Tailings Ponds if not treated or removed can cause serious consequences with lasting impact on wildlife, the environment, and our health. Consequently, the mining and oil & gas industry faces severe scrutiny from society to ensure proper protocol is followed.  Industry’s ongoing challenges to treat and dispose of their undesirable tailings in an environmentally conscious fashion have become heightened due to public awareness and government legislation. It’s not only within a region or country but from a global perspective as well.  The pressure to achieve environmental compliance is a standard that the industry now has to meet in order to survive, at least in North America.

The oil sands in Northern Alberta are home to some of the largest tailings ponds due to their significant crude oil extraction volume.  Creating headlines around the world, these massive tailings ponds are created through the exploration of the “largest deposit of crude oil on the planet. Tailings ponds are a mixture of sand, water clay and a type of oil called bitumen”.[1]   Cited in Canada’s National Observer, “More than one trillion liters of the goop, called tailings, fill these man-made waste lakes that can be seen from space. An equivalent amount of water would take five days to tumble over Niagara Falls.”[2]

A recent Canadian Press article describes the severe consequences of the situation in Fort McMurray, “There is strong scientifically valid evidence of … seepage into near-field groundwater around tailings ponds,” says a report from the Commission on Environmental Co-operation.  Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said he found the conclusion troubling.  “The findings in the report cannot be ignored,” he said. “I absolutely take these findings to heart.”[3]

[1] CAAP (Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers).

[2] Canadian National Observer, Emma McIntosh & David Bruser | NewsEnergyPolitics | November 23rd 2018

[3]  Canadian Press, September 3, 2020

For more information on how we can help with the water treatment of tailings ponds, contact us today.