Water quality of the Athabasca oil sands area: Volume IV - an interim compilation of non-AOSERP water quality data

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  • Studies of the water quality of the Athabasca Oil Sands area (Figures 1 and 2) streams, rivers, and lakes have been conducted by numerous organizations and government agencies since the 1950’s. The earlier studies involved efforts by provincial and federal government departments interested in ascertaining the suitability of these surface waters for various uses and concerned with the protection of human health and aquatic environments. Groups involved in subsequent studies collected surface and groundwater samples with a greater interest in the development of the Athabasca oil sands. Unfortunately, most of the groups did not provide documentations of sampling sites or the wide variety of sample collection, storage, and analysis procedures they used. Subsequent to the establishment of the Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Research Program (AOSERP), a program established by an agreement between the governments of Alberta and Canada in February 1975 (amended September 1977), a number of AOSERP projects involving water quality sample collection and analysis were instituted. These projects followed AOSERPs general objectives (Smith et al. 1979) which were, specifically, the definition of baseline states and detection of changes that might be caused by the development of the Athabasca oil sands. Under the regional surface water quality monitoring program (AOSERP Project WS 1.2.1, formerly HY 2.8.1) the standardization of sampling sites, procedures, and analysis received significant attention. A documentation of the locations of the water quality sampling sites, sampling, analytical, and quality control methods used; the volume and availability of assembled data; and a comprehensive appraisal of the quality of the data base.

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