A wintertime investigation of the deposition of pollutants around an isolated power plant in Northern Alberta

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  • The results of a snowpack chemistry survey conducted in January 1978 in the Athabasca Oil Sands region of northeastern Alberta are presented. Snow collected at 60 sites within 100 km of the Great Canadian Oil Sands extraction plant was melted and analyzed for the major ions: SO4, NO3, K+, H+, Cl , NH4, Na , Mg , Ca++; as well as for insoluble (Al, V, Mn, Ti) and soluble (Al, V, Fe, Ni) constituents. Snowpack loadings and deposition patterns are reported. Relationships are discussed between the snowpack chemistry, chemical composition of the power plant emissions and site location as revealed by multivariate analysis of the data. The fraction of total emissions that was transported out of the area was estimated from a mass balance. At least 98% of the acidic oxides of sulphur and nitrogen released by the power plant was transported beyond 25 km while less than 50% of the flash constituents Al, V, and Mn escaped from the region.

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