Time to Halt the Sands
Posted by mhudema on September 10, 2008
As part of the process to separate the bitumen from sand, large amounts of waste liquid, tailings, is produced. These tailings are poured into huge diked ponds. If allowed to continue, current and proposed tailings ponds would cover up to 220 square kilometres! The companies admit that left on there own, the silt will not settle in the ponds for up to 100 years. Should any pond’s dike break, it would create an environment disaster of which the world has never seen before.
In addition, history as shown that the companies responsible for creating an environmental hazard, are no where to be seen when it’s time for a cleanup. The Alberta government requires the oil sand companies to estimate the cost to reclaim the ponds and put the money aside. They have estimated it would cost $10,000 hectare. Syncrude’s reported reclamation costs for the one pond they have reclaimed, averaged nearly $47,000 per hectare. Who’s going to make up the shortfall?