Program ID: Innovation Anthology #406
Program Date: 06/14/2011
Program Category: Energy, Environment, Oil Sands, Water
CONRAD Part 17: Dr. Jan Ciberowski on Pollution
As a principle investigator with CFRAW, an oil sands reclamation group, one of the research concerns for Dr. Jan Ciborowski and his colleagues is pollution.
What is the toxic legacy they may face when using process water or tailings when recreating wetlands in areas mined for oil sands? Dr. Ciborowski explains.
DR. JAN CIBOROWSKI: When I first started here, it was coming with the expectation that we would find these deformed, really sick kinds of things in these tailings ponds. And they aren’t. We looked and looked and looked and this was one of the biggest surprises that the salts and napthenic acids don’t seem to be bioavailable to the animals , partly because the water is salty and there is carbon in the water and that acts like a magnet. So although those materials are there, they don’t seem to be building up in the animals themselves. So this is a real surprise to all of us. And so things like PAH’s, which we all hear about as being really nasty, are there, They’re in the natural bitumen. They’re on the bottoms of the ponds. The bugs are crawling on it. They’re eating it. They’re eating the bacteria on it, and they don’t seem to show any ill effects. And they don’t show any build up in their bodies of these things.
What Dr. Jan Ciborowski finds exciting is that the oil sands companies are utlilizing the CFRAW research in their reclamation projects.
Thanks today to Syncrude
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY
I’M CHERYL CROUCHER