YELLOWKNIFE (December 2, 2013) – The Alberta Environment Support and Emergency Response Team has advised the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) that:
- The plume is no longer distinguishable from normal background levels of the Athabasca River below Fort McMurray for substances of concern.
- There is no longer a threat to northern waters.
- All parameters for the substances of concern connected to the suspended particles are at or below background levels with no exceedances of “the water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life” criteria for metals and hydrocarbons.
- Terms of the Environmental Protection Order served on the company are intended to mitigate any future release into the environment, particularly the Athabasca River, during spring run-off and thaw.
The GNWT and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada continue to work together to liaise with the Alberta regulators to assess the situation and monitor water in the NWT. Slave River water quality monitoring is being done at the Fort Smith fresh water intake. A spring sampling plan for the Slave River will be developed this winter. Updates will be provided on a weekly basis and we will continue to keep downstream communities informed. A Frequently Asked Questions document is available on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ website. The document will be updated as water quality results are received from AESRD. Sherritt Coal, owner of the Obed Coal Mine, is posting regular updates on its remediation actions and results of water quality sampling.
For more information, contact:
Manager, Public Affairs and Communications
Environment and Natural Resources
Government of the Northwest Territories