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Sample records for oil sands shear

  1. 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.

  2. Oil recovery from tar sands

    SciTech Connect

    Boesiger, D.D.; Siefkin, J.M.

    1983-01-11

    A process for recovering oil from oil wet and particularly from oil-wet, acidic tar sands is described in which these sands are subjected to vigorous fluidization in the presence of water, air and a surfactant but in the absence of an extraneous hydrocarbon solvent. This step produces a multiphase mixture including an oil containing froth enabling gravity separation, E.G. In hydrocyclone.

  3. Incipient Motion of Sand and Oil Agglomerates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nelson, T. R.; Dalyander, S.; Jenkins, R. L., III; Penko, A.; Long, J.; Frank, D. P.; Braithwaite, E. F., III; Calantoni, J.

    2016-12-01

    Weathered oil mixed with sediment in the surf zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, forming large mats of sand and oil. Wave action fragmented the mats into sand and oil agglomerates (SOAs) with diameters of about 1 to 10 cm. These SOAs were transported by waves and currents along the Gulf Coast, and have been observed on beaches for years following the spill. SOAs are composed of 70%-95% sand by mass, with an approximate density of 2107 kg/m³. To measure the incipient motion of SOAs, experiments using artificial SOAs were conducted in the Small-Oscillatory Flow Tunnel at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory under a range of hydrodynamic forcing. Spherical and ellipsoidal SOAs ranging in size from 0.5 to 10 cm were deployed on a fixed flat bed, a fixed rippled bed, and a movable sand bed. In the case of the movable sand bed, SOAs were placed both proud and partially buried. Motion was tracked with high-definition video and with inertial measurement units embedded in some of the SOAs. Shear stress and horizontal pressure gradients, estimated from velocity measurements made with a Nortek Vectrino Profiler, were compared with observed mobility to assess formulations for incipient motion. For SOAs smaller than 1 cm in diameter, incipient motion of spherical and ellipsoidal SOAs was consistent with predicted critical stress values. The measured shear stress at incipient motion of larger, spherical SOAs was lower than predicted, indicating an increased dependence on the horizontal pressure gradient. In contrast, the measured shear stress required to move ellipsoidal SOAs was higher than predicted, even compared to values modified for larger particles in mixed-grain riverine environments. The laboratory observations will be used to improve the prediction of incipient motion, transport, and seafloor interaction of SOAs.

  4. 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.

  5. Thermal Properties of oil sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    LEE, Y.; Lee, H.; Kwon, Y.; Kim, J.

    2013-12-01

    Thermal recovery methods such as Cyclic Steam Injection or Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) are the effective methods for producing heavy oil or bitumen. In any thermal recovery methods, thermal properties (e.g., thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and volumetric heat capacity) are closely related to the formation and expansion of steam chamber within a reservoir, which is key factors to control efficiency of thermal recovery. However, thermal properties of heavy oil or bitumen have not been well-studied despite their importance in thermal recovery methods. We measured thermal conductivity, thermal diffusivity, and volumetric heat capacity of 43 oil sand samples from Athabasca, Canada, using a transient thermal property measurement instrument. Thermal conductivity of 43 oil sand samples varies from 0.74 W/mK to 1.57 W/mK with the mean thermal conductivity of 1.09 W/mK. The mean thermal diffusivity is 5.7×10-7 m2/s with the minimum value of 4.2×10-7 m2/s and the maximum value of 8.0×10-7 m2/s. Volumetric heat capacity varies from 1.5×106 J/m3K to 2.11×106 J/m3K with the mean volumetric heat capacity of 1.91×106 J/m3K. In addition, physical and chemical properties (e.g., bitumen content, electric resistivity, porosity, gamma ray and so on) of oil sand samples have been measured by geophysical logging and in the laboratory. We are now proceeding to investigate the relationship between thermal properties and physical/chemical properties of oil sand.

  6. Environmental consequences of oil production from oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosa, Lorenzo; Davis, Kyle F.; Rulli, Maria C.; D'Odorico, Paolo

    2017-02-01

    Crude oil from oil sands will constitute a substantial share of future global oil demand. Oil sands deposits account for a third of globally proven oil reserves, underlie large natural forested areas, and have extraction methods requiring large volumes of freshwater. Yet little work has been done to quantify some of the main environmental impacts of oil sands operations. Here we examine forest loss and water use for the world's major oil sands deposits. We calculate actual and potential rates of water use and forest loss both in Canadian deposits, where oil sands extraction is already taking place, and in other major deposits worldwide. We estimated that their exploitation, given projected production trends, could result in 1.31 km3 yr-1 of freshwater demand and 8700 km2 of forest loss. The expected escalation in oil sands extraction thus portends extensive environmental impacts.

  7. Developing Alberta's oil sands, 1920--2002

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chastko, Paul Anthony

    This dissertation examines the origins and development of the Alberta oil sands industry over the last century from a scientific project to a commercial endeavor. Based on extensive use of primary sources, the manuscript integrates the developments in a number of fields (politics, international relations, business and economics, and changing oil-recovery technology) that have made it possible to "manufacture" oil from the Alberta tar sands at less than $10 U.S. per barrel.

  8. Supercritical solvent extraction of oil sand bitumen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Imanbayev, Ye. I.; Ongarbayev, Ye. K.; Tileuberdi, Ye.; Mansurov, Z. A.; Golovko, A. K.; Rudyk, S.

    2017-08-01

    The supercritical solvent extraction of bitumen from oil sand studied with organic solvents. The experiments were performed in autoclave reactor at temperature above 255 °C and pressure 29 atm with stirring for 6 h. The reaction resulted in the formation of coke products with mineral part of oil sands. The remaining products separated into SARA fractions. The properties of the obtained products were studied. The supercritical solvent extraction significantly upgraded extracted natural bitumen.

  9. Horizontal oil shale and tar sands retort

    SciTech Connect

    Thomas, D.D.

    1982-08-31

    A horizontal retorting apparatus and method are disclosed designed to pyrolyze tar sands and oil shale, which are often found together in naturally occurring deposits. The retort is based on a horizontal retorting tube defining a horizontal retort zone having an upstream and a downstream end. Inlet means are provided for introducing the combined tar sands and oil shale into the upstream end of the retort. A screw conveyor horizontally conveys tar sands and oil shale from the upstream end of the retort zone to the downstream end of the retort zone while simultaneously mixing the tar sands and oil shale to insure full release of product gases. A firebox defining a heating zone surrounds the horizontal retort is provided for heating the tar sands and oil shale to pyrolysis temperatures. Spent shale and tar sands residue are passed horizontally beneath the retort tube with any carbonaceous residue thereon being combusted to provide a portion of the heat necessary for pyrolysis. Hot waste solids resulting from combustion of spent shale and tar sands residue are also passed horizontally beneath the retort tube whereby residual heat is radiated upward to provide a portion of the pyrolysis heat. Hot gas inlet holes are provided in the retort tube so that a portion of the hot gases produced in the heating zone are passed into the retort zone for contacting and directly heating the tar sands and oil shale. Auxiliary heating means are provided to supplement the heat generated from spent shale and tar sands residue combustion in order to insure adequate pyrolysis of the raw materials with varying residual carbonaceous material.

  10. 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.

  11. Petrophysical Analysis of Oil Sand in Athabasca

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    cheong, S.; Lee, H.

    2013-12-01

    Oil sands are the major unconventional energy sources which have great reserves in Alberta, Canada. Recovery techniques such as CSS (Cyclic Steam Stimulation) and SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) enabled to develop deeper bitumen about several hundred meter depth. Before applying CSS and SAGD, reservoir heterogeneity of mud barriers or shale breccias should be clarified to establish injection and production wells successfully. We conducted the integrated petro-physical analysis for oil sands deposits in Athabasca by correlating well logs with seismic data. From 33 well logs and 3D seismic, we have made P-wave impedance by recursive inversion. Target formations of our analysis were the top of Wabiskaw member. Using inverted impedance and multi-attributes, porosity volume was derived at a target depth. Porosity of time slice 375 ms ranged 20 ~ 40 % stretching porous sand body from NE to SW direction. Characteristics of porosity distribution may be useful to design optimum oil sands recovery in Athabasca.

  12. 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.

  13. Mine Drainage and Oil Sand Water.

    PubMed

    Wei, Xinchao; Wolfe, F Andrew; Li, Yanjun

    2015-10-01

    Mine drainage from the mining of mineral resources (coal, metals, oil sand, or industrial minerals) remains as a persistent environmental problem. This review summarizes the scientific literature published in 2014 on the technical issues related to mine drainage or mine water in active and abandoned coal/hard rock mining sites or waste spoil piles. Also included in this review is the water from oil sand operations. This review is divided into the four sections: 1) mine drainage characterization, 2) prediction and environmental impact, 3) treatment technologies, 4) oil sand water. Many papers presented in this review address more than one aspect and different sections should not be regarded as being mutuallyexclusive or all-inclusive.

  14. Shear Band Formation in Plane Strain Experiments of Sand

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alshibli, Khalid A.; Sture, Stein

    2000-01-01

    A series of biaxial (plane strain) experiments were conducted on three sands under low (15 kPa) and high (100 kPa) confining pressure conditions to investigate the effects of specimen density, confining pressure, and sand grain size and shape on the constitutive and stability behavior of granular materials. The three sands used in the experiments were fine-, medium-, and coarse-grained uniform silica sands with rounded, subangular, and angular grains, respectively. Specimen deformation was readily monitored and analyzed with the help of a grid pattern imprinted on the latex membrane. The overall stress-strain behavior is strongly dependent on the specimen density, confining pressure, sand grain texture, and the resulting failure mode(s). That became evident in different degrees of softening responses at various axial strains. The relationship between the constitutive behavior and the specimens' modes of instability is presented. The failure in all specimens was characterized by two distinct and opposite shear bands. It was found that the measured dilatancy angles increase as the sand grains' angularities and sizes increase. The measured shear band inclination angles are also presented and compared with classical Coulomb and Roscoe solutions.

  15. Shear Band Formation in Plane Strain Experiments of Sand

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alshibli, Khalid A.; Sture, Stein

    2000-01-01

    A series of biaxial (plane strain) experiments were conducted on three sands under low (15 kPa) and high (100 kPa) confining pressure conditions to investigate the effects of specimen density, confining pressure, and sand grain size and shape on the constitutive and stability behavior of granular materials. The three sands used in the experiments were fine-, medium-, and coarse-grained uniform silica sands with rounded, subangular, and angular grains, respectively. Specimen deformation was readily monitored and analyzed with the help of a grid pattern imprinted on the latex membrane. The overall stress-strain behavior is strongly dependent on the specimen density, confining pressure, sand grain texture, and the resulting failure mode(s). That became evident in different degrees of softening responses at various axial strains. The relationship between the constitutive behavior and the specimens' modes of instability is presented. The failure in all specimens was characterized by two distinct and opposite shear bands. It was found that the measured dilatancy angles increase as the sand grains' angularities and sizes increase. The measured shear band inclination angles are also presented and compared with classical Coulomb and Roscoe solutions.

  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. Extraction of oil from oil sands using thermoresponsive polymeric surfactants.

    PubMed

    Yang, Bingqing; Duhamel, Jean

    2015-03-18

    Several thermoresponsive block copolymers constituted of a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and a poly(2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethyl methacrylate) (PMEO2MA) block were prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and their ability to extract oil from oil sands was evaluated. The chemical composition of the PEG113-b-PMEO2MAX block copolymers was determined by (1)H NMR and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) with X-values ranging between 48 and 80. Aqueous solutions of block copolymers showed a cloud point of 34 ± 1 °C as determined by turbidimetry and dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements. DLS experiments indicated that these polymers formed stable block copolymer micelles due to association of the PMEO2MA blocks at temperatures greater than 45 °C with a unimodal distribution of hydrodynamic diameters. Since characterization of the block copolymer solutions as a function of temperature indicated the formation of hydrophobic domains in water for T > 45 °C, extractions of oil from oil sands with the block copolymers were conducted at T = 45 and 50 °C. At these temperatures, 15 mL of a 1 mg/mL PEG113-b-PMEO2MA77 aqueous solution extracted 100% of the oil trapped in 1 g of oil sand if 60 mg of toluene was added to the mixture. When the extraction was conducted under the same experimental conditions without block copolymer, a poor oil recovery of less than 30% was achieved. Starting with a 1 mg/mL block copolymer concentration, the block copolymer aqueous solution could be recycled up to five successive extractions while maintaining satisfying oil recovery. Each extraction cycle led to a 22% mass loss of block copolymer, certainly due to association with the toluene, oil, and sand particles. Together these experiments demonstrate that thermoresponsive block copolymers can be powerful aids to enhance the oil recovery of oil sands.

  18. Sand removal from heavy oil horizontal wells

    SciTech Connect

    Dedora, G.

    1995-12-31

    Oil production from heavy oil horizontal wells continues to be hindered by sand production and bridging resulting in total or partial shut-off of the wellbore. These bridges cannot be removed using circulation due to the low pressure of most heavy oil reservoirs. Removing these bridges using vertical or slanted well cleanout technology has proven to be difficult and costly, particularly if the production lateral is greater than 300-400 metres. With most laterals stretching beyond 1000 metres, producers and service companies have been in search of more effective alternatives. This challenge brought forth several new concepts in horizontal well cleanout technology involving artificial lift systems capable of continuous advancement into the lateral while producing high concentrations of sand. During the cleanout procedures, wellbore pressure is controlled thus avoiding high volumes of lost workover fluids. This presentation discusses these cleanout techniques as well as the positive and negative features of each.

  19. Shear rheological characterization of motor oils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bair, Scott; Winer, Ward O.

    1988-01-01

    Measurements of high pressure viscosity, traction coefficient, and EHD film thickness were performed on twelve commercial automotive engine oils, a reference oil, two unformulated base oils and two unformated base oil and polymer blends. An effective high shear rate inlet viscosity was calculated from film thickness and pressure viscosity coefficient. The difference between measured and effective viscosity is a function of the polymer type and concentration. Traction measurements did not discriminate mileage formulated oils from those not so designated.

  20. Sand Shear Band Thickness Measurements by Digital Imaging Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alshibli, Khalid A.; Sture, Stein

    1998-01-01

    Digital imaging analysis was used to study localized deformations in granular materials tested under plane strain condition. Two independent techniques were applied and compared. In the first, the digitized optical images of a grid printed on the latex membrane were used to measure the shear band orientation angle and thickness, and were found to be 54.5' and 3.01 mm respectively. The second technique involved introducing an ultra-low viscosity resin into the specimen in preparation for thin- sectioning and microscopic study of the internal fabric. A total of 24 microscopic images obtained from four thin sections were analyzed and void ratio variation was measured. The shear band thickness measurements from images located along the shear band axis (at two locations) were equal to 3.19 mm and 3.29 mm which are very close to the average value obtained from surface analysis. The study was then extended to investigate the effects of sand grain-size and properties, specimen density, and confining pressure on shear band thickness. It was found that the normalized shear band thickness decreases as grain-size and confining pressure increase and as density decreases. Finally, shear band thickness is highly influenced by the specimen dilatancy.

  1. Sand Shear Band Thickness Measurements by Digital Imaging Techniques

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Alshibli, Khalid A.; Sture, Stein

    1998-01-01

    Digital imaging analysis was used to study localized deformations in granular materials tested under plane strain condition. Two independent techniques were applied and compared. In the first, the digitized optical images of a grid printed on the latex membrane were used to measure the shear band orientation angle and thickness, and were found to be 54.5' and 3.01 mm respectively. The second technique involved introducing an ultra-low viscosity resin into the specimen in preparation for thin- sectioning and microscopic study of the internal fabric. A total of 24 microscopic images obtained from four thin sections were analyzed and void ratio variation was measured. The shear band thickness measurements from images located along the shear band axis (at two locations) were equal to 3.19 mm and 3.29 mm which are very close to the average value obtained from surface analysis. The study was then extended to investigate the effects of sand grain-size and properties, specimen density, and confining pressure on shear band thickness. It was found that the normalized shear band thickness decreases as grain-size and confining pressure increase and as density decreases. Finally, shear band thickness is highly influenced by the specimen dilatancy.

  2. Precessive sand ripples in intense steady shear flows.

    PubMed

    Restrepo, Juan M; Moulton, Derek E; Uys, Hermann

    2011-03-01

    We describe experimental observations of fully developed, large-amplitude bars under the action of a shearing fluid. The experiments were performed in an annular tank filled with water and sheared above by a steady motor source. The same steady shearing flow can produce a variety of different erodible bed manifestations: advective or precessive bars, which refer to bar structures with global regularity and a near-steady precession velocity; interactive bars, the structure of which depends on local rearrangements, which are in turn a response to complex background topography; and dispersive bars, which are created when an initially isolated mound of sand evolves into a train of sand ripples. Of these, the most amenable to analysis are the precessive bars. For precession bars, we find that the skin depth, which is the nondimensionalized mean-field transport rate, grows exponentially as a function of the shear velocity. From this, we arrive at an analytical expression that approximates the precession speed of the bars as a function of shear velocity. We use this to obtain a formula for sediment transport rate. However, in intense flows, the bars can get large engendering boundary layer separation, leading to a different dynamic for bar formation and evolution. Numerical flow calculations over an experimentally obtained set of precessive bars are presented and show that classical parametrizations of mass flux in terms of bottom gradients have shortcomings. Within the range of shear rates considered, a quantity that does not change appreciably in time is the aspect ratio, which is defined as the ratio of the average bar amplitude, with respect to a mean depth, to the average bar length.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Geology of the Athabasca oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mossop, G. D.

    1980-01-01

    In-place bitumen resources in the Alberta oil sands are estimated at 1350 billion barrels. Open-pit mining and hot water extraction methods, which involve the handling of huge tonnages of earth materials, are being employed in the two commercial plants now operating. In situ recovery methods will be required to tap the 90 percent of reserves that are too deeply buried to be surface mined. Development of in situ technologies will be painstaking and expensive, and success will hinge on their compatibility with extremely complex geological conditions in the subsurface.

  6. Geology of the athabasca oil sands.

    PubMed

    Mossop, G D

    1980-01-11

    In-place bitumen resources in the Alberta oil sands are estimated at 1350 billion barrels. Open-pit mining and hot water extraction methods, which involve the handling of huge tonnages of earth materials, are being employed in the two commercial plants now operating. In situ recovery methods will be required to tap the 90 percent of reserves that are too deeply buried to be surface mined. Development of in situ technologies will be painstaking and expensive, and success will hinge on their compatibility with extremely complex geological conditions in the subsurface.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Shear sonic interpretation in gas-bearing sands

    SciTech Connect

    Brie, A.; Marsala, A.F.

    1995-12-31

    The introduction, a few years ago, of shear dipole sonic logs gave the industry the possibility to record high-quality shear aid compressional slownesses in soft formations. Data sets were acquired and analyzed on Vp/Vs versus {Delta}tc crossplots. Trends were identified in sands and shales and were matched with semi-empirical correlations based on the Gassmann formalism. These trends can be used to quality control shear logs and for quicklook lithology interpretation. The presence of gas in soft formations makes the interpretation more complicated as it can affect the sonic slownesses significantly, in particular the compressional. On the Vp/Vs crossplot, gas-bearing formations clearly differentiate from liquid filled formations. However, quantitative interpretation of the gas effect with the Gassmann equation gives deceptive results, although this model is successfully used in geophysics interpretation at a lower frequency. We indicate that the Gassmann model itself is not at fault. The responsibility is with the pore fluids mixture law used to compute the average fluid properties. We therefore propose a new empirical mixture law that better fits laboratory measurements and field observations. Using this revised model realistic gas trends can be identified on the Vp/Vs crossplot. The model can be solved to evaluate gas volume from compressional and shear slownesses. Additionally, the effect of shaliness can be accounted for. The results agree well, in most instances, with flushed-zone saturation obtained from resistivity measurements and provide another opinion on gas volume. An additional product of the interpretation is to provide reliable values of dry-frame dynamic elastic constants of the rock for possible subsequent use in a rock mechanics evaluation.

  10. Oil sands project will yield chemicals

    SciTech Connect

    1995-05-24

    Mining technology company Solv-Ex (Albuquerque, NM) is planning a $35-million project to extract by-product chemicals from Suncor`s oil sands mine near Fort McMurray, AB, Beginning next year, Solv-Ex plans to treat tailings from the mine with sulfuric acid to produce 240,000 m.t./year of silica, 80,000 m.t./year of alumina, 30,000 m.t./year of ferrous sulfate, and 20,000 m.t./year of potassium sulfate. Financing is contingent on the company`s securing contracts for its output, and negotiations are under way, says v.p. Steve Lane. Ferrous sulfate, usually obtained as a by-product of steel production, is used primarily in animal food.

  11. Hardfacing fights wear in oil sands operation

    SciTech Connect

    Llewellyn, R.; Tuite, C.

    1995-03-01

    Wear attack is responsible for high production losses and over $40 million per year in equipment repairs and replacement costs at Syncrude`s synthetic crude oil plant near Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta. Most of this damage is caused by the fine quartz particle constituents which predominate in oil sands. It occurs in a multiplicity of forms which can be classified into three primary mechanisms: Sliding abrasive wear and sporadic impact, which affects mainly mining equipment; Slurry abrasion and erosion, which occur in bitumen extraction, separation plants, and in tailings lines; and High-temperature erosion, which is often augmented by corrosion in bitumen upgrading operations. Process streams in this area also contain fine coke particles and catalyst debris. The paper gives an overview of Syncrude`s operations in mining, extraction, and upgrading, then describes the following: wear materials and protection systems, surface engineering systems, weld deposited hardfacing, benefits, surface modification system experience, thermal spray coating experience, disk centrifuge bowls, investigation of plasma arc spraying, and combating pump erosion.

  12. Laboratory observations of artificial sand and oil agglomerates video and velocity data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jenkins, Robert; Dalyander, P. Soupy; Penko, Allison; Long, Joseph W.; Nelson, Timothy

    2017-01-01

    The U.S. Geological Survey conducted experiments during March of 2014 to expand the available data on sand and oil agglomerate motion; test shear stress based incipient motion parameterizations in a controlled, laboratory setting; and directly observe sand and oil agglomerate exhumation and burial processes. Experiments were carried out at the Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Stennis, Mississippi using a small-oscillatory flow tunnel. HD Video data was collected by two Canon 7D DSLR cameras. 3D flow velocity data was captured by a Vectrino acoustic Doppler current profiler. Additional video data was captured by a GoPro camera placed within the small-oscillatory flow tunnel. For the false-floor incipient motion experiment, movies which combine video data, flow velocity data, calculations of shear stress, and the instant of incipient motion were created. For the movable bed sea-floor interaction experiment, movies which combine video data and flow velocity data were created.

  13. Rare Earth Elements in Alberta Oil Sand Process Streams

    DOE PAGES

    Roth, Elliot; Bank, Tracy; Howard, Bret; ...

    2017-04-05

    The concentrations of rare earth elements in Alberta, Canada oil sands and six oil sand waste streams were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP–MS). The results indicate that the rare earth elements (REEs) are largely concentrated in the tailings solvent recovery unit (TSRU) sample compared to the oil sand itself. The concentration of lanthanide elements is ~1100 mg/kg (1100 ppm or 0.11 weight %), which represents a >20× increase in the concentration compared to the oil sand itself and a >7× increase compared to the North American Shale Composite (NASC). The process water, which is used to extractmore » the oil from oil sands, and the water fraction associated with the different waste streams had very low concentrations of REEs that were near or below the detection limits of the instrument, with the highest total concentration of REEs in the water fraction being less than 10 μg/L (ppb). Size and density separations were completed, and the REEs and other potentially interesting and valuable metals, such as Ti and Zr, were concentrated in different fractions. These results give insights into the possibility of recovering REEs from waste streams generated from oil sand processing.« less

  14. Reconnaissance examination of selected oil-sand outcrops in Wyoming

    SciTech Connect

    Ver Ploeg, A.

    1986-08-01

    Numerous surface occurrences of oil sands and oil seeps have been reported in the geologic literature for Wyoming. Seventy-eight reported occurrences are listed in Wyoming Geological Survey Open-File Report 82-5. Most of the listed deposits are taken from old references with vague descriptions and locations. Field reconnaissance examinations of selected oil-sand occurrences were conducted to describe them better and to assess their potential economic importance. A reconnaissance geologic map of each examined deposit was constructed, and the deposits were sampled and described. Ten occurrences were described during the 1984 and 1985 field seasons. The oil-sand occurrences were all sandstone reservoirs ranging from Pennsylvanian to Tertiary. Based on these reconnaissance examinations, only three occurrences appeared to be potentially significant. The Rattlesnake Hills occurrence, west of Casper, is an asymmetrical anticline with oil-impregnated sands in the Mesaverde Formation, Frontier Formation, and, most extensively, the Muddy Sandstone. Other formations in the structure contain minor amounts of oil staining. The Muddy Creek occurrence, southwest of Rawlins, contains oil-impregnated sandstones in the lower Wasatch Formation. This stratigraphically controlled trap dips to the west into the Washakie basin. The Conant Creek occurrence, southeast of Riverton, includes stratigraphically controlled oil sands in the relatively flat Wagon Bed Formation.

  15. Detecting oil sands process-affected waters in the Alberta oil sands region using synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy.

    PubMed

    Kavanagh, Richard J; Burnison, B Kent; Frank, Richard A; Solomon, Keith R; Van Der Kraak, Glen

    2009-06-01

    Large volumes of oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) are produced during the extraction of bitumen from oil sand. There are approximately 10(9) m(3) of OSPW currently being stored in settling basins on oil sands mining sites in Northern Alberta. Developers plan to create artificial lakes with OSPW and it is expected that this water may eventually enter the environment. This study was conducted in order to determine if synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS) could detect OSPW contamination in water systems. Water samples collected from ponds containing OSPW and selected sites in the Alberta oil sands region were evaluated using SFS with an offset value of 18 nm. OSPW ponds consistently displayed a minor peak at 282.5 nm and a broad major peak ranging between 320 and 340 nm. Water from reference sites within the oil sands region had little fluorescence at 282.5 nm but greater fluorescence beyond 345 nm. Naphthenic acids are the major toxic component of OSPW. Both a commercial naphthenic acid and a naphthenic acid extract prepared from OSPW had similar fluorescent spectra with peaks at 280 nm and 320 nm and minor shoulders at approximately 303 and 331 nm. The presence of aromatic acids closely associated with the naphthenic acids may be responsible for unique fluorescence at 320-340 nm. SFS is proposed to be a simple and fast method to monitor the release of OSPW into ground and surface waters in the oil sands region.

  16. Investigation of the Experimental Fault Permeability in Two Sands using Ring-shear Apparatus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kimura, Sho; Kaneko, Hiroaki; Ito, Takuma; Minagawa, Hideki

    2015-04-01

    We used a ring-shear apparatus to examine the perpendicular permeability of different type of sand for evaluating faults around methane hydrate reservoirs. The effect of effective normal stress on the permeability was investigated. We obtained measurements under constant effective normal stress ranging from 0.5 MPa to 8.0 MPa. The grain size distribution and particle shape in sand samples were performed by laser diffraction and optical microscopy method using the Morphologi G3, respectively. The median D50 and of median HSC (High Sensitivity Circularity) were obtained as 215.7µm and 0.758 in No.7 silica sand, 231.8µm and 0.789 in Toyoura sand. In No.7 silica sand, permeability after ring-shearing substantially decreased with increasing effective normal stress up to an effective normal stress of 2.0 MPa, and became gradually decrease for effective normal stress values greater than 2.0 MPa. In contrast, in Toyoura sand permeability after ring-shearing drastically decreased up to an effective normal stress of 3.0MPa. Although the relationships between the permeability after ring-shearing and the effective normal stress in the both sand samples could be expressed by an exponential equation up to 3.0 MPa, the gradual change in slope was shown in Toyoura sand in comparison with No.7 silica sand. The both permeability in two sands had almost the same values for effective normal stress greater than 3.0 MPa. These results indicate that the influence of single particle crushing strength is more important than grain size and particle shape for understanding of different permeability up to 3.0 MPa between two sands. This study is financially supported by METI and Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan (the MH21 Research Consortium).

  17. 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

  18. Understanding the Canadian oil sands industry's greenhouse gas emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Charpentier, Alex D.; Bergerson, Joule A.; MacLean, Heather L.

    2009-01-01

    The magnitude of Canada's oil sands reserves, their rapidly expanding and energy intensive production, combined with existing and upcoming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions regulations motivate an evaluation of oil sands-derived fuel production from a life cycle perspective. Thirteen studies of GHG emissions associated with oil sands operations are reviewed. The production of synthetic crude oil (SCO) through surface mining and upgrading (SM&Up) or in situ and upgrading (IS&Up) processes is reported to result in emissions ranging from 62 to 164 and 99 to 176 kgCO2eq/bbl SCO, respectively (or 9.2-26.5 and 16.2-28.7 gCO2eq MJ-1 SCO, respectively), compared to 27-58 kgCO2eq/bbl (4.5-9.6 gCO2eq MJ-1) of crude for conventional oil production. The difference in emissions intensity between SCO and conventional crude production is primarily due to higher energy requirements for extracting bitumen and upgrading it into SCO. On a 'well-to-wheel' basis, GHG emissions associated with producing reformulated gasoline from oil sands with current SM&Up, IS&Up, and in situ (without upgrading) technologies are 260-320, 320-350, and 270-340 gCO2eq km-1, respectively, compared to 250-280 gCO2eq km-1 for production from conventional oil. Some variation between studies is expected due to differences in methods, technologies studied, and operating choices. However, the magnitude of the differences presented suggests that a consensus on the characterization of life cycle emissions of the oil sands industry has yet to be reached in the public literature. Recommendations are given for future studies for informing industry and government decision making.

  19. Plant for retorting oil products contained in shales and sands

    SciTech Connect

    Roma, C.

    1982-07-20

    A plant is described for continuously retorting oil products contained in shales and sands comprising a substantially horizontal retort furnace into which said shales and sands are introduced by means of hoppers and metering devices and placed on metal conveyors moving in counter-current to gases. Means are provided for placing shales and sands onto conveyors with a suitable thickness and for stirring the shales and sands. One or more combustion chambers are arranged outside the retort furnace for producing hot gases, and one or more input zones are located along the retort furnace for admitting hot gases into the retort furnace, causing the hot gases to mix with circulating gases which have been preheated by removing sensible heat from the exhausted shale and sand material. A direct contact condenser at the furnace head utilizes cold fluid to condense distilled oil products, and a decantation tank is arranged beneath the condenser for freeing the process gases from the dust. Uncondensed gases containing carbon dioxide, hydrogen, high hydrocarbon fractions, nitrogen and steam are recycled into the retort. Condensed oils from said distillation step, as well as oil drawn from the tunnel retort in liquid phase, are decanted and submitted to successive treatments.

  20. Numerical study of shear stress distribution at sand ripple surface in wind tunnel flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bar, Nitsan; Elperin, Tov; Katra, Itzhak; Yizhaq, Hezi

    2016-06-01

    The mechanism responsible for the formation and sustainability of sand ripples sheared by a uniform air flow is not well understood, despite the significant attention that has been given to it ever since the pioneering studies of Bagnold (1941). In this study we explore ANSYS Fluent simulations of fine-scale turbulent flow structure in the vicinity of 2D sand ripples with particular emphasis on shear stress distribution at the sand bed. The flow parameters in the simulations were pertinent to the wind tunnel experiments for studying sand ripples formation. The simulations show that the shear stress at the crest is about 2.5 times larger than the shear stress at the trough and that in most of the simulations a separation bubble has been developed at the lee slope. In contrast to wind tunnel experiments the simulations show that ripples will be flattened at wind speed of 9 m/s as shear stress at the ripples surface exceeds the fluid threshold. This discrepancy between the calculations and real wind tunnel measurements are due to the important role of the saltation layer on the decrease of the shear stress at the surface. Without this effect ripples cannot grow higher and will be diminished at quite moderate winds.

  1. Interaction forces in bitumen extraction from oil sands.

    PubMed

    Liu, Jianjun; Xu, Zhenghe; Masliyah, Jacob

    2005-07-15

    Water-based extraction process (WBEP) has been successfully applied to bitumen recovery from Athabasca oil sand ore deposits in Alberta. In this process, two essential steps are involved. The bitumen first needs to be "liberated" from sand grains, followed by "aeration" with air bubbles. Bitumen "liberation" from the sand grains is controlled by the interaction between the bitumen and sand grains. Bitumen "aeration" is dependent, among other mechanical and hydrodynamic variables, on the hydrophobicity of the bitumen surface, which is controlled by water chemistry and interactions between bitumen and fine solids. In this paper, the interaction force measured with an atomic force microscope (AFM) between bitumen-bitumen, bitumen-silica, bitumen-clays and bitumen-fines is summarized. The measured interaction force barrier coupled with the contacted adhesion force allows us to predict the coagulative state of colloidal systems. Zeta potential distribution measurements, in terms of heterocoagulation, confirmed the prediction of the measured force profiles using AFM. The results show that solution pH and calcium addition can significantly affect the colloidal interactions of various components in oil sand extraction systems. The strong attachment of fines from a poor processing ore on bitumen is responsible for the corresponding low bitumen flotation recovery. The identification of the dominant non-contact forces by fitting with the classical DLVO or extended DLVO theory provides guidance for controlling the interaction behavior of the oil sand components through monitoring the factors that could affect the non-contact forces. The findings provide insights into megascale industrial operations of oil sand extraction.

  2. Comparative tests for evaluating permeability changes of a compacted bentonite/sand mixture during shear

    SciTech Connect

    Esaki, T.; Zhang, M.; Mitani, Y.

    1997-12-31

    A compacted mixture of Kunigeru VI bentonite and D-sand is being considered for use as an engineered barrier in low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities in Japan. An important issue is the maintenance of the retardation property of the mixture during shear that might be induced in such barriers by earthquakes and/or gradual tectonic deformations occurring over the design life of the facility. Comparative tests on a bentonite-sand mixture and kaolin-sand mixture were conducted by means of a recently-developed coupled shear and permeability testing apparatus under temperature controlled condition. The specific storage of bentonite-sand specimen during shear is also systematically evaluated with the new analytical theory for the constant flow permeability test. The present study reveals that (1) temperature control is preferred for measuring the permeability of extremely-low permeability materials with the constant-flow pump method; (2) both the permeability and specific storage of the mixture of Kunigeru VI bentonite and D-sand were not significantly influenced by shear strains up to 3% whereas the permeability of the kaolin-sand mixture increased almost linearly with the increment of shear strain; (3) the swelling of bentonite in the mixture under low confining stress decreases both the permeability and specific storage of bentonite-sand mixture; and (4) the constant flow permeability test method, with the newly derived theoretical analysis, promises to become a very effective means of investigating, rapidly and systematically, the permeability and specific storage of extremely-low permeability materials with relatively-low hydraulic gradients.

  3. North American Oil Sands: History of Development, Prospects for the Future

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2008-01-17

    SAGD operations. Canada’s Oil Sands, May 2004. 43 Canada’s Oil Sands, June 2006 p. 4. 44 Canada’s Oil Sands, Opportunities and Challenges to 2015, An...Energy Market Assessment, May 2004, National Energy Board, Canada, p. 108. But a relatively new technology — steam-assisted gravity drainage ( SAGD ...has demonstrated that its operations can recover as much as 70% of the bitumen in- place. Using SAGD , steam is added to the oil sands using a

  4. Triaxial and Torsional Shear Test Results for Sand

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1994-06-01

    iia 3 -1 40- -10 - , 10 - al 0 z 30 100- 0 -0.1 -0.08 .0.06 -0.04 -0.02 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 AXIAL STRAIN (%) F01 . w Ir 97 LL- -01U..-.6 .. 4 02000 .400...3.2.13 Hollow Cylinder Cyclic Torsional Shear Test (NKIOCU50) NK1 OCU5O UNDRAINED STRESS CONTROLLED TORSIONAL SHEAR TEST 200 100 000 W 00 E 0 0z 00 0...so 0 so 0 60 0 so 0 90 0 00 0 Angle in ir Plane (Degree) Figure 3.3.5 Hollow Cylinder Rotational Shear Test (NR4OCU5O) NR56CUSO: UNDRAINED STRESS

  5. 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

  6. Response to Oil Sands Products Assessment

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-01

    properties and chemical composition of the oil). There are 12 to 13 types of OSPs, which differ slightly in their reactions in the environment, based on...proximity to a water source and the characteristics of the environment into which the crude oil is released (e.g., porous underlying soils), the...consisted of removing the contaminated vegetation as well. The ultimate extent, shape, and composition of a groundwater contaminant plume resulting

  7. Methanogenic potential of tailings samples from oil sands extraction plants.

    PubMed

    Fedorak, Phillip M; Coy, Debora L; Salloum, Myrna J; Dudas, Marvin J

    2002-01-01

    Approximately 20% of Canada's oil supply now comes from the extraction of bitumen from the oil sands deposits in northeastern Alberta. The oil sands are strip-mined, and the bitumen is typically separated from sand and clays by an alkaline hot water extraction process. The rapidly expanding oil sands industry has millions of cubic metres of tailings for disposal and large areas of land to reclaim. There are estimates that the consolidation of the mature fine tails (MFT) in the settling ponds will take about 150 years. Some of the settling ponds are now evolving microbially produced methane, a greenhouse gas. To hasten consolidation, gypsum (CaSO4 x 2H2O) is added to MFT, yielding materials called consolidated or composite tailings (CT). Sulfate from the gypsum has the potential to stimulate sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) to out-compete methanogens, thereby stopping methanogenesis. This investigation examined three MFT and four CT samples from three oil sands extractions companies. Each was found to contain methanogens and SRB. Serum bottle microcosm studies showed sulfate in the CT samples stopped methane production. However, if the microcosms were amended with readily utilizable electron donors, the sulfate was consumed, and when it reached approximately 20 mg/L, methane production began. Some unamended microcosms were incubated for 372 days, with no methane production detected. This work showed that each MFT and CT sample has the potential to become methanogenic, but in the absence of exogenous electron donors, the added sulfate can inhibit methanogenesis for a long time.

  8. Microbial processes in the Athabasca Oil Sands and their potential applications in microbial enhanced oil recovery.

    PubMed

    Harner, N K; Richardson, T L; Thompson, K A; Best, R J; Best, A S; Trevors, J T

    2011-11-01

    The Athabasca Oil Sands are located within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, which covers over 140,200 km(2) of land in Alberta, Canada. The oil sands provide a unique environment for bacteria as a result of the stressors of low water availability and high hydrocarbon concentrations. Understanding the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate these stresses may aid in our understanding of how hydrocarbon degradation has occurred over geological time, and how these processes and related tolerance mechanisms may be used in biotechnology applications such as microbial enhanced oil recovery (MEOR). The majority of research has focused on microbiology processes in oil reservoirs and oilfields; as such there is a paucity of information specific to oil sands. By studying microbial processes in oil sands there is the potential to use microbes in MEOR applications. This article reviews the microbiology of the Athabasca Oil Sands and the mechanisms bacteria use to tolerate low water and high hydrocarbon availability in oil reservoirs and oilfields, and potential applications in MEOR.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. In situ recovery process for heavy oil sands

    SciTech Connect

    Pachovsky, R.A.

    1984-10-09

    Bitumen is recovered from a subterranean formation of heavy oil sands traversed by at least one injection well and at least one associated production well in fluid communication with each injection well. Air in admixture with a heating fluid selected from the group consisting of low quality steam, hot water, or mixtures thereof, and an alkalinity agent are injected into the formation by way of each injection well. The subterranean heavy oil sands are thereby raised to a temperature in the range of about 200/sup 0/ to 350/sup 0/ F. A portion of the bitumen at reduced viscosity is oxidized without burning to produce additional petroleum acids which are neutralized to form emulsifying agents. The condensed steam and/or hot water contacting the bitumen form with it a bitumen-water emulsion. By pressure from the injected mixture of air and heating fluid, the resulting bitumen-water emulsion is then recovered from each production well. Demulsification takes place at the surface and bitumen, hot water, and sand are separated. Increased oil recovery efficiency may be obtained by pressure controlled cycles.

  14. Volatilization, leaching, and degradation of petroleum oils in sand and oil systems

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, W.F.

    1981-01-01

    Land disposal is considered to be a promising way to treat highly concentrated oily wastes because of the assimilation capability created by the natural system. In this study, diesel oil, crude oil, and lubricating oil were used in the experiments of volatilization, adsorption, uv irradiation, biodegradation, and percolation in the sand or soil system. The basic phenomenon of solution of oil in water was also demonstrated to show its role in the fate of oil in the natural environment. Based on the data obtained, among the three tested oils, diesel oil is the most easily volatilized or degraded. Lubricating oil is the most stable substance and hardly volatilized at all. Environmental factors affecting evaporation are, in order of magnitude, temperature, air movement, relative humidity, and agitation. uv irradiation has little effect on volatilization. Sand or soil particles have a great capacity for oil adsorption. Whenever a sand or soil system is used for oily waste treatment, the soil pH should be taken into consideration in order to prevent the possible oil leaching that may cause groundwater pollution.

  15. Canada's R and D activities in oil sands and heavy oil

    SciTech Connect

    Wiggins, E.J.

    1982-06-01

    The Alberta Oil Sands Technology and Research Authority (AOSTRA) stimulates oil sands and heavy oil development. Four very large deposits of oil sands in Northern Alberta are the focus of this paper. The problem with the mining is the extremely high viscosity of the bitumen under reservoir conditions. Various solutions to this difficulty are attempted. Surface mining leaves room for improvement because of the volumes of aquaeous tailings it produces. Different extraction methods are considered. 90% of the Athabasca deposit is too thick for surface mining, so in-situ steam injection or underground combustion have been tried. The ''huff and puff'' technique used at Cold Lake is described. Cyclic steam pressurization-depressurization used at the Peace River deposit is also mentioned. These are only a few of the projects supported by AOSTRA.

  16. DEM study of fabric features governing undrained post-liquefaction shear deformation of sand

    DOE PAGES

    Wang, Rui; Fu, Pengcheng; Zhang, Jian-Min; ...

    2016-10-05

    In an effort to study undrained post-liquefaction shear deformation of sand, the discrete element method (DEM) is adopted to conduct undrained cyclic biaxial compression simulations on granular assemblies consisting of 2D circular particles. The simulations are able to successfully reproduce the generation and eventual saturation of shear strain through the series of liquefaction states that the material experiences during cyclic loading after the initial liquefaction. Also, DEM simulations with different deviatoric stress amplitudes and initial mean effective stresses on samples with different void ratios and loading histories are carried out to investigate the relationship between various mechanics- or fabric-related variablesmore » and post-liquefaction shear strain development. It is found that well-known metrics such as deviatoric stress amplitude, initial mean effective stress, void ratio, contact normal fabric anisotropy intensity, and coordination number, are not adequately correlated to the observed shear strain development and, therefore, could not possibly be used for its prediction. A new fabric entity, namely the Mean Neighboring Particle Distance (MNPD), is introduced to reflect the space arrangement of particles. It is found that the MNPD has an extremely strong and definitive relationship with the post-liquefaction shear strain development, showing MNPD’s potential role as a parameter governing post-liquefaction behavior of sand.« less

  17. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Singing sand as an instability arising from a shear-plug flow

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dagois-Bohy, Simon; Courrech Du Pont, Sylvain; Douady, Stéphane

    2010-05-01

    Desert sand dunes can have the peculiar ability to emit a loud sound up to 110 dB, with a well-defined frequency: this is the song of the dunes. After the early travelers who first mentioned it (Darwin, Marco-Polo, ...) later scientific observations have shown that if not all dunes sing, all the singing dunes are composed of dry, well-sorted and coated sand; this sound occurs when the sand is sheared, and particularly on field during avalanches on a slip face of a singing dune? Several observations—recent and less recent—have shown that the sound frequency is likely equal to the shear rate of the flow, or at least is varying in the same way. We have been able to reproduce these avalanches in laboratory on an inclined plane with singing sand from Morocco and Oman, which has made possible to study them more accurately than on the field. Signals of accelerometers measuring local vertical oscillations of the flowing surface show that the phenomenon does not require resonance in the depth or in the dune. Measures of velocity and flow rate during avalanches enhance the co-existence of a plug flow with a large shear band underneath, both strongly correlated to the sound emission. A new model has been developed, based on the mechanical interaction between the plug area and the transient force chains in the flow. This model predicts a threshold that depends on the compacity of the granular media and on the surface friction and adhesion properties of the grains, and the value predicted fits quantitively well the data collected from avalanches, as well as from other experimental set-up of singing sand.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Windblown sand saltation: A statistical approach to fluid threshold shear velocity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Raffaele, Lorenzo; Bruno, Luca; Pellerey, Franco; Preziosi, Luigi

    2016-12-01

    The reliable prediction in probabilistic terms of the consequences of aeolian events related to sand transport phenomena is a key element for human activities in arid regions. Threshold shear velocity generating sand lifting is a key component of such a prediction. It suffers from the effect of uncertainties of different origin, such as those related to the physical phenomena, measurement procedures, and modelling. Semi empirical models are often fitted to a small amount of data, while recent probabilistic models needs the probability distribution of several random variables. Triggered by this motivation, this paper proposes a purely statistical approach to fluid threshold shear velocity for sand saltation, treated as a single comprehensive random variable. A data set is derived from previously published studies. Estimates of conditional probability distributions of threshold shear velocity for given grain diameters are given. The obtained statistical moments are critically compared to some deterministic semi empirical models refitted to the same collected data. The proposed statistical approach allows to obtain high order statistics useful for practical purposes.

  3. The effect of moisture on the propagation of compressional and shear waves in Ottawa sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Velea, Doru

    In this dissertation the propagation of compressional and shear waves at different depths and water saturations in Ottawa sand has been studied. The sand was packed in a cylindrical fiberglass tank open to the atmosphere at the top. The velocity measurements were made in the horizontal direction. Water was allowed in the sand by capillary action. The saturation achieved by this method ranged from the air-dry state to about 98%. In air-dry sand the measured velocities did not increase uniformly with depth. A linear decrease in velocity with increasing room temperature was observed. When water was allowed at the bottom of the tank, the depth dependence was almost removed and the compressional and shear wave velocities reduced to about 220 m/s and 130 m/s respectively. As the sand was further wetted by capillarity, the velocities decreased by various amounts (20% to 35%). The change stopped when the capillary flow did. Draining of the water out of the granular material caused a step increase in velocities. The existence of force chains was assumed to explain the non-uniform depth dependence in air-dry sand. The addition of water caused the disappearance of the force chains. The material was assumed isotropic, the tangential contact stiffness reduced to zero and the ratio Vp/Vs = /sqrt[3]. A modified Digby model was applied to calculate the wave velocities. The tank walls were found to have a large effect on the interparticle forces. This effect has been explained by using concepts from the silo design theory. The saturation effects, namely, the bulk density increase and the reducing interparticle interaction due to the buoyancy force, have been included in the model.

  4. Variable and Conflicting Shear Stress Estimates Inside an Aeolian Boundary Layer with Active Sand Transport

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baas, A. C. W.; Lee, Z. S.

    2015-12-01

    This contribution presents a comparison between two methods for measuring shear stress in an atmospheric internal boundary layer over a beach surface under optimum conditions, using wind velocities measured synchronously at 13 heights over a 1.7 m vertical array using ultrasonic anemometry. The Reynolds decomposition technique determines at-a-point shear stresses at each measurement height, while the Law-of-the-Wall yields a single boundary layer estimate based on fitting a logarithmic velocity profile through the array data. Analysis reveals significant inconsistencies between estimates derived from the two methods, on both a whole-event basis and as time-series. Despite a near-perfect fit of the Law-of-the-Wall, the point estimates of Reynolds shear stress vary greatly between heights, calling into question the assumed presence of a constant stress layer. A comparison with simultaneously measured sediment transport finds no relationship between transport activity and the discrepancies in shear stress estimates. Results do show, however, that Reynolds shear stress measured nearer the bed exhibits slightly better correlation with sand transport rate. The findings serve as a major cautionary message to the interpretation and application of single-height measurements of Reynolds shear stress and their equivalence to Law-of-the-Wall derived estimates, and these concerns apply widely to boundary layer flows in general.

  5. Recovery of heavy crude oil or tar sand oil or bitumen from underground formations

    SciTech Connect

    McKay, A.S.

    1989-07-11

    This patent describes a method of producing heavy crude oil or tar sand oil or bitumen from an underground formation. The method consists of utilizing or establishing an aqueous fluid communication path within and through the formation between an injection well or conduit and a production well or conduit by introducing into the formation from the injection well or conduit hot water and/or low quality steam at a temperature in the range about 60{sup 0}-130{sup 0}C and at a substantially neutral or alkaline pH to establish or enlarge the aqueous fluid communication path within the formation from the injection well or conduit to the production well or conduit by movement of the introduced hot water or low quality steam through the formation, increasing the temperature of the injected hot water of low quality steam to a temperature in the range about 110{sup 0}-180{sup 0}C while increasing the pH of the injected hot water or low quality steam to a pH of about 10-13 so as to bring about the movement or migration or stripping of the heavy crude oil or tar sand oil or bitumen from the formation substantially into the hot aqueous fluid communication path with the formation and recovering the resulting produced heavy crude oil or tar sand oil or bitumen from the formation as an emulsion containing less than about 30% oil or bitumen from the production well or conduit.

  6. 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.

  7. Processing of coal, oil sand and heavy oil in situ by electric and magnetic fields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fisher, S. T.

    1980-07-01

    Improvements to a previously proposed (Fisher, 1979) means for the underground processing of coal, oil sand and heavy oil using eddy currents induced by an alternating magnetic field are presented. Consideration is given to the injection into the fuel layer by pressure from the surface of a hot, saturated high-conductivity aqueous electrolyte solution, which would allow induction heating to depend entirely on low-frequency eddy currents, and to the use of an outer tube of copper welded to an inner tube of steel for the tunnel and shaft casings and electrical conductors of the underground eddy-current heating installation. The physical and operational parameters of the proposed modifications are given, and it is shown that these improvements would increase the performance margin of the eddy-current heating method over the proposed dielectric heating method for oil shale and oil sand deposits.

  8. Erosion-Corrosion of Carbon Steel Pipes in Oil Sands Slurry Studied by Weight-Loss Testing and CFD Simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liang, Guangchuan; Peng, Xingyu; Xu, Luyao; Cheng, Y. Frank

    2013-10-01

    Weight-loss testing and computational fluid dynamic simulation were combined to investigate the essential roles of fluid mechanics and the sand impact in erosion-corrosion (E-C) of an X65 pipe steel in oil sands slurry. Results demonstrated that the steel E-C is resulted from the synergistic effect of the hydrodynamic shear stress and mechanical impact stress exerted on the steel surface. At low impact angles, such as 30°, the effect of shear stress is dominant. The particle impact stress becomes dominant when the impact angle increases to a high value, such as 90°. It is demonstrated that the maximum of E-C of the steel occurs at approximately 45° of the slurry impingement.

  9. 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.

  10. 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...

  11. 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...

  12. 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. Crown Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier B

  13. 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

  14. Vanadium Geochemistry of Oil Sands Fluid Petroleum Coke.

    PubMed

    Nesbitt, Jake A; Lindsay, Matthew B J

    2017-03-07

    Vanadium has previously been linked to elevated toxicity of leachates derived from oil sands petroleum coke. However, geochemical controls on V mobility within coke deposits remain poorly constrained. Detailed examinations of porewater and solid-phase V geochemistry were therefore performed on oil sands fluid petroleum coke deposits in Alberta, Canada. Sample collection focused on both active and reclaimed deposits, which contained more than 3 × 10(7) m(3) of fluid petroleum coke. Dissolved V concentrations were highest (up to 3.0 mg L(-1)) immediately below the water table but decreased rapidly with increasing depth. This trend corresponded to a transition from mildly acidic (pH 6-7) and oxic conditions to mildly alkaline (pH 7-8.5) and anoxic conditions. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron microprobe analysis (EMPA), and micro-X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) mapping revealed coke particles exhibited an internal structure characterized by successive concentric layers. The outer margins of these layers were characterized by elevated V, Fe, Si, and Al concentrations, indicating the presence of inorganic phases. Micro-X-ray absorption near-edge structure (μXANES) spectroscopy revealed that V speciation was dominated by V(IV) porphyrins except at outer margins of layers, where octahedrally coordinated V(III) was a major component. Minor to trace V(V) was also detected within fluid petroleum coke particles.

  15. The Microbiology of Oil Sands Tailings: Past, Present, Future.

    PubMed

    Foght, Julia M; Gieg, Lisa M; Siddique, Tariq

    2017-03-09

    Surface mining of enormous oil sands deposits in northeastern Alberta, Canada since 1967 has contributed greatly to Canada's economy but has also received negative international attention due largely to environmental concerns and challenges. Not only have microbes profoundly affected the composition and behaviour of this petroleum resource over geological time, they currently influence the management of semi-solid tailings in oil sands tailing ponds (OSTP) and tailings reclamation. Historically, microbial impacts on OSTP were generally discounted but next-generation sequencing and biogeochemical studies have revealed unexpectedly diverse indigenous communities and expanded our fundamental understanding of anaerobic microbial functions. OSTP that experienced different processing and management histories have developed distinct microbial communities that influence the behaviour and reclamation of the tailings stored therein. In particular, the interactions of Deltaproteobacteria and Firmicutes with methanogenic archaea impact greenhouse gas emissions, sulfur cycling, pore water toxicity, sediment biogeochemistry and densification, water usage and the trajectory of long-term mine waste reclamation. This review summarizes historical data; synthesizes current understanding of microbial diversity and activities in situ and in vitro; predicts microbial effects on tailings remediation and reclamation; and highlights knowledge gaps for future research.

  16. Photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy of Syncrude post-extraction oil sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michaelian, Kirk H.; Hall, Robert H.; Kenny, Kimberly I.

    2006-06-01

    Rapid- and step-scan photoacoustic (PA) infrared spectra of three fractions of a Syncrude post-extraction oil sand were analyzed in detail in this work. The rapid-scan spectra showed that the samples were comprised primarily of kaolinite, quartz, silica, siderite, and residual hydrocarbons, and that the proportions of these constituents were different for each fraction. Depth profiling of the three post-extraction oil sands was accomplished using both rapid- and step-scan PA infrared spectroscopy. The results confirmed that kaolinite is more abundant in the near-surface region, whereas quartz and hydrocarbons are concentrated at greater depths. The modulation frequency dependence of the PA intensities for all three fractions was consistent with a model in which the samples are thermally thick; in other words, the thermal diffusion length (roughly equal to the sampling depth) was less than the particle sizes of all three samples. The results of this study are consistent with published reports on the PA infrared spectra of fine tailings generated during bitumen extraction and the spectroscopic and thermophysical characterization of clay soils and an appropriate model clay.

  17. Photoacoustic infrared spectroscopy of Syncrude post-extraction oil sand.

    PubMed

    Michaelian, Kirk H; Hall, Robert H; Kenny, Kimberly I

    2006-06-01

    Rapid- and step-scan photoacoustic (PA) infrared spectra of three fractions of a Syncrude post-extraction oil sand were analyzed in detail in this work. The rapid-scan spectra showed that the samples were comprised primarily of kaolinite, quartz, silica, siderite, and residual hydrocarbons, and that the proportions of these constituents were different for each fraction. Depth profiling of the three post-extraction oil sands was accomplished using both rapid- and step-scan PA infrared spectroscopy. The results confirmed that kaolinite is more abundant in the near-surface region, whereas quartz and hydrocarbons are concentrated at greater depths. The modulation frequency dependence of the PA intensities for all three fractions was consistent with a model in which the samples are thermally thick; in other words, the thermal diffusion length (roughly equal to the sampling depth) was less than the particle sizes of all three samples. The results of this study are consistent with published reports on the PA infrared spectra of fine tailings generated during bitumen extraction and the spectroscopic and thermophysical characterization of clay soils and an appropriate model clay.

  18. Evaluation of water saturation in oil-bearing shaly sands

    SciTech Connect

    Martinovic, S.; Vojnovic, V. )

    1990-06-01

    The physical properties of shaly formations are difficult to evaluate because the shale component strongly affects geophysical well log and laboratory test data. This is particularly true in the case of water saturation. On the other hand, the accuracy of in-situ hydrocarbon estimates depends directly on the accuracy of water saturation values. The most important interpretation models for water saturation rely on double-layer models. These interpretation models compute highly probably water saturation values of oil-bearing shaly sands using sound mathematical and physical postulates. Certain disadvantages, such as the inability to evaluate some crucial parameters directly from geophysical well logs, simplifications along the system-model line, inherent deficiencies of logging techniques, etc., give rise to errors and other problems which are more or less solved at this stage of development. A simple program for water saturation of oil-bearing shaly sands was designed and tested. The program uses equations based on double layer models. Program listing and test results also are presented.

  19. Elucidating carbon sources driving microbial metabolism during oil sands reclamation.

    PubMed

    Bradford, Lauren M; Ziolkowski, Lori A; Goad, Corey; Warren, Lesley A; Slater, Gregory F

    2017-03-01

    Microbial communities play key roles in remediation and reclamation of contaminated environments via biogeochemical cycling of organic and inorganic components. Understanding the trends in in situ microbial community abundance, metabolism and carbon sources is therefore a crucial component of effective site management. The focus of this study was to use radiocarbon analysis to elucidate the carbon sources driving microbial metabolism within the first pilot wetland reclamation project in the Alberta oil sands region where the observation of H2S had indicated the occurrence of microbial sulphate reduction. The reclamation project involved construction of a three compartment system consisting of a freshwater wetland on top of a sand cap overlying a composite tailings (CT) deposit. Radiocarbon analysis demonstrated that both dissolved and sediment associated organic carbon associated with the deepest compartments (the CT and sand cap) was primarily fossil (Δ(14)C = -769 to -955‰) while organic carbon in the overlying peat was hundreds to thousands of years old (Δ(14)C = -250 to -350‰). Radiocarbon contents of sediment associated microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) were consistent with the sediment bulk organic carbon pools (Peat: Δ(14)CPLFA = -257‰; Sand cap Δ(14)CPLFA = -805‰) indicating that these microbes were using sediment associated carbon. In contrast, microbial PLFA grown on biofilm units installed in wells within the deepest compartments contained much more modern carbon that the associated bulk carbon pools. This implied that the transfer of relatively more modern carbon was stimulating the microbial community at depth within the system. Correlation between cellular abundance estimates based on PLFA concentrations and the Δ(14)CPLFA indicated that the utilization of this more modern carbon was stimulating the microbial community at depth. These results highlight the importance of understanding the occurrence and potential outcomes

  20. Processing of Arroyo Grande tar sand using the Recycle Oil Pyrolysis and Extraction (ROPE copyright ) process

    SciTech Connect

    King, S.B.

    1989-12-01

    The objectives of this study are to (1) evaluate the applications of the ROPE{copyright} process to a California tar sand using the screw pyrolysis reactor-process development unit (SPR-PDU) reactor, (2) produce kinetics data for the recycle product oil-spent sand interaction, and (3) produce oil for end-use evaluation. 6 refs., 1 fig., 23 tabs.

  1. Heterotrophic Potentials and Hydrocarbon Biodegradation Potentials of Sediment Microorganisms Within the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit

    PubMed Central

    Wyndham, R. C.; Costerton, J. W.

    1981-01-01

    Techniques for the enumeration and the determination of the potential activity of disturbed sediment mixed populations at control sites and sites within the Athabasca oil sands formation were applied to August and December samples. These techniques included the determination of general heterotrophic potential for the assimilation and respiration of glutamate, which indicated no oil sand-related changes in the sediments but which indicated a significant seasonal change. Enumeration by epifluorescence direct counts, oil sand hydrocarbon plate counts, and most-probable-number determinations of [14C]hexadecane and [14C]-naphthalene degraders indicated that only the plate count was sensitive to increased numbers of oil sand-related hydrocarbon-oxidizing microorganisms within the oil sands deposit. Unlike the most probable number determinations of [14C]hexadecane and [14C]naphthalene degraders, however, the biodegradation potential results of these substrates indicated a significant increase in activity at oil sands sites. These biodegradation potentials also showed a marked seasonal fluctuation. Although the biodegradation potentials and the endogenous hydrocarbon plate counts indicated an oil sand-adapted mixed sediment population, the results of these techniques did not correlate well with the concentrations of bituminous hydrocarbons in the sediments. The results suggest that a general capability for hydrocarbon oxidation exists in the Athabasca River system and that this capability is enhanced within the natural bounds of the Athabasca oil sands. Images PMID:16345737

  2. Draft genome sequences of campylobacterales (epsilonproteobacteria) obtained from methanogenic oil sands tailings pond metagenomes.

    PubMed

    Tan, BoonFei; Foght, Julia

    2014-10-16

    Draft genome sequences of two Campylobacterales (Sulfurospirillum sp. strain SCADC and Sulfuricurvum sp. strain MLSB [Mildred Lake Settling Basin]) were obtained by taxonomic binning of metagenomes originating from an oil sands tailings pond. Both genomes contain soxABXYZ genes involved in sulfur oxidation, highlighting their potential roles in sulfur cycling in oil sands tailings ponds. Copyright © 2014 Tan and Foght.

  3. Draft Genome Sequences of Campylobacterales (Epsilonproteobacteria) Obtained from Methanogenic Oil Sands Tailings Pond Metagenomes

    PubMed Central

    Tan, BoonFei

    2014-01-01

    Draft genome sequences of two Campylobacterales (Sulfurospirillum sp. strain SCADC and Sulfuricurvum sp. strain MLSB [Mildred Lake Settling Basin]) were obtained by taxonomic binning of metagenomes originating from an oil sands tailings pond. Both genomes contain soxABXYZ genes involved in sulfur oxidation, highlighting their potential roles in sulfur cycling in oil sands tailings ponds. PMID:25323712

  4. Remediation of oil-contaminated sand with self-collapsing air microbubbles.

    PubMed

    Agarwal, Ashutosh; Zhou, Yufeng; Liu, Yu

    2016-12-01

    In this study, a novel chemical-free approach for cleaning oil-contaminated sand with self-collapsing air microbubbles (MBs) with diameter less than 50 μm was developed without the use of chemicals, such as surfactants and alkalis. Diesel and rotary-vane pump oil-contaminated fine and medium sands were treated with MBs to study the effect of oil viscosity and sand grain size on oil removal with MBs. About 95 % of diesel removal was achieved for 24 h old 10 % (w/w) diesel-contaminated medium sand in contrast to only 70 % removal from fine sand after 40-min treatment with MBs. While rotary-vane pump oil removal exceeds that of diesel after 40-min treatment with MBs, combination of mechanical stirring with MBs significantly enhanced the oil removal rate, whereby 95 % diesel removal was achieved from fine sand in 30 min in contrast to only 52 % diesel removal with MBs alone. A possible MBs cleaning mechanism for oil-contaminated sand was also proposed. This study provides experimental evidence for the applicability of self-collapsing MBs as a novel chemical-free approach for cleaning oil-contaminated sand.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

    2016-06-02

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. Long-time behavior of sand ripples induced by water shear flow.

    PubMed

    Betat, A; Kruelle, C A; Frette, V; Rehberg, I

    2002-08-01

    The formation of sand ripples under water shear flow in a narrow annular channel and the approach of the ripple pattern towards a steady state were studied experimentally. Four results are obtained: i) The mean amplitude, the average drift velocity and the mean sediment transport rate of the evolving bed shape are strongly related. A quantitative characterization of this relation is given. ii) The ripple pattern reaches a stationary state with a finite ripple amplitude and wavelength. The time needed to reach the state depends on the shear stress and may be several days. iii) The onset of ripple formation is determined by the bed shear stress, but it seems neither to depend on the grain diameter nor on the depth of the water layer. iv) The ripple amplitude, drift velocity and sediment transport in this stationary state depend on the grain size. This dependency is neither captured by the particle Reynolds number nor by the Shields parameter: an empirical scaling law is presented instead.

  10. Variation of shear and compressional wave modulus upon saturation for pure pre-compacted sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhuiyan, M. H.; Holt, R. M.

    2016-07-01

    Gassmann's fluid substitution theory is commonly used to predict seismic velocity change upon change in saturation, and is hence essential for 4-D seismic and AVO studies. This paper addresses the basics assumptions of the Gassmann theory, in order to see how well they are fulfilled in controlled laboratory experiments. Our focus is to investigate the sensitivity of shear modulus to fluid saturation, and the predictability of Gassmann's fluid substitution theory for P-wave modulus. Ultrasonic P- and S-wave velocities in dry and saturated (3.5 wt per cent NaCl) unconsolidated clean sands (Ottawa and Columbia) were measured in an oedometer test system (uniaxial strain conditions) over a range of 0.5-10 MPa external vertical stress. This study shows shear modulus hardening upon brine saturation, which is consistent with previous data found in the literature. Analysis of the data shows that most of the hardening of the ultrasonic shear modulus may be explained by Biot dispersion. Isotropic Gassmann's fluid substitution is found to underestimate the P-wave modulus upon fluid saturation. However, adding the Biot dispersion effect improves the prediction. More work is required to obtain good measurements of parameters influencing dispersion, such as tortuosity, which is very ambiguous and challenging to measure accurately.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Effect of consolidation ratios on maximum dynamic shear modulus of sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Xiaoming, Yuan; Jing, Sun; Rui, Sun

    2005-06-01

    The dynamic shear modulus (DSM) is the most basic soil parameter in earthquake or other dynamic loading conditions and can be obtained through testing in the field or in the laboratory. The effect of consolidation ratios of the maximum DSM for two types of sand is investigated by using resonant column tests. And, an increment formula to obtain the maximum DSM for cases of consolidation ratio k c>1 is presented. The results indicate that the maximum DSM rises rapidly when k c is near 1 and then slows down, which means that the power function of the consolidation ratio increment k c-1 can be used to describe the variation of the maximum DSM due to k c>1. The results also indicate that the increase in the maximum DSM due to k c>1 is significantly larger than that predicted by Hardin and Black's formula.

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

    PubMed

    Middleton, Richard S; Brandt, Adam R

    2013-02-05

    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.

  16. Matrix solid-phase dispersion with sand in chromatographic analysis of essential oils in herbs.

    PubMed

    Dawidowicz, Andrzej L; Wianowska, Dorota; Rado, Ewelina

    2011-01-01

    Matrix solid-phase dispersion (MSPD) is a very simple, cheap and relatively quick sample preparation procedure which involves simultaneous disruption and extraction of various solid and semi-solid samples due to the direct mechanical blending of the sample with a SPE sorbent, mainly C(18). Little is known about MSPD application as a sample preparation method for the analysis of essential oil components in herbs. To evaluate if C(18) sorbent, commonly used in MSPD process, can be substituted with sand in the procedure of essential oil analysis. Essential oil extracts were obtained from mint, sage, chamomile, marjoram, savory and oregano using MSPD with C(18) sorbent or sand, pressurised liquid extraction and steam distillation. Their qualitative and quantitative compositions ware established by GC-MS and GC-FID. The results prove that C(18) sorbent can be substituted with sand in the procedure of essential oil analysis in herbs. The recoveries of essential oil components estimated using MSPD/sand are almost equal to those using pressurised liquid extraction. The results presented in the paper reveal that MSPD with sand is suitable for the isolation of essential oil components from herbs. Its extraction efficiency is equivalent to pressurised liquid extraction, recognised as one of the most efficient extraction methods. The cost of MSPD procedure for essential oil analysis can be significantly diminished by substituting C(18) with sand. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  19. 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

  20. Low temperature extraction and upgrading of oil sands and bitumen in supercritical fluid mixtures.

    PubMed

    Brough, Sarah A; Riley, Sandra H; McGrady, G Sean; Tanhawiriyakul, Supaporn; Romero-Zerón, Laura; Willson, Christopher D

    2010-07-21

    Preliminary results are reported for the extraction and catalytic hydrocracking of Alberta bitumen and oil sands using supercritical fluid mixtures; high levels of extraction and upgrading were attained using reaction conditions significantly milder than those previously reported.

  1. Bitumen recovery from oil sands using deep eutectic solvent and its aqueous solutions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pulati, Nuerxida

    Oil sands compose a significant proportion of the world's known oil reserves. Oil sands are also known as tar sands and bituminous sands, are complex mixtures of sand, clays, water and bitumen, which is "heavy" and highly viscous oil. The extraction and separation of bitumen from oil sands requires significant amount of energy and large quantities of water and poses several environmental challenges. Bitumen can be successfully separated from oil sands using imidazolium based ionic liquids and nonpolar solvents, however, ionic liquids are expensive and toxic. In this thesis, the ionic liquid alternatives- deep eutectic solvent, were investigated. Oil sands separation can be successfully achieved by using deep eutectic solvents DES (choline chloride and urea) and nonpolar solvent naphtha in different types of oil sands, including Canadian ("water-wet"), Utah ("oil-wet") and low grade Kentucky oil sands. The separation quality depends on oil sands type, including bitumen and fine content, and separation condition, such as solvent ratio, temperature, mixing time and mechanical centrifuge. This separation claims to the DES ability to form ion /charge layering on mineral surface, which results in reduction of adhesion forces between bitumen and minerals and promote their separation. Addition of water to DES can reduce DES viscosity. DES water mixture as a media, oil sands separation can be achieved. However, concentration at about 50 % or higher might be required to obtain a clear separation. And the separation efficiency is oil sands sample dependent. The highest bitumen extraction yield happened at 75% DES-water solution for Utah oil sands samples, and at 50 60% DES-water solutions for Alberta oil sands samples. Force curves were measured using Atomic Force Microscopy new technique, PeakForce Tapping Quantitative Nanomechanical Mapping (PFTQNM). The results demonstrate that, by adding DES, the adhesion force between bitumen and silica and dissipation energy will

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-05

    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.

  4. Experimental and modeling study of residual liquid recovery from spent sand in bitumen extraction processes from oil sands.

    PubMed

    Faradonbeh, Moosa Rabiei; Dong, Mingzhe; Harding, Thomas G; Abedi, Jalal

    2013-02-19

    Disposing solid residue with high liquid content into the environment may impact the immediate ecosystem and its surroundings. In bitumen recovery process from oil sands, it is environmentally and economically desirable to effectively recover as much of the liquid trapped in the spent solids as possible, prior to releasing it into the environment. An experiment was designed to investigate the effect of capillary force to enhance liquid recovery by using a thin, semipermeable layer as the membrane. The results indicate that by employing a membrane at the outlet, and pressurizing the air above the sand bed, the average liquid saturation can be decreased by 50%; however, the maximum pressure applied is restricted by the physical characteristics of the membrane. A mathematical model is developed to predict the liquid saturation profile along the sand pack during transient and steady-state conditions, and results are validated against measured average saturation using two different sand types. Results suggest that more liquid can be recovered from the spent sand bed by increasing the height of the bed; however, the required time to achieve the maximum recovery is increased as well. This method can be applied to reduce the liquid content of spent sand from any process before it is disposed of, thereby reducing possible hazards which may affect the environment.

  5. 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

  6. Oil spills and their impacts on sand beach invertebrate communities: A literature review.

    PubMed

    Bejarano, Adriana C; Michel, Jacqueline

    2016-11-01

    Sand beaches are highly dynamic habitats that can experience considerable impacts from oil spills. This review provides a synthesis of the scientific literature on major oil spills and their impacts on sand beaches, with emphasis on studies documenting effects and recoveries of intertidal invertebrate communities. One of the key observations arising from this review is that more attention has generally been given to studying the impacts of oil spills on invertebrates (mostly macrobenthos), and not to documenting their biological recovery. Biological recovery of sand beach invertebrates is highly dynamic, depending on several factors including site-specific physical properties and processes (e.g., sand grain size, beach exposure), the degree of oiling, depth of oil burial, and biological factors (e.g., species-specific life-history traits). Recovery of affected communities ranges from several weeks to several years, with longer recoveries generally associated with physical factors that facilitate oil persistence, or when cleanup activities are absent on heavily oiled beaches. There are considerable challenges in quantifying impacts from spills on sand beach invertebrates because of insufficient baseline information (e.g., distribution, abundance and composition), knowledge gaps in their natural variability (spatial and temporal), and inadequate sampling and replication during and after oil spills. Thus, environment assessments of impacts and recovery require a rigorous experimental design that controls for confounding sources of variability. General recommendations on sampling strategies and toxicity testing, and a preliminary framework for incorporating species-specific life history traits into future assessments are also provided.

  7. Investigation of Thermal Conductivity and Heat Characteristics of Oil Sands Using Ultrasound Irradiation for Shortening the Preheating Time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kamagata, Shingo; Kawamura, Youhei; Okawa, Hirokazu; Mizutani, Koichi

    2012-07-01

    Oil sands are attractive as an energy resource. Bitumen, which is found in oil sands, has high viscosity, so that it does not flow. Most oil sands are underground and are developed with a method called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). Hot steam is injected underground to fluidize bitumen and promote its recovery. However, the preheating time is too long. One way of reducing running costs is by shortening the preheating time. Previous studies have found that bitumen can be extracted from oil sands efficiently by applying ultrasonic irradiation, but SAGD was not applied directly in these cases. Thus, the purpose of this study is to apply ultrasonic irradiation to SAGD, thereby shortening the preheating time of oil sands. As a model experiment for SAGD, heat transfer experiments in a sand layer made with Toyoura sand and silicone oil were conducted and the thermal effect with ultrasound was investigated.

  8. Predicting the abundance of clays and quartz in oil sands using hyperspectral measurements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Entezari, Iman; Rivard, Benoit; Geramian, Mirjavad; Lipsett, Michael G.

    2017-07-01

    Clay minerals play a crucial role in the processability of oil sands ores and in the management of tailings. An increase in fine content generally leads to a decrease in both bitumen recovery performance and tailings settling rate. It is thus important to identify clay types and their abundance in oil sands ores and tailings. This study made use of oil sands samples characterized for quantitative mineralogy by x-ray diffraction, to gain an understanding of changes in the reflectance spectra of oil sands. The sample suite included bitumen-removed oil sands ore samples and their different fine size fractions. Spectral metrics applicable to the prediction of quartz and clay contents in oil sands were then derived with a focus on metrics correlating with sample content in total 2:1 clays (total of illite and illite-smectite) and kaolinite. Metrics in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) and longwave infrared (LWIR) were found to correlate with mineral contents. The best predictions of clays and quartz were achieved using LWIR metrics (R2 > 0.89). Results also demonstrated the applicability of LWIR metrics in the prediction of kaolinite and total 2:1 clays.

  9. Aviation Turbine Fuels from Tar Sands Bitumen and Heavy Oils. Part 1. Process Analysis.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1984-09-01

    California evidence the presence of oil bearing deposits. These outcroppings led to the discovery of oil in deeper sands in the Diatomite zone. These surface...1978). Zuber, I., "Getty Oil Company Diatomite Project," AICHE meeting, Denver, Colorado, (August 1983). Anon., "New Processes Groomed for Bitumen...Anon., "Getty Oil Company Diatomite Project," August 1983 Summer AICHE National Meeting. Anon., "Chevron Assessing Processes," Synfuels Week, (March

  10. 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

  11. Sensitivity of growth characteristics of tidal sand ridges and long bed waves to formulations of bed shear stress, sand transport and tidal forcing: A numerical model study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yuan, Bing; de Swart, Huib E.; Panadès, Carles

    2016-09-01

    Tidal sand ridges and long bed waves are large-scale bedforms that are observed on continental shelves. They differ in their wavelength and in their orientation with respect to the principal direction of tidal currents. Previous studies indicate that tidal sand ridges appear in areas where tidal currents are above 0.5 m s-1, while long bed waves occur in regions where the maximum tidal current velocity is slightly above the critical velocity for sand erosion and the current is elliptical. An idealized nonlinear numerical model was developed to improve the understanding of the initial formation of these bedforms. The model governs the feedbacks between tidally forced depth-averaged currents and the sandy bed on the outer shelf. The effects of different formulations of bed shear stress and sand transport, tidal ellipticity and different tidal constituents on the characteristics of these bedforms (growth rate, wavelength, orientation of the preferred bedforms) during their initial formation were examined systematically. The results show that the formulations for bed shear stress and slope-induced sand transport are not critical for the initial formation of these bedforms. For tidal sand ridges, under rectilinear tidal currents, increasing the critical bed shear stress for sand erosion decreases the growth rate and the wavelength of the preferred bedforms significantly, while the orientation angle slightly decreases. The dependence of the growth rate, wavelength and the orientation of the preferred bedforms on the tidal ellipticity is non-monotonic. A decrease in tidal frequency results in preferred bedforms with larger wavelength and smaller orientation angle, while their growth rate hardly changes. In the case of joint diurnal and semidiurnal tides, or spring-neap tides, the characteristics of the bedforms are determined by the dominant tidal constituent. For long bed waves, the number of anticyclonically/cyclonically oriented bedforms with respect to the principal

  12. 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.

  13. Inversion of Airborne Electromagnetic Data: Application to Oil Sands Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cristall, J.; Farquharson, C. G.; Oldenburg, D. W.

    2004-05-01

    . We provide an example that involves the interpretation of an airborne time-domain electromagnetic data-set from an oil sands exploration project in Alberta. The target is the layer that potentially contains oil sands. This layer is relatively resistive, with its resistivity increasing with increasing hydrocarbon content, and is sandwiched between two more conductive layers. This is quite different from the classical electromagnetic geophysics scenario of looking for a conductive mineral deposit in resistive shield rocks. However, inverting the data enabled the depth, thickness and resistivity of the target layer to be well determined. As a consequence, it is concluded that airborne electromagnetic surveys, when combined with inversion procedures, can be a very cost-effective way of mapping even fairly subtle conductivity variations over large areas.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Ruple, John; Keiter, Robert

    2010-03-01

    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.

  15. 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). Crown Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. Effects of biodegradation upon porphyrin biomarkers in Upper Mississippian tar sands and related oils, southern Oklahoma

    SciTech Connect

    Michael, G.E.

    1987-05-01

    Organic molecules present in oils which show a structural relationship to their biological precursors are referred to as biomarkers. These compounds are becoming widely used in oil exploration for making oil-oil, oil-source rock correlations and undertaking maturation and migration studies in basin analysis. Treibs first discovered the presence of porphyrins in oils, shales, and coals over 50 years ago. Porphyrins are predominantly derived from chlorophyll precursors present in plants and bacteria. Studies of changes in porphyrin distributions with increasing maturation due to the effects of increased time of burial and temperature have been performed. However, little is known as to how their distributions change with migration, biodegradation, or water washing of oils. In the present study, 16 tar sand samples were extracted from drill core at depths ranging from 16 to 256 ft obtained from a tar sand quarry in the Ardmore basin, Carter County, Oklahoma. Surrounding oil samples and possible source rocks have also been analyzed to determine the source of the oil in the tar sands. The effects of biodegradation on the porphyrin distributions can be discerned from the effects of migration and maturation by comparing other biomarker distributions within the sands, related oils, and suspected source rocks. Biodegradation of the tar sand samples can be observed within the alkane and other biomarker distributions. The relative effects of biodegradation on biomarkers such as alkanes, steranes, and terpanes have been well documented. By using this information, it is possible to determine the extent of biodegradation or water washing necessary to alter the porphyrin distributions.

  18. Historical trends in greenhouse gas emissions of the Alberta oil sands (1970-2010)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Englander, Jacob G.; Bharadwaj, Sharad; Brandt, Adam R.

    2013-12-01

    There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO2e MJ-1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (-12, +9) gCO2e MJ-1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO2e MJ-1 for Mining and 111 gCO2e MJ-1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situ projects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO2e in 2010, or 9% of Canada’s emissions.

  19. Landscape Evolution of the Oil Spill Mitigation Sand Berm in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-09-01

    ER D C TR -1 6- 15 Dredging Operations Technical Support and Engineering With Nature Landscape Evolution of the Oil Spill Mitigation...September 2016 Landscape Evolution of the Oil Spill Mitigation Sand Berm in the Chandeleur Islands, Louisiana Glenn M. Suir Environmental Laboratory...susceptible to additional pressures, including anthropogenic activities. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to quantify the evolution of the oil

  20. 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.

  1. The use of stable isotopes ((13)C/(12)C and (15)N/(14)N) to trace exposure to oil sands processed material in the Alberta oil sands region.

    PubMed

    Farwell, A J; Nero, V; Ganshorn, K; Leonhardt, C; Ciborowski, J; MacKinnon, M; Dixon, D G

    2009-01-01

    Various oil sands reclamation strategies incorporate oil sands processed material (OSPM) such as mature fine tailings (MFT), engineered tailings (consolidated tailings, CT), and tailings pond water (TPW) into reclamation components that need to develop into viable aquatic ecosystems. The OSPM will contain elevated salinity and organics such as naphthenic acids (NA) and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAC) that can be chronically toxic to aquatic organisms depending upon levels and age. Due to the complexity of the chemical mixtures, analysis of these compounds in exposed organisms can be challenging. In this study, the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures of selected invertebrates from various types of oil sands reclamation sites were analyzed to determine whether stable isotopes can be used to trace the exposure of aquatic organisms to organic constituents of OSPM. In a series of experimental reclamation ponds of similar age and size, there were trends of (13)C depletion and (15)N enrichment for benthic invertebrates along a gradient of increased levels of MFT and/or TPW. A survey of 16 sites revealed high delta(15)N values for invertebrates in aquatic systems containing MFT and CT (gypsum-treated mixes of MFT and tailings sand), which was attributed to the presence of NH(4)(+), a process by-product in OSPM. Findings of this study indicate a potential for the use of stable nitrogen isotopes to define exposure of biota to OSPM during environmental effects monitoring programs both in surface waters and in cases where groundwater seepage containing oil sands processed water enters surface receiving environments in the region.

  2. Characterization of Clay Minerals and Kerogen in Alberta Oil Sands Geological End Members

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zheng, Limin

    The high degree of variability of oil sands ores can be attributed to a mixture of different geological end members, i.e., estuarine sand, estuarine clay, marine sand and marine clay. This study focused on the mineralogy, especially of clay minerals, and toluene insoluble organic matter, referred to as kerogen, in different oil sands end members. Clays and kerogens will likely have a significant impact on solvent recovery from the gangue following non-aqueous bitumen extraction. The bitumen-free solids were subjected to mineralogical and geochemical analysis. Kerogens were isolated and analyzed by various characterization methods. The types of clays were identified in oriented samples by X-ray diffraction analysis. The nitrogen to carbon ratio in the isolated kerogens is found to be higher than in bitumen. There are more type III kerogens in estuarine samples and more type II kerogens in marine samples.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Metal bioaccumulation and biomarkers of effects in caged mussels exposed in the Athabasca oil sands area.

    PubMed

    Pilote, M; André, C; Turcotte, P; Gagné, F; Gagnon, C

    2017-08-11

    The Athabasca oil sands deposit is the world's largest known reservoir of crude bitumen and the third-largest proven crude oil reserve. Mining activity is known to release contaminants, including metals, and to potentially impact the aquatic environment. The purpose of this study was to determine the impacts of oil sands mining on water quality and metal bioaccumulation in mussels from the Fort McMurray area in northern Alberta, Canada. The study presents two consecutive years of contrasting mussel exposure conditions (low and high flows). Native freshwater mussels (Pyganodon grandis) were placed in cages and exposed in situ in the Athabasca River for four weeks. Metals and inorganic elements were then analyzed in water and in mussel gills and digestive glands to evaluate bioaccumulation, estimate the bioconcentration factor (BCF), and determine the effects of exposure by measuring stress biomarkers. This study shows a potential environmental risk to aquatic life from metal exposure associated with oil sands development along with the release of wastewater from a municipal treatment plant nearby. Increased bioaccumulation of Be, V, Ni and Pb was observed in mussel digestive glands in the Steepbank River, which flows directly through the oil sands mining area. Increased bioaccumulation of Al, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Mo and Ni was also observed in mussel gills from the Steepbank River. These metals are naturally present in oil sands and generally concentrate and increase with the extraction process. The results also showed different pathways of exposure (particulate or dissolved forms) for V and Ni resulting from different river water flows, distribution coefficient (Kd) and BCF. Increasing metal exposure downstream of the oil sands mining area had an impact on metallothionein and lipid peroxidation in mussels, posing a potential environmental risk to aquatic life. These results confirm the bioavailability of some metals in mussel tissues associated with detoxification of

  7. 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. Copyright © 2014

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

    SciTech Connect

    Speight, J.G.

    1992-01-01

    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.

  9. Extraction, separation, and intramolecular carbon isotope characterization of athabasca oil sands acids in environmental samples.

    PubMed

    Ahad, Jason M E; Pakdel, Hooshang; Savard, Martine M; Simard, Marie-Christine; Smirnoff, Anna

    2012-12-04

    Here we report a novel approach to extract, isolate, and characterize high molecular weight organic acids found in the Athabasca oil sands region using preparative capillary gas chromatography (PCGC) followed by thermal conversion/elemental analysis-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (TC/EA-IRMS). A number of different "naphthenic acids" surrogate standards were analyzed as were samples from the bitumen-rich unprocessed McMurray Formation, oil sands process water, groundwater from monitoring wells, and surface water from the Athabasca River. The intramolecular carbon isotope signature generated by online pyrolysis (δ(13)C(pyr)) showed little variation (±0.6‰) within any given sample across a large range of mass fractions separated by PCGC. Oil sand, tailings ponds, and deep McMurray Formation groundwater were significantly heavier (up to ∼9‰) compared to surface water and shallow groundwater samples, demonstrating the potential use of this technique in source apportionment studies.

  10. 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.

  11. Air quality over the Alberta oil sands: Satellite observations of NO2 and SO2

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLinden, C. A.; Fioletov, V.

    2011-12-01

    A vast reserve of bitumen - oil mixed with sand, clay, and water generally referred to as oil sands - resides in northern Alberta, Canada. Extraction of bitumen and its upgrade to liquid fuel is very energy intensive and generates significant emissions, including nitrogen and sulphur oxides. Satellite observations of NO2 and SO2 vertical column densities have been used to assess the magnitude and distribution of these pollutants throughout the oil sands. Preliminary results indicate a statistically significant enhancement in both species over an area (~30 x 30 km2) of intensive surface mining. Quantifying the burden of these enhancements and their recent changes over such a small area, comparable to the resolution of the best air quality satellite instruments, represents a significant challenge. The methodology used to meet this challenge will be presented, as will initial results including trends over the past decade, comparisons with other large industrial operations, and an assessment of consistency with emission inventories.

  12. 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.

  13. Effect of bioremediation agents on oil biodegradation in medium-fine sand

    SciTech Connect

    Croft, B.C.; Swannell, R.P.J.; Grant, A.L.; Lee, K.

    1995-12-31

    A spill of weathered Arabian light crude oil on an intertidal sand zone was simulated in the laboratory. Respirometry, chemical, and microbiological methods were employed to assess the effectiveness of two bioremediation agents: a slow-release inorganic (Max Bac) and an oleophilic organic fertilizer (Inipol EAP22). Inipol EAP22 stimulated additional CO{sub 2} evolution, and significantly increased both the total chemoheterotrophic population and the number of hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms. At the end of the experiment, the residual oil extracted from the Inipol-treated sand was significantly more biodegraded, based on the application of the conserved biomarkers (phytane and 17{alpha}, 21{beta} hopane), than that removed from the other sand columns, albeit by a relatively small amount. The results suggested that Inipol EAP22 stimulated the chemoheterotrophic and hydrocarbon-degrading microbial population and, after a lag phase, encouraged oil biodegradation in fine sandy sediments subjected to a vertical tidal cycle.

  14. 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.

  15. 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. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Investigation of the ROPE copyright (Recycle Oil Pyrolysis and Extraction) process performance on Sunnyside tar sand

    SciTech Connect

    Cha, C.Y.; Johnson, L.A. Jr.; Guffey, F.D.

    1990-07-01

    The main objectives of this research were to determine the optimum pyrolysis temperature for Sunnyside tar sand and to verify the operability and efficiency of the ROPE process at steady-state conditions for production of feedstock materials. The experiments were conducted in the 2-inch screw pyrolysis reactor (SPR). Four 24-hour tests and one 105-hour test were performed in the 2-inch SPR using Sunnyside tar sand. The 24-hour tests were designed to predict the optimum pyrolysis temperature for oil yield. The 105-hour test was conducted to confirm the optimum pyrolysis temperature with sufficient operating time to reach steady-state conditions with respect to product compositions. The following conclusions can be drawn from the Sunnyside tar sand 2-inch SPR tests: (1) Sunnyside tar sand can be processed without any major operational difficulty by the ROPE process. (2) Oil yields greater than Fischer assay were obtained during the 2-inch SPR tests. Oil yield greater than 80 wt % of the bitumen was obtained from the 105-hr test. (3) The ratio of heavy oil to light product oil is strongly dependent upon the pyrolysis temperature and increases with a decrease in the reaction temperature. The gas yield increases with the increase in pyrolysis temperature but the residual carbon in the spent sand decreases with the increase in pyrolysis temperature, reaches the minimum at 675{degrees}F, and then increases with further increase in the pyrolysis temperature. ROPE process product oils from Sunnyside tar sand have market application as blending stocks for the production of diesel fuels, but they are not suited for the production of unleaded gasoline or high-density aviation turbine fuels. 3 refs., 3 figs., 17 tabs.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Evacuation of sand from the equine intestine with mineral oil, with and without psyllium.

    PubMed

    Hotwagner, K; Iben, C

    2008-02-01

    The aim of this study was to determine the evacuation of sand from the equine intestine after a double treatment with psyllium and mineral oil or mineral oil only. A crossover study was conducted. Twelve healthy horses were fed 1 kg sand once a day for 5 days. Subsequently, these horses were divided into two groups: A and B. From day 6-10, both groups were treated with 2 l of mineral oil once a day and group B received an additional 0.5 kg of psyllium twice a day. The trial was repeated after 2 weeks with treatment crossover of groups A and B. The horses were housed sand free and 1.8 kg hay/100 kg body weight was offered to meet the maintenance energy requirement. Prior to the sand administration, faeces were collected from each horse for 3 days and the crude ash was determined to establish a baseline output of ash. There was no difference between the baseline crude ash output of the first and second treatment. From day 6-10, faeces were collected daily and the fresh weight and the dry matter and the crude ash contents were determined. For administration, sand or psyllium was mixed with 1 l of Irish mash (concentrate mixed with water), respectively, and mineral oil was administered via a nasogastric tube. All horses showed higher crude ash excretion when treated with psyllium and mineral oil compared with the mineral oil administration only. On the second, third and fourth day of the treatment, the difference was significant. Faeces crude ash weight corrected for baseline crude ash output while treated with psyllium plus oil and oil solely, reached a mean of 51.0 (SD 20.5) and 26.1 (SD 17.7) % of the administered sand mass, respectively. The results of this trial show that the ash output differed highly between the horses. Nevertheless, all horses showed a higher total ash output within the 5 days treatment period when the psyllium semen and mineral oil were used for the treatment than when treated with mineral oil solely.

  2. Biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading Bacillus subtilis strains enhance oil recovery in laboratory sand-pack columns.

    PubMed

    Gudiña, Eduardo J; Pereira, Jorge F B; Costa, Rita; Coutinho, João A P; Teixeira, José A; Rodrigues, Lígia R

    2013-10-15

    Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery (MEOR) technology uses microorganisms and their metabolites to retrieve unrecoverable oil from mature reservoirs. In situ stimulation of biosurfactant-producing and oil-degrading microorganisms reduces the capillary forces retaining the oil inside the reservoir and decreases its viscosity, thus promoting oil flow and consequently production. In this work, a sand-pack column model was designed to simulate oil recovery operations and evaluate mobilization of residual oil by the selected microorganisms. Four different hydrocarbon mixtures and three Bacillus subtilis strains isolated from crude oil samples were used. Additional oil recoveries ranged from 6 to 24% depending on the hydrocarbon mixture and microorganism used. Biosurfactant production was observed with all the microorganisms and hydrocarbon mixtures studied. The oils recovered after incubation with B. subtilis isolates showed a reduction in the percentage of long-chain n-alkanes and lower viscosity when compared with the original oils. The results obtained suggest that stimulation of the selected B. subtilis strains in situ can contribute to mobilize entrapped oil in mature reservoirs.

  3. Groundwater Discharges to Rivers in the Western Canadian Oil Sands Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ellis, J.; Jasechko, S.

    2016-12-01

    Groundwater discharges into rivers impacts the movement and fate of nutrients and contaminants in the environment. Understanding groundwater-surface water interactions is especially important in the western Canadian oil sands, where groundwater contamination risks are elevated and baseline water chemistry data is lacking, leading to substantial uncertainties about anthropogenic influences on local river quality. High salinity groundwater springs sourced from deep aquifers, comprised of Pleistocene-aged glacial meltwater, are known to discharge into many rivers in the oil sands. Understanding connections between deep aquifers and surficial waterways is important in order to determine natural inputs into these rivers and to assess the potential for injected wastewater or oil extraction fluids to enter surface waters. While these springs have been identified, their spatial distribution along rivers has not been fully characterized. Here we present river chemistry data collected along a number of major river corridors in the Canadian oil sands region. We show that saline groundwater springs vary spatially along the course of these rivers and tend to be concentrated where the rivers incise Devonian- or Cretaceous-aged aquifers along an evaporite dissolution front. Our results suggest that water sourced from Devonian aquifers may travel through bitumen-bearing Cretaceous units and discharge into local rivers, implying a strong groundwater-surface water connection in specialized locations. These findings indicate that oil sands process-affected waters that are injected at depth have the potential to move through these aquifers and reach the rivers at the surface at some time in the future. Groundwater-surface water interactions remain key to understanding the risks oil sands activities pose to aquatic ecosystems and downstream communities.

  4. 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.

  5. Tracing industrial sulfur emissions in atmospheric sulfate deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta, Canada

    Treesearch

    Bernadette C. Proemse; Bernhard. Mayer; Mark E. Fenn

    2012-01-01

    Anthropogenic S emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) in Alberta, Canada, affect SO4 deposition in close vicinity of industrial emitters. Between May 2008 and May 2009, SO4-S deposition was monitored using open field bulk collectors at 15 sites and throughfall collectors at 14 sites at distances between 3 and 113 km from one of the major emission stacks in...

  6. 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,…

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

    Treesearch

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

    2016-01-01

    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...

  8. 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...

  9. 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,…

  10. 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...

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-04

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. Production pump for high gravity or sand laden oil

    SciTech Connect

    Ponder, M.

    1990-05-01

    This patent describes a plunger type reciprocating pump for a producing oil well. It comprises: an elongate pump housing having an open upper end and a reciprocating part therein; tubing connector means for the open upper end for connection to a production tubing string assembled by threading together tubing joints to produce oil into the string and wherein the connector means includes; means telescoping relative to the tubing string.

  15. The effect of oil sands tailings pond sediments on embryo-larval walleye (Sander vitreus).

    PubMed

    Raine, J C; Turcotte, D; Tumber, V; Peru, K M; Wang, Z; Yang, C; Headley, J V; Parrott, J L

    2017-10-01

    Walleye (Sander vitreus) are a commercially important North American fish species that inhabit the Athabasca River. This river flows through the Athabasca oil sands where natural sources of bitumen erode from the McMurray formation. Little information is available on responses of walleye embryos to oil sands tailings pond sediments in a laboratory setting. The current study describes the design and implementation of a daily-renewal bioassay to assess the potential effects of tailings pond sediments from the Athabasca oil sands area on walleye development. Developing walleye embryos were exposed to increasing concentrations of two tailings pond sediments (collected in the Athabasca oil sands area) until the completion of yolk absorption in control fish. Sediments from the tailings pond represent a mixture of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and alkylated PAHs. During the 31 day exposure, the walleye were examined for mortalities, weight, length and developmental abnormalities to provide an initial evaluation of the effects of the oil sands tailings pond sediments. Walleye embryo survival differed between the tailings pond sediments, and survival decreased with increasing sediment concentration. Alkylated PAH content differed between the two tailings pond sediments and lower embryo survival corresponded to higher total and alkylated PAH content. Tailings pond sediment-exposed walleye exhibited a delay in development, as well as increased percentages of larvae with heart and yolk sac edema, and cranial and spinal malformations. These abnormalities in development are often associated with PAH and alkylated PAH exposure. This study provides an exposure design that can be used to assess sediment toxicity to early developmental stages of a fish species not commonly tested in the lab, and lays the groundwork for future studies with this and other difficult-to-culture species. These results offer information on the potential effects of tailings pond sediments

  16. An airborne assessment of atmospheric particulate emissions from the processing of Athabasca oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S. G.; Clarke, A. D.; Freitag, S.; McNaughton, C. S.; Kapustin, V.; Brekovskikh, V.; Jimenez, J.-L.; Cubison, M. J.

    2013-08-01

    During the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) campaign, two NASA research aircraft, a DC-8 and a P-3B, were outfitted with extensive trace gas (the DC-8) and aerosol (both aircraft) instrumentation. Each aircraft spent about a half hour sampling air around the oil sands mining and upgrading facilities near Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The DC-8 circled the area, while the P-3B flew directly over the upgrading plants, sampling close to the exhaust stacks, then headed downwind to monitor the aerosol as it aged. At short range, the plume from the oil sands is a complex mosaic of freshly nucleated ultrafine particles from a SO2 and NO2-rich plume, fly ash and soot from industrial processes, and dust from dirt roads and mining operations. Shortly downwind, organic aerosol appears in quantities that rival SO4=, either as volatile organic vapors condense or as they react with the H2SO4. The DC-8 pattern allowed us to integrate total flux from the oil sands facilities within about a factor of two uncertainty that spanned values consistent with 2008 estimates from reported SO2 and NO2 emissions. In contrast, CO fluxes exceeded reported regional emissions, due either to variability in production or sources missing from the emissions inventory. The conversion rate of SO2 to aerosol SO4= of ~6% per hour is consistent with earlier reports, though OH concentrations are insufficient to accomplish this. Other oxidation pathways must be active. Altogether, organic aerosol and black carbon emissions from the oil sands operations are small compared with the forest fires present in the region during the summer. The oil sands do contribute significant sulfate and exceed fire production of SO2 by an order of magnitude.

  17. An airborne assessment of atmospheric particulate emissions from the processing of Athabasca oil sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howell, S. G.; Clarke, A. D.; Freitag, S.; McNaughton, C. S.; Kapustin, V.; Brekovskikh, V.; Jimenez, J.-L.; Cubison, M. J.

    2014-05-01

    During the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) campaign, two NASA research aircraft, a DC-8 and a P-3B, were outfitted with extensive trace gas (the DC-8) and aerosol (both aircraft) instrumentation. Each aircraft spent about a half hour sampling air around the oil sands mining and upgrading facilities near Ft. McMurray, Alberta, Canada. The DC-8 circled the area, while the P-3B flew directly over the upgrading plants, sampling close to the exhaust stacks, then headed downwind to monitor the aerosol as it aged. At short range, the plume from the oil sands is a complex mosaic of freshly nucleated ultrafine particles from a SO2- and NO2-rich plume, soot and possibly fly ash from industrial processes, and dust from dirt roads and mining operations. Shortly downwind, organic aerosol appears in quantities that rival SO4, either as volatile organic vapors condense or as they react with the H2SO4. The DC-8 pattern allowed us to integrate total flux from the oil sands facilities within about a factor of 2 uncertainty that spanned values consistent with 2008 estimates from reported SO2 and NO2 emissions, though there is no reason to expect one flyby to represent average conditions. In contrast, CO fluxes exceeded reported regional emissions, due either to variability in production or sources missing from the emissions inventory. The conversion rate of SO2 to aerosol SO4 of ~6% per hour is consistent with earlier reports, though OH concentrations are insufficient to accomplish this. Other oxidation pathways must be active. Altogether, organic aerosol and black carbon emissions from the oil sands operations are small compared with annual forest fire emissions in Canada. The oil sands do contribute significant sulfate and exceed fire production of SO2 by an order of magnitude.

  18. 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.

  19. Rapid assessment of the toxicity of oil sands process-affected waters using fish cell lines.

    PubMed

    Sansom, Bryan; Vo, Nguyen T K; Kavanagh, Richard; Hanner, Robert; Mackinnon, Michael; Dixon, D George; Lee, Lucy E J

    2013-01-01

    Rapid and reliable toxicity assessment of oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) is needed to support oil sands reclamation projects. Conventional toxicity tests using whole animals are relatively slow, costly, and often subjective, while at the same time requiring the sacrifice of test organisms as is the case with lethal dosage/concentration assays. A nonlethal alternative, using fish cell lines, has been developed for its potential use in supporting oil sands reclamation planning and to help predict the viability of aquatic reclamation models such as end-pit lakes. This study employed six fish cell lines (WF-2, GFSk-S1, RTL-W1, RTgill-W1, FHML, FHMT) in 24 h viability assays for rapid fluorometric assessment of cellular integrity and functionality. Forty-nine test water samples collected from the surface of oil sands developments in the Athabasca Oil Sands deposit, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, were evaluated in blind. Small subsample volumes (8 ml) were mixed with 2 ml of 5× concentrated exposure media and used for direct cell exposures. All cell line responses in terms of viability as measured by Alamar blue assay, correlated well with the naphthenic acids (NA) content in the samples (R (2) between 0.4519 and 0.6171; p<0.0001) when data comparisons were performed after the bioassays. NA or total acid-extractable organics group has been shown to be responsible for most of the acute toxicity of OSPW and our results further corroborate this. The multifish cell line bioassay provides a strong degree of reproducibility among tested cell lines and good relative sensitivity of the cell line bioassay as compared to available in vivo data that could lead to cost effective, high-throughput screening assays.

  20. 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

  1. InSAR Monitoring of Surface Deformation in Alberta's Oil Sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearse, J.; Singhroy, V.; Li, J.; Samsonov, S. V.; Shipman, T.; Froese, C. R.

    2013-05-01

    Alberta's oil sands are among the world's largest deposits of crude oil, and more than 80% of it is too deep to mine, so unconventional in-situ methods are used for extraction. Most in situ extraction techniques, such as Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), use steam injection to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen, allowing it to flow into wells to be pumped to the surface. As part of the oil sands safety and environmental monitoring program, the energy regulator uses satellite radar to monitor surface deformation associated with in-situ oil extraction. The dense vegetation and sparse infrastructure in the boreal forest of northern Alberta make InSAR monitoring a challenge; however, we have found that surface heave associated with steam injection can be detected using traditional differential InSAR. Infrastructure and installed corner reflectors also allow us to use persistent scatterer methods to obtain time histories of deformation at individual sites. We have collected and processed several tracks of RADARSAT-2 data over a broad area of the oil sands, and have detected surface deformation signals of approximately 2-3 cm per year, with time series that correlate strongly with monthly SAGD steam injection volumes.

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-15

    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 3years 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. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  4. Enhanced ex situ bioremediation of crude oil contaminated beach sand by supplementation with nutrients and rhamnolipids.

    PubMed

    Nikolopoulou, M; Pasadakis, N; Norf, H; Kalogerakis, N

    2013-12-15

    Mediterranean coastal regions are particularly exposed to oil pollution due to extensive industrialization, urbanization and transport of crude and refined oil to and from refineries. Bioremediation of contaminated beach sand through landfarming is both simple and cost-effective to implement compared to other treatment technologies. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of alternative nutrients on biodegradation of crude oil contaminated beach sand in an effort to reduce the time required for bioremediation employing only indigenous hydrocarbon degraders. A natural sandy soil was collected from Agios Onoufrios beach (Chania, Greece) and was contaminated with weathered crude oil. The indigenous microbial population in the contaminated sand was tested alone (control treatment) or in combination with inorganic nutrients (KNO3 and K2HPO4) to investigate their effects on oil biodegradation rates. In addition, the ability of biosurfactants (rhamnolipids), in the presence of organic nutrients (uric acid and lecithin), to further stimulate biodegradation was investigated in laboratory microcosms over a 45-day period. Biodegradation was tracked by GC/MS analysis of aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons components and the measured concentrations were corrected for abiotic removal by hopane normalizations. It was found that the saturated fraction of the residual oil is degraded more extensively than the aromatic fraction and the bacterial growth after an incubation period of approximately 3 weeks was much greater from the bacterial growth in the control. The results show that the treatments with inorganic or organic nutrients are equally effective over almost 30 days where C12-C35n-alkanes were degraded more than 97% and polyaromatic hydrocarbons with two or three rings were degraded more than 95% within 45 days. The results clearly show that the addition of nutrients to contaminated beach sand significantly enhanced the activity of

  5. 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.

  6. Effect of oil type and fatty acid composition on dynamic and steady shear rheology of vegetable oils.

    PubMed

    Yalcin, Hasan; Toker, Omer Said; Dogan, Mahmut

    2012-01-01

    In this study, effect of fatty acid composition on dynamic and steady shear rheology of oils was studied. For this aim, different types of vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, olive, hazelnut, cottonseed and canola), were used. Rheological properties of oil samples were identified by rheometer (Thermo-Haake) at 25°C and fatty acid composition of oils was determined by GC (Agilent 6890). Steady shear rheological properties of oil samples were measured at shear rate range of 0.1-100 s⁻¹. Viscosity of olive, hazelnut, cottonseed, canola, soybean and sunflower was 61.2 mPa.s, 59.7 mPa.s, 57.3 mPa.s, 53.5 mPa.s, 48.7 mPa.s and 48.2 mPa.s, respectively. There was a significant difference between viscosity of oils except soybean and sunflower. As a result it was seen that there was a correlation between viscosity and monounsaturated (R=0.89), polyunsaturated (R=-0.97) fatty acid composition of oils, separately. Equation was found to predict viscosity of the oils based on mono and polyunsaturation composition of oils. In addition the dynamic rheological properties of oils were also examined. G', G'' and tan δ (G''/G') values were measured at 0.3 Pa (in viscoelastic region) and 0.1-1 Hz. As a result of multiple regression analysis another equations were found between tan δ, viscosity and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Meta-Omics Analysis Demonstrates the Weathering and Biodegradation of MC252 Oil in Sand Patties Originating from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, J.; Wawrik, B.; Aeppli, C.; Aydin, E.; Bonifay, V.; Sunner, J. A.; Callaghan, A. V.

    2016-02-01

    Remnants of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill continue to wash ashore on Gulf of Mexico beaches as weathered sand patties (i.e., oil-sand aggregates). Little is known about the microbial ecology of these small oil systems and whether communities mediate hydrocarbon degradation following deposition. Sand patties were collected from Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores, Alabama, along with beach sand and seawater samples. GC x GC-FID was used for characterization and fingerprinting of oil extracted from the samples. Microbial community DNA from sand, seawater and sand patties was extracted for 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenomic Illumina sequencing. LC-Q/TOF high resolution mass spectrometry was used to survey for metabolites indicative of hydrocarbon degradation. GC x GC-FID analysis indicated that the sand patties contain highly weathered MC252 oil. Furthermore, the fraction of the oxygenated hydrocarbons, which are products of oil hydrocarbon degradation, contributed to more than 50% of the mass of sample extracts. Analysis of 16S gene sequences indicated that sand patty communities were distinct from those in sand and seawater. Metagenomic analysis revealed the genetic potential for aerobic and anaerobic hydrocarbon degradation via the detection of alkane hydroxylases, aromatic hydrocarbon oxygenases (e.g., benzene 1,2-dioxygenase, catechol 1,2-dioxygenase, and catechol 2,3-dioxygenase), and benzyl- and alkylsuccinate synthases. Hydrocarbon-derived metabolites consistent with aerobic and anaerobic processes were also identified in sand patties (e.g., toluate, benzoate, benzylsuccinates) indicating that degradation occurs in situ, whereas these metabolites were not observed in beach sand. Together, these data suggest the potential for the long-term attenuation and biodegradation of residual MC252 oil.

  10. 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

  11. Oil sands naphthenic acids: a review of properties, measurement, and treatment.

    PubMed

    Brown, Lisa D; Ulrich, Ania C

    2015-05-01

    The Alberta oil sands contain one of the world's largest reserves of oil - over 169 billion barrels of bitumen are economically recoverable with current extraction technologies. Surface mining and subsequent hot water extraction of bitumen from the ore generates about nine cubic meters of raw tailings per cubic meter of oil. Oil sands facilities are required to operate under a policy of zero water discharge, resulting in ponds containing more than one billion cubic meters of tailings, a mixture of sand, fines and process-affected water. Process-affected water contains numerous organic compounds, including naphthenic acids (NAs), which have been identified as the primary source of acute toxicity of process-affected water. Developments in analytical techniques, aerobic biodegradability, and treatment via chemical oxidation (ozone) of NAs are reviewed. The field continues to be challenged by the lack of a cost-effective, accurate analytical technique for NAs or an understanding of all the organic constituents in process-affected water that may be contributing to observed toxicity and thus requiring treatment.

  12. Diamonds in the rough: identification of individual naphthenic acids in oil sands process water.

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-01

    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. Here we describe the chromatographic resolution and mass spectral identification of some individual NA from oil sands process water. We conclude 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.

  13. 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)

  14. 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.

  15. Investigations of engine oil shear stability in laboratory tests and road tests

    SciTech Connect

    Rein, S.W.; Alexander, D.L.; Cryvoff, S.A.; Dahlstrom, M.A.

    1987-01-01

    The relationship of shear stability in laboratory tests to shear stability in service was investigated in a diesel injector test, in the L-38 single-cylinder engine, in a multi-cylinder engine equipped for bearing film thickness measurement, and in road testing in an automobile and in trucks. All of the laboratory and road tests differed in severity of shearing and also showed that major VI improver types differed in the time needed for their kinematic viscosity to approach a fully-sheared value. Shear stability comparisons based on kinematic viscosities measured during the transition to the fully sheared condition did not accurately represent the relative shear stability of VI improvers in the fully-sheared condition. In the road tests, most of the oils were at their fully-sheared viscosity for the major part of their service life. The decrease of HTHS viscosity due to shearing in the road test and laboratory engines was usually less than half the kinematic viscosity decrease. Bearing oil film thicknesses showed little or no change with test duration in the multicylinder lab engine and correlate well with HTHS viscosity.

  16. Delivery of Vegetable Oil Suspensions in a Shear Thinning Fluid for Enhanced Bioremediation

    SciTech Connect

    Zhong, Lirong; Truex, Michael J.; Kananizadeh, Negin; Li, Yusong; Lea, Alan S.; Yan, Xiulan

    2015-04-01

    In situ anaerobic biological processes are widely applied for dechlorination of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. A wide range of organic substrates have been tested and applied to support the dechlorination processes. Vegetable oils are a promising substrate and have been shown to induce effective dechlorination, have limited geochemical impacts, and good longevity. Distribution of vegetable oil in the subsurface, because it is a non-aqueous phase material, has typically been addressed by creating emulsified oil solutions. In this study, inexpensive waste vegetable oils were suspended in a xanthan gum solution, a shear-thinning fluid, as an alternative oil delivery mechanism. The stability, oil droplet size and distribution, and rheological behavior of the oil suspensions that are created in the xanthan solutions were studied in batch experiments. The injectability of the suspensions and oil distribution in porous medium were evaluated in column tests. Numerical modeling of the oil droplet transport and distribution in porous media was conducted to help interpret the column-test data. Batch studies showed that simple mixing of vegetable oil and xanthan solution produced stable suspensions of the oil as micron-size droplets. The mixture rheology retains shear-thinning properties that facilitate improved uniformity of substrate distribution in heterogeneous aquifers. Column tests demonstrated successful injection of the vegetable oil suspension into porous medium. This study provided evidence that vegetable oil suspensions in xanthan are a potential substrate to support in situ anaerobic bioremediation with favorable injection properties.

  17. 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

  18. The structural setting and deformation associated with pseudotachylite occurrences in the Palala Shear Belt and Sand River Gneiss, Northern Transvaal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brandl, G.; Reimold, W. U.

    1990-01-01

    Two occurrences of shear-related pseudotachylite from the Limpopo Metamorphic Province are described. In particular, the structural setting as well as deformation textures in pseudotachylite inclusions and host rocks are presented for these occurrences in gabbroic anorthosite from the Palala Shear Belt and dioritic to granodioritic rocks from the Sand River Gneiss locality. The Palala Shear Belt is a 13 km wide zone of intensely mylonitized rocks of the Beit Bridge and Bushveld Complexes, situated at the southern boundary of the Central Zone of the Limpopo Metamorphic Province. The Sand River Gneiss comprises a bimodal suite of high-grade dioritic and granodioritic rocks which were subjected to at least three periods of deformation. In the context of comparisons between pseudotachylites from different geological settings (i.e. cryptoexplosion structures, meteorite craters and tectonic settings) the major results are as follows: (1) The deformation phenomena associated with pseudotachylite formation as recorded in quartz and feldspar, occurring as inclusions or at the host rock contact, are undulatory extinction in quartz, brecciation, mechanical twinning and kinking of plagioclase, and characteristic formation of irregular and planar (Vredefort-type) fractures, the latter occurring in quartz. (2) Frequency distributions of crystallographic orientations of planar fractures and their annealed manifestation (planar fluid inclusion trails) are very similar for the Vredefort structure, the Sudbury structure, the Johannesburg dome, the Witwatersrand basin and the Limpopo pseudotachylites. It is therefore concluded that planar fractures in quartz are the typical microdeformation associated with pseudotachylite, irrespective of the geological setting of the latter. Planar fractures alone do not provide unambiguous information on the genesis of the structure in which they are found.

  19. 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).

  20. The Significance of Tax Incentives in Attracting Foreign Investment: Lessons from the Canadian Oil Sands Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Febriana, Restika

    Tax incentives have been used by countries to stimulate foreign investment. Few countries doubt the effectiveness of tax incentives. Canada and Indonesia are among the many countries that offer tax incentives to attract investors. While Canada has a long history of using tax incentives to foster the development of the Alberta oil sands, Indonesia is just embarking on this strategy, especially in promoting foreign investment in remote areas. Drawing on the Canadian development of the Alberta oil sands, this thesis asks what lessons Indonesia can learn from that experience in relying on tax incentives to develop the industry. This thesis acknowledges that there are many important differences between Canada and Indonesia. Since most countries speak of using tax incentives to finance their petroleum industries, it is worth examining at least one instance of that strategy and see whether Indonesia can extract any thing of value from this examination.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Self assembly, mobilization, and flotation of crude oil contaminated sand particles as granular shells on gas bubbles in water.

    PubMed

    Tansel, Berrin; Boglaienko, Daria

    2017-01-01

    Contaminant fate and transport studies and models include transport mechanisms for colloidal particles and dissolved ions which can be easily moved with water currents. However, mobilization of much larger contaminated granular particles (i.e., sand) in sediments have not been considered as a possible mechanism due to the relatively larger size of sand particles and their high bulk density. We conducted experiments to demonstrate that oil contaminated granular particles (which exhibit hydrophobic characteristics) can attach on gas bubbles to form granular shells and transfer from the sediment phase to the water column. The interactions and conditions necessary for the oil contaminated granular particles to self assemble as tightly packed granular shells on the gas bubbles which transfer from sediment phase to the water column were evaluated both experimentally and theoretically for South Louisiana crude oil and quartz sand particles. Analyses showed that buoyancy forces can be adequate to move the granular shell forming around the air bubbles if the bubble radius is above 0.001mm for the sand particles with 0.28mm diameter. Relatively high magnitude of the Hamaker constant for the oil film between sand and air (5.81×10(-20)J for air-oil-sand) indicates that air bubbles have high affinity to attach on the oil film that is on the sand particles in comparison to attaching to the sand particles without the oil film in water (1.60×10(-20)J for air-water-sand). The mobilization mechanism of the contaminated granular particles with gas bubbles can occur in natural environments resulting in transfer of granular particles from sediments to the water column. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  4. Effects of Different Ultrasound Irradiation Frequencies and Water Temperatures on Extraction Rate of Bitumen from Oil Sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hirokazu Okawa,; Tomonao Saito,; Ryota Hosokawa,; Takashi Nakamura,; Youhei Kawamura,; Katsuyasu Sugawara,

    2010-07-01

    Low (28 kHz) and high (200 kHz) frequency sonication combined with hot water treatments at 45 and 75 °C were investigated to assess the effects of different ultrasound frequencies and water temperatures on the extraction of bitumen from oil sand. A mechanical stirrer was also used to compare the efficiency of separation. Bitumen extraction tests were performed under argon, air, and nitrogen atmospheres. Sonication at 200 kHz was shown to extract bitumen effectively from oil sand at 75 °C. The bitumen extraction rate for sonication at 200 kHz was slightly higher than that at 28 kHz. For low temperature (45 °C) solutions, only sonication at 28 kHz could extract bitumen from oil sand, demonstrating that sonication at 28 kHz can effectively breakdown the oil sand aggregates into a suspension.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. A Scientific Study to Develop a Practical Method for Assessing the Cleanup of ’Sour’ (High Sulfur) Crude Oil Spills in Littoral Sands using Benthic Microorganisms.

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1979-01-01

    Stabilized crude oil in littoral sands and gravels by using microorganisms as indicators. Crude oil was spilled on beaches at three localities along the...sediments, the crude oil was not detected approximately three months after it was spilled. (Author)

  14. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Profiling oil sands mixtures from industrial developments and natural groundwaters for source identification.

    PubMed

    Frank, Richard A; Roy, James W; Bickerton, Greg; Rowland, Steve J; Headley, John V; Scarlett, Alan G; West, Charles E; Peru, Kerry M; Parrott, Joanne L; Conly, F Malcolm; Hewitt, L Mark

    2014-01-01

    The objective of this study was to identify chemical components that could distinguish chemical mixtures in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) that had potentially migrated to groundwater in the oil sands development area of northern Alberta, Canada. In the first part of the study, OSPW samples from two different tailings ponds and a broad range of natural groundwater samples were assessed with historically employed techniques as Level-1 analyses, including geochemistry, total concentrations of naphthenic acids (NAs) and synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy (SFS). While these analyses did not allow for reliable source differentiation, they did identify samples containing significant concentrations of oil sands acid-extractable organics (AEOs). In applying Level-2 profiling analyses using electrospray ionization high resolution mass spectrometry (ESI-HRMS) and comprehensive multidimensional gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC × GC-TOF/MS) to samples containing appreciable AEO concentrations, differentiation of natural from OSPW sources was apparent through measurements of O2:O4 ion class ratios (ESI-HRMS) and diagnostic ions for two families of suspected monoaromatic acids (GC × GC-TOF/MS). The resemblance between the AEO profiles from OSPW and from 6 groundwater samples adjacent to two tailings ponds implies a common source, supporting the use of these complimentary analyses for source identification. These samples included two of upward flowing groundwater collected <1 m beneath the Athabasca River, suggesting OSPW-affected groundwater is reaching the river system.

  16. Comparison of methods for determination of total oil sands-derived naphthenic acids in water samples.

    PubMed

    Hughes, Sarah A; Huang, Rongfu; Mahaffey, Ashley; Chelme-Ayala, Pamela; Klamerth, Nikolaus; Meshref, Mohamed N A; Ibrahim, Mohamed D; Brown, Christine; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2017-11-01

    There are several established methods for the determination of naphthenic acids (NAs) in waters associated with oil sands mining operations. Due to their highly complex nature, measured concentration and composition of NAs vary depending on the method used. This study compared different common sample preparation techniques, analytical instrument methods, and analytical standards to measure NAs in groundwater and process water samples collected from an active oil sands operation. In general, the high- and ultrahigh-resolution methods, namely high performance liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOF-MS) and Orbitrap mass spectrometry (Orbitrap-MS), were within an order of magnitude of the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) methods. The gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) methods consistently had the highest NA concentrations and greatest standard error. Total NAs concentration was not statistically different between sample preparation of solid phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction. Calibration standards influenced quantitation results. This work provided a comprehensive understanding of the inherent differences in the various techniques available to measure NAs and hence the potential differences in measured amounts of NAs in samples. Results from this study will contribute to the analytical method standardization for NA analysis in oil sands related water samples. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    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

  18. Methanogenic biodegradation of paraffinic solvent hydrocarbons in two different oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Mohamad Shahimin, Mohd Faidz; Siddique, Tariq

    2017-04-01

    Microbial communities drive many biogeochemical processes in oil sands tailings and cause greenhouse gas emissions from tailings ponds. Paraffinic solvent (primarily C5-C6; n- and iso-alkanes) is used by some oil sands companies to aid bitumen extraction from oil sands ores. Residues of unrecovered solvent escape to tailings ponds during tailings deposition and sustain microbial metabolism. To investigate biodegradation of hydrocarbons in paraffinic solvent, mature fine tailings (MFT) collected from Albian and CNRL ponds were amended with paraffinic solvent at ~0.1wt% (final concentration: ~1000mgL(-1)) and incubated under methanogenic conditions for ~1600d. Albian and CNRL MFTs exhibited ~400 and ~800d lag phases, respectively after which n-alkanes (n-pentane and n-hexane) in the solvent were preferentially metabolized to methane over iso-alkanes in both MFTs. Among iso-alkanes, only 2-methylpentane was completely biodegraded whereas 2-methylbutane and 3-methylpentane were partially biodegraded probably through cometabolism. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing showed dominance of Anaerolineaceae and Methanosaetaceae in Albian MFT and Peptococcaceae and co-domination of "Candidatus Methanoregula" and Methanosaetaceae in CNRL MFT bacterial and archaeal communities, respectively, during active biodegradation of paraffinic solvent. The results are important for developing future strategies for tailings reclamation and management of greenhouse gas emissions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Co-occurrence of methanogenesis and N2 fixation in oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Collins, C E Victoria; Foght, Julia M; Siddique, Tariq

    2016-09-15

    Oil sands tailings ponds in northern Alberta, Canada have been producing biogenic gases via microbial metabolism of hydrocarbons for decades. Persistent methanogenic activity in tailings ponds without any known replenishment of nutrients such as fixed nitrogen (N) persuaded us to investigate whether N2 fixation or polyacrylamide (PAM; used as a tailings flocculant) could serve as N sources. Cultures comprising mature fine tailings (MFT) plus methanogenic medium supplemented with or deficient in fixed N were incubated under an N2 headspace. Some cultures were further amended with citrate, which is used in oil sands processing, as a relevant carbon source, and/or with PAM. After an initial delay, N-deficient cultures with or without PAM produced methane (CH4) at the same rate as N-containing cultures, indicating a mechanism of overcoming apparent N-deficiency. Acetylene reduction and (15)N2 incorporation in all N-deficient cultures (with or without PAM) suggested active N2 fixation concurrently with methanogenesis but inability to use PAM as a N source. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing revealed little difference between archaeal populations regardless of N content. However, bacterial sequences in N-deficient cultures showed enrichment of Hyphomicrobiaceae and Clostridium members that might contain N2-fixing species. The results are important in understanding long-term production of biogenic greenhouse gases in oil sands tailings. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. Testing Local Adaptation in Five Populations of Hyalella azteca in Northern Alberta's Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Beery, Steven R; Gauthier, Patrick T; Pyle, Gregory G

    2017-02-01

    Canada's oil sands hold the third largest petroleum reserves worldwide and have experienced rapid economic growth. The oil sands region provides an ideal location for studying local adaptations through reciprocal transplant (RT) because populations within the region have been historically exposed to naturally occurring bitumen. Our objectives were to (1) determine if Hyalella azteca from habitats within the oil sands region exhibited increased tolerance to constituents associated with industrial bitumen extraction compared with H. azteca from habitats outside the region; and (2) determine if any observed tolerance was attributable to local adaptation. Five populations of H. azteca were reciprocally transplanted from reclaimed and reference wetlands: four from local wetlands plus one naïve laboratory population. Survival, toxicity, and behaviour were measured before and after the RT period. Survival varied by population and site. These results show that the differences in responses among populations are likely not attributable to local adaptation and that laboratory populations of H. azteca provide ecologically relevant results when tested in the field.

  5. Metabolism of BTEX and naphtha compounds to methane in oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Michael D; Foght, Julia M

    2007-04-01

    Naphtha, comprising low molecular weight aliphatics and aromatics (C3-C14), is used as a diluent in processing of bitumen from oil sands. A small fraction (<1%) is lost to tailings waste and incorporated into mature fine tailings (MFT). BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) and whole naphtha were assessed for biodegradation under methanogenic conditions using MFT from an oil sands tailings settling basin. MFT spiked with 0.05-0.1% w/v of BTEX compounds produced up to 2.1 (+/-0.1) mmol of methane during 36 weeks of incubation. Metabolism of 0.5-1.0% w/v naphtha in MFT yielded up to 5.7 (+/-0.2) mmol of methane during 46 weeks of incubation. Gas chromatographic analyses showed that BTEX degraded in the sequence: toluene > o-xylene > m- plus p-xylene > ethylbenzene > benzene. Only 15-23% of whole naphtha, mainly n-alkanes (in the sequence: nonane > octane > heptane) and some BTEX compounds (toluene > o-xylene > m-xylene), was metabolized. Other naphtha constituents, such as iso-paraffins and naphthenes, remained unchanged during this period. These results suggest that the microbial communities in the MFT can readily utilize certain fractions of unrecovered naphtha in oil sands tailings and support methanogenesis in settling basins. Current study findings could influence extraction process, MFT management, and reclamation options.

  6. A risk-based approach for identifying constituents of concern in oil sands process-affected water from the Athabasca Oil Sands region.

    PubMed

    McQueen, Andrew D; Kinley, Ciera M; Hendrikse, Maas; Gaspari, Daniel P; Calomeni, Alyssa J; Iwinski, Kyla J; Castle, James W; Haakensen, Monique C; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Rodgers, John H

    2017-04-01

    Mining leases in the Athabasca Oil Sands (AOS) region produce large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) containing constituents that limit beneficial uses and discharge into receiving systems. The aim of this research is to identify constituents of concern (COCs) in OSPW sourced from an active settling basin with the goal of providing a sound rational for developing mitigation strategies for using constructed treatment wetlands for COCs contained in OSPW. COCs were identified through several lines of evidence: 1) chemical and physical characterization of OSPW and comparisons with numeric water quality guidelines and toxicity endpoints, 2) measuring toxicity of OSPW using a taxonomic range of sentinel organisms (i.e. fish, aquatic invertebrates, and a macrophyte), 3) conducting process-based manipulations (PBMs) of OSPW to alter toxicity and inform treatment processes, and 4) discerning potential treatment pathways to mitigate ecological risks of OSPW based on identification of COCs, toxicological analyses, and PBM results. COCs identified in OSPW included organics (naphthenic acids [NAs], oil and grease [O/G]), metals/metalloids, and suspended solids. In terms of species sensitivities to undiluted OSPW, fish ≥ aquatic invertebrates > macrophytes. Bench-scale manipulations of the organic fractions of OSPW via PBMs (i.e. H2O2+UV254 and granular activated charcoal treatments) eliminated toxicity to Ceriodaphnia dubia (7-8 d), in terms of mortality and reproduction. Results from this study provide critical information to inform mitigation strategies using passive or semi-passive treatment processes (e.g., constructed treatment wetlands) to mitigate ecological risks of OSPW to aquatic organisms.

  7. Evaluation of bioemulsifier mediated Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery using sand pack column.

    PubMed

    Suthar, Harish; Hingurao, Krushi; Desai, Anjana; Nerurkar, Anuradha

    2008-10-01

    Bacillus licheniformis K125, isolated from an oil reservoir, produces an effective bioemulsifier. The crude bioemulsifier showed 66% emulsification activity (E(24)) and reduced the surface tension of water from 72 to 34 mN/m. It contains substantial amount of polysaccharide, protein and lipid. This bioemulsifier is pseudoplastic non-Newtonian in nature. It forms oil in water emulsion which remains stable at wide range of pH, temperature and salinity. It gave 43+/-3.3% additional oil recovery upon application to a sand pack column designed to simulate an oil reservoir. This is 13.7% higher than that obtained from crude lipopeptide biosurfactants produced by the standard strain, Bacillus mojavensis JF2 and 8.5% higher than hot water spring isolate, Bacillus licheniformis TT42. The increased oil recovery obtained by using the crude bioemulsifier can be attributed to its combined surface and emulsification activity. Its mechanism of oil recovery must be similar to the mechanism exhibited by surfactant-polymer flooding process of chemical enhanced oil recovery.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  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. Effect of over-consolidation and shear rate on the residual strength of soils of silty sand in the Three Gorges Reservoir.

    PubMed

    Li, Deying; Yin, Kunlong; Glade, Thomas; Leo, Chin

    2017-07-14

    Estimation of the residual strength of the soil on the landslide sliding surface is essential for analyzing reactivated landslides. This study investigated the influence of over-consolidation ratio (OCR) and shear rate on the residual strength of SM-type (silty sand) landslide soils in the Three Gorge Reservoir using ring shear tests under drained conditions. A series of ring shear tests were conducted to measure the drained residual strength under over-consolidation ratios of 1-12 and shear rates of 0.06-30.00 mm/min. Test results showed that residual strengths of SM-type landslide soils were not affected significantly by the over-consolidation process. The effect of shear rate on residual strength did not exhibit a regular pattern at shear rates of 0.06-10.00 mm/min, and behaved negatively at a high shear rate of 30 mm/min. The reduction in residual strength at higher shear rates may be attributable to increases in the water content of the shear zone and the amount of finer particles, due to particle breakage and/or larger grains being pushed from the shear zone.

  13. 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.

  14. Differences in phytotoxicity and dissipation between ionized and nonionized oil sands naphthenic acids in wetland plants.

    PubMed

    Armstrong, Sarah A; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Germida, James J

    2009-10-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) are composed of alkyl-substituted acyclic and cycloaliphatic carboxylic acids and, because they are acutely toxic to fish, are of toxicological concern. During the caustic hot-water extraction of oil from the bitumen in oil sands deposits, NAs become concentrated in the resulting tailings pond water. The present study investigated if dissipation of NAs occurs in the presence of hydroponically grown emergent macrophytes (Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis, and Scirpus acutus) to determine the potential for phytoremediation of these compounds. Plants were grown with oil sands NAs (pKa approximately 5-6) in medium at pH 7.8 (predominantly ionized NAs) and pH 5.0 (predominantly nonionized NAs) to determine if, by altering their chemical form, NAs may be more accessible to plants and, thus, undergo increased dissipation. Whereas the oil sands NA mixture in its nonionized form was more toxic to wetland plants than its ionized form, neither form appeared to be sequestered by wetland plants. The present study demonstrated that plants may selectively enhance the dissipation of individual nonionized NA compounds, which contributes to toxicity reduction but does not translate into detectable total NA dissipation within experimental error and natural variation. Plants were able to reduce the toxicity of a NA system over 30 d, increasing the median lethal concentration (LC50; % of hydroponic solution) of the medium for Daphnia magna by 23.3% +/- 8.1% (mean +/- standard error; nonionized NAs) and 37.0% +/- 2.7% (ionized NAs) as determined by acute toxicity bioassays. This reduction in toxicity was 7.3% +/- 2.6% (nonionized NAs) and 45.0% +/- 6.8% (ionized NAs) greater than that in unplanted systems.

  15. 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.

  16. Partitioning and bioaccumulation of metals from oil sands process affected water in indigenous Parachlorella kessleri.

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

    This paper studies the partitioning and bioaccumulation of ten target metals ((53)Cr, Mn, Co, (60)Ni, (65)Cu, (66)Zn, As, (88)Sr, (95)Mo and Ba) from oil sands tailings pond water (TPW) by indigenous Parachlorella kessleri. To determine the role of extracellular and intracellular bioaccumulation in metal removal by P. kessleri, TPW samples taken from two oil sands operators (Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Albian Sands Energy Inc.) were enriched with nutrient supplements. Results indicate that intracellular bioaccumulation played the main role in metal removal from TPW; whereas extracellular bioaccumulation was only observed to some extent for Mn, Co, (60)Ni, (65)Cu, (88)Sr, (95)Mo and Ba. The FTIR scan and titration of functional groups on the cell surface indicated low metal binding capacity by indigenous P. kessleri. However, it is believed that the dissolved cations and organic ligand content in TPW (such as naphthenic acids) may interfere with metal binding on the cell surface and lower extracellular bioaccumulation. In addition, the total bioaccumulation and bioconcentration factor (BCF) varied during the cultivation period in different growth regimes.

  17. 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

  18. Enhanced transport of colloidal oil droplets in saturated and unsaturated sand columns.

    PubMed

    Travis, Micheal J; Gross, Amit; Weisbrod, Noam

    2011-11-01

    Colloidal-sized triacylglycerol droplets demonstrated enhanced transport compared to ideal latex colloid spheres in both saturated and unsaturated quartz sand columns. Oil droplets (mean diameter 0.74 ± 0.03 μm, density 0.92 g cm(-3), ζ-potential -34 ± 1 mV) were injected simultaneously with latex microsphere colloids (FluoSpheres; density 1.055 g cm(-3), diameters 0.02, 0.2, and 1.0 μm, ζ-potentials -16 ± 1, -30 ± 2, and -49 ± 1, respectively) and bromide into natural quartz sand (ζ-potential -63 ± 2 mV) via short-pulse column breakthrough experiments. Tests were conducted under both saturated and unsaturated conditions. Breakthrough of oil droplets preceded bromide and FluoSpheres. Recovery of oil droplets was 20% greater than similarly sized FluoSpheres in the saturated column, and 16% greater in the 0.18 ± 0.01 volumetric water content (VWC) unsaturated column. Higher variability was observed in the 0.14 ± 0.01 VWC column experiments with oil droplet recovery only slightly greater than similarly sized FluoSpheres. The research presents for the first time the direct comparison of colloidal oil droplet transport in porous media with that of other colloids, and demonstrates transport under unsaturated conditions. Based on experimental results and theoretical analyses, we discuss possible mechanisms that lead to the observed enhanced mobility of oil droplets compared to FluoSpheres with similar size and electrostatic properties.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. True in-situ bed preparation: oil shale and tar sand

    SciTech Connect

    Boade, R. R.

    1980-01-01

    In 1978, a detailed study was conducted to evaluate the status of the bed preparation technology that had been developed for true in-situ processing of oil shale. It was concluded that the two techniques which had received the bulk of the attention in prior field experimentation, namely the wellbore springing and hydraulic/explosive fracturing concepts, both had inherent traits which would prevent them from being useful in practical applications. In the current paper, the previous results are reviewed to determine whether or not they are also applicable to tar sand. The conclusion reached is that neither technique would be practical for preparing a tar sands deposit for in-situ processing.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. InSAR Observations and Modeling of Anthropogenic Surface Deformation in the Alberta Oil Sands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearse, J.; Singhroy, V.; Samsonov, S. V.; Li, J.

    2014-12-01

    Recent Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) observations over northern Alberta, Canada show persistent surface uplift occurring at rates of 1-4 cm/year, localized at several sites where the Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) technique is currently being used to extract bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. We find that uplift rates above the horizontal injector wells are strongly correlated with rates of steam injection, even though there is a net fluid loss from the reservoir pore space as oil and water are withdrawn through the production wells. In combination with available steam injection and bitumen production data at four sites, we use numerical reservoir flow models to explain how the thermal and geomechanical effects of steam injection on an oil sand reservoir can generate uplift at the surface. Results of our numerical experiments show that persistent surface heave consistent with observed rates can be driven by stress changes in the reservoir due to porous flow and thermal expansion.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. Delivery of vegetable oil suspensions in a shear thinning fluid for enhanced bioremediation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhong, L.; Truex, M. J.; Kananizadeh, N.; Li, Y.; Lea, A. S.; Yan, X.

    2015-04-01

    In situ anaerobic biological processes are widely applied for dechlorination of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. A wide range of organic substrates have been tested and applied to support the dechlorination processes. Vegetable oils are a promising type of substrate and have been shown to induce effective dechlorination, have limited geochemical impacts, and maintain good longevity. Because they are non-aqueous phase liquids, distribution of vegetable oils in the subsurface has typically been approached by creating emulsified oil solutions for injection into the aquifer. In this study, inexpensive waste vegetable oils were suspended in a shear-thinning xanthan gum solution as an alternative approach for delivery of vegetable oil to the subsurface. The stability, oil droplet size distribution, and rheological behavior of the oil suspensions that are created in the xanthan solutions were studied in batch experiments. The injectability of the suspensions and the oil distribution in a porous medium were evaluated in column tests. Numerical modeling of oil droplet transport and distribution in porous media was conducted to help interpret the column-test data. Batch studies showed that simple mixing of vegetable oil with xanthan solution produced stable suspensions of the oil as micron-size droplets. The mixture rheology retains shear-thinning properties that facilitate improved uniformity of substrate distribution in heterogeneous aquifers. Column tests demonstrated successful injection of the vegetable oil suspension into a porous medium. This study provides evidence that vegetable oil suspensions in xanthan gum solutions have favorable injection properties and are a potential substrate for in situ anaerobic bioremediation.

  9. Delivery of vegetable oil suspensions in a shear thinning fluid for enhanced bioremediation.

    PubMed

    Zhong, L; Truex, M J; Kananizadeh, N; Li, Y; Lea, A S; Yan, X

    2015-01-01

    In situ anaerobic biological processes are widely applied for dechlorination of chlorinated solvents in groundwater. A wide range of organic substrates have been tested and applied to support the dechlorination processes. Vegetable oils are a promising type of substrate and have been shown to induce effective dechlorination, have limited geochemical impacts, and maintain good longevity. Because they are non-aqueous phase liquids, distribution of vegetable oils in the subsurface has typically been approached by creating emulsified oil solutions for injection into the aquifer. In this study, inexpensive waste vegetable oils were suspended in a shear-thinning xanthan gum solution as an alternative approach for delivery of vegetable oil to the subsurface. The stability, oil droplet size distribution, and rheological behavior of the oil suspensions that are created in the xanthan solutions were studied in batch experiments. The injectability of the suspensions and the oil distribution in a porous medium were evaluated in column tests. Numerical modeling of oil droplet transport and distribution in porous media was conducted to help interpret the column-test data. Batch studies showed that simple mixing of vegetable oil with xanthan solution produced stable suspensions of the oil as micron-size droplets. The mixture rheology retains shear-thinning properties that facilitate improved uniformity of substrate distribution in heterogeneous aquifers. Column tests demonstrated successful injection of the vegetable oil suspension into a porous medium. This study provides evidence that vegetable oil suspensions in xanthan gum solutions have favorable injection properties and are a potential substrate for in situ anaerobic bioremediation. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Constraining Microbial Community Response During Oil Sands Reclamation via Lipid and Isotope Biosignatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bradford, L. M.; Ziolkowski, L. A.; Ngonadi, N.; Warren, L. A.; Slater, G. F.

    2013-12-01

    A pilot scale reclamation project in the Athabasca oil sands region (Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada) has created an artificial freshwater fen typical of the boreal forest region in which the oil sands occur. At this site, composite tailings (CT) residue was overlain with a thick sand cap and a freshwater fen constructed on top. This project began in 2009, with most wetland development occurring over the summer of 2012. It is recognized that the response of microbial communities to reclamation activities has the potential to play a significant role in the outcome of reclamation. Microbial biodegradation of petroleum residues may improve reclamation outcomes, while production of by-products, particularly hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S) via bacterial sulphate reduction, must be assessed to manage any potential negative impacts. Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) concentration and isotopic analysis were used to characterize the response of in situ microbial communities within the reclamation fen system. Increases in PLFA concentrations were observed in sediment taken from the sand layer at sample sites within the fen from during its establishment. Initial values equivalent to circa 106 cells/gram in July 2011 increased to values equivalent to 107cells/gram in August 2012 and then to 108 cells/gram in November 2012. Analysis of the radiocarbon (Δ14C) content of total organic carbon shows an increase in Δ14C from highly depleted values (-983×2‰) in July 2011, consistent with petroleum hydrocarbons dominating the total organic carbon, to more 14C enriched values as fen development progressed (-423×2.1‰ in August 2012 and -417×1.4‰ in November 2012). This indicates inputs of more modern organic matter potentially associated with the peat used to construct the fen and/or inputs from recent photosynthesis. The correlation between the observed PLFA increases and this increase in modern carbon inputs suggests that reclamation activities have stimulated the increase in the

  13. Flammability Testing of Fabrics Treated with Oil-Based Shear Thickening Fluids

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-05-01

    thickening fluid (STF) are evaluated under flammability testing. The tested fabrics include a woven cotton-nylon blend, a woven Kevlar textile, and a...hybrid ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) – Kevlar felt. The oil-based STF is a colloid of silica nanoparticles in a paraffin oil. Test...enhanced flammability resistance. 15. SUBJECT TERMS shear thickening fluid, Kevlar , flammability 16. SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF: 17. LIMITATION OF

  14. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  15. Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) reproduction is impaired in aged oil sands process-affected waters.

    PubMed

    Kavanagh, Richard J; Frank, Richard A; Oakes, Ken D; Servos, Mark R; Young, Rozlyn F; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Mike D; Solomon, Keith R; Dixon, D George; Van Der Kraak, Glen

    2011-01-17

    Large volumes of fluid tailings are generated during the extraction of bitumen from oil sands. As part of their reclamation plan, oil sands operators in Alberta propose to transfer these fluid tailings to end pit lakes and, over time, these are expected to develop lake habitats with productive capabilities comparable to natural lakes in the region. This study evaluates the potential impact of various oil sands process-affected waters (OSPW) on the reproduction of adult fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) under laboratory conditions. Two separate assays with aged OPSW (>15 years) from the experimental ponds at Syncrude Canada Ltd. showed that water containing high concentrations of naphthenic acids (NAs; >25 mg/l) and elevated conductivity (>2000 μS/cm) completely inhibited spawning of fathead minnows and reduced male secondary sexual characteristics. Measurement of plasma sex steroid levels showed that male fathead minnows had lower concentrations of testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone whereas females had lower concentrations of 17β-estradiol. In a third assay, fathead minnows were first acclimated to the higher salinity conditions typical of OSPW for several weeks and then exposed to aged OSPW from Suncor Energy Inc. (NAs ∼40 mg/l and conductivity ∼2000 μS/cm). Spawning was significantly reduced in fathead minnows held in this effluent and male fathead minnows had lower concentrations of testosterone and 11-ketotestosterone. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that aged OSPW has the potential to negatively affect the reproductive physiology of fathead minnows and suggest that aquatic habitats with high NAs concentrations (>25 mg/l) and conductivities (>2000 μS/cm) would not be conducive for successful fish reproduction.

  16. 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.

  17. Assessment of regional acidifying pollutants in the Athabasca oil sands area under different emission scenarios

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Sunny; Vijayaraghavan, Krish; Spink, David; Jung, Jaegun; Morris, Ralph; Pauls, Ron

    2017-05-01

    Acid deposition is a potential environmental impact of oil sands development in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Northeastern Alberta. An acid deposition management framework has been established to manage this issue. This framework includes an acid deposition modelling and time-to-effect impact assessment component that was recently implemented for four acidifying emissions cases using the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. Predicted gross Potential Acid Input (PAI) deposition in the AOSR increases from the historical to existing case with further increases predicted in two future cases due to the projected increase in NOx emissions. On average the total predicted PAI deposition in the AOSR is approximately 40% sulphur deposition and 60% nitrogen deposition. Sulphur deposition decreases by 7% from the historical to existing cases due to the reductions in SO2 emissions that have occurred in the AOSR but increases by 5% from the existing to future case 1 and by 8% from existing to future case 2 even though continued AOSR SO2 emission decreases were modelled. This is likely the result of the deposition reduction associated with a single large reduction in SO2 emissions from one facility's main stack being offset elsewhere in the AOSR by deposition increases due to small increases in SO2 emissions from several in situ sources with shorter stacks. Average nitrogen deposition over the AOSR increases by 10% from the historical to existing case and then further increases by 10.6% from the existing case to future case 1 and by 12.3% from the existing case to future case 2. The increasing relevance of NOx emissions over SO2 emissions in the AOSR suggests that a robust treatment of nitrogen chemistry such as in CMAQ is required for conducting deposition assessments in the region. The modelling results provide information that can be used to inform oil sands emission management priorities in the context of acid deposition and nitrogen eutrophication

  18. Variation in toxicity response of Ceriodaphnia dubia to Athabasca oil sands coke leachates.

    PubMed

    Puttaswamy, Naveen; Turcotte, Dominique; Liber, Karsten

    2010-07-01

    Coke from the Athabasca (Alberta, Canada) oil sands operations may someday be integrated into reclamation landscapes. It is hypothesized that the metals associated with the solid coke may leach into the surrounding environment. Therefore, the main objectives of this study were to characterize the toxicity and chemistry of coke leachates collected from two field lysimeters (i.e. shallow lysimeter and deep lysimeter) over a period of 20months, as well as from other oil sands coke storage sites. In addition, a batch renewal leaching of coke was conducted to examine the rate of metals release. Chronic toxicity of key metals (e.g. Al, Mn, Ni and V) found in lysimeter coke leachate was evaluated separately. Toxicity test results revealed that whole coke leachates (100% v/v) were acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia; the 7-day LC50 values were always <25% v/v coke leachate. The deep lysimeter leachate was generally more toxic than the shallow lysimeter leachate, likely because of significantly higher concentrations of vanadium (V) found in the deep lysimeter leachate at all sampling times. Vanadium concentrations were higher than all other metals found in the leachate from both lysimeters, and in the batch renewal leaching study. Furthermore, V found in leachates collected from other oil sands field sites showed a concentration-response relationship with C. dubia survival. Mass balance calculations indicated that 94-98% of potentially leachable V fraction was still present in the coke from two field lysimeters. Evidence gathered from these assessments, including toxic unit (TU) calculations for the elements of concern, suggests that V was the likely cause of toxicity of the deep lysimeter leachate, whereas in the shallow lysimeter leachate both Ni and V could be responsible for the observed toxicity.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. A wintertime investigation of atmospheric deposition of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Canada.

    PubMed

    Bari, M A; Kindzierski, W B; Cho, S

    2014-07-01

    With planned expansion of oil sands facilities, there is interest in being able to characterize the magnitude and extent of deposition of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) of Alberta. A study was undertaken using a bulk collection system to characterize wintertime atmospheric deposition of selected inorganic and organic contaminants in the AOSR. The study was carried out from January to March 2012 at two sampling sites near (within a 20 km circle of oil sands development) and two sampling sites distant (>45 km) to oil sands development. Triplicate bulk samplers were used to estimate precision of the method at one distant site. Monthly deposition samples were analyzed for 36 metals, ultra-low mercury, and 25 PAHs (including alkylated, and parent PAH). At the two sites located within 20 km of oil sands development, 3-month wintertime integrated deposition for some priority metals, alkylated and parent PAH were higher compared to distant sites. Deposition fluxes of metals and PAH were compared to other available bulk deposition studies worldwide. Median bulk measurement uncertainties of metals and both PAH classes were 26% and within ±15%, respectively suggesting that the bulk sampling method is a potential alternative for obtaining future direct measures of wintertime metals and PAH deposition at locations without access to power in the AOSR.

  3. Precisely cyclic sand: self-organization of periodically sheared frictional grains.

    PubMed

    Royer, John R; Chaikin, Paul M

    2015-01-06

    The disordered static structure and chaotic dynamics of frictional granular matter has occupied scientists for centuries, yet there are few organizational principles or guiding rules for this highly hysteretic, dissipative material. We show that cyclic shear of a granular material leads to dynamic self-organization into several phases with different spatial and temporal order. Using numerical simulations, we present a phase diagram in strain-friction space that shows chaotic dispersion, crystal formation, vortex patterns, and most unusually a disordered phase in which each particle precisely retraces its unique path. However, the system is not reversible. Rather, the trajectory of each particle, and the entire frictional, many-degrees-of-freedom system, organizes itself into a limit cycle absorbing state. Of particular note is that fact that the cyclic states are spatially disordered, whereas the ordered states are chaotic.

  4. Effect of low-shear extrusion on corn fermentation and oil partition.

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui; Wang, Tong; Johnson, Lawrence A

    2009-03-25

    To study oil distribution in fermentation liquid and solids for the purpose of recovering oil from corn stillage by centrifugation, a low-shear single-screw extruder was used to treat corn for dry-grind ethanol fermentation. Five different treatments for corn were used, and their effects on ethanol fermentation, oil distribution, and oil extractability were studied. Extruded corn with different particles sizes had similar ethanol yields (33% based on corn) because the starch was equally gelatinized by extrusion. Pretreatment with larger particle size before extrusion tended to have higher free oil than pretreatment with smaller particle sizes, but the effect was not dramatic, which indicates that manipulating particle size has limited effect on oil distribution in the liquid. Autoclaved flaked corn had lower ethanol yield because autoclaving at 28% moisture did not fully gelatinize the starch. Addition of protease and cellulase significantly increased the ethanol yield by at least 4%. A significant amount of bound oil became more extractable after enzyme treatment. Such oil can be effectively extracted into liquid phase by using a surfactant. In general, oil tended to be strongly associated with the solids in the thin stillage. By enzymatic treatment, 70% oil distribution was achieved in the thin stillage, compared to the conventional fermentation, where only 50% oil goes into the liquid. It was also demonstrated that mass loss after fermentation can be used to accurately quantify ethanol yield.

  5. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  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. An experimental investigation of underwater spread of oil spill in a shear flow.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Hongjun; You, Jiahui; Zhao, Honglei

    2017-03-15

    The time taken for spilt oil to appear firstly at the sea surface and its location are two key issues for emergency response. The underwater spread of oil spill in a shear flow was studied experimentally in a re-circulating water channel. The high speed imaging technology was employed to record the whole transport process of oil spilt from a leak of a submarine pipe to the surface. Based on the experimental results, three underwater transport types are identified, which are single droplet pattern (model A), linear chain pattern (model B) and oil plume pattern (model C), respectively. The pressure difference inside and outside of the leak determines the underwater transport pattern. For single droplet pattern, the transport of oil droplet has two successive stage, namely the accumulation stage and the buoyant droplet stage. When it comes to linear chain pattern, the first stage changes to be the initial jet stage. Besides the initial jet stage and the buoyant droplet stage, oil plume pattern has an intermediate transition stage, namely the plume development stage. During the whole floating process, the pressure difference dominates the initial stage, while droplet buoyancy is the driven force in the rest. The required time for oil droplets to reach the surface is increased with the decreasing of the initial momentum and the increasing of the shear flow velocity. In the buoyance dominated stage, the floating rate of oil droplets is basically unchanged and the horizontal migration rate is similar with the shear flow velocity. Both the break-up and coalescence of oil droplets have two forms, which are single droplet splitting and droplet-column separation for break-up form and turbulence merging and pursuit merging for coalescence form, respectively.

  8. Oil sands fine tailings - a resource material for potentially marketable products

    SciTech Connect

    Majid, A.; Sparks, B.D.; Coleman, R.D.

    1995-12-31

    Oil sands fine tailings is a complex mixture of components each having specific physical or chemical characteristics. Studies on the fundamental properties of fine tailings have resulted in the development of methods to fractionate the tailings into products with market potential. These include: bitumen, for production of synthetic crude oil or as an ancillary fuel; clean kaolin for fine paper coating; a gelling agent for drilling mud formulation; emulsifying solids, for surfactant replacement; and a mineral fraction, for heavy metal recovery. In this investigation we have attempted to evaluate the economic potential of fine tailings as a resource material by determining the amount and value of these products; the prime objective was to determine the economic feasibility of a tailings treatment scheme.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of naphthenic acids in natural waters surrounding the Canadian oil sands industry.

    PubMed

    Ross, Matthew S; Pereira, Alberto dos Santos; Fennell, Jon; Davies, Martin; Johnson, James; Sliva, Lucie; Martin, Jonathan W

    2012-12-04

    The Canadian oil sands industry stores toxic oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) in large tailings ponds adjacent to the Athabasca River or its tributaries, raising concerns over potential seepage. Naphthenic acids (NAs; C(n)H(2n-Z)O(2)) are toxic components of OSPW, but are also natural components of bitumen and regional groundwaters, and may enter surface waters through anthropogenic or natural sources. This study used a selective high-resolution mass spectrometry method to examine total NA concentrations and NA profiles in OSPW (n = 2), Athabasca River pore water (n = 6, representing groundwater contributions) and surface waters (n = 58) from the Lower Athabasca Region. NA concentrations in surface water (< 2-80.8 μg/L) were 100-fold lower than previously estimated. Principal components analysis (PCA) distinguished sample types based on NA profile, and correlations to water quality variables identified two sources of NAs: natural fatty acids, and bitumen-derived NAs. Analysis of NA data with water quality variables highlighted two tributaries to the Athabasca River-Beaver River and McLean Creek-as possibly receiving OSPW seepage. This study is the first comprehensive analysis of NA profiles in surface waters of the region, and demonstrates the need for highly selective analytical methods for source identification and in monitoring for potential effects of development on ambient water quality.

  12. Health of domestic mallards (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) following exposure to oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Beck, Elizabeth M; Smits, Judit E G; St Clair, Colleen Cassady

    2014-01-01

    Bitumen extraction from the oil sands of northern Alberta produces large volumes of process-affected water that contains substances toxic to wildlife. Recent monitoring has shown that tens of thousands of birds land on ponds containing this water annually, creating an urgent need to understand its effects on bird health. We emulated the repeated, short-term exposures that migrating water birds are thought to experience by exposing pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) to recycled oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). As indicators of health, we measured a series of physiological (electrolytes, metabolites, enzymes, hormones, and blood cells) and toxicological (metals and minerals) variables. Relative to controls, juvenile birds exposed to OSPW had higher potassium following the final exposure, and males had a higher thyroid hormone ratio (T3/T4). In adults, exposed birds had higher vanadium, and, following the final exposure, higher bicarbonate. Exposed females had higher bile acid, globulin, and molybdenum levels, and males, higher corticosterone. However, with the exception of the metals, none of these measures varied from available reference ranges for ducks, suggesting OSPW is not toxic to juvenile or adult birds after three and six weekly, 1 h exposures, but more studies are needed to know the generality of this result.

  13. 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

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

    PubMed

    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 Fe(III) minerals in MFT to amorphous Fe(II) minerals during methanogenic metabolism of an added organic substrate. Synchrotron analyses suggested that ferrihydrite (5Fe2O3. 9H2O) and goethite (α-FeOOH) were the dominant Fe(III) 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.

  15. Enriching acid rock drainage related microbial communities from surface-deposited oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Dean, Courtney; Xiao, Yeyuan; Roberts, Deborah J

    2016-10-01

    Little is known about the microbial communities native to surface-deposited pyritic oil sands tailings, an environment where acid rock drainage (ARD) could occur. The goal of this study was to enrich sulfur-oxidizing organisms from these tailings and determine whether different populations exist at pH levels 7, 4.5, and 2.5. Using growth-based methods provides model organisms for use in the future to predict potential activities and limitations of these organisms and to develop possible control methods. Thiosulfate-fed enrichment cultures were monitored for approximately 1 year. The results showed that the enrichments at pH 4.5 and 7 were established quicker than at pH 2.5. Different microbial community structures were found among the 3 pH environments. The sulfur-oxidizing microorganisms identified were most closely related to Halothiobacillus neapolitanus, Achromobacter spp., and Curtobacterium spp. While microorganisms related to Chitinophagaceae and Acidocella spp. were identified as the only possible iron-oxidizing and -reducing microbes. These results contribute to the general knowledge of the relatively understudied microbial communities that exist in pyritic oil sands tailings and indicate these communities may have a potential role in ARD generation, which may have implications for future tailings management.

  16. Evaluation of microbial biofilm communities from an Alberta oil sands tailings pond.

    PubMed

    Golby, Susanne; Ceri, Howard; Gieg, Lisa M; Chatterjee, Indranil; Marques, Lyriam L R; Turner, Raymond J

    2012-01-01

    Bitumen extraction from the oil sands of Alberta has resulted in millions of cubic meters of waste stored on-site in tailings ponds. Unique microbial ecology is expected in these ponds, which may be key to their bioremediation potential. We considered that direct culturing of microbes from a tailings sample as biofilms could lead to the recovery of microbial communities that provide good representation of the ecology of the tailings. Culturing of mixed species biofilms in vitro using the Calgary Biofilm Device (CBD) under aerobic, microaerobic, and anaerobic growth conditions was successful both with and without the addition of various growth nutrients. Denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis and 16S rRNA gene pyrotag sequencing revealed that unique mixed biofilm communities were recovered under each incubation condition, with the dominant species belonging to Pseudomonas, Thauera, Hydrogenophaga, Rhodoferax, and Acidovorax. This work used an approach that allowed organisms to grow as a biofilm directly from a sample collected of their environment, and the biofilms cultivated in vitro were representative of the endogenous environmental community. For the first time, representative environmental mixed species biofilms have been isolated and grown under laboratory conditions from an oil sands tailings pond environment and a description of their composition is provided.

  17. 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. © 2015 SETAC.

  18. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) detection, avoidance, and chemosensory effects of oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Lari, Ebrahim; Pyle, Greg G

    2017-06-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) - a byproduct of the oil sands industry in Northern Alberta, Canada - is currently stored in on-site tailings ponds. The goal of the present study was to investigate the interaction of OSPW with the olfactory system and olfactory-mediated behaviours of fish upon the first encounter with OSPW. The response of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to different concentrations (0.1, 1, and 10%) of OSPW was studied using a choice maze and electro-olfactography (EOG), respectively. The results of the present study showed that rainbow trout are capable of detecting and avoiding OSPW at a concentration as low as 0.1%. Exposure to 1% OSPW impaired (i.e. reduced sensitivity) the olfactory response of rainbow trout to alarm and food cues within 5 min or less. The results of the present study demonstrated that fish could detect and avoid minute concentrations of OSPW. However, if fish were exposed to OSPW-contaminated water and unable to escape, their olfaction would be impaired. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Oil sands process-affected water impairs feeding by Daphnia magna.

    PubMed

    Lari, Ebrahim; Steinkey, Dylan; Morandi, Garrett; Rasmussen, Joseph B; Giesy, John P; Pyle, Greg G

    2017-05-01

    Growth in extraction of bitumen from oil sands has raised concerns about influences of this industry on surrounding environments. Water clearance rate (a surrogate of feeding rate by Daphnia magna) in water containing D. magna exposed to oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) and its principal components, dissolved component (DC) and suspended particulate matter (SPM), was reduced to 72, 29, and 59% of controls, respectively. This study also examined several possible mechanisms for the observed changes algal cell density (i.e., feeding rate). There was no change in the digestive enzymes trypsin or amylase when D. magna were exposed to DC or SPM; however, exposure to total OSPW reduced trypsin activity. Mandible rolling or post-abdominal rejections, which are indicators of feeding and palatability of food, were not affected by any exposures to OSPW. Beating of thoracic limbs, which provides water flow toward the feeding groove, was reduced by exposure to SPM or total OSPW. Peristaltic activity was reduced by exposure to DC, which then might result in reduced digestion time in D. magna exposed to DC, SPM or whole OSPW. All treatments caused an increase in numbers of intact algae cells in the hindgut and excreted material. These results suggest that both DC and SPM affect feeding of D. magna by impairing actions of the digestive system, but most probably not by reducing rates of ingestion.

  20. Mature fine tailings from oil sands processing harbour diverse methanogenic communities.

    PubMed

    Penner, Tara J; Foght, Julia M

    2010-06-01

    Processing oil sands to extract bitumen produces large volumes of a tailings slurry comprising water, silt, clays, unrecovered bitumen, and residual solvent used in the extraction process. Tailings are deposited into large settling basins, where the solids settle by gravity to become denser mature fine tailings (MFT). A substantial flux of methane, currently estimated at ~40 million L/day, is being emitted from the Mildred Lake Settling Basin. To better understand the biogenesis of this greenhouse gas, the methanogenic consortia in MFT samples from depth profiles in 2 tailings deposits (Mildred Lake Settling Basin and West In-Pit) were analyzed by constructing clone libraries of amplified archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes. The archaeal sequences, whose closest matches were almost exclusively cultivated methanogens, were comparable within and between basins and were predominantly (87% of clones) affiliated with acetoclastic Methanosaeta spp. In contrast, bacterial clone libraries were unexpectedly diverse, with the majority (~55%) of sequences related to Proteobacteria, including some presumptive nitrate-, iron-, or sulfate-reducing, hydrocarbon-degrading genera (e.g., Thauera, Rhodoferax, and Desulfatibacillum). Thus, MFT harbour a diverse community of prokaryotes presumptively responsible for producing methane from substrates indigenous to the MFT. These findings contribute to our understanding of biogenic methane production and densification of MFT in oil sands tailings deposits.

  1. Limitation of fluorescence spectrophotometry in the measurement of naphthenic acids in oil sands process water.

    PubMed

    Lu, Weibing; Ewanchuk, Andrea; Perez-Estrada, Leonidas; Sego, Dave; Ulrich, Ania

    2013-01-01

    Fluorescence spectrophotometry has been proposed as a quick screening technique for the measurement of naphthenic acids (NAs). To evaluate the feasibility of this application, the fluorescence emission spectra of NAs extracted from three oil sands process water sources were compared with that of commercial NAs. The NAs resulting from the bitumen extraction process cannot be differentiated because of the similarity of the fluorescence spectra. Separation of the fluorescent species in NAs using high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detector proved unsuccessful. The acidic fraction of NAs is fluorescent but the basic fraction of NAs is not fluorescent, implying that aromatic acids in NAs give rise to the fluorescent signals. The concentrations of NAs in oil sands process water were measured by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), fluorescence spectrophotometry and ultra high performance liquid chromatography-time of flight/mass spectrometry (UPLC-TOF/MS). Commercial Merichem and Kodak NAs are the best standards to use when measuring NAs concentration with FTIR and fluorescence spectrophotometry. In addition, the NAs concentrations measured by fluorescence spectrophotometry are about 30 times higher than those measured by FTIR and UPLC-TOF/MS. The findings in this study underscore the limitation of fluorescence spectrophotometry in the measurement of NAs.

  2. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Petroleum coke adsorption as a water management option for oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Zubot, Warren; MacKinnon, Michael D; Chelme-Ayala, Pamela; Smith, Daniel W; Gamal El-Din, Mohamed

    2012-06-15

    Water is integral to both operational and environmental aspects of the oil sands industry. A water treatment option based on the use of petroleum coke (PC), a by-product of bitumen upgrading, was examined as an opportunity to reduce site oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) inventories and net raw water demand. Changes in OSPW quality when treated with PC included increments in pH levels and concentrations of vanadium, molybdenum, and sulphate. Constituents that decreased in concentration after PC adsorption included total acid-extractable organics (TAO), bicarbonate, calcium, barium, magnesium, and strontium. Changes in naphthenic acids (NAs) speciation were observed after PC adsorption. A battery of bioassays was used to measure the OSPW toxicity. The results indicated that untreated OSPW was toxic towards Vibrio fischeri and rainbow trout. However, OSPW treated with PC at appropriate dosages was not acutely toxic towards these test organisms. Removal of TAO was found to be an adsorption process, fitting the Langmuir and Langmuir-Freundlich isotherm models. For TAO concentrations of 60 mg/L, adsorption capacities ranged between 0.1 and 0.46 mg/g. This study demonstrates that freshly produced PC from fluid cokers provides an effective treatment of OSPW in terms of key constituents' removal and toxicity reduction.

  6. 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.

  7. Mercury trends in colonial waterbird eggs downstream of the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Hebert, Craig E; Campbell, David; Kindopp, Rhona; MacMillan, Stuart; Martin, Pamela; Neugebauer, Ewa; Patterson, Lucy; Shatford, Jeff

    2013-10-15

    Mercury levels were measured in colonial waterbird eggs collected from two sites in northern Alberta and one site in southern Alberta, Canada. Northern sites in the Peace-Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca were located in receiving waters of the Athabasca River which drains the oil sands industrial region north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Temporal trends in egg mercury (Hg) levels were assessed as were egg stable nitrogen isotope values as an indicator of dietary change. In northern Alberta, California and Ring-billed Gulls exhibited statistically significant increases in egg Hg concentrations in 2012 compared to data from the earliest year of sampling. Hg levels in Caspian and Common Tern eggs showed a nonstatistically significant increase. In southern Alberta, Hg concentrations in California Gull eggs declined significantly through time. Bird dietary change was not responsible for any of these trends. Neither were egg Hg trends related to recent forest fires. Differences in egg Hg temporal trends between northern and southern Alberta combined with greater Hg levels in eggs from northern Alberta identified the likely importance of local Hg sources in regulating regional Hg trends. Hg concentrations in gull and Common Tern eggs were generally below generic thresholds associated with toxic effects in birds. However, in 2012, Hg levels in the majority of Caspian Tern eggs exceeded the lower toxicity threshold. Increasing Hg levels in eggs of multiple species nesting downstream of the oil sands region of northern Alberta warrant continued monitoring and research to further evaluate Hg trends and to conclusively identify sources.

  8. 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.

  9. Coupling bioelectricity generation and oil sands tailings treatment using microbial fuel cells.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Yaxin; Ulrich, Ania C; Liu, Yang

    2013-07-01

    In this study, four dual-chambered microbial fuel cells (MFC1-4) were constructed and filled with different ratios of mature fine tailings and oil sands process-affected water to test the feasibility of MFCs to simultaneously generate electricity and treat oil sands tailings. After 800 h of operation, the maximum voltage was observed in MFC4 at 0.726 V with 1.2kΩ external resistance loaded. The maximum power density reached 392 ± 15 mW/m(2) during the 1,700 h of MFC4 operation. With continuous electricity generation, MFC4 removed 27.8% of the total COD, 81.8% of the soluble COD and 32.9% of the total acid extractable organics. Moreover, effective removal of eight heavy metals, includes 97.8% of (78)Se, 96.8% of Ba, 94.7% of (88)Sr, 81.3% for (66)Zn, 77.1% of (95)Mo, 66.9% of (63)Cu, 44.9% of (53)Cr and 32.5% of Pb, was achieved.

  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.

  11. 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.

  12. Fundamentals of asphaltene phase behavior in heavy oil and tar sands

    SciTech Connect

    Carnahan, N.F.; Quintero, L.

    1995-12-31

    As a continuation and update of work presented at the 5th UNITAR International Conference on Heavy Crude and Tar Sands, this presentation addresses the phase behavior of asphaltenes in terms of traditional thermodynamics of mixtures and in terms of interfacial phenomena known to be an integral part of the problem. Recent experimental studies have demonstrated the pressure effect on apparent reverse micelle behavior of asphaltenes in petroleum fluids. Published results have shown that certain commercial surfactants have been effective in ameliorating the problem of asphaltene precipitation in crude oils, and in solubilizing asphaltenes deposited in porous media. These recent observations correspond well with the concepts advanced in our previous studies. Phase behavior of asphaltenes in heavy crude and in tar sands is again addressed from the fundamental point of view, at the molecular level, to interpret observed behavior and to provide a logical means of forecasting expected behavior in these fluids under many different physical and chemical conditions. Interactions between resins and asphaltenes, in the presence of heavy crude or tar sands, do not follow classical thermodynamics, at least, not faithfully. Resins tend to interact as amphiphiles between the asphaltene-free material and the asphaltenes. Resins may be in solution with the asphaltene-free material; however, resins are adsorbed at the surface of the asphaltene aggregations, forming micelles or other amphiphilic structures. Phase behavior of asphaltenes, therefore, depends upon the thermodynamic equilibrium of resins distributed between the asphaltenes and the asphaltene-free material. In crude oils, resins may form solutions which reasonably conform to the Modified Regular Solution Theory, as described previously. At the asphaltene-resin interface, adsorption can be described in terms of classical theories of adsorption and/or similar association mechanisms for interfacial phenomena.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Treatment of carbonaceous shales or sands to recover oil and pure carbon as products

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, D. G.

    1985-05-28

    A carbon-containing solid (such as oil shale or tar sand) is treated with air in a six-stage vertical shaft to make producer gas, oil and a pure carbon as products. The top and bottom stages of the vertical shaft are fed to pre-heat incoming solid and to scavenge sensible heat from the processed solid. One stage is a direct retort and makes a gas stream which is a mixture of producer gas and oil. Another stage is a gas producer which converts fixed carbon on the solid to carbon monoxide by reaction with air and carbon dioxide. A fifth stage preheats incoming air. The sixth stage cools and purifies hot carbon monoxide-rich producer gas. The oil and producer gas products are made by direct retorting of the solid with air followed by a separation step. The pure carbon product is made by separating pure carbon monoxide from the carbon monoxide-rich producer gas followed by reaching the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and the pure carbon product.

  16. Odor detection thresholds of naphthenic acids from commercial sources and oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Edge, Kristyn; Barona, Brenda; Young, Rozlyn F; Fedorak, Phillip M; Wismer, Wendy V

    2010-11-01

    Naphthenic acids (NAs) occur naturally in various petroleums and in oil sands tailings waters and have been implicated as potential fish tainting compounds. In this study, trained sensory panels and the general population from a university were used to determine the odor detection thresholds of two commercial NAs preparations (Acros and Merichem) and of NAs extracted from an oil sands experimental reclamation pond (Pond 9). Using the three-alternative forced choice method, a concentration series of NAs were presented to the sensory panels in phosphate buffer (pH 8) and in steamed fish (Sander vitreus). In buffer, the odor detection thresholds of Acros, Merichem and Pond 9 NAs, as evaluated by the trained panelists, were 1.5, 0.04, and 1.0 mg L(-1), respectively. Only the detection threshold for the Merichem NAs was significantly different (p<0.01) than the other two sources. Based on the general population assessments, all three odor detection thresholds were significantly different from one another; 4.8, 0.2, and 2.5 mg L(-1) for Acros, Merichem, and Pond 9 NAs, respectively (p<0.01). The odor detection thresholds of Merichem and Pond 9 NAs in steamed fish were 0.6 and 12 mg kg(-1), respectively and were significantly different from each other (p<0.01). The detection threshold of Acros NAs was estimated to be >21 mg kg(-1). For the steamed fish evaluations, the odor descriptors of all three of the NAs preparations was given as chemical in nature (Acros: oil, plastic; Merichem: gasoline; Pond 9: gasoline, tar). Exposure of live rainbow trout to a non-lethal concentration of Merichem NAs (3 mg L(-1) for 10 d) imparted an odor to the fish flesh. Analyses of the three NAs preparations by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that each had a unique distribution of acids. We conclude that the source of the NAs is important when interpreting odor threshold data and that the two commercial preparations of NAs that were tested do not represent oil sands waters

  17. 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

  18. Using Epiphytic Lichens to Elucidate the Sources and Spatial Distribution of Inorganic Air Pollution in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landis, M.; Graney, J. R.; Pancras, P.; Krupa, S.; Edgerton, E.; Puckett, K.; Percy, K.

    2013-12-01

    The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) conducted studies to document the geographic patterns of atmospheric deposition of sulfur (S) and nitrogen (N) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) using epiphytic lichens as bioindicators of atmospheric pollution. Epiphytic lichen samples (Hypogymnia physodes) were collected from 44 locations in 2002, 359 locations in 2008, and 21 locations in 2011 within the AOSR. A subset of samples from 2002 (15) and 2008 (121); and all the samples from 2011 were microwave extracted and analyzed for a comprehensive suite of trace elements using DRC-ICPMS. In addition, source profiles were developed for samples from a variety of available process stacks, heavy duty diesel fleet vehicles, bulk materials representing the various stages of oil sands processing operations, and forest fires. The lichen monitoring and source profile information were integrated into a receptor modeling framework to elucidate the relative importance of natural and anthropogenic sources to the observed atmospheric deposition of S and N in the AOSR. U.S. EPA implemented statistical receptor models utilized included Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF), Unmix, and Chemical Mass Balance (CMB). The sources uniquely identified that significantly contributed to concentrations of elements in the lichen tissue include: fugitive dust from haul roads, tailing sand, and oil sand mining; oil sand processing; combustion processes; and a general urban regional source. The spatial patterns of CMB, PMF, and Unmix receptor model estimated source impacts on the Hypogymnia physodes tissue concentrations from the oil sand processing and fugitive dust sources had a significant association with the distance from the primary oil sands surface mining operations and related production facilities. The spatial extent of the fugitive dust impact was limited to an approximately 20 km radius around the major mining and oil production facilities, indicative of ground level coarse

  19. 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

    2015-07-07

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. Diamondoid diacids ('O4' species) in oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Lengger, Sabine K; Scarlett, Alan G; West, Charles E; Rowland, Steven J

    2013-12-15

    As a by-product of oil sands extraction, large volumes of oil sands process water (OSPW) are generated, which are contaminated with a large range of water-soluble organic compounds. The acids are thought to be derived from hydrocarbons via natural biodegradation pathways such as α- and β-oxidation of alkyl substituents, which could produce mono- and diacids, for example. However, while several monoacids ('O2' species) have been identified, the presence of diacids (i.e. 'O4' species) has only been deduced from results obtained via Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance high-resolution mass spectrometry (FTICR-HRMS) and nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H-NMR) spectroscopy and the structures have never been confirmed. An extract of an OSPW from a Canadian tailings pond was analysed and the retention times and the electron ionization mass spectra of some analytes were compared with those of bis-methyl esters of authentic diacids by gas chromatography × gas chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC/TOFMS) in nominal and accurate mass configurations. Two diamondoid diacids (3-carboxymethyladamantane-1-carboxylic acid and adamantane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid) were firmly identified as their bis-methyl esters by retention time and mass spectral matching and several other structural isomers were more tentatively assigned. Diacids have substantially increased polarity over the hydrocarbon and monoacid species from which they probably derive: as late members of biodegradation processes they may be useful indicators of weathering and ageing, not only of OSPW, but potentially of crude oil residues more generally. Structures of O4 species in OSPW have been identified. This confirms pathways of microbial biodegradation, which were only postulated previously, and may be a further indication that remediation of OSPW toxicity can occur by natural microbial action. The presence and abundance of these diacids might

  2. Differences between measured and reported volatile organic compound emissions from oil sands facilities in Alberta, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Leithead, Amy; Moussa, Samar G.; Liggio, John; Moran, Michael D.; Wang, Daniel; Hayden, Katherine; Darlington, Andrea; Gordon, Mark; Staebler, Ralf; Makar, Paul A.; Stroud, Craig A.; McLaren, Robert; Liu, Peter S. K.; O’Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Zhang, Junhua; Marson, George; Cober, Stewart G.; Wolde, Mengistu; Wentzell, Jeremy J. B.

    2017-01-01

    Large-scale oil production from oil sands deposits in Alberta, Canada has raised concerns about environmental impacts, such as the magnitude of air pollution emissions. This paper reports compound emission rates (E) for 69–89 nonbiogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for each of four surface mining facilities, determined with a top-down approach using aircraft measurements in the summer of 2013. The aggregate emission rate (aE) of the nonbiogenic VOCs ranged from 50 ± 14 to 70 ± 22 t/d depending on the facility. In comparison, equivalent VOC emission rates reported to the Canadian National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) using accepted estimation methods were lower than the aE values by factors of 2.0 ± 0.6, 3.1 ± 1.1, 4.5 ± 1.5, and 4.1 ± 1.6 for the four facilities, indicating underestimation in the reported VOC emissions. For 11 of the combined 93 VOC species reported by all four facilities, the reported emission rate and E were similar; but for the other 82 species, the reported emission rate was lower than E. The median ratio of E to that reported for all species by a facility ranged from 4.5 to 375 depending on the facility. Moreover, between 9 and 53 VOCs, for which there are existing reporting requirements to the NPRI, were not included in the facility emission reports. The comparisons between the emission reports and measurement-based emission rates indicate that improvements to VOC emission estimation methods would enhance the accuracy and completeness of emission estimates and their applicability to environmental impact assessments of oil sands developments. PMID:28439021

  3. 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.

  4. Development of oil-in-gelatin phantoms for viscoelasticity measurement in ultrasound shear wave elastography.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Man M; Zhou, Shiwei; Robert, Jean-Luc; Shamdasani, Vijay; Xie, Hua

    2014-01-01

    Because tissues consist of solid and fluid materials, their mechanical properties should be characterized in terms of both elasticity and viscosity. Although the elastic properties of tissue-mimicking phantoms have been extensively studied and well characterized in commercially available phantoms, their viscous properties have not been fully investigated. In this article, a set of 14 tissue-mimicking phantoms with different concentrations of gelatin and castor oil were fabricated and characterized in terms of acoustic and viscoelastic properties. The results indicate that adding castor oil to gelatin phantoms decreases shear modulus, but increases shear wave dispersion. For 3% gelatin phantoms containing 0%, 10%, 20% and 40% oil, the measured shear moduli are 2.01 ± 0.26, 1.68 ± 0.25, 1.10 ± 0.22 and 0.88 ± 0.17 kPa, and the Voigt-model coupled shear viscosities are 0.60 ± 0.11, 0.89 ± 0.07, 1.05 ± 0.11 and 1.06 ± 0.13 Pa·s, respectively. The results also confirm that increasing the gelatin concentration increases shear modulus. For phantoms containing 3%, 4%, 5%, 6% and 7% gelatin, the measured shear moduli are 2.01 ± 0.26, 3.10 ± 0.34, 4.18 ± 0.84, 8.05 ± 1.00 and 10.24 ± 1.80 kPa at 0% oil and 1.10 ± 0.22, 1.97 ± 0.20, 3.13 ± 0.63, 4.60 ± 0.60 and 8.43 ± 1.39 kPa at 20% oil, respectively. The phantom recipe developed in this study can be used in validating ultrasound shear wave elastography techniques for soft tissues.

  5. 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

  6. The stable isotopes of site wide waters at an oil sands mine in northern Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baer, Thomas; Barbour, S. Lee; Gibson, John J.

    2016-10-01

    Oil sands mines have large disturbance footprints and contain a range of new landforms constructed from mine waste such as shale overburden and the byproducts of bitumen extraction such as sand and fluid fine tailings. Each of these landforms are a potential source of water and chemical release to adjacent surface and groundwater, and consequently, the development of methods to track water migration through these landforms is of importance. The stable isotopes of water (i.e. 2H and 18O) have been widely used in hydrology and hydrogeology to characterize surface water/groundwater interactions but have not been extensively applied in mining applications, or specifically to oil sands mining in northern Alberta. A prerequisite for applying these techniques is the establishment of a Local Meteoric Water Line (LMWL) to characterize precipitation at the mine sites as well as the development of a 'catalogue' of the stable water isotope signatures of various mine site waters. This study was undertaken at the Mildred Lake Mine Site, owned and operated by Syncrude Canada Ltd. The LMWL developed from 2 years (2009/2012) of sample collection is shown to be consistent with other LMWLs in western Canada. The results of the study highlight the unique stable water isotope signatures associated with hydraulically placed tailings (sand or fluid fine tailings) and overburden shale dumps relative to natural surface water and groundwater. The signature associated with the snow melt water on reclaimed landscapes was found to be similar to ground water recharge in the region. The isotopic composition of the shale overburden deposits are also distinct and consistent with observations made by other researchers in western Canada on undisturbed shales. The process water associated with the fine and coarse tailings streams has highly enriched 2H and 18O signatures. These signatures are developed through the non-equilibrium fractionation of imported fresh river water during evaporation from

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Effect of Shear Rate and Temperature on Rheological Properties of Vegetable Based Oil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nik, W. B. Wan; Giap, S. G. Eng; Senin, H. B.; Bulat, K. H. Ku

    2007-05-01

    Petroleum oil has been the raw material for over 90% of hydraulic fluid. Limitations of this base material in the aspect of non-renewable, not environmental friendly and its sustainability in the future have prompted a search for more stable and environmentally friendly alternatives. This article presents rheological aspects of hydraulic fluid derived from bio-based material when used as hydraulic fluid. Palm oil with F10 additive is found to be most shearstable. Various empirical models such as modified Power Law, Herschel-Bulkley and Arrhenius-type-relationship are used to evaluate the rheological data. The influence of shear rate and temperature on the variation of viscosity is clearly observed but temperature has more significant influence. Interpretations of rheological models indicate that crop oils belong to pseudo-plastic category. The effect of oil degradation in the aspect of physical property on viscosity is also evaluated.

  11. Next-Generation Sequencing Assessment of Eukaryotic Diversity in Oil Sands Tailings Ponds Sediments and Surface Water.

    PubMed

    Aguilar, Maria; Richardson, Elisabeth; Tan, BoonFei; Walker, Giselle; Dunfield, Peter F; Bass, David; Nesbø, Camilla; Foght, Julia; Dacks, Joel B

    2016-11-01

    Tailings ponds in the Athabasca oil sands (Canada) contain fluid wastes, generated by the extraction of bitumen from oil sands ores. Although the autochthonous prokaryotic communities have been relatively well characterized, almost nothing is known about microbial eukaryotes living in the anoxic soft sediments of tailings ponds or in the thin oxic layer of water that covers them. We carried out the first next-generation sequencing study of microbial eukaryotic diversity in oil sands tailings ponds. In metagenomes prepared from tailings sediment and surface water, we detected very low numbers of sequences encoding eukaryotic small subunit ribosomal RNA representing seven major taxonomic groups of protists. We also produced and analysed three amplicon-based 18S rRNA libraries prepared from sediment samples. These revealed a more diverse set of taxa, 169 different OTUs encompassing up to eleven higher order groups of eukaryotes, according to detailed classification using homology searching and phylogenetic methods. The 10 most abundant OTUs accounted for > 90% of the total of reads, vs. large numbers of rare OTUs (< 1% abundance). Despite the anoxic and hydrocarbon-enriched nature of the environment, the tailings ponds harbour complex communities of microbial eukaryotes indicating that these organisms should be taken into account when studying the microbiology of the oil sands. © 2016 The Author(s) Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology © 2016 International Society of Protistologists.

  12. Spatial and temporal distribution of ambient nitric acid and ammonia in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta

    Treesearch

    A. Bytnerowicz; W. Fraczek; S. Schilling; D. Alexander

    2010-01-01

    Monthly average ambient concentrations of gaseous nitric acid (HNO3) and ammonia (NH3) were monitored at the Athabasca Oils Sands Region (AOSR), Alberta, Canada, between May 2005 and September 2008. Generally, concentrations of both pollutants were elevated and highly variable in space and time. The highest atmospheric...

  13. The importance of atmospheric base cation deposition for preventing soil acidification in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Canada

    Treesearch

    Shaun A. Watmough; Colin J. Whitfield; Mark E. Fenn

    2014-01-01

    Industrial activities in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada have resulted in greatly elevated emissions of SO2 and N (NOx and NH3) and there are concerns over possible widespread ecosystem acidification. Acid sensitive soils in the region are common and have very low base cation weathering rates...

  14. Microbial reduction of amended sulfate in anaerobic mature fine tailings from oil sand.

    PubMed

    Salloum, Myrna J; Dudas, Marvin J; Fedorak, Phillip M

    2002-04-01

    Bitumen extraction from oil sands has resulted in large tailings ponds, containing suspended material that requires over one hundred years to densify. The mature fine tailings (MFT) have become anaerobic and bubbles of gas are observed on the pond surface. Gypsum has been proposed as an additive to increase the rate of MFT consolidation. In a laboratory study, MFT was amended with sulfate and monitored. Pore water sulfate concentrations declined and bicarbonate concentration increased. Nitrate was depleted within 36 d and the levels of soluble iron remained below 0.8 mg L(-1). Thiosulfate and sulfide were detected only near the end of the experiment. Acid volatile sulfides (AVS) increased until day 39, and then reached a plateau. Methane was not detected throughout the incubation in samples amended with sulfate. The increase in AVS supports sulfide incorporation into the solid phase, however, the plateau after 39 d suggests a secondary fate of reduced sulfide.

  15. 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%.

  16. 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

  17. A relevance vector machine-based approach with application to oil sand pump prognostics.

    PubMed

    Hu, Jinfei; Tse, Peter W

    2013-09-18

    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.

  18. 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. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  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. Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

  20. 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.

  1. Harnessing oil sands microbial communities for use in ex situ naphthenic acid bioremediation.

    PubMed

    Demeter, Marc A; Lemire, Joe; George, Iain; Yue, Gordon; Ceri, Howard; Turner, Raymond J

    2014-02-01

    The caustic hot water extraction process used to release bitumen from the Alberta oil sands generates large volumes of tailings waste, or oil sands process water (OSPW). OSPW contains several components of environmental concern including diluents, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and naphthenic acids (NAs); the latter are of particular concern as they are acutely toxic to aquatic organisms and mammals. Studies have demonstrated that the naturally occurring OSPW bacteria are capable of metabolizing the NAs. However, this in situ process takes place over hundreds of years, and is incomplete, leaving a recalcitrant fraction of NAs intact. In this study we explore options for recovering and harnessing the naturally occurring OSPW bacteria for potential future use in an aerobic ex situ OSPW treatment system. Here we evaluate our recovered microbes on their ability to degrade two model NAs, cyclohexane carboxylic acid and cyclohexane acetic acid. Using OSPW as a source for a bacterial inoculum, we were able to compare single and multispecies OSPW cultures, grown as either a biofilm, or as a planktonic suspension. Furthermore, we examined the effect of available nutrients on the ability of these cultures to degrade NAs. All biofilms were grown using the Calgary Biofilm Device. GC-MS, and GC-FID reveal that multispecies biofilm and planktonic cultures are each capable of degrading both NAs; a trait not observed for single species cultures. Moreover, complementary carbon sources have a tangible effect on the ability of the cultures to initiate the degradation of the NAs. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Bacterial Root Microbiome of Plants Growing in Oil Sands Reclamation Covers.

    PubMed

    Mitter, Eduardo K; de Freitas, J Renato; Germida, James J

    2017-01-01

    Oil sands mining in northern Alberta impacts a large footprint, but the industry is committed to reclaim all disturbed land to an ecologically healthy state in response to environmental regulations. However, these newly reconstructed landscapes may be limited by several factors that include low soil nutrient levels and reduced microbial activity. Rhizosphere microorganisms colonize plant roots providing hosts with nutrients, stimulating growth, suppressing disease and increasing tolerance to abiotic stress. High-throughput sequencing techniques can be used to provide a detailed characterization of microbial community structure. This study used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize the bacterial root microbiome associated with annual barley (Hordeum vulgare) and sweet clover (Melilotus albus) growing in an oil sands reclamation area. Our results indicate that Proteobacteria dominated the endosphere, whereas other phyla such as Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes were restricted to the rhizosphere, suggesting that plants have the ability to select for certain soil bacterial consortia. The bacterial community in the endosphere compartments were less rich and diverse compared to the rhizosphere. Furthermore, it was apparent that sweet clover plants were more selective, as the community exhibited a lower richness and diversity compared to barley. Members of the family Rhizobiaceae, such as Sinorhizobium and Rhizobium were mainly associated with clover, whereas Acholeplasma (wall-less bacteria transmitted by insects) was unique to barley. Genera from the Enterobacteriaceae family, such as Yersinia and Lentzea were also mostly detected in barley, while other genera such Pseudomonas and Pantoea were able to successfully colonize both plants. Endophytic bacterial profiles varied within the same plant species at different sampling locations; however, these differences were driven by factors other than slope positions or cover management. Our results suggest that

  3. Screening of genotoxicity and mutagenicity in extractable organics from oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Zetouni, Nikolas C; Siraki, Arno G; Weinfeld, Michael; Pereira, Alberto Dos Santos; Martin, Jonathan W

    2016-11-01

    Large volumes of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) are produced by the oil sands surface mining industry during alkaline hot-water extraction of bitumen. It is well documented that the acid extractable organics (AEOs) in OSPW, a highly complex mixture of acidic and polar neutral substances, are acutely toxic; but few studies have examined the genotoxicity or mutagenicity of this mixture. In the present study, the in vitro SOS Chromotest and the Ames test (TA98 and TA100 strains) were used to evaluate genotoxicity and mutagenicity for whole OSPW AEOs in the presence and absence of biotransformation by rat S9 liver enzymes. Two subfractions were also examined in the same assays: neutral extractable fraction (F1-NE), and the subsequent acid extractable fraction (F2-AE). In the SOS assay, whole AEO was cytotoxic when concentrated 2× (i.e., twice as concentrated as the environmental sample) and showed increasing genotoxic response above 6×. Co-exposure with S9 had a protective effect on the cell SOS-inducing factor and survival but did not eliminate genotoxicity above 6× concentrations. Most of the cytotoxicity was attributable to F2-AE, but both F1-NE and F2-AE had similar genotoxic dose-responses above 6×. In the Ames test without S9, whole AEO was mutagenic in both strains above 10× concentrations. Co-incubation with S9 had little effect on the TA100 strain but with TA98 resulted in bioactivation at midlevel doses (1.5-6.3×) and protection at higher doses (10-25×). The 2 subfractions were mutagenic in both strains but with different dose-responses. Further research in vivo or in more relevant cells is warranted to investigate the carcinogenic risks of OSPW. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;9999:1-8. © 2016 SETAC.

  4. Direct evaluation of in situ biodegradation in Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds using natural abundance radiocarbon.

    PubMed

    Ahad, Jason M E; Pakdel, Hooshang

    2013-09-17

    Compound-specific stable (δ(13)C) and radiocarbon (Δ(14)C) isotopes of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) were used to evaluate carbon sources utilized by the active microbial populations in surface sediments from Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds. Algal-specific PLFAs were absent at three of the four sites investigated, and δ(13)CPLFA values were generally within ~3‰ of that reported for oil sands bitumen (~-30‰), suggesting that the microbial communities growing on petroleum constituents were dominated by aerobic heterotrophs. Δ(14)CPLFA values ranged from -906 to -586‰ and pointed to significant uptake of fossil carbon, particularly in PLFAs (e.g., cy17:0 and cy19:0) often associated with petroleum hydrocarbon degrading bacteria. The comparatively heavier Δ(14)C values found in other, less specific PLFAs (e.g., 16:0) indicated the preferential uptake of younger organic matter by the general microbial population. Since the main carbon pools in tailings sediment were essentially "radiocarbon dead" (i.e., Δ(14)C ~ -1000‰), the principal source for this relatively modern carbon is considered to be the Athabasca River, which provides the bulk of the water used in the bitumen extraction process. The preferential utilization of the minor amount of younger and presumably more labile material present in systems otherwise dominated by petroleum carbon has important implications for remediation strategies, since it implies that organic contaminants may persist long after reclamation has begun. Alternatively, this young organic matter could play a vital and necessary role in supporting the microbial utilization of fossil carbon via cometabolism or priming processes.

  5. Characterization of oil sands process-affected waters by liquid chromatography orbitrap mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Pereira, Alberto S; Bhattacharjee, Subir; Martin, Jonathan W

    2013-05-21

    Recovery of bitumen from oil sands in northern Alberta, Canada, occurs by surface mining or in situ thermal recovery, and both methods produce toxic oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). A new characterization strategy for surface mining OSPW (sm-OSPW) and in situ OSPW (is-OSPW) was achieved by combining liquid chromatography with orbitrap mass spectrometry (MS). In electrospray positive and negative ionization modes (ESI(+)/ESI(-)), mass spectral data were acquired with high resolving power (RP > 100,000-190,000) and mass accuracy (<2 ppm). The additional chromatographic resolution allowed for separation of various isomers and interference-free MS(n) experiments. Overall, ∼3000 elemental compositions were revealed in each OSPW sample, corresponding to a range of heteroatom-containing homologue classes: Ox (where x = 1-6), NOx (where x = 1-4), SOx (where x = 1-4), NO₂S, N, and S. Despite similarities between the OSPW samples at the level of heteroatom class, the two samples were very different when considering isomer patterns and double-bond equivalent profiles. The chromatographic separations also allowed for confirmation that, in both OSPW samples, the O₂ species detected in ESI(-) (i.e., naphthenic acids) were chemically distinct from the corresponding O₂ species detected in ESI(+). In comparison to model compounds, tandem MS spectra of these new O₂ species suggested a group of non-acidic compounds with dihydroxy, diketo, or ketohydroxy functionality. In light of the known endocrine-disrupting potential of sm-OSPW, the toxicity of these O₂ species deserves attention and the method should be further applied to environmental forensic analysis of water in the region.

  6. 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

    2015-03-03

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. Bacterial Root Microbiome of Plants Growing in Oil Sands Reclamation Covers

    PubMed Central

    Mitter, Eduardo K.; de Freitas, J. Renato; Germida, James J.

    2017-01-01

    Oil sands mining in northern Alberta impacts a large footprint, but the industry is committed to reclaim all disturbed land to an ecologically healthy state in response to environmental regulations. However, these newly reconstructed landscapes may be limited by several factors that include low soil nutrient levels and reduced microbial activity. Rhizosphere microorganisms colonize plant roots providing hosts with nutrients, stimulating growth, suppressing disease and increasing tolerance to abiotic stress. High-throughput sequencing techniques can be used to provide a detailed characterization of microbial community structure. This study used 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing to characterize the bacterial root microbiome associated with annual barley (Hordeum vulgare) and sweet clover (Melilotus albus) growing in an oil sands reclamation area. Our results indicate that Proteobacteria dominated the endosphere, whereas other phyla such as Acidobacteria and Gemmatimonadetes were restricted to the rhizosphere, suggesting that plants have the ability to select for certain soil bacterial consortia. The bacterial community in the endosphere compartments were less rich and diverse compared to the rhizosphere. Furthermore, it was apparent that sweet clover plants were more selective, as the community exhibited a lower richness and diversity compared to barley. Members of the family Rhizobiaceae, such as Sinorhizobium and Rhizobium were mainly associated with clover, whereas Acholeplasma (wall-less bacteria transmitted by insects) was unique to barley. Genera from the Enterobacteriaceae family, such as Yersinia and Lentzea were also mostly detected in barley, while other genera such Pseudomonas and Pantoea were able to successfully colonize both plants. Endophytic bacterial profiles varied within the same plant species at different sampling locations; however, these differences were driven by factors other than slope positions or cover management. Our results suggest that

  9. Episodic acidification of 5 rivers in Canada's oil sands during snowmelt: A 25-year record.

    PubMed

    Alexander, A C; Chambers, P A; Jeffries, D S

    2017-12-01

    Episodic acidification during snowmelt is a natural phenomenon that can be intensified by acidic deposition from heavy industry. In Canada's oil sands region, acid deposition is estimated to be as much as 5% of the Canadian total and large tracks of northeastern Alberta are considered acid-sensitive because of extensive peatland habitats with poorly weathered soils. To identify the frequency, duration and severity of acidification episodes during snowmelt (the predominant hydrological period for delivery of priority pollutants from atmospheric oil sands emissions to surface waters), a 25-year record (1989 to 2014) of automated water quality data (pH, temperature, conductivity) was assembled for 3 rivers along with a shorter record (2012-2014) for another 2 rivers. Acidic episodes (pH<7, ANC<0) were recorded during 39% of all 83 snowmelt events. The severity (duration x magnitude) of episodic acidification increased exponentially over the study period (r(2)=0.56, P<0.01) and was strongly correlated (P<0.01) with increasing maximum air temperature and weakly correlated with regional land development (P=0.06). Concentrations of aluminum and 11 priority pollutants (Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Se, Ag, Tl and Zn) were greatest (P<0.01) during low (<6.5) pH episodes, particularly when coincident with high discharge, such that aluminum and copper concentrations were at times high enough to pose a risk to juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Although low pH (pH<6.5) was observed during only 8% of 32 acidification episodes, when present, low pH typically lasted 10days. Episodic surface water acidification during snowmelt, and its potential effects on aquatic biota, is therefore an important consideration in the design of long-term monitoring of these typically alkaline (pH=7.72±0.05) rivers. Crown Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Acute and subchronic mammalian toxicity of naphthenic acids from oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Vincent V; Wickstrom, Mark; Liber, Karsten; MacKinnon, Michael D

    2002-04-01

    Naphthenic acids are the most significant environmental contaminants resulting from petroleum extraction from oil sands deposits. In this study, a mixture of naphthenic acids isolated from Athabasca oil sands (AOS) tailings pond water was used in acute and subchronic toxicity tests with rodents, in order to assess potential risks posed to terrestrial wildlife. Dosages were chosen to bracket worst-case environmental exposure scenarios. In acute tests, adult female Wistar rats were given single po dosages of naphthenic acids at either 3, 30, or 300 mg per kg body weight (mg/kg), while adult male rats received 300 mg/kg. Food consumption was temporarily suppressed in the high-dose groups of both sexes. Following euthanasia 14 days later, histopathology revealed a significant incidence of pericholangitis in the high-dose group of both sexes, suggesting hepatotoxicity as an acute effect. Other histological lesions included brain hemorrhage in high-dose males, and cardiac periarteriolar necrosis and fibrosis in female rats. In subchronic tests, naphthenic acids were po administered to female Wistar rats at 0.6, 6, or 60 mg/kg, 5 days per week for 90 days. Results again suggested the liver as a potential target organ. The relative liver weight in the high-dose group was 35% higher than in controls. Biochemical analysis revealed elevated blood amylase (30% above controls) and hypocholesterolemia (43% below controls) in high-dose rats. Excessive hepatic glycogen accumulation was observed in 42% of animals in this group. These results indicate that, under worst-case exposure conditions, acute toxicity is unlikely in wild mammals exposed to naphthenic acids in AOS tailings pond water, but repeated exposure may have adverse health effects.

  11. Identifying the causes of oil sands coke leachate toxicity to aquatic invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Puttaswamy, Naveen; Liber, Karsten

    2011-11-01

    A previous study found that coke leachates (CL) collected from oil sands field sites were acutely toxic to Ceriodaphnia dubia; however, the cause of toxicity was not known. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to generate CL in the laboratory to evaluate the toxicity response of C. dubia and perform chronic toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) tests to identify the causes of CL toxicity. Coke was subjected to a 15-d batch leaching process at pH 5.5 and 9.5. Leachates were filtered on day 15 and used for chemical and toxicological characterization. The 7-d median lethal concentration (LC50) was 6.3 and 28.7% (v/v) for pH 5.5 and 9.5 CLs, respectively. Trace element characterization of the CLs showed Ni and V levels to be well above their respective 7-d LC50s for C. dubia. Addition of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid significantly (p ≤ 0.05) improved survival and reproduction in pH 5.5 CL, but not in pH 9.5 CL. Cationic and anionic resins removed toxicity of pH 5.5 CL only. Conversely, the toxicity of pH 9.5 CL was completely removed with an anion resin alone, suggesting that the pH 9.5 CL contained metals that formed oxyanions. Toxicity reappeared when Ni and V were added back to anion resin-treated CLs. The TIE results combined with the trace element chemistry suggest that both Ni and V are the cause of toxicity in pH 5.5 CL, whereas V appears to be the primary cause of toxicity in pH 9.5 CL. Environmental monitoring and risk assessments should therefore focus on the fate and toxicity of metals, especially Ni and V, in coke-amended oil sands reclamation landscapes.

  12. The fast oxidation of SO2 in oil sands regions of Alberta,Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Amiri, N.; Norman, A. L.

    2016-12-01

    Secondary aerosols in the atmosphere play a significant role in the Earth's radiation budget and in human health. It is important to understand how secondary aerosols are formed. Atmospheric SO2 oxidation leads to secondary sulfate aerosols. The SO2 oxidation rate needs to be well defined to better understand aerosols and their effects and oxidation varies depending on the oxidants present. This research presents the results of a field campaign from 13 Aug to 5 Sep 2013 at the Wood Buffalo Air Monitoring Station 13 (AMS13) site just south of Fort MacKay, in which two lines of evidence show fast oxidation of SO2 in the region. Size-segregated sulfate aerosols and SO2 gas were collected on microfiber glass filters and filters treated by K2CO3 and glycerin respectively. The sulfur isotopic composition of sulfate aerosols and SO2 were measured. Periods when a nearby instrument was in operation (20m away), displayed markedly distinct d34S values from periods when it was not operational. The nearby instrument used enriched 34SO2, and this affected the resulting d34S values for all sulfate size fractions but not SO2 from our high volume sampler. The most pronounced contamination was observed for sulfate aerosols D<490nm, which are expected to be derived mostly from secondary sulfate. Furthermore, the concentration of SO2 collected on the high volume filters was significantly lower than the concentration measured by a co-located optical analyzer (m=0.4). These observations show that the isotopically enriched SO2 can be used as an unintentional ambient tracer experiment in the Oil Sands region, and that this SO2 was oxidized before reaching the high volume sampler. The results from our study show that SO2 oxidation in the Oil Sands regions in the presence of pollutants such as hydrocarbons is rapid.

  13. 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.

  14. Commercial application of steamflooding in an oil field comprised of multiple thin-sand reservoirs

    SciTech Connect

    Powers, M.L.; Dosdon, C.J.; Ghassemi, F.; Moore, J.S.

    1984-09-01

    Steamfloods conducted in thin reservoirs generally provide marginal economics because of relatively high field development costs per barrel of oil-in-place and excessive heat losses from the productive zone. Techniques are being employed which include the utilization of induced horizontal fractures to circumvent these detriments attributed to thin zones, as well as the problems of steam distribution and confinement inherent in any steamflood. This paper documents the successful application of steamflooding in the multiple thin-sand reservoirs of the Loco Unit, Stephens County, Oklahoma. These reservoirs occur at depths from 50 ft (15 m) to 1,200 ft (366 m), and range in thickness up to 40 ft (12 m). Porosities of the productive zones vary from 20 percent to over 30 percent, and permeabilities range from 100 md to over 4,000 md. Oil gravities of the various zones range from 16 degrees to 24 degrees API. Reservoirs that occur at depths above approximately 700 ft (213 m) had little or no natural reservoir energy and generally contain viscous oils, ranging up to 10,000 cp. Consequently, there was no primary production from these reservoirs and potential for waterflooding was marginal. Steamflooding has been the only recovery process successfully applied to these zones, except for one isolated instance. Reservoirs of depths greater than 700 ft (213 m) normally contain lower viscosity oils. Six of these zones were produced by solution gas drive and were later successfully waterflooded. To date two of these six zones have been tested and have proven to support commercial steamflooding operations, after 23 years of waterflooding.

  15. 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

  16. Investigations of mercury concentrations in walleye and other fish in the Athabasca River ecosystem with increasing oil sands developments.

    PubMed

    Evans, Marlene S; Talbot, André

    2012-07-01

    Recent studies have reported an increasing trend of mercury concentrations in walleye (Sander vitreus) from the Athabasca River, north eastern Alberta (Canada); these studies were based on three years of comparison and attributed the mercury increase to expanding oil sands developments in the region. In order to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of mercury trends in fish, we compiled an extensive database for walleye, lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), northern pike (Esox lucius) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) using all available data obtained from provincial, federal, and industry-funded monitoring and other programs. Evidence for increasing trends in mercury concentrations were examined for each species by location and year also considering fish weight and length. In the immediate oil sands area of the Athabasca River, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.001) in walleye and lake whitefish over 1984-2011. In western Lake Athabasca and its delta, mercury concentrations decreased (p < 0.0001) in northern pike (1981-2009) although no trend was evident for walleye (1981-2005) and lake trout (1978-2009). Mercury concentrations in lake trout from Namur Lake, a small lake west of the oil sands area, were higher in 2007 than 2000 (p < 0.0001); it is difficult to ascribe this increase to an oil sands impact because similar increases in mercury concentrations have been observed in lake trout from similar sized lakes in the Northwest Territories. While mercury emissions rates have increased with oil sands development and the landscape become more disturbed, mercury concentrations remained low in water and sediments in the Athabasca River and its tributaries and similar to concentrations observed outside the development areas and in earlier decades. Our fish database was assembled from a series of studies that differed in study purpose, design, and analytical methods. Future monitoring programs investigating mercury trends in fish should be more rigorous

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Bare Shear Viscosity and Anomalous Fall Rate of Oil Droplets in Nitrogen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varley, Rodney

    2011-11-01

    Experimental evidence of Kim and Fedele (1982) indicates a breakdown of the Millikan Law for the fall rate of oil droplets in Nitrogen gas over a pressure range of 1-15 atm. The discrepancy is most pronounced for smallest, 0.1 micron radius droplets for which the fall rate increases with pressure. The opposite behavior was observed by Millikan with larger drops in air of pressure at most one atm. We explain these results by arguing that the particle's motion, in particular Stokes' drag formula, is determined by the so-called bare shear viscosity which applies to micro fluid flows. This is in contrast with the usual theory which uses a renormalized shear viscosity and which is well approximated by the Enskog value. A mode coupling formula for the bare shear viscosity is discussed and a graphical comparison is made with the experimental results. Basically an increase in gas pressure produces a decrease in the bare shear viscosity and thus the fall rate increases. The idea that the shear viscosity is smaller for micro flows is consistent with the intuitive belief that on small enough spatial and time scales, fluid flows are conservative without dissipation.

  20. Gill and liver histopathological changes in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) exposed to oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Nero, V; Farwell, A; Lister, A; Van der Kraak, G; Lee, L E J; Van Meer, T; MacKinnon, M D; Dixon, D G

    2006-03-01

    The extraction of bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands (Alberta, Canada) produces significant volumes of process-affected water containing elevated levels of naphthenic acids (NAs), ions, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The sublethal response of aquatic organisms exposed to oil sands constituents in experimental aquatic environments that represent possible reclamation options has been studied. In this study, the effects of process-affected waters on gill and liver tissues in yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and caged goldfish (Carassius auratus) held in several reclamation ponds at Syncrude's Mildred Lake site have been assessed. Following a 3-week exposure, significant gill (epithelial cell necrosis, mucous cell proliferation) and liver (hepatocellular degeneration, inflammatory cell infiltration) histopathological changes were noted in fish held in waters containing high levels of oil sands process-affected water. In addition, measurements of gill dimensions (gill morphometrical indices) proved sensitive and provided evidence of a physiological disturbance (gas exchange) with exposure to oil sands materials. Due to the complexity of oil sands process-affected water, the cause of the alterations could not be attributed to specific oil sands constituents. However, the histopathological parameters were strong indicators of exposure to oil sands process-affected water and morphometrical data were sensitive indicators of pathological response, which can be used to identify the interactive effects of ionic content, NAs, and PAHs in future laboratory studies.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Understanding the primary emissions and secondary formation of gaseous organic acids in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liggio, John; Moussa, Samar G.; Wentzell, Jeremy; Darlington, Andrea; Liu, Peter; Leithead, Amy; Hayden, Katherine; O'Brien, Jason; Mittermeier, Richard L.; Staebler, Ralf; Wolde, Mengistu; Li, Shao-Meng

    2017-07-01

    Organic acids are known to be emitted from combustion processes and are key photochemical products of biogenic and anthropogenic precursors. Despite their multiple environmental impacts, such as on acid deposition and human-ecosystem health, little is known regarding their emission magnitudes or detailed chemical formation mechanisms. In the current work, airborne measurements of 18 gas-phase low-molecular-weight organic acids were made in the summer of 2013 over the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, an area of intense unconventional oil extraction. The data from these measurements were used in conjunction with emission retrieval algorithms to derive the total and speciated primary organic acid emission rates, as well as secondary formation rates downwind of oil sands operations. The results of the analysis indicate that approximately 12 t day-1 of low-molecular-weight organic acids, dominated by C1-C5 acids, were emitted directly from off-road diesel vehicles within open pit mines. Although there are no specific reporting requirements for primary organic acids, the measured emissions were similar in magnitude to primary oxygenated hydrocarbon emissions, for which there are reporting thresholds, measured previously ( ≈ 20 t day-1). Conversely, photochemical production of gaseous organic acids significantly exceeded the primary sources, with formation rates of up to ≈ 184 t day-1 downwind of the oil sands facilities. The formation and evolution of organic acids from a Lagrangian flight were modelled with a box model, incorporating a detailed hydrocarbon reaction mechanism extracted from the Master Chemical Mechanism (v3.3). Despite evidence of significant secondary organic acid formation, the explicit chemical box model largely underestimated their formation in the oil sands plumes, accounting for 39, 46, 26, and 23 % of the measured formic, acetic, acrylic, and propionic acids respectively and with little contributions from biogenic VOC precursors. The model

  4. Cyclicity concept in a deltaic to shallow-marine environment of deposition concerning an oil-sand setting

    SciTech Connect

    Rodriguez, A.

    1984-04-01

    The need to accurately define sand trend and quality in a deltaic to shallow-marine environment of deposition where facies changes take place over a short distance is widely recognized. In an oil-sand environment, such as the Cerro Negro area of the Orinoco Petroliferous Belt, this need is more evident because enhanced recovery projects are necessary. Facies variability and correlation problems in such a setting have led many workers to apply indiscriminately the cyclicity concept as an exploration/exploitation tool. According to this concept, a cycle begins with a transgressive sand and ends with a marsh facies represented by a coal bed. Subdivision of the rock column into cycles allow delineation of sand geometry. Recent works have demonstrated that rooted coal beds can be formed in different coastal environments, ranging from the upper delta plain to the back-barrier lagoon facies. Therefore, it is obvious that the association of these facies will differ from one another and from the standard cycle concept. In the Cerro Negro area, the process-controlled genetic unit concept was of great help in defining sand geometry and quality. The rock column of cored wells can be subdivided according to the presence of physical and biological parameters into 4 units, differentiated by the occurrence of rooted coal, limestone, sand, shale, Ophiomorpha-type burrows (Fositextura figurativa), bioturbation structures (Fositextura deformativa), and shell fragments.

  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.

  6. 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.

  7. Is biodegradation of bitumen a source of recalcitrant naphthenic acid mixtures in oil sands tailing pond waters?

    PubMed

    Quagraine, E K; Headley, J V; Peterson, H G

    2005-01-01

    Carboxylic acids are transient metabolites during the mineralization of petroleum hydrocarbons. Crude oils, however, vary in their proportion of the hydrocarbon components. Depending on structure, some carboxylic acid metabolites resist further biodegradation and persist in aquatic systems. During the extraction of oil sands bitumen, recalcitrant carboxylic acid mixtures, collectively referred to as naphthenic acids (NAs), are released into the wastewaters. These waters also contain unrecovered bitumen from the oil sands. The unextracted bitumen is often overlooked as a possible source of the petroleum acids. The present article discusses the literature data on the biotransformation of hydrocarbons in bitumen from oil sands to the corresponding petroleum carboxylic acids. Some insight is given on the mechanism of the biodegradation process. The susceptibility to biodegradation is affected by differences in alicyclic carboxylic acids such as carbon chain length, chain branching, and the oddness or evenness of carbon chain containing the carboxylic group, positions where alkyl groups are substituted on the cyclic ring, geometrical isomerism, and number of cyclic rings.

  8. Development and Application of a Life Cycle-Based Model to Evaluate Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Oil Sands Upgrading Technologies.

    PubMed

    Pacheco, Diana M; Bergerson, Joule A; Alvarez-Majmutov, Anton; Chen, Jinwen; MacLean, Heather L

    2016-12-20

    A life cycle-based model, OSTUM (Oil Sands Technologies for Upgrading Model), which evaluates the energy intensity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of current oil sands upgrading technologies, is developed. Upgrading converts oil sands bitumen into high quality synthetic crude oil (SCO), a refinery feedstock. OSTUM's novel attributes include the following: the breadth of technologies and upgrading operations options that can be analyzed, energy intensity and GHG emissions being estimated at the process unit level, it not being dependent on a proprietary process simulator, and use of publicly available data. OSTUM is applied to a hypothetical, but realistic, upgrading operation based on delayed coking, the most common upgrading technology, resulting in emissions of 328 kg CO2e/m(3) SCO. The primary contributor to upgrading emissions (45%) is the use of natural gas for hydrogen production through steam methane reforming, followed by the use of natural gas as fuel in the rest of the process units' heaters (39%). OSTUM's results are in agreement with those of a process simulation model developed by CanmetENERGY, other literature, and confidential data of a commercial upgrading operation. For the application of the model, emissions are found to be most sensitive to the amount of natural gas utilized as feedstock by the steam methane reformer. OSTUM is capable of evaluating the impact of different technologies, feedstock qualities, operating conditions, and fuel mixes on upgrading emissions, and its life cycle perspective allows easy incorporation of results into well-to-wheel analyses.

  9. Sources of particulate matter components in the Athabasca oil sands region: investigation through a comparison of trace element measurement methodologies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Phillips-Smith, Catherine; Jeong, Cheol-Heon; Healy, Robert M.; Dabek-Zlotorzynska, Ewa; Celo, Valbona; Brook, Jeffrey R.; Evans, Greg

    2017-08-01

    The province of Alberta, Canada, is home to three oil sands regions which, combined, contain the third largest deposit of oil in the world. Of these, the Athabasca oil sands region is the largest. As part of Environment and Climate Change Canada's program in support of the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring program, concentrations of trace elements in PM2. 5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 µm in diameter) were measured through two campaigns that involved different methodologies: a long-term filter campaign and a short-term intensive campaign. In the long-term campaign, 24 h filter samples were collected once every 6 days over a 2-year period (December 2010-November 2012) at three air monitoring stations in the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo. For the intensive campaign (August 2013), hourly measurements were made with an online instrument at one air monitoring station; daily filter samples were also collected. The hourly and 24 h filter data were analyzed individually using positive matrix factorization. Seven emission sources of PM2. 5 trace elements were thereby identified: two types of upgrader emissions, soil, haul road dust, biomass burning, and two sources of mixed origin. The upgrader emissions, soil, and haul road dust sources were identified through both the methodologies and both methodologies identified a mixed source, but these exhibited more differences than similarities. The second upgrader emissions and biomass burning sources were only resolved by the hourly and filter methodologies, respectively. The similarity of the receptor modeling results from the two methodologies provided reassurance as to the identity of the sources. Overall, much of the PM2. 5-related trace elements were found to be anthropogenic, or at least to be aerosolized through anthropogenic activities. These emissions may in part explain the previously reported higher levels of trace elements in snow, water, and biota samples collected

  10. 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; ...

    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

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 that 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.

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

    SciTech Connect

    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 that 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.

  13. Cracked and full of sand: microstructural insights into how oil gets into a crystalline basement reservoir

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holdsworth, Bob; McCaffrey, Ken; Dempsey, Eddie

    2017-04-01

    The fractured Neoarchaean orthogneisses forming the 200km long, NE-SW trending Rona Ridge lie offshore along the southeast margin of the Faroe-Shetland Basin (FSB). The basement ridge was uplifted during Cretaceous-age normal faulting and is flanked and immediately overlain by Devonian to Cretaceous cover sequences. Basement-hosted oil is known to occur in significant volumes in at least two fields (Clair, Lancaster). Re-Os dating of bitumen samples from the Clair Field suggests that oil was generated in the period 64-72Ma. A new microstructural study of basement cores was carried out to assess the mechanisms and timing of oil charge and other fracture-hosted mineralization. Oil charge is everywhere associated with quartz-adularia-calcite-pyrite mineralization and is hosted in a complex mesh of interconnected shear and tensile fractures that formed during a single protracted episode of brittle deformation. This association is recognized in all basement cores containing oil and also in locally overlying well-cemented Devonian (Lower Clair Group) and Jurassic (Rona Sandstone) sequences. Mineralization and oil charge is everywhere associated with clastic sedimentary infillings which occur either as vein-hosted injected slurries, or as little deformed laminated infills in mm to dm-scale open fractures. The latter preserve delicate way-up criteria and geopetal structures. The largest accumulations of oil are found either in these poorly-cemented sedimentary infills, or in fracture-hosted vuggy cavities up to several cm across. All these features, together with the widespread development of zoned mineral cements and cockade textures suggest a low-temperature hydrothermal system that likely formed in a near surface (<1-2km depth) environment. It appears that highly dilated, open fractures developed in relatively strong basement or overlying well cemented sedimentary rocks and were able to act as long-lived fluid channel-ways. There is no textural evidence for reactivation

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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. Copyright © 2016 British Geological Survey

  17. Methane Biogeochemical Cycling over Seasonal and Annual Scales in an Oil Sands Tailings End Pit Lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goad, C.; Arriaga, D.; Risacher, F.; Morris, P.; Slater, G.; Warren, L. A.

    2016-12-01

    Bitumen extraction in the Alberta Oil Sand Region (AOSR) produces significant volumes of tailings that are being managed as part of land reclamation activities. Oil Sands tailings have very slow sedimentation and consolidation rates and are thus referred to as Fluid Fine Tailings (FFT). Syncrude Canada Ltd. has undertaken the first full scale test of wet reclamation of FFT via the development of an end pit lake. Research is underway to understand the role of microbial biogeochemical cycling within the end pit lake and the implications of this cycling to the development of a stable lake system over time. Biogeochemical cycling of methane, which is known to be produced by microbial activity within FFT, is considered of primary interest during the initial stages of this end pit lake project. This study is focussed on the concentrations and isotopic compositions of methane and microbial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) during the initial stages of lake development. Dissolved methane concentrations in the epilimnion were very low ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 μM. Below this, dissolved methane increased from 1.3-2.0 μM in the metalimnion (6m depth), to 25-50 μM in the hypolimnion (8m depth) and further to 75-110 μM directly above the sediment water interface (9-10m depth). This trend was opposite to that observed for oxygen which decreased from 75% saturation at surface and in the epilimnion to 1-2% in the hypolimnion. These trends in methane and oxygen concentration are consistent with methane oxidation consuming dissolved methane and oxygen, with the highest rates occurring at the metalimnion. Cellular biomass estimates based on PLFA concentrations had an average value of 6.0x105 cells/mL in June and increased slightly to 1.8x106 cells/mL in late August. Ongoing research in 2016, will continue to monitor methane and PLFA concentrations and will include isotopic analysis (δ13C) of dissolved methane and PLFA to further elucidate the occurrence and importance of methane

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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...

  3. 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...

  4. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    2013-06-04

    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.

  7. Achieving Conservation when Opportunity Costs Are High: Optimizing Reserve Design in Alberta's Oil Sands Region

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Richard R.; Hauer, Grant; Farr, Dan; Adamowicz, W. L.; Boutin, Stan

    2011-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that conservation gains can be achieved when the spatial distributions of biological benefits and economic costs are incorporated in the conservation planning process. Using Alberta, Canada, as a case study we apply these techniques in the context of coarse-filter reserve design. Because targets for ecosystem representation and other coarse-filter design elements are difficult to define objectively we use a trade-off analysis to systematically explore the relationship between conservation targets and economic opportunity costs. We use the Marxan conservation planning software to generate reserve designs at each level of conservation target to ensure that our quantification of conservation and economic outcomes represents the optimal allocation of resources in each case. Opportunity cost is most affected by the ecological representation target and this relationship is nonlinear. Although petroleum resources are present throughout most of Alberta, and include highly valuable oil sands deposits, our analysis indicates that over 30% of public lands could be protected while maintaining access to more than 97% of the value of the region's resources. Our case study demonstrates that optimal resource allocation can be usefully employed to support strategic decision making in the context of land-use planning, even when conservation targets are not well defined. PMID:21858046

  8. Achieving conservation when opportunity costs are high: optimizing reserve design in Alberta's oil sands region.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Richard R; Hauer, Grant; Farr, Dan; Adamowicz, W L; Boutin, Stan

    2011-01-01

    Recent studies have shown that conservation gains can be achieved when the spatial distributions of biological benefits and economic costs are incorporated in the conservation planning process. Using Alberta, Canada, as a case study we apply these techniques in the context of coarse-filter reserve design. Because targets for ecosystem representation and other coarse-filter design elements are difficult to define objectively we use a trade-off analysis to systematically explore the relationship between conservation targets and economic opportunity costs. We use the Marxan conservation planning software to generate reserve designs at each level of conservation target to ensure that our quantification of conservation and economic outcomes represents the optimal allocation of resources in each case. Opportunity cost is most affected by the ecological representation target and this relationship is nonlinear. Although petroleum resources are present throughout most of Alberta, and include highly valuable oil sands deposits, our analysis indicates that over 30% of public lands could be protected while maintaining access to more than 97% of the value of the region's resources. Our case study demonstrates that optimal resource allocation can be usefully employed to support strategic decision making in the context of land-use planning, even when conservation targets are not well defined.

  9. 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.

  10. Sequential biodegradation of complex naphtha hydrocarbons under methanogenic conditions in two different oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Mohamad Shahimin, Mohd Faidz; Siddique, Tariq

    2017-02-01

    Methane emissions in oil sands tailings ponds are sustained by anaerobic biodegradation of unrecovered hydrocarbons. Naphtha (primarily C6-C10; n- iso- and cycloalkanes) is commonly used as a solvent during bitumen extraction process and its residue escapes to tailings ponds during tailings deposition. To investigate biodegradability of hydrocarbons in naphtha, mature fine tailings (MFT) collected from Albian and CNRL tailings ponds were amended with CNRL naphtha at ∼0.2 wt% (∼2000 mg L(-1)) and incubated under methanogenic conditions for ∼1600 d. Microbial communities in both MFTs started metabolizing naphtha after a lag phase of ∼100 d. Complete biodegradation/biotransformation of all n-alkanes (except partial biodegradation of n-octane in CNRL MFT) followed by major iso-alkanes (2-methylpentane, 3-methylhexane, 2- and 4-methylheptane, iso-nonanes and 2-methylnonane) and a few cycloalkanes (derivatives of cyclopentane and cyclohexane) was observed during the incubation. 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing showed dominance of Peptococcaceae and Anaerolineaceae in Albian MFT and Anaerolineaceae and Syntrophaceae in CNRL MFT bacterial communities with co-domination of Methanosaetaceae and "Candidatus Methanoregula" in archaeal populations during active biodegradation of hydrocarbons. The findings extend the known range of hydrocarbons susceptible to methanogenic biodegradation in petroleum-impacted anaerobic environments and help refine existing kinetic model to predict greenhouse gas emissions from tailings ponds. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Air quality over the Canadian oil sands: A first assessment using satellite observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McLinden, C. A.; Fioletov, V.; Boersma, K. F.; Krotkov, N.; Sioris, C. E.; Veefkind, J. P.; Yang, K.

    2012-02-01

    Results from the first assessment of air quality over the Canadian oil sands-one of the largest industrial undertakings in human history-using satellite remote sensing observations of two pollutants, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), are presented. High-resolution maps were created that revealed distinct enhancements in both species over an area (roughly 30 km × 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Bioreactor studies predict whole microbial population dynamics in oil sands tailings ponds.

    PubMed

    Chi Fru, Ernest; Chen, Michael; Walshe, Gillian; Penner, Tara; Weisener, Christopher

    2013-04-01

    Microorganisms in oil sands fluid fine tailings (FFT) are critical to biogeochemical elemental cycling as well as to the degradation of residual hydrocarbon constituents and subsequent methane and CO2 production. Microbial activity enhances particulate matter sedimentation rates and the dewatering of FFT materials, allowing water to be recycled back into bitumen extraction. A bulk of this evidence comes from bioreactor studies and has implications for engineering and environmental management of the FFT ponds. Yet, it is largely uncertain whether such laboratory populations are representative of whole field scale microbial communities. By using population ecology tools, we compared whole microbial communities present in FFT bioreactors to reference populations existing in Syncrude's West In Pit (WIP) tailings pond. Bacteria were found to be persistent in a sulfidic zone in both the oxic and anoxic bioreactors at all occasions tested. In contrast to the WIP, archaea only became predominant in bioreactors after 300 days, at which point analysis of similarity (global R statistic p<0.5) revealed no significant dissimilarities between the populations present in either system. A whole community succession pattern from bacterial dominated prevalence to a new assemblage predominated by archaea was suggested. These results have implications for the stepwise development of microbial model systems for predictive management of field scale FFT basins.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Interaction of microbial sulphate reduction and methanogenesis in oil sands tailings ponds.

    PubMed

    Stasik, Sebastian; Wendt-Potthoff, Katrin

    2014-05-01

    Anaerobic turnover of organic compounds in oil sands tailings ponds is accomplished by a complex microbial consortium. We examined major electron accepting processes in mature fine tailings (MFT). Beside methanogenesis and sulphate reduction, microbial iron reduction was an important process of anaerobic respiration. Microbial numbers and activity were comparable to those reported for natural lakes. To understand metabolic interactions of indigenous methanogenic and sulphate-reducing communities, we conducted a 6 month microcosm experiment with MFT supplemented with easily available carbon sources and molybdate and/or 2-bromoethane sulphonate (BES) as specific inhibitors for sulphate reduction and methanogenesis. Methanogenesis increased when microcosms were supplemented with extra carbon, but was completely inhibited by the addition of BES. Molybdate not only inhibited sulphate reduction, but also methanogenesis, indicating a positive relation between the two processes. The turnover of extra carbon sources differed between microcosms treated with molybdate and BES. Acetate and propionate were not consumed in microcosms amended with molybdate, indicating that sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB) were responsible for their metabolisation, and that methane was rather produced by hydrogenotrophic methanogens. In microcosms without molybdate, acetate transiently accumulated, indicating the activity of both incomplete and complete oxidizing SRB. Ethanol and lactate were also consumed in the simultaneous presence of BES and molybdate, demonstrating the occurrence of other anaerobic processes. Biomass increased by the addition of extra carbon, mainly due to a relative increase in the proportion of SRB. The addition of extra carbon lowered the degradation of BTEX compounds.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. A first approximation kinetic model to predict methane generation from an oil sands tailings settling basin.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Gupta, Rajender; Fedorak, Phillip M; MacKinnon, Michael D; Foght, Julia M

    2008-08-01

    A small fraction of the naphtha diluent used for oil sands processing escapes with tailings and supports methane (CH(4)) biogenesis in large anaerobic settling basins such as Mildred Lake Settling Basin (MLSB) in northern Alberta, Canada. Based on the rate of naphtha metabolism in tailings incubated in laboratory microcosms, a kinetic model comprising lag phase, rate of hydrocarbon metabolism and conversion to CH(4) was developed to predict CH(4) biogenesis and flux from MLSB. Zero- and first-order kinetic models, respectively predicted generation of 5.4 and 5.1 mmol CH(4) in naphtha-amended microcosms compared to 5.3 (+/-0.2) mmol CH(4) measured in microcosms during 46 weeks of incubation. These kinetic models also predicted well the CH(4) produced by tailings amended with either naphtha-range n-alkanes or BTEX compounds at concentrations similar to those expected in MLSB. Considering 25% of MLSB's 200 million m(3) tailings volume to be methanogenic, the zero- and first-order kinetic models applied over a wide range of naphtha concentrations (0.01-1.0 wt%) predicted production of 8.9-400 million l CH(4) day(-1) from MLSB, which exceeds the estimated production of 3-43 million l CH(4) day(-1). This discrepancy may result from heterogeneity and density of the tailings, presence of nutrients in the microcosms, and/or overestimation of the readily biodegradable fraction of the naphtha in MLSB tailings.

  2. Mixed-species biofilms cultured from an oil sand tailings pond can biomineralize metals.

    PubMed

    Golby, Susanne; Ceri, Howard; Marques, Lyriam L R; Turner, Raymond J

    2014-07-01

    Here, we used an in vitro biofilm approach to study metal resistance and/or tolerance of mixed-species biofilms grown from an oil sand tailings pond in northern Alberta, Canada. Metals can be inhibitory to microbial hydrocarbon degradation. If microorganisms are exposed to metal concentrations above their resistance levels, metabolic activities and hydrocarbon degradation can be slowed significantly, if not inhibited completely. For this reason, bioremediation strategies may be most effective if metal-resistant microorganisms are used. Viability was measured after exposure to a range of concentrations of ions of Cu, Ag, Pb, Ni, Zn, V, Cr, and Sr. Mixed-species biofilms were found to be extremely metal resistant; up to 20 mg/L of Pb, 16 mg/L of Zn, 1,000 mg/L of Sr, and 3.2 mg/L of Ni. Metal mineralization was observed by visualization with scanning electron microscopy with metal crystals of Cu, Ag, Pb, and Sr exuding from the biofilms. Following metal exposure, the mixed-species biofilms were analyzed by molecular methods and were found to maintain high levels of species complexity. A single species isolated from the community (Rhodococcus erythropolis) was used as a comparison against the mixed-community biofilm and was seen to be much less tolerant to metal stress than the community and did not biomineralize the metals.

  3. 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.

  4. Hydrocarbon-Degrading Bacteria and the Bacterial Community Response in Gulf of Mexico Beach Sands Impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill▿†‡

    PubMed Central

    Kostka, Joel E.; Prakash, Om; Overholt, Will A.; Green, Stefan J.; Freyer, Gina; Canion, Andy; Delgardio, Jonathan; Norton, Nikita; Hazen, Terry C.; Huettel, Markus

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21948834

  5. 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.

  6. Detection of naphthenic acids in fish exposed to commercial naphthenic acids and oil sands process-affected water.

    PubMed

    Young, R F; Orr, E A; Goss, G G; Fedorak, P M

    2007-06-01

    Naphthenic acids are a complex mixture of carboxylic acids that occur naturally in petroleum. During the extraction of bitumen from the oil sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, naphthenic acids are released into the aqueous phase and these acids become the most toxic components in the process-affected water. Although previous studies have exposed fish to naphthenic acids or oil sands process-affected waters, there has been no analytical method to specifically detect naphthenic acids in fish. Here, we describe a qualitative method to specifically detect these acids. In 96-h static renewal tests, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) fingerlings were exposed to three different treatments: (1) fed pellets that contained commercial naphthenic acids (1.5mg g(-1) of food), (2) kept in tap water that contained commercial naphthenic acids (3mg l(-1)) and (3) kept in an oil sands process-affected water that contained 15mg naphthenic acids l(-1). Five-gram samples of fish were homogenized and extracted, then the mixture of free fatty acids and naphthenic acids was isolated from the extract using strong anion exchange chromatography. The mixture was derivatized and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Reconstructed ion chromatograms (m/z=267) selectively detected naphthenic acids. These acids were present in each fish that was exposed to naphthenic acids, but absent in fish that were not exposed to naphthenic acids. The minimum detectable concentration was about 1microg naphthenic acids g(-1) of fish.

  7. 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.

  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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Thyroid pathology in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculata) from a reclaimed mine site on the athabasca oil sands.

    PubMed

    Movasseghi, Ahmad; Rodríguez-Estival, Jaime; Smits, Judit E G

    2017-03-01

    Information on naturally occurring thyroid disease in wild animals in general and in small mammals specifically is extremely limited. In the present field-based work, we investigated the structure and function of thyroid glands of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculata) studied as sentinels of ecosystem sustainability on reclaimed areas post-mining on the oil sands of northeastern Alberta, because of their greater sensitivity to contaminants relative to meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) on the same sites. Extraction of bitumen in the oil sands of northeastern Alberta, results in the release of contaminants including polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), metals, and metalloids to the environment that have a measurable biological cost to wildlife living in the affected areas. In previous investigations, deer mice exposed to pollution at reclaimed areas showed compromised ability to regenerate glutathione indicating oxidative stress, together with decreased testicular mass and body condition during the breeding season. In the present study, thyroid glands from those deer mice from the reclaimed site had markedly increased follicular cell proliferation and decreased colloid compared to animals from the reference site. This pathology was positively associated with the greater oxidative stress in the deer mice. Thyroid hormones, both thyroxine and triiodothyronine, were also higher in animals with greater oxidative stress indicating increased metabolic demands from contaminant related subclinical toxicity. This work emphasizes the value of using a combination of endocrinological, histological and oxidative stress biomarkers to provide sensitive measures of contaminant exposure in small mammals on the oil sands. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. 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.

  11. Anaerobic biodegradation of longer-chain n-alkanes coupled to methane production in oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Siddique, Tariq; Penner, Tara; Semple, Kathleen; Foght, Julia M

    2011-07-01

    Extraction of bitumen from mined oil sands ores produces enormous volumes of tailings that are stored in settling basins (current inventory ≥ 840 million m(3)). Our previous studies revealed that certain hydrocarbons (short-chain n-alkanes [C(6)-C(10)] and monoaromatics [toluene, o-xylene, m-xylene]) in residual naphtha entrained in the tailings are biodegraded to CH(4) by a consortium of microorganisms. Here we show that higher molecular weight n-alkanes (C(14), C(16), and C(18)) are also degraded under methanogenic conditions in oil sands tailings, albeit after a lengthy lag (~180 d) before the onset of methanogenesis. Gas chromatographic analyses showed that the longer-chain n-alkanes each added at ~400 mg L(-1) were completely degraded by the resident microorganisms within ~440 d at ~20 °C. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis of clone libraries implied that the predominant pathway of longer-chain n-alkane metabolism in tailings is through syntrophic oxidation of n-alkanes coupled with CO(2) reduction to CH(4). These studies demonstrating methanogenic biodegradation of longer-chain n-alkanes by microbes native to oil sands tailings may be important for effective management of tailings and greenhouse gas emissions from tailings ponds.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    2016-01-05

    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.

  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. 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

  18. Detoxification, endocrine, and immune responses of tree swallow nestlings naturally exposed to air contaminants from the Alberta oil sands.

    PubMed

    Cruz-Martinez, Luis; Fernie, Kim J; Soos, Catherine; Harner, Tom; Getachew, Fitsum; Smits, Judit E G

    2015-01-01

    Changes in environmental and wildlife health from contaminants in tailings water on the Canadian oil sands have been well-studied; however, effects of air contaminants on wildlife health have not. A field study was conducted to assess biological costs of natural exposure to oil sands-related air emissions on birds. Nest boxes for tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were erected at two sites; within 5 km of active oil sands mining and extraction, and ≥ 60 km south, at one reference site. Passive air monitors were deployed at the nest boxes to measure nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Nestlings were examined at day 9 post hatching to assess T cell function and morphometry. At day 14 post hatching, a subset of nestlings was euthanized to measure detoxification enzymes, endocrine changes, and histological alterations of immune organs. Except for ozone, all air contaminants were higher at the two oil sands sites than the reference site (up to 5-fold). Adult birds had similar reproductive performance among sites (p>0.05). Nestlings from industrial sites showed higher hepatic ethoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (EROD) induction (p<0.0001) with lower relative hepatic mass (p=0.0001), a smaller T cell response to the phytohemagglutinin skin test (p=0.007), and smaller bursae of Fabricius (p<0.02); a low sample size for one site indicating lower body condition scores (p=0.01) at day 14 warrants cautious interpretation. There were no differences among nestlings for feather corticosterone (p>0.6), and no histological alterations in the spleen or bursa of Fabricius (p>0.05). This is the first report examining toxicological responses in wild birds exposed to air contaminants from industrial activity in the oil sands. It is also the first time that small, individual air contaminant monitors have been used to determine local contaminant levels in ambient air around nest boxes of wild birds. Copyright

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Elemental and spectroscopic characterization of fractions of an acidic extract of oil sands process water.

    PubMed

    Jones, D; Scarlett, A G; West, C E; Frank, R A; Gieleciak, R; Hager, D; Pureveen, J; Tegelaar, E; Rowland, S J

    2013-11-01

    'Naphthenic acids' (NAs) in petroleum produced water and oil sands process water (OSPW), have been implicated in toxicological effects. However, many are not well characterized. A method for fractionation of NAs of an OSPW was used herein and a multi-method characterization of the fractions conducted. The unfractionated OSPW acidic extract was characterized by elemental analysis, electrospray ionization-Orbitrap-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), and an esterified extract by Fourier Transform infrared (FTIR) and ultraviolet-visible (UV) absorption spectroscopy and by comprehensive multidimensional gas chromatography-MS (GCxGC-MS). Methyl esters were fractionated by argentation solid phase extraction (Ag(+) SPE) and fractions eluting with: hexane; diethyl ether: hexane and diethyl ether, examined. Each was weighed, examined by elemental analysis, FTIR, UV, GC-MS and GCxGC-MS (both nominal and high resolution MS). The ether fraction, containing sulfur, was also examined by GCxGC-sulfur chemiluminescence detection (GCxGC-SCD). The major ions detected by ESI-MS in the OSPW extract were assigned to alicyclic and aromatic 'O2' acids; sulfur was also present. Components recovered by Ag(+) SPE were also methyl esters of alicyclic and aromatic acids; these contained little sulfur or nitrogen. FTIR spectra showed that hydroxy acids and sulfoxides were absent or minor. UV spectra, along with the C/H ratio, further confirmed the aromaticity of the hexane:ether eluate. The more minor ether eluate contained further aromatics and 1.5% sulfur. FTIR spectra indicated free carboxylic acids, in addition to esters. Four major sulfur compounds were detected by GCxGC-SCD. GCxGC-high resolution MS indicated these were methyl esters of C18 S-containing, diaromatics with ≥C3 carboxylic acid side chains. Copyright © 2013 Crown Copyright and Elsevier Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Effect of naphtha diluent on greenhouse gases and reduced sulfur compounds emissions from oil sands tailings.

    PubMed

    Gee, Kathleen F; Poon, Ho Yin; Hashisho, Zaher; Ulrich, Ania C

    2017-11-15

    The long-term storage of oil sands tailings has resulted in the evolution of greenhouse gases (CH4 and CO2) as a result of residual organics biodegradation. Recent studies have identified black, sulfidic zones below the tailings-water interface, which may be producing toxic sulfur-containing gases. An anaerobic mesocosm study was conducted over an 11-week period to characterize the evolution of CH4, CO2 and reduced sulfur compounds (RSCs) (including H2S) in tailings as it relates to naphtha-containing diluent concentrations (0.2, 0.8, and 1.5% w/v) and microbial activity. Our results showed that RSCs were produced first at 0.12μmol°RSCs/mL MFT (1.5% w/v diluent treatment). RSCs contribution (from highest to lowest) was H2S and 2-methylthiophene>2.5-dimethylthiophene>3-methylthiophene>thiofuran>butyl mercaptan>carbonyl sulfide, where H2S and 2-methylthiophene contributed 81% of the gas produced. CH4 and CO2 production occurred after week 5 at 40.7μmolCH4/mL MFT and 5.9μmolCO2/mL MFT (1.5% w/v diluent treatment). The amount of H2S and CH4 generated is correlated to the amount of diluent present and to microbial activity as shown by corresponding increases in sulfate-reducers' Dissimilatory sulfite reductase (DsrAB) gene and methanogens' methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR) gene. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. 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

  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. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

  10. Dry deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds to various land covers in the Athabasca oil sands region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Leiming; Cheng, Irene; Wu, Zhiyong; Harner, Tom; Schuster, Jasmin; Charland, Jean-Pierre; Muir, Derek; Parnis, J. Mark

    2015-09-01

    A framework was developed to estimate dry deposition of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), including 17 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), 21 alkylated PAHs, and 5 parent and alkylated dibenzothiophenes (DBTs), to various land covers surrounding three monitoring sites in the Athabasca oil sands region. Modeled dry deposition velocities for various gaseous PACs and over various land covers were mostly in the range of 0.01-0.5 cm s-1 with median and annual mean values between 0.08 and 0.24 cm s-1, comparable with literature values obtained from field studies. Annual dry deposition of the sum of PAHs was estimated to range from 330 to 560 μg m-2 over forested canopies surrounding the three sites and from 270 to 490 μg m-2 over grass and shrubs. The corresponding values are 3920-5380 and 2850-4920 μg m-2 for the sum of 21 alkylated PAHs, and are 230-1120 and 450-930 μg m-2 for the sum of 5 DBTs. The three monitoring sites are situated nearby the Athabasca River, and the direct annual atmospheric dry deposition to water surface was estimated to range from 350 to 500, 3170 to 4530, and 170 to 840 μg m-2 for PAHs, alkylated PAHs, and DBTs, respectively. Alkylated PAHs contributed 80% of the total dry and 60% of the total wet deposition budget, suggesting the importance of including this group of PAHs in the atmospheric deposition budget estimation for subsequent ecosystem impact studies.

  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. An investigation of the immunotoxicity of oil sands processed water and leachates in trout leukocytes.

    PubMed

    Gagné, F; Bruneau, A; Turcotte, P; Gagnon, C; Lacaze, E

    2017-03-14

    Increased oil sands (OS) mining activity has raised concerns about impacts on aquatic organisms. This study sought to examine the effects of single representative compounds from OS (benzo(a)pyrene, naphthalene), a mixture of naphthenic acids (NAs), OS-processed water (OSPW) and OS leachate (OSL) extracts on rainbow trout leukocytes. Primary cultures of trout leukocytes were exposed to increasing concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene, naphthalene, NAs, OSPW and OSL for 48h at 18°C. Immunocompetence was followed by measuring changes in lymphocyte and macrophage viability and phagocytosis. Changes in the expression of 10 transcripts were also followed: interleukin 1, 2 and 6 (Il-1, Il-2 and Il-6), calreticulin (CRT), caspase 9 (Cas9), aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), glutathione S-transferase (GST), catalase (CAT) and p53 tumor suppressor. The results revealed that exposure to OSPW extracts decreased the capacity of macrophages to engulf three beads or more, while the other compounds generally increased phagocytosis activity. Lymphocyte apoptosis was increased by all compounds and mixtures except naphthalene. Both OSPW and OSL induced apoptosis in macrophages. At the gene expression level, Cas9, CRT, Il-1 (inhibition) and Il-2 were specifically influenced by OSPW, while CAT, p53, COX2 and Il-1 (induction) transcripts were specifically expressed by OSL. Leukocyte exposure to OSPW produced characteristic changes in immunocompetence and genes involved in proinflammatory, apoptosis and protein damage (CRT) pathways which could not be explained by OSL, benzo(a)pyrene, naphthalene and NA mixture.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Characterization of PM2.5 and PM10 fugitive dust source profiles in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xiaoliang; Chow, Judith C; Kohl, Steven D; Percy, Kevin E; Legge, Allan H; Watson, John G

    2015-12-01

    Geological samples were collected from 27 representative locations in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Alberta, Canada. These samples were resuspended onto filter substrates for PM2.5 and PM10 size fractions. Samples were analyzed for 229 chemical species, consisting of elements, ions, carbon, and organic compounds. These chemical species are normalized to gravimetric mass to derive individual source profiles. Individual profiles were grouped into six categories typical of those used in emission inventories: paved road dust, unpaved road dust close to and distant from oil sand operations, overburden soil, tailings sands, and forest soils. Consistent with their geological origin, the major components are minerals, organic and elemental carbon, and ions. The sum of five major elements (i.e., Al, Si, K, Ca, and Fe) and their oxidized forms account for 25-40% and 45-82% of particulate matter (PM) mass, respectively. Si is the most abundant element, averaging 17-18% in the Facility (oil sand operations) and 23-27% in the Forest profiles. Organic carbon is the second most abundant species, averaging 9-11% in the Facility and 5-6% in the Forest profiles. Elemental carbon abundance is 2-3 times higher in Facility than Forest profiles. Sulfate abundance is ~7 times higher in the Facility than in the Forest profiles. The ratios of cation/anion and base cation (sum of Na+, Mg2+, K+, and Ca2+)/nitrogen- and sulfur-containing ions (sum of NH4+, NO2-, NO3-, and SO4(2-)) exceed unity, indicating that the soils are basic. Lead (Pb) isotope ratios of facility soils are similar to the AOSR stack and diesel emissions, while those of forest soils have much lower 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb ratios. High-molecular-weight n-alkanes (C25-C40), hopanes, and steranes are more than an order of magnitude more abundant in Facility than Forest profiles. These differences may be useful for separating anthropogenic from natural sources of fugitive dust at receptors. Several organic

  16. Recreating a functioning forest soil in reclaimed oil sands in northern alberta: an approach for measuring success in ecological restoration.

    PubMed

    Rowland, S M; Prescott, C E; Grayston, S J; Quideau, S A; Bradfield, G E

    2009-01-01

    During oil-sands mining all vegetation, soil, overburden, and oil sand is removed, leaving pits several kilometers wide and up to 100 m deep. These pits are reclaimed through a variety of treatments using subsoil or a mixed peat-mineral soil cap. Using nonmetric multidimensional scaling and cluster analysis of measurements of ecosystem function, reclamation treatments of several age classes were compared with a range of natural forest ecotypes to discover which treatments had created ecosystems similar to natural forest ecotypes and at what age this occurred. Ecosystem function was estimated from bioavailable nutrients, plant community composition, litter decomposition rate, and development of a surface organic layer. On the reclamation treatments, availability of nitrate, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur were generally higher than in the natural forest ecotypes, while ammonium, P, K, and Mn were generally lower. Reclamation treatments tended to have more bare ground, grasses, and forbs but less moss, lichen, shrubs, trees, or woody debris than natural forests. Rates of litter decomposition were lower on all reclamation treatments. Development of an organic layer appeared to be facilitated by the presence of shrubs. With repeated applications of fertilizers, measured variables for the peat-mineral amendments fell within the range of natural variability at about 20 yr. An intermediate subsoil layer reduced the need for fertilizer and conditions resembling natural forests were reached about 15 yr after a single fertilizer application. Treatments over tailings sand receiving only one application of fertilizer appeared to be on a different trajectory to a novel ecosystem.

  17. Differential effects of high atmospheric N and S deposition on bog plant/lichen tissue and porewater chemistry across the Athabasca Oil Sands Region

    Treesearch

    R. Kelman Wieder; Melanie A. Vile; Kimberli D. Scott; Cara M. Albright; Kelly J. McMillen; Dale H. Vitt; Mark E. Fenn

    2016-01-01

    Oil extraction and development activities in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of northern Alberta, Canada, release NOx, SOx, and NHy to the atmosphere, ultimately resulting in increasing N and S inputs to surrounding ecosystems through atmospheric deposition. Peatlands are a major feature of the northern Alberta landscape, with bogs covering 6-10% of the land area, and...

  18. Wet sand flows better than dry sand

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wagner, Christian

    2015-03-01

    Wet sand that does not contain too much water is known to be stiff enough to build sand castles or in physical words has a significant yield stress. However, we could recently show that there are quite a few conditions under which such wet sand opposes less resistant to flow than its dry counterpart. This effect might have been already known to the old Egyptians: The Ancient painting of El Bersheh at the tomb of Tehutihetep shows that there was liquid poured in front of the sledge that was used to transport heavy weight stones and statues. While archeologist have attributed this to a sacral ceremony, our data clearly show that wetting the sand ground drastically decreases the effective sliding friction coefficient. We first study the stress-strain behavior of sand with and without small amounts of liquid under steady and oscillatory shear. Using a technique to quasistatically push the sand through a tube with an enforced parabolic (Poiseuille-like) profile, we minimize the effect of avalanches and shear localization. We observe that the resistance against deformation of the wet (partially saturated) sand is much smaller than that of the dry sand, and that the latter dissipates more energy under flow. Second we show experimentally that the sliding friction on sand is greatly reduced by the addition of some--but not too much--water. The formation of capillary water bridges increases the shear modulus of the sand, which facilitates the sliding.

  19. The role of viscosity estimation for oil-in-gelatin phantom in shear wave based ultrasound elastography.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Ying; Dong, Changfeng; Yin, Yin; Chen, Xin; Guo, Yanrong; Zheng, Yi; Shen, Yuanyuan; Wang, Tianfu; Zhang, Xinyu; Chen, Siping

    2015-02-01

    Shear wave based ultrasound elastography utilizes mechanical excitation or acoustic radiation force to induce shear waves in deep tissue. The tissue response is monitored to obtain elasticity information about the tissue. During the past two decades, tissue elasticity has been extensively studied and has been used in clinical disease diagnosis. However, biological soft tissues are viscoelastic in nature. Therefore, they should be simultaneously characterized in terms of elasticity and viscosity. In this study, two shear wave-based elasticity imaging methods, shear wave dispersion ultrasound vibrometry (SDUV) and acoustic radiation force impulsive (ARFI) imaging, were compared. The discrepancy between the measurements obtained by the two methods was analyzed, and the role of viscosity was investigated. To this end, four types of gelatin phantoms containing 0%, 20%, 30% and 40% castor oil were fabricated to mimic different viscosities of soft tissue. For the SDUV method, the shear elasticity μ1 was 3.90 ± 0.27 kPa, 4.49 ± 0.16 kPa, 2.41 ± 0.33 kPa and 1.31 ± 0.09 kPa; and the shear viscosity μ2 was 1.82 ± 0.31 Pa•s, 2.41 ± 0.35 Pa•s, 2.65 ± 0.13 Pa•s and 2.89 ± 0.14 Pa•s for 0%, 20%, 30% and 40% oil, respectively in both cases. For the ARFI measurements, the shear elasticity μ was 7.30 ± 0.20 kPa, 8.20 ± 0.31 kPa, 7.42 ± 0.21 kPa and 5.90 ± 0.36 kPa for 0%, 20%, 30% and 40% oil, respectively. The SDUV results demonstrated that the elasticity first increased from 0% to 20% oil and then decreased for the 30% and 40% oil. The viscosity decreased consistently as the concentration of castor oil increased from 0% to 40%. The elasticity measured by ARFI showed the same trend as that of the SDUV but exceeded the results measured by SDUV. To clearly validate the impact of viscosity on the elasticity estimation, an independent measurement of the elasticity and viscosity by dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) was conducted on these four types of gelatin

  20. 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

  1. Long-term reliability of the Athabasca River (Alberta, Canada) as the water source for oil sands mining

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    St-Jacques, J. M.; Sauchyn, D.; Luckman, B. H.

    2015-12-01

    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 1) a generalized-least-squares (GLS) regression analysis of the trend and variability in gauged flow, and 2) a 900-year 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Bog Plant Tissue Chemistry as Indicators of Regionally Elevated Atmospheric N and S Deposition in the Alberta Oil Sands Region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wieder, R.; Vile, M. A.; Scott, K. D.; Vitt, D. H.; Quinn, J.

    2011-12-01

    Nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emission from ongoing development of oil sands in northern Alberta results in regionally elevated atmospheric deposition of N and S in an area where background deposition of both N and S is exceptionally low (less than 1 kg/ha/yr). Because bogs, which represent major landforms in the Alberta oil sands region, are believed to be N-limited and potentially sensitive to S inputs, we have been investigating the effects of elevated N deposition on C, N, and S cycling in bogs, as well as the potential of bogs to serve as monitors of N and S deposition. Toward this latter end, we have measured seasonal variation (5 sampling dates between June and October 2009) concentrations of N and S, as well as δ15N value, in leaf tissues (Picea mariana (ectomycorrhizal); Ledum groenlandicum, Oxycoccos microcarpon, Vaccinium vitis-idaea (ericoid mycorrhizal); Rubus chamaemorus, and Smilacina trifolia (nonmycorrhizal), Sphagnum (S. fuscum, S. capillifolium, S. magellanicum, S. angustifolium) moss capitula (top 1-cm of plant) and lichens (Cladina mitis and Evernia mesomorpha) at 5 bogs at distances ranging from 14 to 300 km from the heart of the oil sands mining area. Averaged across all sites and sampling dates, N concentrations in ectomycorrhizal, ericoid mycorrhizal, nonmycorrhizal, Sphagnum, and lichens was 8.6 + 0.2, 11.9 + 0.2, 26.3 + 0.6, 10.2 + 0.1, 7.2 + 0.2 mg/g, respectively; δ15N values were -10.3 + 0.1, -6.0 + 0.1, 1.7 + 0.2, -5.3 + 0.1, -4.7 + 0.1 mg/g, respectively, and S concentrations were 1.07 + 0.2, 1.31 + 0.2, 1.94 + 0.6, 1.46 + 0.2, 1.11 + 0.3 mg/g, respectively. Plant functional groups and individual species behaved differently with respect to both seasonal variation and site differences, often with significant interactions when analyzed using two-way analyses of variance. Some species exhibited seasonal variation in some aspects

  4. Chemical mass transport between fluid fine tailings and the overlying water cover of an oil sands end pit lake

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dompierre, Kathryn A.; Barbour, S. Lee; North, Rebecca L.; Carey, Sean K.; Lindsay, Matthew B. J.

    2017-06-01

    Fluid fine tailings (FFT) are a principal by-product of the bitumen extraction process at oil sands mines. Base Mine Lake (BML)—the first full-scale demonstration oil sands end pit lake (EPL)—contains approximately 1.9 × 108 m3 of FFT stored under a water cover within a decommissioned mine pit. Chemical mass transfer from the FFT to the water cover can occur via two key processes: (1) advection-dispersion driven by tailings settlement; and (2) FFT disturbance due to fluid movement in the water cover. Dissolved chloride (Cl) was used to evaluate the water cover mass balance and to track mass transport within the underlying FFT based on field sampling and numerical modeling. Results indicated that FFT was the dominant Cl source to the water cover and that the FFT is exhibiting a transient advection-dispersion mass transport regime with intermittent disturbance near the FFT-water interface. The advective pore water flux was estimated by the mass balance to be 0.002 m3 m-2 d-1, which represents 0.73 m of FFT settlement per year. However, the FFT pore water Cl concentrations and corresponding mass transport simulations indicated that advection rates and disturbance depths vary between sample locations. The disturbance depth was estimated to vary with location between 0.75 and 0.95 m. This investigation provides valuable insight for assessing the geochemical evolution of the water cover and performance of EPLs as an oil sands reclamation strategy.

  5. 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. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. In vitro assessment of endocrine disrupting potential of naphthenic Acid fractions derived from oil sands-influenced water.

    PubMed

    Leclair, Liane A; Pohler, Lani; Wiseman, Steve B; He, Yuhe; Arens, Collin J; Giesy, John P; Scully, Stephen; Wagner, Brian D; van den Heuvel, Michael R; Hogan, Natacha S

    2015-05-05

    Oil sands-influenced process waters have been observed to cause reproductive effects and to induced CYP1A activity in fishes; however, little progress has been made in determining causative agents. Naphthenic acids (NAs) are the predominant organic compounds in process-affected waters, but due to the complexity of the mixture, it has been difficult to examine causal linkages in fishes. The aim of this study was to use in vitro assays specific to reproductive and CYP1A mechanisms to determine if specific acid extractable fractions of NAs obtained from oil sands-influenced water are active toward reproductive processes or interact with the Ah receptor responsible for CYP1A activity. NAs were extracted from aged oil sands-influenced waters by use of acid precipitation, and the mixture was fractionated into three acidic and one neutral fraction. The four fractions were examined for Ah receptor-mediated potency by use of the H4IIE-luc bioassay, effects on production of steroid hormones by use of the H295R steroidogenesis assay, and sex steroid receptor binding activity using the yeast estrogen screen and yeast androgen screen. The mixtures were characterized by high resolution mass spectrometry, (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance, and attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy. The neutral fraction elicited Ah-receptor mediated activity after 24 h but not after 48 or 72 h. None of the fractions contained measurable levels of estrogen or androgen receptor agonists nor did they cause reductions in steroidogenesis. A number of fractions showed antiestrogenic or antiandrogenicity potency, with the neutral and main acidic fractions being the most potent. Neutral aromatic compounds are likely responsible for the CYP1A activity observed. Direct estrogenic, androgenic, or steroidogenic mechanisms are unlikely for NAs based on these results, but NAs act as potent antiandrogen or antiestrogens.

  7. 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.

  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. Reservoir characteristics of two minter oil sands based on continuous core, E-logs, and geochemical data: Bee Brake field, East-Central Louisiana

    SciTech Connect

    Echols, J.B.; Goddard, D.A.; Bouma, A. )

    1993-09-01

    The Bee Brake field area, located in township 4N/6E and 4N/7E in Concordia Parish, has been one of the more prolific oil-producing areas in east-central Louisiana. Production decline in various fields, however, has sparked interest in the economic feasibility of locating and producing the remaining bypassed oil in the lower Wilcox. For this purpose, the Angelina BBF No. 1 well was drilled, and a 500-ft conventional core and a complete suite of state-of-the-are wireline logs were recovered. Production tests were run on the Minter interval of interest. The 16-ft Minter interval (6742-6758 ft depth), bounded at its top and base by lignite seams, consists of an upper 4-ft oil sand (Bee Brake) and a lower 3-ft oil sand (Angelina). The oil sands are separated by approximately 5 ft of thinly laminated silty shale and 4 ft of very fine-grained silty sandstone. Detailed sedimentologic and petrographic descriptions of the Minter interval provide accurate facies determinations of this lower delta-plain sequence. Petrophysical evaluation, combining core plug and modern electric-log data show differences between reservoir quality of the Bee Brake and Angelina sands. This data will also be useful for correlating and interpolating old electric logs. Organic geochemistry of the oil, lignites, and shales provides insight as to the source of the Minter oils and the sourcing potential of the lignites.

  10. Fate of SO2 and Particulate SO4 Based on Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region of Alberta, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayden, K. L.; Li, S. M.; McLaren, R.; Liu, P.; O'brien, J.; Gordon, M.; Darlington, A.; Liggio, J.; Mittermeier, R. L.; Staebler, R. M.; Makar, P.; Stroud, C.; Akingunola, A.; Leithead, A.; Moussa, S.

    2016-12-01

    An intensive airborne measurement campaign was undertaken in August to September 2013 to support the objectives of the Joint Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM) program. The overarching objectives of the study were to characterize air pollutants being emitted, to determine the extent of atmospheric transport and chemical transformation, to support air quality model prediction capabilities, and to compare measurements with satellite column retrievals. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate sulphate (p-SO4) were among the pollutants studied. SO2 is emitted from elevated stacks within the oil sands facilities and undergoes atmospheric transformation into p-SO4. Deposition of these species from the atmosphere to the surface can lead to impacts on ecosystems downwind of the facilities. The processes of emission, transformation, transport, and deposition of SO2 and p-SO4 were investigated in detail using data collected during aircraft flights that were designed to study pollution transformation. The aircraft was flown at increasing distances downwind of the oil sands facilities, sampling the same plume at different times as it was transported away from the sources. Flight tracks were perpendicular to the wind direction at multiple altitudes to create virtual flight screens that encompassed the entire plume. Fluxes across each of the virtual screens were determined using the wind speed vector normal to the screen and the pollutant concentrations; the flux integration across the two-dimensional plume transect on the screen yielded the pollutant transfer rates at that particular screen location. Transformation of SO2 to p-SO4 between screens was determined based on OH radical levels estimated using concurrently measured concentrations of a suite of hydrocarbons. Based on mass balance between screens using the transfer rates, SO2 oxidation rates and p-SO4 formation rates, the deposition rates of both species are estimated along the plume transport path downwind of the oil sands

  11. 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

  12. Dissolved organic compounds in reused process water for steam-assisted gravity drainage oil sands extraction.

    PubMed

    Kawaguchi, Hideo; Li, Zhengguo; Masuda, Yoshihiro; Sato, Kozo; Nakagawa, Hiroyuki

    2012-11-01

    The in situ oil sands production method called steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) reuses process wastewater following treatment. However, the treatment and reuse processes concentrate contaminants in the process water. To determine the concentration and dynamics of inorganic and organic contaminants, makeup water and process water from six process steps were sampled at a facility employing the SAGD process in Alberta, Canada. In the groundwater used for the makeup water, the total dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content was 4 mg/L. This significantly increased to 508 mg/L in the produced water, followed by a gradual increase with successive steps in subsequent water treatments. The concentrations and dynamics of DOC constituents in the process water determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry showed that in the produced water, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as acetone (33.1 mg/L) and 2-butanone (13.4 mg/L) predominated, and there were significant amounts of phenolic compounds (total 9.8 mg/L) and organic acids including naphthenic acids (NAs) corresponding to the formula C(n)H(2n+Z)O(X) for combinations of n = 4 to 18, Z = 0 and -2, and X = 2 to 4 (53 mg/L) with trace amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) such as naphthalene and phenanthrene. No organic contaminants, except for saturated fatty acids, were detected in the groundwater. The concentration of DOC in the recycled water was 4.4-fold higher than that in the produced water. Likewise, the total concentrations of phenols and organic acids in the recycled water were 1.7- and 4.5-fold higher than in the produced water, whereas the total concentrations of VOCs and PAHs in the recycled water were reduced by over 80%, suggesting that phenols and organic acids are selectively concentrated in the process water treatment. This comprehensive chemical analysis thus identified organic constituents that were concentrated in the process water and which interfere with subsequent

  13. A laboratory evaluation of the sorption of oil sands naphthenic acids on organic rich soils.

    PubMed

    Janfada, Arash; Headley, John V; Peru, Kerry M; Barbour, S L

    2006-01-01

    The adsorption characteristics of oil sands tailings pond water (OSTPW)-derived naphthenic acids on soils was determined using a batch partitioning method. The adsorption isotherms were found to be linear in all cases. All tests were conducted at 4 degrees C, and at a pH of 8.0 +/- 0.4, which reflects the pH of a tailings settling facility near Fort McMurray, AB. The adsorption characteristics of the naphthenic acids in a synthetic groundwater (SGW) solution was compared to that of the mixture in Milli-Q water. In the presence of SGW, the adsorption coefficient (K(d)) of the mixture of naphthenic acids on soil 1 with a higher organic carbon fraction (f(oc)) was an order of magnitude higher than that observed with the same soil and the Milli-Q water mixture, increasing from 1.9 +/- 0.2 (mL/g) to 17.8 +/- 1.5 (mL/g). The adsorption coefficient of the mixture of naphthenic acids on soil 2, with a lower f(oc), was also observably higher in the SGW mixture, increasing from 1.3 +/- 0.15 (mL/g) to 3.7 +/- 0.2 (mL/g). The relative fractional abundance of the individual naphthenic acids was plotted in order to determine the presence of preferential sorption between individual species within the mixture. It was found that for all Z families (where Z is a measure of the number of rings), naphthenic acids within the carbon number range of 13 to 17 showed preferential sorption. The mixture in SGW showed more pronounced sorption relative to naphthenic acid mixture in Milli-Q water. The results indicate that mixtures of naphthenic acids sorb strongly to soils and that adsorption would be an important attenuating mechanism in groundwater transport. Furthermore, preferential sorption of the individual naphthenic acids is important from a toxicity stand point since different naphthenic acid species have varying degrees of toxicity.

  14. 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

  15. Extraction of bitumen, crude oil and its products from tar sand and contaminated sandy soil under effect of ultrasound.

    PubMed

    Abramov, O V; Abramov, V O; Myasnikov, S K; Mullakaev, M S

    2009-03-01

    In the present paper, the kinetics of the water extraction of bitumen from tar sand and crude oil or residual fuel oil from model contaminated soils under the effect of ultrasound is studied. The influence of process temperature, ultrasound power, the nature, and properties of the components of heterogeneous mixtures being separated, and the concentration of added alkaline reagents on the rate and degree of oil recovery is investigated. A functional form of the dependencies of separation efficiency on the mean size of solid particles and the temperature of a working medium is found. Optimum concentrations of reagents in the process solution are determined. It is shown that the spent solution of sodium silicate can be multiply used for separation, its reuse even speeding up the yield of oil in the initial period. Taking into account obtained results, a multipurpose pilot plant with a flow-type reactor for ultrasonic extraction of petroleum and its products from contaminated soils was manufactured and tested. During tests, the purification of sandy soil contaminated with residual fuel oil was carried out which verified the results of laboratory studies.

  16. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) nesting on wetlands impacted by oil sands mining are highly parasitized by the bird blow fly Protocalliphora spp.

    PubMed

    Gentes, Marie-Line; Whitworth, Terry L; Waldner, Cheryl; Fenton, Heather; Smits, Judit E

    2007-04-01

    Oil sands mining is steadily expanding in Alberta, Canada. Major companies are planning reclamation strategies for mine tailings, in which wetlands will be used for the bioremediation of water and sediments contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and naphthenic acids during the extraction process. A series of experimental wetlands were built on companies' leases to assess the feasibility of this approach, and tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) were designated as upper trophic biological sentinels. From May to July 2004, prevalence and intensity of infestation with bird blow flies Protocalliphora spp. (Diptera: Calliphoridae) were measured in nests on oil sands reclaimed wetlands and compared with those on a reference site. Nestling growth and survival also were monitored. Prevalence of infestation was surprisingly high for a small cavity nester; 100% of the 38 nests examined were infested. Nests on wetlands containing oil sands waste materials harbored on average from 60% to 72% more blow fly larvae than those on the reference site. Nestlings on reclaimed sites suffered mean parasitic burdens about twice that of those on the reference site; and for comparable parasitic load, they exhibited greater pathologic effects (e.g., decreased body mass) than control nestlings. The heavy blow fly infestation on oil sands-impacted wetlands suggests that oil sands mining disturbs several components of the local ecosystem, including habitat characteristics, blow fly predators, and host resistance to parasites.

  18. 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

  19. Interaction of oil sands tailings particles with polymers and microbial cells: First steps toward reclamation to soil.

    PubMed

    Voordouw, Gerrit

    2013-04-01

    Production of bitumen by surface mining of Alberta's oil sands has given rise to tailings ponds, containing large volumes of finely dispersed clays (10(8) m(3)), which settle only slowly. The mature fine tailings (MFT) in these ponds are operationally defined as consisting of particles smaller than 44 μm with a solids content in excess of 30% (w/w). Increasing the rate of densification of MFT is a rate-limiting step in tailings pond reclamation. Accelerated densification has been achieved through mixing of MFT with sand in the presence of calcium sulfate as a binding agent to generate consolidated tailings. Addition of negatively charged polymer, together with either calcium or magnesium ions, is similarly effective. Although toxic to higher aquatic life, tailings ponds harbour a wide variety of mainly anaerobic microbes. These convert residual hydrocarbon, causing methane emissions of up to 10(4) m(3) day(-1). Interestingly, anaerobic microbial activity also accelerates tailings pond densification. Hence, many technologies designed to accelerate densification move tailings, at least conceptually, towards soil in which sand and clay particles are linked by large amounts of humic and fulvic acid polymers supporting large numbers of microbes in a mechanically stable structure.

  20. 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.

  1. PAH distributions in sediments in the oil sands monitoring area and western Lake Athabasca: Concentration, composition and diagnostic ratios.

    PubMed

    Evans, Marlene; Davies, Martin; Janzen, Kim; Muir, Derek; Hazewinkel, Rod; Kirk, Jane; de Boer, Dirk

    2016-06-01

    Oil sands activities north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, have intensified in recent years with a concomitant debate as to their environmental impacts. The Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program and its successor, the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring (JOSM), are the primary aquatic programs monitoring this industry. Here we examine sediment data (collected by Ekman grabs) to investigate trends and sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), supplementing these data with sediment core studies. Total PAH (ΣPAH) concentrations were highest at Shipyard Lake (6038 ± 2679 ng/g) in the development center and lower at Isadore's Lake (1660 ± 777 ng/g) to the north; both lakes are in the Athabasca River Valley and lie below the developments. ΣPAH concentrations were lower (622-930 ng/g) in upland lakes (Kearl, McClelland) located further away from the developments. ΣPAH concentrations increased at Shipyard Lake (2001-2014) and the Ells River mouth (1998-2014) but decreased in nearshore areas at Kearl Lake (2001-2014) and a Muskeg River (2000-2014) site. Over the longer term, ΣPAH concentrations increased in Kearl (1934-2012) and Sharkbite (1928-2010) Lakes. Further (200 km) downstream in the Athabasca River delta, ΣPAH concentrations (1029 ± 671 ng/g) increased (1999-2014) when %sands were included in the regression model; however, 50 km to the east, concentrations declined (1926-2009) in Lake Athabasca. Ten diagnostic ratios based on anthracene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, indeno[123-cd]pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene, dibenzothiophene and retene were examined to infer spatial and temporal trends in PAH sources (e.g., combustion versus petrogenic) and weathering. There was some evidence of increasing contributions of unprocessed oil sands and bitumen dust to Shipyard, Sharkbite, and Isadore's Lakes and increased combustion sources in the Athabasca River delta. Some CCME interim

  2. Elucidating mechanisms of toxic action of dissolved organic chemicals in oil sands process-affected water (OSPW).

    PubMed

    Morandi, Garrett D; Wiseman, Steve B; Guan, Miao; Zhang, Xiaowei W; Martin, Jonathan W; Giesy, John P

    2017-11-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is generated during extraction of bitumen in the surface-mining oil sands industry in Alberta, Canada, and is acutely and chronically toxic to aquatic organisms. It is known that dissolved organic compounds in OSPW are responsible for most toxic effects, but knowledge of the specific mechanism(s) of toxicity, is limited. Using bioassay-based effects-directed analysis, the dissolved organic fraction of OSPW has previously been fractionated, ultimately producing refined samples of dissolved organic chemicals in OSPW, each with distinct chemical profiles. Using the Escherichia coli K-12 strain MG1655 gene reporter live cell array, the present study investigated relationships between toxic potencies of each fraction, expression of genes and characterization of chemicals in each of five acutely toxic and one non-toxic extract of OSPW derived by use of effects-directed analysis. Effects on expressions of genes related to response to oxidative stress, protein stress and DNA damage were indicative of exposure to acutely toxic extracts of OSPW. Additionally, six genes were uniquely responsive to acutely toxic extracts of OSPW. Evidence presented supports a role for sulphur- and nitrogen-containing chemical classes in the toxicity of extracts of OSPW. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Photocatalytic degradation kinetics of naphthenic acids in oil sands process-affected water: Multifactorial determination of significant factors.

    PubMed

    Leshuk, Tim; de Oliveira Livera, Diogo; Peru, Kerry M; Headley, John V; Vijayaraghavan, Sucharita; Wong, Timothy; Gu, Frank

    2016-12-01

    Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) is generated as a byproduct of bitumen extraction in Canada's oil sands. Due to the water's toxicity, associated with dissolved acid extractable organics (AEO), especially naphthenic acids (NAs), along with base-neutral organics, OSPW may require treatment to enable safe discharge to the environment. Heterogeneous photocatalysis is a promising advanced oxidation process (AOP) for OSPW remediation, however, predicting treatment efficacy can be challenging due to the unique water chemistry of OSPW from different tailings ponds. The objective of this work was to study various factors affecting the kinetics of photocatalytic AEO degradation in OSPW. The rate of photocatalytic treatment varied significantly in two different OSPW sources, which could not be accounted for by differences in AEO composition, as studied by high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). The effects of inorganic water constituents were investigated using factorial and response surface experiments, which revealed that hydroxyl (HO) radical scavenging by iron (Fe(3+)) and bicarbonate (HCO3(-)) inhibited the NA degradation rate. The effects of NA concentration and temperature on the treatment kinetics were also evaluated in terms of Langmuir-Hinshelwood and Arrhenius models; pH and temperature were identified as weak factors, while dissolved oxygen (DO) was critical to the photo-oxidation reaction. Accounting for all of these variables, a general empirical kinetic expression is proposed, enabling prediction of photocatalytic treatment performance in diverse sources of OSPW.

  4. 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.

  5. Anaerobic alkane biodegradation by cultures enriched from oil sands tailings ponds involves multiple species capable of fumarate addition.

    PubMed

    Tan, BoonFei; Semple, Kathleen; Foght, Julia

    2015-05-01

    A methanogenic short-chain alkane-degrading culture (SCADC) was enriched from oil sands tailings and transferred several times with a mixture of C6, C7, C8 and C10 n-alkanes as the predominant organic carbon source, plus 2-methylpentane, 3-methylpentane and methylcyclopentane as minor components. Cultures produced ∼40% of the maximum theoretical methane during 18 months incubation while depleting the n-alkanes, 2-methylpentane and methylcyclopentane. Substrate depletion correlated with detection of metabolites characteristic of fumarate activation of 2-methylpentane and methylcyclopentane, but not n-alkane metabolites. During active methanogenesis with the mixed alkanes, reverse-transcription PCR confirmed the expression of functional genes (assA and bssA) associated with hydrocarbon addition to fumarate. Pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes amplified during active alkane degradation revealed enrichment of Clostridia (particularly Peptococcaceae) and methanogenic Archaea (Methanosaetaceae and Methanomicrobiaceae). Methanogenic cultures transferred into medium containing sulphate produced sulphide, depleted n-alkanes and produced the corresponding succinylated alkane metabolites, but were slow to degrade 2-methylpentane and methylcyclopentane; these cultures were enriched in Deltaproteobacteria rather than Clostridia. 3-Methylpentane was not degraded by any cultures. Thus, nominally methanogenic oil sands tailings harbour dynamic and versatile hydrocarbon-degrading fermentative syntrophs and sulphate reducers capable of degrading n-, iso- and cyclo-alkanes by addition to fumarate.

  6. In Vitro Microbial Degradation of Bituminous Hydrocarbons and In Situ Colonization of Bitumen Surfaces Within the Athabasca Oil Sands Deposit

    PubMed Central

    Wyndham, R. C.; Costerton, J. W.

    1981-01-01

    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. Images PMID:16345738

  7. 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.

  8. Quantification of changes in oil sands mining infrastructure land based on RapidEye and SPOT5

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhang, Ying; Lantz, Nicholas; Guindon, Bert; Shipman, Todd; Chao, Dennis; Raymond, Don

    2013-10-01

    Natural resources development, spanning exploration, production and transportation activities, alters local land surface at various spatial scales. Quantification of these anthropogenic changes, both permanent and reversible, is needed for compliance assessment and for development of effective sustainable management strategies. Multi-spectral high resolution imagery data from SPOT5 and RapidEye were used for extraction and quantification of the anthropogenic and natural changes for a case study of Alberta bitumen (oil sands) mining located near Fort McMurray, Canada. Two test sites representative of the major Alberta bitumen production extraction processes, open pit and in-situ extraction, were selected. A hybrid change detection approach, combining pixel- and object-based target detection and extraction, is proposed based on Change Vector Analysis (CVA). The extraction results indicate that the changed infrastructure landscapes of these two sites have different footprints linked with their differing oil sands production processes. Pixeland object-based accuracy assessments have been applied for validation of the change detection results. For manmade disturbances, other than fine linear features such as the seismic lines, accuracies of about 80% have been achieved at the pixel level while, at the object level, these rise to 90-95%. Since many disturbance features are transient, the land surface changes by re-growth of vegetation and the capability for natural restoration on the mining sites have been assessed.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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 a