Study finds oil mining waste leaking through permafrost in Northwest Territories

By on November 18, 2013
Permafrost in the Arctic (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)

Permafrost in the Arctic (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)

A study by scientists at Canada’s Brock University found that melting permafrost in the Northwest Territories is allowing waste from oil drilling to leach into the ecosystem, according to an article in Canadian Manufacturing.

Permafrost lines pits where oil and gas companies disposed waste in Canada’s Arctic. It’s melting in some areas of the Northwest Territories, likely due to climate change.   Degradation of the permafrost barrier allows the waste to leak into the watershed.

One telltale sign of the leaking pits was briny water found to be prevalent in many lakes near disposal areas. In some lakes, researchers found the brine displaced species intolerant of high-salinity water.

Disposal pits in Canada’s Mackenzie Delta date back as far as the 1960s.

Image: Permafrost in the Arctic (Credit: Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)

About Austen Verrilli

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