State of the Bow River Report. Clearwater prepared a comprehensive State of the Bow River Basin Report in conjunction with the Bow River Basin Council. This report describes the current status of the hydrology, water quality and aquatic environment of the Bow River from its headwaters at Bow Glacier to its confluence with the Oldman River. Pressures from increased land use and development, including hydroelectrical generation, irrigation, municipal and industrial withdrawals and discharges were discussed. The report identifies management requirements to ensure that the future needs of all users are met (2005).
City of Lethbridge Water Treatment Plant. A study was conducted to assess the effects of the discharge of four effluent streams from the Lethbridge Water Treatment Plant (WTP) on water quality in the Oldman River. The study involved the chemical characterization of the four effluent streams and modeling the dispersion of each in the Oldman River under a variety of flow conditions (2011).
Grande Cache Coal Corporation – Selenium Leachability from Waste Rocks. A field study is currently underway to examine the leachability of selenium from waste rocks generated by coal mining activities. The study involves the exposure of various waste rock types in large 300 L barrels to normal weathering processes and measurement of the selenium that leaches from the rocks under these field conditions (2011-2012).
Alberta Environment –Overview of Ambient and Effluent Water Quality in the North Saskatchewan River (NSR). Water quality data were analyzed from three synoptic surveys on the NSR conducted in 2008 by Alberta Environment. The data were collected from 67 mainstem, tributary and industrial/municipal effluent stations. A broad suite of water quality variables was monitored including organic, inorganic and pathogenic parameters. The data analyses included a principal components analysis to define homogeneous water quality reaches, a longitudinal assessment of water quality variables to evaluate changes along the river at mainstem locations, a loading study to determine the relative contribution of tributaries vs. effluents to water quality, a comparison of the current 2008 survey with historic data collected on the NSR and an overall basin-wide assessment of the health of the NSR (2010).
Alberta Environment – North Saskatchewan River Benthic Assessment. The data from two benthic surveys of the NSR conducted by Alberta Environment in 2007 and 2008 were analyzed to assess the aquatic health of the river. Analyses included sediment quality, epilithic algae (both density and community structure), and benthic community structure at sites along the river. The results were discussed in relation to the major municipal and industrial discharges to the NSR (2010).
Alberta Environment – Water Management Framework for the Lower Athabasca River A water management framework (WMF) for the Lower Athabasca River was developed with Alberta Environment. The WMF involved the calculation and setting of water quality trigger values and limits to indicate potential impacts on the Athabasca River (2009).
Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP) Long term acidification of lakes in the Fort McMurray region is studied yearly for the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP) The RAMP program includes yearly monitoring of ~ 50 lakes deemed sensitive to acidification in the oil sands region. Critical loads of acidity and trend analysis of key endpoint parameters for each lake are examined to detect early indications of acidification (2002-2012).
Selenium Monitoring for Grande Cache Coal Corporation (GCC) A selenium monitoring program was proposed for GCC in 2005 to comply with their approvals requirements. Since 2005, the results of the selenium monitoring program and GCC’s annual water quality monitoring program have been analyzed and reported annually for submission toAlberta Environment. In 2010, a new and more comprehensive selenium monitoring plan was developed to study the attenuation of selenium downstream of major sources and the effects of weather and season on selenium loadings to receiving waters (2005-2012).
Alberta Environment – WASP model of the North Saskatchewan River - The Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) was applied to the North Saskatchewan River to simulate key water quality parameters including total phosphorus and ammonia. The river was initially divided into 530 segments to cover a 105 km reach of the river from the E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant to 20 km below the Redwater River. The model was run in dynamic mode over 6 years. Input data included loadings from all known industrial and municipal dischargers (2007).
NOX-SOX Management Working Group (CEMA) - The effects of dissolved organic acids on the acid-base characteristics of lakes within oil sands region were examined on behalf of CEMA’s NOX-SOX Management Working Group. The Henriksen model, typically used to calculate critical loads of acidity, was modified for the effects of organic acids as weak buffers and strong acids (2006). This project followed an earlier study in which critical loadings of acidity were calculated on 450 lakes and ponds in Northern Alberta. The study included sampling of 100 ponds in the Oil Sands region. The ponds, which had never before been sampled, were thought to represent the most acid-sensitive water bodies in the region.
AENV and Bow River Water Quality Council - Data from summer and winter synoptic water quality surveys on the Bow River were analyzed for Alberta Environment. The analyses involved the plotting of the data ranges at each station with a measure of central tendency, a loading summary of each parameter for tributaries and point sources and a measure of the loading of key parameters in consecutive 25 km reaches.
Wood Buffalo Environmental Association Water quality data on three major rivers in the oils sands region near Fort McMurray were analyzed to determine whether a spring pulse in acidity was detectable. A spring acid pulse in these rivers suggests the accumulation of significant quantities of acidic materials in the snow pack from acidic emissions. Acid pulses have been shown to result in fish kills in other river systems. Distinct decreases in alkalinity were observed during the melt in all three rivers. This decrease in alkalinity was caused almost entirely by the dilution of base cations rather than a release of mineral acids. A small but relatively insignificant decrease in stream pH coincided with release of organic acids from the soils during the melt.
Water Quality Study of the Oldman River A review was conducted of the available water quality data on the Oldman River both before and since completion of the Oldman River Dam. The goal of the study was to determine the effects of the dam on water quality near Brocket and compare these to the effects predicted in the pre-dam studies.
Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) - A study was conducted of water quality in the lower Athabasca River and of potential sources of contamination to identify parameters of concern and to develop reach-specific water quality objectives for these parameters.
Alberta Environment – Ghost River - An analysis was conducted of water quality data collected by Alberta Environment on three rivers within the Ghost-Waiparous basin to determine the potential effects of random camping and off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on water quality. The project involved the extensive analysis of data from automated turbidity probes and vehicle activity sensors.
Teck–SilverBirch Oil Sands EIA An environmental impact assessment was conducted of the potential effects of a proposed bitumen mine on surface water quality in the SilverBirch oils sands leases. These leases are located in the Birch Mountains north-west of Fort McMurray, an environmentally sensitive upland area. Environmental issues include seepage from mine pits and tailings ponds as well as inputs from aerial emissions (2008-2011).
Maxim Power Corporation– An impact assessment was conducted for construction of a single unit, 500 MW coal fired generating station on the Smoky River near Grande Cache, Alberta. The Project is an expansion of the current HR Milner Generating Station. The assessment involved determination of the potential effects of the Project on the water quality of the Smoky River as well as of a small wetland receiving the treated effluent discharge from the proposed plant.
Canada Malting Company Ltd. A study was conducted on the effects of discharge of treated effluent from Canada Malting Co. Ltd to the Bow River. The study consisted of modelling (CORMIX) effluent dispersion in the Bow River from the proposed outfall and determining the cumulative effects of the discharge on water quality in combination with other known inputs to the Bow River.
North American Oil Sands Corporation –An environmental impact assessment was conducted for North American Oils Sands Corporation (StatoilHydro ASA) to determine the potential effects of a proposed bitumen upgrader on water quality in the North Saskatchewan River near Fort Saskatchewan. Effluent dispersion was determined by CORMIX modelling of the proposed outfall. The USEPA model WASP and a mass loading analysis were used to determine the cumulative effects of the Project on water quality in the North Saskatchewan River.
Sturgeon Upgrader EIA– An environmental impact assessment was conducted for PetroCanada on the potential effects of the proposed Sturgeon bitumen upgrader on surface water quality in the Fort Saskatchewan region of Alberta. The assessment involved use of CORMIX to examine effluent dispersion and the US EPA model WASP to determine the local and regional effects of the Project on water quality in the North Saskatchewan River.
City of Calgary Development of an ECO (Environmental Construction Operations) Plan for the Fort Calgary preservation society for restorations to the Deane House. Construction mitigations, a waste management plan and emergency response plans were developed to ensure that the restoration minimized impacts on the environment (2004).
Shell Canada Ltd. Assessed four sensitive fish-bearing creeks near Rocky Mountain House and Hinton in west-central Alberta. Conducted fish presence/absence assessments and fish habitat surveys. Worked with the client, regulatory agencies and water resource engineers to ensure that the watercourse crossings were properly designed, permitted and control plan (2004).