Slave Lake wildfire monitoring results
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development conducted environmental monitoring in the area of Slave Lake in order to assess potential environmental impacts resulting from the 2011 wildfires.
These results will be shared with Alberta Health & Wellness and Alberta Health Services, who will do human health analyses.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development conducted soil sampling at 25 sites within the community to assess the potential level of contamination in soils as a result of the fires. The sampling includes analysis of the following compounds:
- Hydrocarbons (Benzene, Toluene F1-F4);
- Dioxins and furans;
- Heavy metals;
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; and
Initial soil sampling results show no elevated levels of contaminants at 23 of 25 sites.
- View map of soil sample sites for initial soil monitoring
- View complete results (issued June 17, 2011)
Two sites had elevated dioxin and furan levels; contamination at one site is not believed to be related to the fires. The second site shows limited contamination in the surface soils, suggesting it is related to the fires.
Further testing will be done to determine the extent of contamination, once weather conditions permit.
Soil samples have also been analyzed by Alberta Health & Wellness and Alberta Health Services. No human health concerns were found.
Prior to the soil sampling phase, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development undertook ash sampling. These results are also available on our website. For more information about the ash sampling results, read the news release issued June 9, 2011.
SURFACE WATER MONITORING:
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development monitored the surface water quality in Lesser Slave Lake in June – all sampling results were normal and within provincial surface water quality guidelines.
This sampling included routine nutrients (e.g. phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon), routine major ions (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sulfate and potassium), heavy metals (e.g. mercury, cadmium and arsenic), bacteria (including fecal and total coliforms) and pesticides.
In addition to these routine parameters, sampling also included chlorinated organics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
Another round of surface water sampling will occur in the fall – this is to ensure surface water quality remains normal.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development set up two air monitoring stations following the fires; this monitoring concluded at the end of June.
These sites monitored a number of air pollutants, including particulates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated biphenyl, dioxin/furan, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds.
Air monitoring results indicates fair to good air quality; initial ‘fair’ quality was due to forest fires in the region.