DEGRADATION AND MOBILITY OF PETROLEUM HYDROCARBONS IN OILSANDS WASTE AT THE AURORA FORT HILLS DISPOSAL AREA
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Surface mining in the Athabasca oil sands region of Northern Alberta, Canada, results in the disturbance of significant areas of boreal forest landscape. The Aurora Soil Capping Study is a reclamation research project that aims to find the optimal soil capping (cover) material and thickness to re-establish a boreal forest ecosystem above a lean oil sands (LOS) disposal area at Syncrude's Aurora North mine. The objectives of this laboratory and field-based study are to (1) characterize the in-situ hydrocarbon composition of the LOS material, (2) determine the effect of temperature on rates of gas flux and the biodegradation potential of petroleum hydrocarbons (PHC) as a result of microbial activity and (3) determine the potential for PHC to leach into the groundwater system. The results of the laboratory-study show that temperature has a significant effect on the rate of PHC degradation as indicated by the linear relationship observed between temperature and CO2 gas flux rates. The respiratory results from the laboratory-based study were consistent and relatively comparable with data from the field study, which indicates that the column study could be useful in estimating in situ PHC degradation.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
DepartmentCivil and Geological Engineering
SupervisorFleming, Ian R.
CommitteeSi, Bingcheng; Ireson, Andrew; Ferguson, Grant
Copyright DateSeptember 2013
Petroleum Hydrocarbon, Biodegradation