The tailings ponds from the Alberta tar sands are leaking enough contaminated water every year to fill the Rogers stadium two and a half times every year, according to a new study. A report released today by two environmental groups estimates the leakage is 11 million litres every day. The ponds are filled with known toxins and carcinogens, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and copper, zinc and iron.
The Toronto-based Environmental Defense fund and the Pembina Institute estimated the leakage by using industry data provided and other university studies. Matt Price, who authored the report says it may take a generation for the contaminated water to build up enough in the ground water system to leak into the water system. By that time “it will be too late to stop it.”
Alberta Environment admit there is leakage, but have disputed the volumes. It says the toxic water drips into aquifers so deep that they themselves are contaminated by flowing through the oil sands.
You can read the full report here.