Phase 2 Review of Potential Cumulative Effects to ...
In-situ oil sand operations, primarily steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD), require groundwater sources to provide the water needed for steam production and to replace water lost to the formation or the bitumen recovery and treatment process. The surface operations associated with in-situ extraction can also disturb land cover and locally affect runoff, infiltration processes, and groundwater recharge rates. The cumulative effects of in-situ operations in the Mackay Watershed were previously evaluated in Phase 1 of this CEMA initiative (SNC Lavalin, 2013). Phase 1 found that many project EIAs used different models with different data sets and assumptions, making comparison of projects and impacts difficult. It was further noted that the EIA evaluation of impacts to surface water typically looked at changes to runoff and peak flows but did not consider impacts to the frequency and duration of low-flow events. Phase 1 was limited to an analysis of existing EIAs, and no numerical modelling of cumulative effects was undertaken. A limitation of the Phase 1 work was that some small-scale projects were omitted from analysis, and therefore the cumulative effects could not be fully assessed. The need for this Phase 2 study was identified in the conclusions of the Phase 1 study. The purpose of the Phase 2 study was to quantitatively assess the cumulative effects of in-situ operations under current and full build conditions (with all sites operating). Ultimately, the study was conducted to answer the question posed in the CEMA Phase 2 RFP: Is there enough water in the watershed to sustain a responsible level of development? The methodology and assessment criteria were developed in conjunction with the study team prior to the construction of the numerical model.
|Citation||Dirk Kassenaar, 2016. Phase 2 Review of Potential Cumulative Effects to Surface Water and Groundwater from In-Situ Oil Sands Operations, Focusing on the MacKay River Watershed. Cumulative Environmental Management Association. Fort McMurray, Alberta|
|Copyright Holder||Cumulative Environmental Management Association. Fort McMurray, Alberta|
|Created||March 17, 2016|
|Last updated||March 17, 2016|