200+ Birds Put to Death After Landing on Tailings Pond

200+ Birds Put to Death After Landing on Tailings Pond

November 2nd, 2010 // 12:02 pm @

Freezing-rain and quickly deteriorating weather conditions are thought to have caused a flock of ducks to seek a place to land. Seeing water, they landed on what appeared to be a pond – it was instead a tailings pond.

A number of birds were euthanized, even though Suncor – the owner of the pond, rushed people to their ponds with air horns to supplement their regular deterrent systems.

Tailings ponds are dangerous because not only they hold the waste products of extracting oil from the Alberta tar sands – like solvents and bitumen but also the tailings ponds are leaky. Tailings ponds reside on the surface of the land and are made by creating walls of earth (mud) to forming an enclosure. The enclosure is usually double-walled and there is a moat around the pond itself. Pumps around the moat pump leaking tailings back into the pond. Unfortunately, tailings ponds in Alberta are usually located next to rivers – like the Athabasca River. It is unknown how much of the tailings leak into the water system – either directly, or indirectly through the ground water.

Suncor has been working on ways to reclaim tailings ponds, which is great news. These events keep both the bad and good in the news which helps maintain awareness of the issues and related efforts.

Category : Blog

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