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Calgary, Canada

Wang X.,Desert Research Institute | Chow J.C.,CAS Institute of Earth Environment | Kohl S.D.,Desert Research Institute | Percy K.E.,Wood Buffalo Environmental Association | And 2 more authors.
Particuology | Year: 2016

Real-world fuel-based emission factors (EFs) from Caterpillar 797B diesel heavy haulers when used for oil sands mining operations were measured using an on-board portable emissions monitoring system. Average EFs (in g/kg fuel) for 16 separate tests on four trucks were 3150±4 for CO2, 2.51±1.30 for CH4, 10.28±3.21 for CO, 0.61±0.32 for non-methane hydrocarbons, 55.49±9.75 for NOx (reported as NO2), 0.70±0.17 for PM2.5 (mass of particles with aerodynamic diameter <2.5μm), and 0.34±0.05 for black carbon (BC). Ultrafine particle numbers averaged (4.7±4.1)×1015 particles/kg fuel. Fuel-based EFs of NO, NO2, and particle numbers were higher during idling, whereas PM2.5 and BC EFs were higher during traveling without a load. A comparison of emissions with those reported by oil sands facilities showed large variations, both among the facilities and between the reported emissions and the real-world measurements. © 2015 Chinese Society of Particuology and Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Lynam M.M.,University of Michigan | Dvonch J.T.,University of Michigan | Barres J.A.,University of Michigan | Morishita M.,University of Michigan | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2015

Abstract Characterization of air pollutant deposition resulting from Athabasca oil sands development is necessary to assess risk to humans and the environment. To investigate this we collected event-based wet deposition during a pilot study in 2010-2012 at the AMS 6 site 30 km from the nearest upgrading facility in Fort McMurray, AB, Canada. Sulfate, nitrate and ammonium deposition was (kg/ha) 1.96, 1.60 and 1.03, respectively. Trace element pollutant deposition ranged from 2 × 10-5 - 0.79 and exhibited the trend Hg < Se < As < Cd < Pb < Cu < Zn < S. Crustal element deposition ranged from 1.4 × 10-4 - 0.46 and had the trend: La < Ce < Sr < Mn < Al < Fe < Mg. S, Se and Hg demonstrated highest median enrichment factors (130-2020) suggesting emissions from oil sands development, urban activities and forest fires were deposited. High deposition of the elements Sr, Mn, Fe and Mg which are tracers for soil and crustal dust implies land-clearing, mining and hauling emissions greatly impacted surrounding human settlements and ecosystems. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Wang X.,Desert Research Institute | Wang X.,University of Nevada, Reno | Chow J.C.,Desert Research Institute | Chow J.C.,CAS Institute of Earth Environment | And 7 more authors.
Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association | Year: 2015

Geological samples were collected from 27 representative locations in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in Alberta, Canada. These samples were resuspended onto filter substrates for PM2.5 and PM10 size fractions. Samples were analyzed for 229 chemical species, consisting of elements, ions, carbon, and organic compounds. These chemical species are normalized to gravimetric mass to derive individual source profiles. Individual profiles were grouped into six categories typical of those used in emission inventories: paved road dust, unpaved road dust close to and distant from oil sand operations, overburden soil, tailings sands, and forest soils. Consistent with their geological origin, the major components are minerals, organic and elemental carbon, and ions. The sum of five major elements (i.e., Al, Si, K, Ca, and Fe) and their oxidized forms account for 25–40% and 45–82% of particulate matter (PM) mass, respectively. Si is the most abundant element, averaging 17–18% in the Facility (oil sand operations) and 23–27% in the Forest profiles. Organic carbon is the second most abundant species, averaging 9–11% in the Facility and 5–6% in the Forest profiles. Elemental carbon abundance is 2–3 times higher in Facility than Forest profiles. Sulfate abundance is ~7 times higher in the Facility than in the Forest profiles. The ratios of cation/anion and base cation (sum of Na+, Mg2+, K+, and Ca2+)/nitrogen- and sulfur-containing ions (sum of NH4 +, NO2 -, NO3 -, and SO4 2-) exceed unity, indicating that the soils are basic. Lead (Pb) isotope ratios of facility soils are similar to the AOSR stack and diesel emissions, while those of forest soils have much lower 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb ratios. High-molecular-weight n-alkanes (C25-C40), hopanes, and steranes are more than an order of magnitude more abundant in Facility than Forest profiles. These differences may be useful for separating anthropogenic from natural sources of fugitive dust at receptors. Implications: Several organic compounds typical of combustion emissions and bitumen are enriched relative to forest soils for fugitive dust sources near oil sands operations, consistent with deposition uptake by biomonitors. AOSR dust samples are alkaline, not acidic, indicating that potential acid deposition is neutralized. Chemical abundances are highly variable within emission inventory categories, implying that more specific subcategories can be defined for inventory speciation. Copyright © 2015 A&WMA.

Nosal M.,University of Calgary | Legge A.H.,Biosphere Solutions | Nosal E.M.,Wood Buffalo Environmental Association | Hansen M.C.,Wood Buffalo Environmental Association
Developments in Environmental Science | Year: 2012

Uncertainty estimation in continuous ambient air quality monitoring is one of the most important concepts related to data quality assurance. Even though its significance has been continuously emphasized in the scientific literature, as well as in governmental directives and regulations, its scientific methodology has been only partly developed and published. Uncertainty estimation is in principle a statistical concept based on probability distributions of ambient air pollutant concentrations. The problem stems from very complex distributions due to highly inaccurate estimates and large temporal and spatial variability of ambient air quality. Distributions are always highly skewed, often polymodal and thus noncompliant with the assumptions of standard statistical methodology. This chapter offers an innovative approach based on approximation of distributions of ambient air pollutant concentrations by the truncated Weibull family of probability distributions or their mixtures in cases of polymodal distributions. Such distributions are then used in Monte Carlo simulations to estimate the required uncertainty, which is related to the ambient air quality parameters. These methods have been developed and applied using the data collected by the continuous air quality monitoring network of the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (www.wbea.org/) in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of north-eastern Alberta, Canada. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Jaques D.R.,Ecosat Geobotanical Surveys Inc. | Legge A.H.,Biosphere Solutions
Developments in Environmental Science | Year: 2012

An ecological analogue system for biomonitoring the chronic and long-term effects of anthropogenic atmospheric emissions in the Alberta Oil Sands Region (AOSR) is described. This system has shown to be an efficient adjunct to ambient air quality measurements and has been previously applied successfully in western Canada. The essence of an ecological analogue system is the classification and identification of plant associations that are most sensitive to the atmospheric emissions of concern. An ecosystem classification and ordination was applied to sites of the most sensitive plant associations to identify detailed ecological analogue types (EATs). The EATs were then selected for use in locating field sites for the WBEA Forest Health Monitoring Program.Twenty-one major plant associations were identified within the AOSR with jack pine (Pinus banksiana)/bearberry (Arctostaphylos sp.)/green reindeer lichen (Cladina mitis) communities considered most sensitive. Among those, nine EATs most sensitive to atmospheric emissions were identified by classification and ordination techniques. These EATs possessed 10 specific ecological parameters necessary for field identification and mapping. Field sites were located near major AOSR emission sources, radiating outwards from ∼18 to 130km. A significant and high, nonlinear negative correlation (r=-0.98) was determined between the foliar inorganic/organic sulfur ratios in first year jack pine needles and the distance from the SO 2 sources. This foliar sulfur ratio metric coupled with other growth parameters provided a robust measure for deploying the ecological analogue system to monitor for the biological effects from the atmospheric chemical species of concern. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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