TOXICITY OF OIL SANDS PROCESS WATER COMPONENT, SODIUM NAPHTHENATE, TO MAYFLY HEXAGENIA LIMBATA.
The Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada represents one of the largest crude oil deposits in the world. Extraction of oil sands creates large amounts of waste, which is currently stored in on site tailings ponds. Due to limited storage space, there may be a need for release of tailings to surrounding environments. Tailings ponds represent an environmental management challenge, as the aqueous portion of tailings contain contaminants that are toxic to aquatic communities. Naphthenic acids are the principle toxic components of tailings and are of particular concern due to their high solubility and persistence in aquatic environments. Naphthenic acids are known to be toxic to fish, but less is known about the effects on aquatic invertebrates. The following study examines 48-h acute toxicity tests of sodium naphthenate on mayfly nymphs, (Hexagenia limbata) and calculates an LC50 for this substance that will be useful for setting environmental guidelines. The results of this study will also provide information to help develop a management plan for oil sands tailings ponds, which will conserve unique ecosystems downstream of development in the region.
Julia Howland (Primary Presenter/Author), University of New Brunswick, firstname.lastname@example.org;