Athabasca Oil Sands Precipitation Chemistry Studies: 1976-79 and 1981

Rod Olson
Bruce Thompson
Henry Bertram
Roy Peters
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A study of the wet deposition of atmospheric pollutants in northeastern Alberta was initiated by Alberta Environment and Atmospheric Environment Service in 1976. The objectives of this ongoing study are to determine changes in the input rate of atmospheric trace substances into sensitive ecosystems and to provide a data base for the documentation of variations in the chemical characteristics of precipitation. In 1980, scientists from Research Management Division, Alberta Environment conducted an extensive review of the procedures and techniques which were being used in other precipitation chemistry studies. This resulted in the identification of potential inconsistancies in the existing data base. These problem areas were attributed to sample collection procedures, restrictions of the chemical analyses techniques and the reliability of the data with only a limited quality assurance program. Many of these concerns have been addressed in the 1981 precipitation chemistry field season. Alberta Environment introduced changes in the methodology that would both minimize the possibility of non-representative samples and ensure that the data would be comparable to other precipitation chemistry studies.