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Orr P.L.,Minnow Environmental | Wiramanaden C.I.E.,Minnow Environmental | Paine M.D.,Paine | Franklin W.,Teck Coal Ltd. | Fraser C.,Teck Coal Ltd.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2012

Previous studies conducted in the Elk River watershed showed that selenium concentrations are higher in aquatic biota in lentic compared to lotic habitats of the system having similar water selenium concentrations. Studies have also shown that water selenium concentrations have increased over time (~10% per year) and recent annual average concentrations have ranged up to 0.044mg/L in areas downstream from mine discharges. For the present study, trophic transfer of selenium was characterized in lotic versus lentic habitats using concentrations measured in field-collected samples and assuming a three-step food chain of water to the base of the food web (biofilm), to benthic invertebrates, and then to westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) ovaries. Food chain models were developed for each habitat type (lotic and lentic) by combining linear regression equations for the three transfer relationships, allowing for prediction of fish ovary concentrations from water concentrations. Greater accumulation of selenium in lentic areas was mostly attributable to greater uptake at the base of the food chain compared to lotic areas. Enrichment/trophic transfer factors for selenium at all levels of the lotic and lentic food chains decreased and then became near constant as exposure concentrations increased. The lotic model predicted little increase in WCT ovary selenium concentrations over an eightfold increase in water concentrations (~0.005-0.040mg/L), accounting for the lack of observed increase in within-area fish tissue concentrations over time despite increasing trends in water concentrations. © 2011 SETAC.

DeBlois E.M.,Elisabeth DeBlois Inc. | Paine M.D.,Paine | Kilgour B.W.,Kilgour and Associates Ltd | Tracy E.,Stantec Consulting Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2014

This paper describes sediment composition at the Terra Nova offshore oil development. The Terra Nova Field is located on the Grand Banks approximately 350km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada, at an approximate water depth of 100m. Surface sediment samples (upper 3cm) were collected for chemical and particle size analyses at the site pre-development (1997) and in 2000-2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010. Approximately 50 stations have been sampled in each program year, with stations extending from less than 1km to a maximum of 20km from source (drill centres) along five gradients, extending to the southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest and east of Terra Nova. Results show that Terra Nova sediments were contaminated with >C10-C21 hydrocarbons and barium-the two main constituents of synthetic-based drilling muds used at the site. Highest levels of contamination occurred within 1 to 2km from source, consistent with predictions from drill cuttings dispersion modelling. The strength of distance gradients for >C10-C21 hydrocarbons and barium, and overall levels, generally increased as drilling progressed but decreased from 2006 to 2010, coincident with a reduction in drilling. As seen at other offshore oil development sites, metals other than barium, sulphur and sulphide levels were elevated and sediment fines content was higher in the immediate vicinity (less than 0.5km) of drill centres in some sampling years; but there was no strong evidence of project-related alterations of these variables. Overall, sediment contamination at Terra Nova was spatially limited and only the two major constituents of synthetic-based drilling muds used at the site, >C10-C21 hydrocarbons and barium, showed clear evidence of project-related alternations. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Whiteway S.A.,Whiteway | Paine M.D.,Paine | Wells T.A.,Suncor Energy | DeBlois E.M.,Elisabeth DeBlois Inc. | And 5 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2014

This paper discusses toxicity test results on sediments from the Terra Nova offshore oil development. The Terra Nova Field is located on the Grand Banks approximately 350km southeast of Newfoundland (Canada). The amphipod (Rhepoxynius abronius) survival and solid phase luminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri, or Microtox) assays were conducted on sediment samples collected from approximately 50 stations per program year around Terra Nova during baseline (1997), prior to drilling, and in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 after drilling began. The frequency of toxic responses in the amphipod toxicity test was low. Of the ten stations that were toxic in environmental effects monitoring (EEM) years, only one (station 30(FE)) was toxic in more than one year and could be directly attributed to Terra Nova project activities. In contrast, 65 (18%) of 364 EEM samples were toxic to Microtox. Microtox toxicity in EEM years was not related to distance from Terra Nova drill centres or concentrations of >C10-C21 hydrocarbons or barium, the primary constituents of the synthetic-based drill muds used at Terra Nova. Of the variables tested, fines and strontium levels showed the strongest (positive) correlations with toxicity. Neither fines nor strontium levels were affected by drill cuttings discharge at Terra Nova, except at station 30(FE) (and that station was not toxic to Microtox). Benthic macro-invertebrate abundance, richness and diversity were greater in toxic than in non-toxic sediments. Therefore, Microtox responses indicating toxicity were associated with positive biological responses in the field. This result may have been an indirect function of the increased abundance of most invertebrate taxa in less sandy sediments with higher gravel content, where fines and strontium levels and, consequently, toxicity to Microtox were high; or chemical substances released by biodegradation of organic matter, where invertebrates are abundant, may be toxic to Microtox. Given the lack of association between Microtox results and discharge from Terra Nova, coupled with the confounding effects of other variables, the usefulness of Microtox toxicity tests within the context of environmental monitoring for the Terra Nova and, potentially, other offshore oil operations needs to be questioned. The amphipod toxicity tests showed that sediments in the vicinity of discharges of synthetic-based drilling mud cuttings are rarely toxic. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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