reclamation has implications for accelerating upland reclamation after oil sands mining. PMID:26618605

  14. Effects of oil pollution at Kuwait's Greater Al-Burgan oil field on the timing of morning emergence, basking and foraging behaviors by the sand lizard Acanthodactylus scutellatus.

    PubMed

    Al-Hashem, M Abdulla; Brain, P F; Omar, S Ahmad

    2008-02-15

    An attempt was made to study the effects of oil pollution in a desert location (the Greater Al-Burgan oil fields, an area damaged in the second Gulf War) in Kuwait on the behaviour of the Sand lizard A. scutellatus. Polluted sites with apparently different degrees of contamination (namely tar mat, soot and clear sites) were compared with control areas outside this region. Between 2002 and 2003, ten lizards (5 of each sex) on each polluted and each control site were observed in the field at a time of the year when they were highly active. Air, substrate and burrow temperatures were recorded and lizards were monitored for their morning emergence times, as well as their basking and foraging activities. The present study confirmed that the morning emergence times and the basking behavior varied in sand lizards among the different pollution site categories. Physical changes in the tar mat sites caused the substrate temperatures in these locations to rise more quickly in the morning in response to solar gain than was the case in the other sites. This gives lizards in these locations the opportunity to emerge earlier and to start eating more quickly, giving them an energetic advantage (perhaps, in turn, influencing their rates of growth and fecundity). The clear sites had the next earliest emergence and were the next hottest but it is difficult to account for this in terms of the physical characteristics of this site. The basking times were clearly shorter on the dark soot and tar mat sites that appeared to have higher solar gain than control or clear sites. There did not appear to be any obvious differences in foraging activity of lizards in the different locations. It appears that some aspects of simple behaviour in these lizards provides a reliable, noninvasive indices for assessing oil pollution in desert locations. The precise impact of these changes in these reptiles on their long-term viability needs to be evaluated.

  15. Fate and transport of oil sand process-affected water into the underlying clay till: a field study.

    PubMed

    Abolfazlzadehdoshanbehbazari, Mostafa; Birks, S Jean; Moncur, Michael C; Ulrich, Ania C

    2013-08-01

    The South Tailings Pond (STP) is a ~2300-ha tailing pond operated by Suncor Energy Inc. that has received oil sand process-affected (PA) water and mature fine tailings since 2006. The STP is underlain by a clay till, which is in turn underlain by the Wood Creek Sand Channel (WCSC). The sandy deposits of the WCSC provide greater geotechnical stability but could act as a potential flow pathway for PA water to migrate off site and into the Athabasca River. Preliminary modeling of the STP suggests that PA water from the pond will infiltrate into the underlying sand channel, but the extent and development of this impact is still poorly understood. Suncor Energy Inc. built interception wells and a cut-off-wall to control any potential seepage. Here we present the results of an investigation of the fate and transport of PA water in clay till underlying a 10 m × 10 m infiltration pond that was constructed on the southeastern portion of the STP. The geochemistry of pore water in the till underlying the infiltration pond was determined prior to filling with process-affected water (2008) and two years after the infiltration pond was filled with PA waters (2010). Pore water was analyzed for metals, cations, anions, and isotopes ((2)H and (18)O). The distribution of conservative tracers ((18)O and chloride) indicated migration of the PA waters to approximately 0.9 m, but the migrations of major ions and metals were significantly delayed relative to this depth. Uptake of Na and Mo and release of Ca, Mg, Mn, Ba, and Sr suggest that adsorption and ion exchange reactions are the foremost attenuation processes controlling inorganic solutes transport.

  16. Fate and transport of oil sand process-affected water into the underlying clay till: A field study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abolfazlzadehdoshanbehbazari, Mostafa; Birks, S. Jean; Moncur, Michael C.; Ulrich, Ania C.

    2013-08-01

    The South Tailings Pond (STP) is a ~ 2300-ha tailing pond operated by Suncor Energy Inc. that has received oil sand process-affected (PA) water and mature fine tailings since 2006. The STP is underlain by a clay till, which is in turn underlain by the Wood Creek Sand Channel (WCSC). The sandy deposits of the WCSC provide greater geotechnical stability but could act as a potential flow pathway for PA water to migrate off site and into the Athabasca River. Preliminary modeling of the STP suggests that PA water from the pond will infiltrate into the underlying sand channel, but the extent and development of this impact is still poorly understood. Suncor Energy Inc. built interception wells and a cut-off-wall to control any potential seepage. Here we present the results of an investigation of the fate and transport of PA water in clay till underlying a 10 m × 10 m infiltration pond that was constructed on the southeastern portion of the STP. The geochemistry of pore water in the till underlying the infiltration pond was determined prior to filling with process-affected water (2008) and two years after the infiltration pond was filled with PA waters (2010). Pore water was analyzed for metals, cations, anions, and isotopes (2H and 18O). The distribution of conservative tracers (18O and chloride) indicated migration of the PA waters to approximately 0.9 m, but the migrations of major ions and metals were significantly delayed relative to this depth. Uptake of Na and Mo and release of Ca, Mg, Mn, Ba, and Sr suggest that adsorption and ion exchange reactions are the foremost attenuation processes controlling inorganic solutes transport.

  17. Geochemical interactions between process-affected water from oil sands tailings ponds and North Alberta surficial sediments.

    PubMed

    Holden, A A; Donahue, R B; Ulrich, A C

    2011-01-25

    In Northern Alberta, the placement of out-of-pit oil sands tailings ponds atop natural buried sand channels is becoming increasingly common. Preliminary modeling of such a site suggests that process-affected (PA) pond water will infiltrate through the underlying clay till aquitard, reaching the sand channel. However, the impact of seepage upon native sediments and groundwater resources is not known. The goal of this study is to investigate the role of adsorption and ion exchange reactions in the clay till and their effect on the attenuation or release of inorganic species. This was evaluated using batch sorption experiments (traditional and a recent modification using less disturbed sediment samples) and geochemical modeling with PHREEQC. The results show that clay till sediments have the capacity to mitigate the high concentrations of ingressing sodium (600 mg L(-1)), with linear sorption partitioning coefficients (K(d)) of 0.45 L kg(-1). Ion exchange theory was required to account for all other cation behaviour, precluding the calculation of such coefficients for other species. Qualitative evidence suggests that chloride will behave conservatively, with high concentrations remaining in solution (375 mg L(-1)). As a whole, system behaviour was found to be controlled by a combination of competitive ion exchange, dissolution and precipitation reactions. Observations, supported by PHREEQC simulations, suggest that the influx of PA water will induce the dissolution of pre-existing sulphate salts. Sodium present in the process-affected water will exchange with sediment-bound calcium and magnesium, increasing the divalent ions' pore fluid concentrations, and leading to the precipitation of a calcium-magnesium carbonate mineral phase. Thus, in similar tailings pond settings, particularly if the glacial till coverage is thin or altogether absent, it is reasonable to expect that high concentrations of sodium and chloride will remain in solution, while sulphate

  18. Fate and transport of oil sand process-affected water into the underlying clay till: a field study.

    PubMed

    Abolfazlzadehdoshanbehbazari, Mostafa; Birks, S Jean; Moncur, Michael C; Ulrich, Ania C

    2013-08-01

    The South Tailings Pond (STP) is a ~2300-ha tailing pond operated by Suncor Energy Inc. that has received oil sand process-affected (PA) water and mature fine tailings since 2006. The STP is underlain by a clay till, which is in turn underlain by the Wood Creek Sand Channel (WCSC). The sandy deposits of the WCSC provide greater geotechnical stability but could act as a potential flow pathway for PA water to migrate off site and into the Athabasca River. Preliminary modeling of the STP suggests that PA water from the pond will infiltrate into the underlying sand channel, but the extent and development of this impact is still poorly understood. Suncor Energy Inc. built interception wells and a cut-off-wall to control any potential seepage. Here we present the results of an investigation of the fate and transport of PA water in clay till underlying a 10 m × 10 m infiltration pond that was constructed on the southeastern portion of the STP. The geochemistry of pore water in the till underlying the infiltration pond was determined prior to filling with process-affected water (2008) and two years after the infiltration pond was filled with PA waters (2010). Pore water was analyzed for metals, cations, anions, and isotopes ((2)H and (18)O). The distribution of conservative tracers ((18)O and chloride) indicated migration of the PA waters to approximately 0.9 m, but the migrations of major ions and metals were significantly delayed relative to this depth. Uptake of Na and Mo and release of Ca, Mg, Mn, Ba, and Sr suggest that adsorption and ion exchange reactions are the foremost attenuation processes controlling inorganic solutes transport. PMID:23752067

  19. Crude oil in a shallow sand and gravel aquifer-II. Organic geochemistry

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eganhouse, R.P.; Baedecker, M.J.; Cozzarelli, I.M.; Aiken, G.R.; Thorn, K.A.; Dorsey, T.F.

    1993-01-01

    Crude oil spilled from a pipeline break in a remote area of north-central Minnesota has contaminated a shallow glacial outwash aquifer. Part of the oil was sprayed over a large area to the west of the pipeline and part of it accumulated in an oil body that floats at the water table to the east of the point of discharge. Total dissolved organic carbon (TDOC) concentrations in shallow groundwater collected in the oil spray area reach 16 mg/l. This is nearly an order of magnitude higher than the TDOC concentrations of native groundwater (???2-3 mg/l). The additional TDOC derives from the partial degradation of petroleum residues deposited at the land surface and transported to the aquifer by vertical recharge. In the vicinity of the oil body, TDOC concentrations in groundwater are 48 mg/l, 58% of the TDOC being composed of non-volatile organic C. The majority of the volatile DOC (63%) is a mixture of low-molecular-weight saturated, aromatic and alicyclic hydrocarbons derived from the oil. Downgradient from the oil body along the direction of groundwater flow, concentrations of all measured constituents of the TDOC pool decrease. Concentrations begin to decline most rapidly, however, in the zone where dissolved O2 concentrations begin to increase, ???50 m downgradient from the leading edge of the oil. Within the anoxic zone near the oil body, removal rates of isometric monoaromatic hydrocarbons vary widely. This indicates that the removal processes are mediated mainly by microbiological activity. Molecular and spectroscopic characterization of the TDOC and its spatial and temporal variation provide evidence of the importance of biogeochemical processes in attenuating petroleum contaminants in this perturbed subsurface environment. ?? 1993.

  20. Near-shore sand thickness and stratigraphy mapping with a submerged GPR antenna system; southeast Lake Michigan

    SciTech Connect

    Sauck, W.A.; Seng, D.L. )

    1994-04-01

    Twenty-one shore perpendicular profiles, spaced at nominal 5 km intervals, have been surveyed with a bottom-sled mounted Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) antenna system between Benton Harbor, MI, and Gary, IN. Either a commercial 500 MHz or a custom 145 MHz antenna were used. The bottom sled also carried an upward looking SONAR transducer to give concurrent water depth, and was towed from the beach out to water depths of 6 meters or more, usually ending about 500 meters from shore. Bedding structures and details are clearly visible on the GPR sections within the sand bars and sand blankets. Bottom morphology and the nature of the sand bodies change markedly from the NE to the SW limits of the survey area. At the NE profiles there are multiple, pronounced (or high amplitude) offshore bars, with the substrate (glacial clay, shale, or silty sand) exposed or nearly exposed between bars. Internal structure is generally foreset or cross bedding in the bars. Sand was thin or missing immediately to the Sw of several other jetty structures in addition to the one at St. Joseph. In general the sand bars became much less pronounced to the SW, and internal structures were dominated by parallel bedding and subtle angular unconformities. Near St. Joseph, the exposed substrate is almost certainly being eroded, even to water depths as great as 6 meters. Thus, the equilibrium bottom profile continues to deepen shoreward, causing the continued threat of bluff erosion in spite of annual beach nourishment efforts at this site.

  1. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology jointly sponsored research. Quarterly technical progress report, April--June 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-12-01

    Accomplishments for the quarter are presented for the following areas of research: oil shale, tar sand, coal, advanced exploratory process technology, and jointly sponsored research. Oil shale research includes; oil shale process studies, environmental base studies for oil shale, and miscellaneous basic concept studies. Tar sand research covers process development. Coal research includes; underground coal gasification, coal combustion, integrated coal processing concepts, and solid waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes; advanced process concepts, advanced mitigation concepts, and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research includes: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; operation and evaluation of the CO{sub 2} HUFF-N-PUFF Process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid state NMR analysis of Mesa Verde Group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; flow-loop testing of double-wall pipe for thermal applications; characterization of petroleum residue; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced recovery techniques; and menu driven access to the WDEQ Hydrologic Data Management Systems.

  2. Dispersants as Used in Response to the MC252-Spill Lead to Higher Mobility of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Oil-Contaminated Gulf of Mexico Sand

    PubMed Central

    Zuijdgeest, Alissa; Huettel, Markus

    2012-01-01

    After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, large volumes of crude oil were washed onto and embedded in the sandy beaches and sublittoral sands of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Some of this oil was mechanically or chemically dispersed before reaching the shore. With a set of laboratory-column experiments we show that the addition of chemical dispersants (Corexit 9500A) increases the mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in saturated permeable sediments by up to two orders of magnitude. Distribution and concentrations of PAHs, measured in the solid phase and effluent water of the columns using GC/MS, revealed that the mobility of the PAHs depended on their hydrophobicity and was species specific also in the presence of dispersant. Deepest penetration was observed for acenaphthylene and phenanthrene. Flushing of the columns with seawater after percolation of the oiled water resulted in enhanced movement by remobilization of retained PAHs. An in-situ benthic chamber experiment demonstrated that aromatic hydrocarbons are transported into permeable sublittoral sediment, emphasizing the relevance of our laboratory column experiments in natural settings. We conclude that the addition of dispersants permits crude oil components to penetrate faster and deeper into permeable saturated sands, where anaerobic conditions may slow degradation of these compounds, thus extending the persistence of potentially harmful PAHs in the marine environment. Application of dispersants in nearshore oil spills should take into account enhanced penetration depths into saturated sands as this may entail potential threats to the groundwater. PMID:23209777

  3. Dispersants as used in response to the MC252-spill lead to higher mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in oil-contaminated Gulf of Mexico sand.

    PubMed

    Zuijdgeest, Alissa; Huettel, Markus

    2012-01-01

    After the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, large volumes of crude oil were washed onto and embedded in the sandy beaches and sublittoral sands of the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Some of this oil was mechanically or chemically dispersed before reaching the shore. With a set of laboratory-column experiments we show that the addition of chemical dispersants (Corexit 9500A) increases the mobility of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in saturated permeable sediments by up to two orders of magnitude. Distribution and concentrations of PAHs, measured in the solid phase and effluent water of the columns using GC/MS, revealed that the mobility of the PAHs depended on their hydrophobicity and was species specific also in the presence of dispersant. Deepest penetration was observed for acenaphthylene and phenanthrene. Flushing of the columns with seawater after percolation of the oiled water resulted in enhanced movement by remobilization of retained PAHs. An in-situ benthic chamber experiment demonstrated that aromatic hydrocarbons are transported into permeable sublittoral sediment, emphasizing the relevance of our laboratory column experiments in natural settings. We conclude that the addition of dispersants permits crude oil components to penetrate faster and deeper into permeable saturated sands, where anaerobic conditions may slow degradation of these compounds, thus extending the persistence of potentially harmful PAHs in the marine environment. Application of dispersants in nearshore oil spills should take into account enhanced penetration depths into saturated sands as this may entail potential threats to the groundwater. PMID:23209777

  4. The impacts of ozonation on oil sands process-affected water biodegradability and biofilm formation characteristics in bioreactors.

    PubMed

    Hwang, Geelsu; Dong, Tao; Islam, Md Sahinoor; Sheng, Zhiya; Pérez-Estrada, Leónidas A; Liu, Yang; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2013-02-01

    To examine the effects of the ozonation process (as an oxidation treatment for water and wastewater treatment applications) on microbial biofilm formation and biodegradability of organic compounds present in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), biofilm reactors were operated continuously for 6weeks. Two types of biofilm substrate materials: polyethylene (PE) and polyvinylchloride (PVC), and two types of OSPW-fresh and ozonated OSPWs-were tested. Endogenous microorganisms, in OSPW, quickly formed biofilms in the reactors. Without ozonation, the bioreactor (using endogenous microorganisms) removed 13.8% of the total acid-extractable organics (TAO) and 18.5% of the parent naphthenic acids (NAs) from fresh OSPW. The combined ozonation and biodegradation process removed 87.2% of the OSPW TAO and over 99% of the OSPW parent NAs. Further UPLC/HRMS analysis showed that NA biodegradability decreased as the NA cyclization number increased. Microbial biofilm formation was found to depend on the biofilm substrate type.

  5. Coupling lead isotopes and element concentrations in epiphytic lichens to track sources of air emissions in the Alberta Oil Sands Region

    EPA Science Inventory

    A study was conducted that coupled use of element concentrations and lead (Pb) isotope ratios in the lichen Hypogymnia physodes collected during 2002 and 2008, to assess the impacts of air emissions from the Alberta Oil Sands Region (AOSR, Canada) mining and processing operations...

  6. Desalination of oil sands process-affected water and basal depressurization water in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada: application of electrodialysis.

    PubMed

    Kim, Eun-Sik; Dong, Shimiao; Liu, Yang; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2013-01-01

    The high content of inorganic species in water used to extract bitumen from the Alberta oil sands and in the groundwater below the oil sands is an increasing environmental concern. These water matrices require treatment before they can be reused or safely discharged. Desalination of the oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) and groundwater, or basal depressurization water (BDW), can be accomplished with deionization techniques such as electrodialysis (ED). In order to achieve the effective ED treatment, OSPW and BDW were pretreated with coagulation-flocculation-sedimentation to remove solid species and turbidity. We demonstrated that a conductivity range for industrial reuse of OSPW and BDW can be achieved with the ED treatment and showed the possibility of applying ED in the oil sands industry. A continuous ED system that reuses the diluate stream as a source for the concentrate stream was designed. The cost of a hypothetical ED water treatment plant in Fort McMurray, Alberta, was estimated to be C$10.71 per cubic meter of treated water.

  7. 6. General view of complex. Sand tower at left (MN99E) ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    6. General view of complex. Sand tower at left (MN-99-E) and oil house (MN-99-C) at right. Machine shop section of roundhouse (Mn-99-A) in background at center. View to west. - Duluth & Iron Range Rail Road Company Shops, Southwest of downtown Two Harbors, northwest of Agate Bay, Two Harbors, Lake County, MN

  8. Growth of mycorrhizal jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and white spruce (Picea glauca) seedlings planted in oil sands reclaimed areas.

    PubMed

    Onwuchekwa, Nnenna E; Zwiazek, Janusz J; Quoreshi, Ali; Khasa, Damase P

    2014-08-01

    The effectiveness of ectomycorrhizal inoculation at the tree nursery seedling production stage on growth and survival was examined in jack pine (Pinus banksiana) and white spruce (Picea glauca) planted in oil sands reclamation sites. The seedlings were inoculated with Hebeloma crustuliniforme strain # UAMH 5247, Suillus tomentosus strain # UAMH 6252, and Laccaria bicolor strain # UAMH 8232, as individual pure cultures and in combinations. These treatments were demonstrated to improve salinity resistance and water uptake in conifer seedlings. The field responses of seedlings to ectomycorrhizal inoculation varied between plant species, inoculation treatments, and measured parameters. Seedling inoculation resulted in higher ectomycorrhizal colonization rates compared with non-inoculated control, which had also a relatively small proportion of roots colonized by the nursery contaminant fungi identified as Amphinema byssoides and Thelephora americana. Seedling inoculation had overall a greater effect on relative height growth rates, dry biomass, and stem volumes in jack pine compared with white spruce. However, when examined after two growing seasons, inoculated white spruce seedlings showed up to 75% higher survival rates than non-inoculated controls. The persistence of inoculated fungi in roots of planted seedlings was examined at the end of the second growing season. Although the inoculation with H. crustuliniforme triggered growth responses, the fungus was not found in the roots of seedlings at the end of the second growing season suggesting a possibility that the observed growth-promoting effect of H. crustuliniforme may be transient. The results suggest that the inoculation of conifer seedlings with ectomycorrhizal fungi could potentially be carried out on a large scale in tree nurseries to benefit postplanting performance in oil sands reclamation sites. However, these practices should take into consideration the differences in responses between the different

  9. The hydrogeologic connectivity of a low-flow saline-spring fen peatland within the Athabasca oil sands region, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wells, Corey M.; Price, Jonathan S.

    2015-12-01

    Saline springs can provide clues as to the nature of groundwater flow, including how it relates to subsurface wastewater storage and the distribution of solutes in the landscape. A saline-spring peatland neighboring a proposed in-situ oil facility was examined near Fort McMurray, Alberta (Canada). The study area is situated just north of a saline groundwater discharge zone, which coincides with the erosional edge of the Cretaceous Grand Rapids Formation. Na+ (mean 6,949 mg L-1) and Cl- (mean 13,776 mg L-1) were the dominant salts within the peatland, which increased by an order of magnitude in the opposite direction to that of the local groundwater flow. Rivers and freshwater wetlands within the study area had anomalously high salinities, in some cases exceeding 10,000 mg L-1 total dissolved solids within deeper sediments. Saline-spring features were observed as far as 5 km from the study area. A low-permeability mineral layer underlying the peatland restricted vertical groundwater exchange (estimated to be less than several mm over the 4-month study period). Sand and gravel lenses underlying the fen's high-salinity zone may function as areas of enhanced discharge. High Cl/Br ratios point to halite as a potential source of salinity, while δ18O and δ2H signatures in groundwater were lower than modern-day precipitation or Quaternary aquifers. The complex connectivity of saline-spring wetlands within the landscape has implications for industry and land-use managers, and justifies incorporating them into monitoring networks to better gauge the magnitude and flow history of natural saline discharge in the oil sands region.

  10. Evaluating officially reported polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region with a multimedia fate model

    PubMed Central

    Parajulee, Abha; Wania, Frank

    2014-01-01

    Emissions of organic substances with potential toxicity to humans and the environment are a major concern surrounding the rapid industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in some environmental samples have been reported, a comprehensive picture of organic contaminant sources, pathways, and sinks within the AOSR has yet to be elucidated. We sought to use a dynamic multimedia environmental fate model to reconcile the emissions and residue levels reported for three representative PAHs in the AOSR. Data describing emissions to air compiled from two official sources result in simulated concentrations in air, soil, water, and foliage that tend to fall close to or below the minimum measured concentrations of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene in the environment. Accounting for evaporative emissions (e.g., from tailings pond disposal) provides a more realistic representation of PAH distribution in the AOSR. Such indirect emissions to air were found to be a greater contributor of PAHs to the AOSR atmosphere relative to reported direct emissions to air. The indirect pathway transporting uncontrolled releases of PAHs to aquatic systems via the atmosphere may be as significant a contributor of PAHs to aquatic systems as other supply pathways. Emission density estimates for the three PAHs that account for tailings pond disposal are much closer to estimated global averages than estimates based on the available emissions datasets, which fall close to the global minima. Our results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oil sands operations, especially in light of continued expansion of these operations. PMID:24596429

  11. Evaluating officially reported polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region with a multimedia fate model.

    PubMed

    Parajulee, Abha; Wania, Frank

    2014-03-01

    Emissions of organic substances with potential toxicity to humans and the environment are a major concern surrounding the rapid industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in some environmental samples have been reported, a comprehensive picture of organic contaminant sources, pathways, and sinks within the AOSR has yet to be elucidated. We sought to use a dynamic multimedia environmental fate model to reconcile the emissions and residue levels reported for three representative PAHs in the AOSR. Data describing emissions to air compiled from two official sources result in simulated concentrations in air, soil, water, and foliage that tend to fall close to or below the minimum measured concentrations of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene in the environment. Accounting for evaporative emissions (e.g., from tailings pond disposal) provides a more realistic representation of PAH distribution in the AOSR. Such indirect emissions to air were found to be a greater contributor of PAHs to the AOSR atmosphere relative to reported direct emissions to air. The indirect pathway transporting uncontrolled releases of PAHs to aquatic systems via the atmosphere may be as significant a contributor of PAHs to aquatic systems as other supply pathways. Emission density estimates for the three PAHs that account for tailings pond disposal are much closer to estimated global averages than estimates based on the available emissions datasets, which fall close to the global minima. Our results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oil sands operations, especially in light of continued expansion of these operations.

  12. Evaluating officially reported polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region with a multimedia fate model.

    PubMed

    Parajulee, Abha; Wania, Frank

    2014-03-01

    Emissions of organic substances with potential toxicity to humans and the environment are a major concern surrounding the rapid industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in some environmental samples have been reported, a comprehensive picture of organic contaminant sources, pathways, and sinks within the AOSR has yet to be elucidated. We sought to use a dynamic multimedia environmental fate model to reconcile the emissions and residue levels reported for three representative PAHs in the AOSR. Data describing emissions to air compiled from two official sources result in simulated concentrations in air, soil, water, and foliage that tend to fall close to or below the minimum measured concentrations of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene in the environment. Accounting for evaporative emissions (e.g., from tailings pond disposal) provides a more realistic representation of PAH distribution in the AOSR. Such indirect emissions to air were found to be a greater contributor of PAHs to the AOSR atmosphere relative to reported direct emissions to air. The indirect pathway transporting uncontrolled releases of PAHs to aquatic systems via the atmosphere may be as significant a contributor of PAHs to aquatic systems as other supply pathways. Emission density estimates for the three PAHs that account for tailings pond disposal are much closer to estimated global averages than estimates based on the available emissions datasets, which fall close to the global minima. Our results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oil sands operations, especially in light of continued expansion of these operations. PMID:24596429

  13. Effect of oil sands process-affected water on toxicity of retene to early life-stages of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes).

    PubMed

    Alharbi, Hattan A; Morandi, Garrett; Giesy, John P; Wiseman, Steve B

    2016-07-01

    Toxicity of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) to aquatic organisms has been studied, but effects of co-exposure to OSPW and polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are an important class of chemicals in tailings ponds used to store OSPW, has not been investigated. The goal of the current study was to determine if organic compounds extracted from the aqueous phase of relatively fresh OSPW from Base-Mine Lake (BML-OSPW) or aged OSPW from Pond 9 experimental reclamation pond (P9-OSPW) modulated toxic potency of the model alkyl-PAH, retene, to early life-stages of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes). Embryos were exposed to retene by use of a partition controlled delivery (PCD) system made of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) until day of hatch. Incidences of pericardial edema and expression of CYP1A were not significantly greater in larvae exposed only to dissolved organic compounds from either OSPW but were significantly greater in larvae exposed only to retene. Expression of CYP1A and incidences of pericardial edema were significantly greater in larvae co-exposed to retene and 5×equivalent of dissolved organic compounds from BML-OSPW compared to retene alone. However, there was no effect of co-exposure to retene and either a 1×equivalent of dissolved organic compounds from BML-OSPW or 5×equivalent of dissolved organic compounds from P9-OSPW. While there was evidence that exposure to 5×equivalent of dissolved organic compounds from BML-OSPW caused oxidative stress, there was no evidence of this effect in larvae exposed only to retene or co-exposed to retene and a 5×equivalent of dissolved organic compounds from BML-OSPW. These results suggest that oxidative stress is not a mechanism of pericardial edema in early-life stages of Japanese medaka. Relatively fresh OSPW from Base Mine Lake might influence toxicity of alkylated-PAHs to early life stages of fishes but this effect would not be expected to occur at current concentrations of OSPW and is attenuated by

  14. Quantitative Methods for Reservoir Characterization and Improved Recovery: Application to Heavy Oil Sands

    SciTech Connect

    Castle, James W.; Molz, Fred J.

    2001-11-29

    The first twelve months of the project focused on collecting data for characterization and modeling. In addition, data from Coalinga Field was analyzed to define the fractal structure present in the data set. The following sections of the report parallel the first four subtasks of the investigation were: (1) Collect and Load Property Data from Temblor Outcrops in California, (2) Collect and Load Property Data from Temblor Reservoir Sands, West Coalinga Field, California, (3) Collect and Load Property Data from Continuous Upper Cretaceous Outcrops in Utah, and (4) Define Fractal Structure in the Data Sets and Apply to Generating Property Representations.

  15. Inter-comparison of MAX-DOAS Retrieved Vertical Profiles of Aerosol Extinction, SO2 and NO2 in the Alberta Oil Sands with LIDAR Data and GEM-MACH Air Quality Model.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Zoe; Friess, Udo; Strawbridge, Kevin; Whiteway, James; Aggarwal, Monika; Makar, Paul; Li, Shao-Meng; O'Brien, Jason; Baray, Sabour; Schnitzler, Elijah; Olfert, Jason S.; Osthoff, Hans D.; Lobo, Akshay; McLaren, Robert

    2016-04-01

    Understanding industrial emissions of trace gas pollutants in the Alberta oil sands is essential to maintaining air quality standards and informing public policy. Multi-Axis Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) measurements of trace gases can improve knowledge of pollutant levels, vertical distribution and chemical transformation. During an intensive air measurement campaign to study emissions, transport, transformation and deposition of oil sands air pollutants from August to September of 2013, a MAX-DOAS instrument was deployed at a site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta to determine the vertical profiles of aerosol extinction, NO2 and SO2 through retrieval from the MAX-DOAS spectral measurements using an optimal estimation method. The large complement of data collected from multiple instruments deployed during this field campaign provides a unique opportunity to validate and characterize the performance of the MAX-DOAS vertical profile retrievals. Aerosol extinction profiles determined from two Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) instruments, one collocated and the other on a Twin Otter aircraft that flew over the site during the study, will be compared to the MAX-DOAS aerosol extinction profile retrievals. Vertical profiles of NO2 and SO2 retrieved from the MAX-DOAS measurements will be further compared with the composite vertical profiles measured from the flights of a second aircraft, the NRC-Convair 580, over the field site during the same measurement period. Finally, the MAX-DOAS retrieved tropospheric vertical column densities (VCDs) of SO2 and NO2 will be compared to the predicted VCDs from Environment and Climate Change Canada's Global Environmental Multi-scale - Modelling Air quality and Chemistry (GEM-MACH) air quality model over the grid cell containing the field site. Emission estimates of SO2 from the major oil mining facility Syncrude Mildred Lake using the MAX-DOAS VCD results, validated through the detailed characterization above

  16. Toxicity, tunneling and feeding behavior of the termite, Coptotermes vastator, in sand treated with oil of the physic nut, Jatropha curcas.

    PubMed

    Acda, Menandro N

    2009-01-01

    Oil of the physic nut, Jatropha curcas L. (Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae), was evaluated in the laboratory for its barrier and repellent activity against the Philippine milk termite Coptotermes vastator Light (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). The study showed that J. curcas oil had anti-feeding effect, induced reduction in tunneling activity and increased mortality in C. vastator. Behavior of termites exposed to sand treated with J. curcas oil indicated that it is toxic or repellent to C. vastator. Toxicity and repellent thresholds, were higher than those reported for other naturally occurring compounds tested against the Formosan subterranean termite. PMID:20053119

  17. Toxicity, Tunneling and Feeding Behavior of the Termite, Coptotermes vastator, in Sand Treated with Oil of the Physic Nut, Jatropha curcas

    PubMed Central

    Acda, Menandro N.

    2009-01-01

    Oil of the physic nut, Jatropha curcas L. (Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae), was evaluated in the laboratory for its barrier and repellent activity against the Philippine milk termite Coptotermes vastator Light (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). The study showed that J. curcas oil had anti-feeding effect, induced reduction in tunneling activity and increased mortality in C. vastator. Behavior of termites exposed to sand treated with J. curcas oil indicated that it is toxic or repellent to C. vastator. Toxicity and repellent thresholds, were higher than those reported for other naturally occurring compounds tested against the Formosan subterranean termite. PMID:20053119

  18. Effects of Building a Sand Barrier Berm to Mitigate the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Louisiana Marshes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lavoie, Dawn; Flocks, James G.; Kindinger, Jack G.; Sallenger, A.H.; Twichell, David C.

    2010-01-01

    The State of Louisiana requested emergency authorization on May 11, 2010, to perform spill mitigation work on the Chandeleur Islands and on all the barrier islands from Grand Terre Island eastward to Sandy Point to enhance the capability of the islands to reduce the movement of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the marshes. The proposed action-building a barrier berm (essentially an artificial island fronting the existing barriers and inlets) seaward of the existing barrier islands and inlets-'restores' the protective function of the islands but does not alter the islands themselves. Building a barrier berm to protect the mainland wetlands from oil is a new strategy and depends on the timeliness of construction to be successful. Prioritizing areas to be bermed, focusing on those areas that are most vulnerable and where construction can be completed most rapidly, may increase chances for success. For example, it may be easier and more efficient to berm the narrow inlets of the coastal section to the west of the Mississippi River Delta rather than the large expanses of open water to the east of the delta in the southern parts of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). This document provides information about the potential available sand resources and effects of berm construction on the existing barrier islands. The proposed project originally involved removing sediment from a linear source approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) gulfward of the barrier islands and placing it just seaward of the islands in shallow water (~2-m depth where possible) to form a continuous berm rising approximately 6 feet (~2 m) above sea level (North American Vertical Datum of 1988-NAVD88) with an ~110-yd (~100-m) width at water level and a slope of 25:1 to the seafloor. Discussions within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and with others led to the determination that point-source locations, such as Hewes Point, the St. Bernard Shoals, and Ship Shoal, were more suitable 'borrow

  19. Oil shales and tar sands: a bibliography. Supplement 2, Parts 1 and 2

    SciTech Connect

    Grissom, M.C.

    1984-07-01

    This bibliography includes 4715 citations arranged in the broad subject categories: reserves and exploration; site geology and hydrology; drilling, fracturing, and mining; oil production, recovery, and refining; properties and composition; direct uses and by-products; health and safety; marketing and economics; waste research and management; environmental aspects; regulations; and general. There are corporate, author, subject, contract number, and report number indexes.

  20. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology, jointly sponsored research. Quarterly technical progress report, July--September 1992

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-12-31

    Progress made in five research programs is described. The subtasks in oil shale study include oil shale process studies and unconventional applications and markets for western oil shale.The tar sand study is on recycle oil pyrolysis and extraction (ROPE) process. Four tasks are described in coal research: underground coal gasification; coal combustion; integrated coal processing concepts; and sold waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes: advanced process concepts; advanced mitigation concepts; and oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research covers: organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; CROW field demonstration with Bell Lumber and Pole; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; PGI demonstration project; operation and evaluation of the CO{sub 2} HUFF-N-PUFF process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid state NMR analysis of Mesaverde group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; flow-loop testing of double-wall pipe for thermal applications; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced oil recovery techniques; NMR analysis of sample from the ocean drilling program; and menu driven access to the WDEQ hydrologic data management system.

  1. Oil shale, tar sand, coal research, advanced exploratory process technology, jointly sponsored research. Quarterly technical progress report, April--June 1993

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-09-01

    Progress made in five areas of research is described briefly. The subtask in oil shale research is on oil shale process studies. For tar sand the subtask reported is on process development. Coal research includes the following subtasks: Coal combustion; integrated coal processing concepts; and solid waste management. Advanced exploratory process technology includes the following: Advanced process concepts; advanced mitigation concepts; oil and gas technology. Jointly sponsored research includes: Organic and inorganic hazardous waste stabilization; CROW{sup TM} field demonstration with Bell Lumber and Pole; development and validation of a standard test method for sequential batch extraction fluid; operation and evaluation of the CO{sup 2} HUFF-N-PUFF Process; fly ash binder for unsurfaced road aggregates; solid-state NMR analysis of Mesaverde Group, Greater Green River Basin, tight gas sands; characterization of petroleum residua; shallow oil production using horizontal wells with enhanced oil recovery techniques; surface process study for oil recovery using a thermal extraction process;NMR analysis of samples from the ocean drilling program; oil field waste cleanup using tank bottom recovery process; remote chemical sensor development; in situ treatment of manufactured gas plant contaminated soils demonstration program; solid-state NMR analysis of Mowry formation shale from different sedimentary basins; solid-state NMR analysis of naturally and artificially matured kerogens; and development of effective method for the clean-up of natural gas.

  2. Characterization of trace gases measured over Alberta oil sands mining operations: 76 speciated C2-C10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Simpson, I. J.; Blake, N. J.; Barletta, B.; Diskin, G. S.; Fuelberg, H. E.; Gorham, K.; Huey, L. G.; Meinardi, S.; Rowland, F. S.; Vay, S. A.; Weinheimer, A. J.; Yang, M.; Blake, D. R.

    2010-08-01

    Oil sands comprise 30% of the world's oil reserves and the crude oil reserves in Canada's oil sands deposits are second only to Saudi Arabia. The extraction and processing of oil sands is much more challenging than for light sweet crude oils because of the high viscosity of the bitumen contained within the oil sands and because the bitumen is mixed with sand and contains chemical impurities such as sulphur. Despite these challenges, the importance of oil sands is increasing in the energy market. To our best knowledge this is the first peer-reviewed study to characterize volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from Alberta's oil sands mining sites. We present high-precision gas chromatography measurements of 76 speciated C2-C10 VOCs (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, monoterpenes, oxygenates, halocarbons, and sulphur compounds) in 17 boundary layer air samples collected over surface mining operations in northeast Alberta on 10 July 2008, using the NASA DC-8 airborne laboratory as a research platform. In addition to the VOCs, we present simultaneous measurements of CO2, CH4, CO, NO, NO2, NOy, O3 and SO2, which were measured in situ aboard the DC-8. Methane, CO, CO2, NO, NO2, NOy, SO2 and 53 VOCs (e.g., halocarbons, sulphur species, NMHCs) showed clear statistical enhancements (up to 1.1-397×) over the oil sands compared to local background values and, with the exception of CO, were higher over the oil sands than at any other time during the flight. Twenty halocarbons (e.g., CFCs, HFCs, halons, brominated species) either were not enhanced or were minimally enhanced (< 10%) over the oil sands. Ozone levels remained low because of titration by NO, and three VOCs (propyne, furan, MTBE) remained below their 3 pptv detection limit throughout the flight. Based on their mutual correlations, the compounds emitted by the oil sands industry fell into two groups: (1) evaporative emissions from the oil sands and its products and/or from the diluent used to

  3. Crude oil in a shallow sand and gravel aquifer-III. Biogeochemical reactions and mass balance modeling in anoxic groundwater

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baedecker, M.J.; Cozzarelli, I.M.; Eganhouse, R.P.; Siegel, D.I.; Bennett, P.C.

    1993-01-01

    Crude oil floating on the water table in a sand and gravel aquifer provides a constant source of hydrocarbons to the groundwater at a site near Bemidji, Minnesota. The degradation of hydrocarbons affects the concentrations of oxidized and reduced aqueous species in the anoxic part of the contaminant plume that developed downgradient from the oil body. The concentrations of Fe2+, Mn2+ and CH4, Eh measurements, and the ??13C ratios of the total inorganic C indicate that the plume became more reducing ver a 5-a period. However, the size of the contaminant plume remained stable during this time. Field data coupled with laboratory microcosm experiments indicate that benzene and the alkylbenzenes are degraded in an anoxic environment. In anaerobic microcosm experiments conducted under field conditions, almost complete degradation (98%) was observed for benzene in 125 d and for toluene in 45 d. Concentrations of aqueous Fe2+ and Mn2+ increased in these experiments, indicating that the primary reactions were hydrocarbon degradation coupled with Fe and Mn reduction. Mass transfer calculations on a 40-m flowpath in the anoxic zone, downgradient from the oil body, indicated that the primary reactions in the anoxic zone are oxidation of organic compounds, precipitation of siderite and a ferroan calcite, dissolution of iron oxide and outgassing of CH4 and CO2. The major difference in the two models presented is the ratio of CO2 and CH4 that outgasses. Both models indicate quantitatively that large amounts of Fe are dissolved and reprecipitated as ferrous iron in the anoxic zone of the contaminant plume. ?? 1993.

  4. SKY LAKES ROADLESS AREA AND MOUNTAIN LAKES WILDERNESS, OREGON.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, James G.; Benham, John R.

    1984-01-01

    Based on a mineral survey of the Sky Lakes Roadless Area and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness, Oregon, the areas have little or no promise for the occurrence of metallic-mineral resources or geothermal energy resources. Nonmetallic resources exist in the areas, but other areas outside the roadless area and wilderness also contain resources of volcanic cinders, scoria, ash, breccia, and sand and gravel which are easier to obtain and closer to markets. The roadless area and wilderness are not geologically favorable for metallic deposits, or for coal, oil, or gas resources.

  5. Pesticides and oil and grease in selected streams and lakes in northeastern Louisiana, 2001

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McGee, Benton D.

    2003-01-01

    A 6-month study was begun in April 2001 to determine the concentrations of pesticides or oil and grease in selected stream reaches and lakes within the Ouachita, Tensas, and Black River Basins in northeastern Louisiana. During April through September 2001, six monthly water samples for analysis of pesticides were collected from 22 sites: 17 sites were on 11 streams, and 5 sites were on 5 lakes. During Apirl through July 2001, four monthly samples for analysis of oil and grease were collected from 5 sites: 4 sites were on three streams, and 1 site was on a lake. A total of 131 water samples were analyzed for 17 pesticides (15 insecticides and 2 herbicides). The following classes of pesticides, as classified from the Pesticide Analysis (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 Laboratory), are reported: organochlorine, nitrogen-phosphorus, and carbamate. The 8 pesticides detected in samples, in decreasing frequency, were as follow: atrazine, molinate, methyl parathion, 4,4'-DDT, carbofuran, diazinon, toxaphene, and 4,4'DDE. Organochlorine pesticides (insecticides) represented the majority (12 out of 17) of the pesticides analyzed. Of those 12 organochlorine pesticides, only 3 (4,4'-DDT, 4,4'-DDE, and toxaphene) were detected in the 131 samples. Of the organochlorine pesticides, 4,4'-DDT was detected most frequently (in 11 percent of the samples), and concentrations ranged from 1.22 to 4.70 ng/L (nanograms per liter). Nitrogen-phosphorus pesticides were the most frequently detected and abundant pesticides. Of all the pesticides analyzed, atrazine and molinate (nitrogen-phosphorus herbicides) were the pesticides most frequently detected (in 93 and 21 percent of the samples), had the highest and most wide-ranging concentrations (10.8 to 15,100 ng/L and 10.0 to 11,600 ng/L), and were most widely distributed throughout the study area. Carbofuran, a carbamate insecticide, was detected at 8 of the 22 pesticide data-collection sites and in 9.2 percent of the 131 samples

  6. Lake

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wien, Carol Anne

    2008-01-01

    The lake is blue black and deep. It is a glaciated finger lake, clawed out of rock when ice retracted across Nova Scotia in a northerly direction during the last ice age. The lake is narrow, a little over a mile long, and deep, 90 to 190 feet in places according to local lore, off the charts in others. The author loves to swim there, with a sense…

  7. Reducing the recruitment of sedimented algae and nutrient release into the overlying water using modified soil/sand flocculation-capping in eutrophic lakes.

    PubMed

    Pan, Gang; Dai, Lichun; Li, Liang; He, Linchen; Li, Hong; Bi, Lei; Gulati, Ramesh D

    2012-05-01

    The effect of simultaneously removing algal blooms from water and reducing the resuspension and nutrient release from the sediment was studied using modified local soil/sand flocculation-capping (MLS-capping) in simulated water-sediment systems. Twenty one sediment cores in situ with overlying water containing algal blooms were collected from Meiliang Bay of Lake Taihu (China) in July 2011. The algal cells in the water were flocculated and sunk to the sediment using chitosan modified local soils, and the algal flocs were capped with modified and nonmodified soil/sand and then incubated at 25 °C for 20 days. In the MLS-capping treated systems, the TP concentration was reduced from 2.56 mg P L(-1) to 0.06-0.14 mg P L(-1) and TN from 14.66 mg N L(-1) to 6.03-9.56 mg N L(-1) throughout the experiment, whereas the sediment to water fluxes of TP, TN, PO(4)-P, and NH(4)-N were greatly reduced or reversed and the redox potential remarkably increased compared to the control system. A capping layer of 1 cm chitosan-modified sand decreased the resuspension of the sediment by a factor of 5 compared to the clay/soil/sediment systems and the overlying water kept clear even under constant stirring conditions (200 rpm). The study suggested that by using MLS-capping technology it is possible to quickly reduce the nutrient and turbidity of water by flocculating and capping the algal cells into the sediment, where the resuspension of algal flocs is physically reduced and the diffusion of nutrients from sediment to the overlying water chemically blocked by the MLS capping layers.

  8. A comparison of seed banks across a sand dune successional gradient at Lake Michigan dunes (Indiana, USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Leicht-Young, S. A.; Pavlovic, N.B.; Grundel, R.; Frohnapple, K.J.

    2009-01-01

    In habitats where disturbance is frequent, seed banks are important for the regeneration of vegetation. Sand dune systems are dynamic habitats in which sand movement provides intermittent disturbance. As succession proceeds from bare sand to forest, the disturbance decreases. At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, we examined the seed banks of three habitat types across a successional gradient: foredunes, secondary dunes, and oak savanna. There were differences among the types of species that germinated from each of the habitats. The mean seed bank density increased across the successional gradient by habitat, from 376 to 433 to 968 seeds m-2, but with foredune and secondary dune seed bank densities being significantly lower than the savanna seed bank density. The number of seeds germinated was significantly correlated with soil organic carbon, demonstrating for this primary successional sequence that seed density increases with stage and age. The seed bank had much lower species richness than that of the aboveground vegetation across all habitats. Among sites within a habitat type, the similarity of species germinated from the seed banks was very low, illustrating the variability of the seed bank even in similar habitat types. These results suggest that restoration of these habitats cannot rely on seed banks alone. ?? 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

  9. In vitro microbial degradation of bituminous hydrocarbons and in-situ colonization of bitumen surfaces within the Athabasca oil sands deposit

    SciTech Connect

    Wyndham, R.C.; Costerton, J.W.

    1981-03-01

    Bituminous hydrocarbons extracted from the Athabasca oil sands of N.E. Alberta were adsorbed onto filter supports and placed at sites in the Athabasca River and its tributaries where these rivers come in contact with the oil sands formation. Colonization of the hydrocarbon surfaces at summer and winter ambient temperatures was examined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy as well as by epifluorescence microscopy of acridine orange-stained cross section. Ruthenium red and alkaline bismuth stains visualized an association of bacteria with the hydrocarbon surface which was mediated by bacteria polysaccharides. Bacteria apparently lacking a glycocalyx also were found closely associated with the surface of the hydrophobic substrate and in channels within the substrate. All fractions except the asphaltenes supported the growth of at least 2 of the isolates, although fractionation of degraded bitumen revealed that the saturate, aromatic, and first polar fractions were preferentially degraded. 20 references.

  10. Biostimulation of Oil Sands Process-Affected Water with Phosphate Yields Removal of Sulfur-Containing Organics and Detoxification.

    PubMed

    Quesnel, Dean M; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Larter, Stephen R; Gieg, Lisa M; Chua, Gordon

    2015-11-01

    The ability to mitigate toxicity of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) for return into the environment is an important issue for effective tailings management in Alberta, Canada. OSPW toxicity has been linked to classical naphthenic acids (NAs), but the toxic contribution of other acid-extractable organics (AEOs) remains unknown. Here, we examine the potential for in situ bioremediation of OSPW AEOs by indigenous algae. Phosphate biostimulation was performed in OSPW to promote the growth of indigenous photosynthetic microorganisms and subsequent toxicity and chemical changes were determined. After 12 weeks, the AEO fraction of phosphate-biostimulated OSPW was significantly less toxic to the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe than unstimulated OSPW. Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) analysis of the AEO fraction in phosphate-biostimulated OSPW showed decreased levels of SO3 class compounds, including a subset that may represent linear arylsulfonates. A screen with S. pombe transcription factor mutant strains for growth sensitivity to the AEO fraction or sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate revealed a mode of toxic action consistent with oxidative stress and detrimental effects on cellular membranes. These findings demonstrate a potential algal-based in situ bioremediation strategy for OSPW AEOs and uncover a link between toxicity and AEOs other than classical NAs. PMID:26448451

  11. Biostimulation of Oil Sands Process-Affected Water with Phosphate Yields Removal of Sulfur-Containing Organics and Detoxification.

    PubMed

    Quesnel, Dean M; Oldenburg, Thomas B P; Larter, Stephen R; Gieg, Lisa M; Chua, Gordon

    2015-11-01

    The ability to mitigate toxicity of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) for return into the environment is an important issue for effective tailings management in Alberta, Canada. OSPW toxicity has been linked to classical naphthenic acids (NAs), but the toxic contribution of other acid-extractable organics (AEOs) remains unknown. Here, we examine the potential for in situ bioremediation of OSPW AEOs by indigenous algae. Phosphate biostimulation was performed in OSPW to promote the growth of indigenous photosynthetic microorganisms and subsequent toxicity and chemical changes were determined. After 12 weeks, the AEO fraction of phosphate-biostimulated OSPW was significantly less toxic to the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe than unstimulated OSPW. Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR-MS) analysis of the AEO fraction in phosphate-biostimulated OSPW showed decreased levels of SO3 class compounds, including a subset that may represent linear arylsulfonates. A screen with S. pombe transcription factor mutant strains for growth sensitivity to the AEO fraction or sodium dodecylbenzenesulfonate revealed a mode of toxic action consistent with oxidative stress and detrimental effects on cellular membranes. These findings demonstrate a potential algal-based in situ bioremediation strategy for OSPW AEOs and uncover a link between toxicity and AEOs other than classical NAs.

  12. Assessing spatial and temporal variability of acid-extractable organics in oil sands process-affected waters.

    PubMed

    Frank, Richard A; Milestone, Craig B; Rowland, Steve J; Headley, John V; Kavanagh, Richard J; Lengger, Sabine K; Scarlett, Alan G; West, Charles E; Peru, Kerry M; Hewitt, L Mark

    2016-10-01

    The acid-extractable organic compounds (AEOs), including naphthenic acids (NAs), present within oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) receive great attention due to their known toxicity. While recent progress in advanced separation and analytical methodologies for AEOs has improved our understanding of the composition of these mixtures, little is known regarding any variability (i.e., spatial, temporal) inherent within, or between, tailings ponds. In this study, 5 samples were collected from the same location of one tailings pond over a 2-week period. In addition, 5 samples were collected simultaneously from different locations within a tailings pond from a different mine site, as well as its associated recycling pond. In both cases, the AEOs were analyzed using SFS, ESI-MS, HRMS, GC×GC-ToF/MS, and GC- & LC-QToF/MS (GC analyses following conversion to methyl esters). Principal component analysis of HRMS data was able to distinguish the ponds from each other, while data from GC×GC-ToF/MS, and LC- and GC-QToF/MS were used to differentiate samples from within the temporal and spatial sample sets, with the greater variability associated with the latter. Spatial differences could be attributed to pond dynamics, including differences in inputs of tailings and surface run-off. Application of novel chemometric data analyses of unknown compounds detected by LC- and GC-QToF/MS allowed further differentiation of samples both within and between data sets, providing an innovative approach for future fingerprinting studies.

  13. Application of a solar UV/chlorine advanced oxidation process to oil sands process-affected water remediation.

    PubMed

    Shu, Zengquan; Li, Chao; Belosevic, Miodrag; Bolton, James R; El-Din, Mohamed Gamal

    2014-08-19

    The solar UV/chlorine process has emerged as a novel advanced oxidation process for industrial and municipal wastewaters. Currently, its practical application to oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) remediation has been studied to treat fresh OSPW retained in large tailings ponds, which can cause significant adverse environmental impacts on ground and surface waters in Northern Alberta, Canada. Degradation of naphthenic acids (NAs) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW was investigated. In a laboratory-scale UV/chlorine treatment, the NAs degradation was clearly structure-dependent and hydroxyl radical-based. In terms of the NAs degradation rate, the raw OSPW (pH ∼ 8.3) rates were higher than those at an alkaline condition (pH = 10). Under actual sunlight, direct solar photolysis partially degraded fluorophore organic compounds, as indicated by the qualitative synchronous fluorescence spectra (SFS) of the OSPW, but did not impact NAs degradation. The solar/chlorine process effectively removed NAs (75-84% removal) and fluorophore organic compounds in OSPW in the presence of 200 or 300 mg L(-1) OCl(-). The acute toxicity of OSPW toward Vibrio fischeri was reduced after the solar/chlorine treatment. However, the OSPW toxicity toward goldfish primary kidney macrophages after solar/chlorine treatment showed no obvious toxicity reduction versus that of untreated OSPW, which warrants further study for process optimization.

  14. Constitutive models for the Etchegoin Sands, Belridge Diatomite, and overburden formations at the Lost Hills oil field, California

    SciTech Connect

    FOSSUM,ARLO F.; FREDRICH,JOANNE T.

    2000-04-01

    This report documents the development of constitutive material models for the overburden formations, reservoir formations, and underlying strata at the Lost Hills oil field located about 45 miles northwest of Bakersfield in Kern County, California. Triaxial rock mechanics tests were performed on specimens prepared from cores recovered from the Lost Hills field, and included measurements of axial and radial stresses and strains under different load paths. The tested intervals comprise diatomaceous sands of the Etchegoin Formation and several diatomite types of the Belridge Diatomite Member of the Monterey Formation, including cycles both above and below the diagenetic phase boundary between opal-A and opal-CT. The laboratory data are used to drive constitutive parameters for the Extended Sandler-Rubin (ESR) cap model that is implemented in Sandia's structural mechanics finite element code JAS3D. Available data in the literature are also used to derive ESR shear failure parameters for overburden formations. The material models are being used in large-scale three-dimensional geomechanical simulations of the reservoir behavior during primary and secondary recovery.

  15. Treatment of oil sands process-affected water using moving bed biofilm reactors: With and without ozone pretreatment.

    PubMed

    Shi, Yijing; Huang, Chunkai; Rocha, Ketley Costa; El-Din, Mohamed Gamal; Liu, Yang

    2015-09-01

    Two moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRs) were operated to treat raw (untreated) and 30 mg/L ozone-treated oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). After 210 days, the MBBR process showed 18.3% of acid-extractable fraction (AEF) and 34.8% of naphthenic acids (NAs) removal, while the ozonation combined MBBR process showed higher removal of AEF (41.0%) and NAs (78.8%). Biodegradation of raw and ozone treated OSPW showed similar performance. UPLC/HRMS analysis showed a highest NAs removal efficiency with a carbon number of 14 and a -Z number of 4. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) showed thicker biofilms in the raw OSPW MBBR (97 ± 5 μm) than in the ozonated OSPW MBBR (71 ± 12 μm). Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) results showed higher abundance of gene copies of total bacteria and nitrogen removal relevant bacteria in the ozonated OSPW MBBR, but no significant difference was found. MiSeq sequencing showed Proteobacteria, Nitrospirae, and Acidobacteria were dominant. PMID:26038326

  16. Evaluating Function of a Constructed Fen in Alberta's Oil Sands Region Using Dissolved Organic Carbon Concentration and Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Strack, M.; Khadka, B.

    2014-12-01

    Peatlands, mainly fens, account for close to 65% of the landscape in the oil sands region near Fort McMurray, Alberta. Since mine closure plans require landscape reclamation, methods for fen construction are being investigated. As reclamation goals include the return of ecosystem function, criteria for evaluation must be developed. In this study we compare soil concentrations and spectrophometric properties of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from a constructed fen during its first growing season with that collected from three diverse, undisturbed reference fens in the region. The constructed fen had lower DOC concentration than all the reference fens. Based on E2/E3, E4/E6 and specific UV absorbance of the DOC, the constructed fen had DOC with significantly greater humic content, aromatic nature, and larger molecular size than the reference fens. Results from laboratory DOC production studies indicate that these patterns are likely due to the limited DOC contribution from the newly planted vegetation at the constructed fen, resulting in DOC largely derived from humified peat placed during construction. These preliminary results suggest that DOC concentration and chemistry provide information about the ecological development of the constructed system that could be useful for evaluating reclamation success through time.

  17. Treatment of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) using ozonation combined with integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS).

    PubMed

    Huang, Chunkai; Shi, Yijing; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed; Liu, Yang

    2015-11-15

    Two integrated fixed-film activated sludge (IFAS) reactors were operated continuously to treat raw (untreated) and ozonated (30 mg/L) oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). After 11 months, 12.1% of the acid extractable fraction (AEF) and 43.1% of the parent naphthenic acids (NAs) were removed in the raw OSPW IFAS, while 42.0% AEF and 80.2% of parent NAs were removed in the ozonated OSPW IFAS. UPLC/HRMS analysis showed that NA biodegradation significantly decreased as the NA cyclization number increased. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) results showed that the biofilm in the ozonated OSPW IFAS was significantly thicker (94 ± 1.6 μm) than the biofilm in the raw OSPW IFAS (72 ± 2.8 μm) after 283 days of cultivation. The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) revealed that the abundance proportions of both nitrifier genes (AomA, NSR and Nitro) and denitrifier genes (narG, nirS, nirK and nosZ) within total bacteria were significantly higher in biofilms than in flocs in the raw OSPW IFAS system, but a different trend was observed in the ozonated OSPW IFAS system. PMID:26318649