Re: Mine fails to quash concerns, by Kristen Douglas, August 17
I wish to call your attention to an error in the above article. Paragraph 7 states, “A study by Dr. William Cullen and the Canadian Water Network in 2008/2009 found sediment samples taken from nearby Long Lake which feeds into the Quinsam River had sulfate levels 30 times higher than provincial guidelines.” The study of which Douglas writes found arsenic concentrations, not sulfates, exceeding provincial guidelines by 30 times. To date, the Canadian Water Network (CWN) has released four reports which can all be found at the Greenways Land Trust website. (see below) The fourth report by Dr. X Chris Le of the University of Alberta who is presently chairperson of the CWN, contains and excellent summary of the first three reports written in language understandable to the layperson and includes pictures.
The CWN team is continuing their research. The first research samples were taken of sediment found close to the surface of the lake bottom. This gave good information on the density of the arsenic but not on the total volume. Recently the team has employed divers and samples have been taken penetrating much deeper into the lake bottom. This will throw additional light on both the volume of arsenic (how much there is of it) and how long it has been there. In addition the team is continuing research on the effects the sediment is having on creatures found at the bottom of the lake by measuring the amount of arsenic found in the tissue of mussels exposed to the sediment over time. The major concern, however, is the effect the arsenic will have on all aquatic life down stream of Long Lake when it enters the water column.
CWN’s interest in the Quinsam Watershed grew out of two earlier reports, one by the Ministry of Environment titled, “An Evaluation of Sediment Quality and Invertebrate Benthic Communities of Long and Middle Quinsam Lakes with regard to local coal mining,” Nordin, 2006, and one by the company’s consulting firm, “Preliminary sediment Quality Assessment for Long Lake Quinsam Mine,” Golder, 2008. While neither of these reports were definitive, both found elevated arsenic and pointed to the mine as the most likely source. The CWN was set up to provide research to assist with decision making regarding Canada?s water resources. The decision making rests with our politicians.
An Environmental Investigation of the Quinsam Watershed:
Report to the Quinsam Coal Environmental Technical Review Committee:
Mine Permit Amendment, Coarse Coal Rejects Management, and 7-South Mine.