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Water quality results from sediment release now available

Water quality results from ongoing sampling of the Athabasca River indicate no immediate risk to human health. A summary report of these results is now publicly available. 

The summary results indicate:

  • Water quality guidelines – health and environmental – were exceeded for some parameters within 40 km of the release.

“I am confident that at no time was there a risk to the public’s drinking water. As chief medical officer my primary concern is that proper procedures are followed and that the water the public is drinking is safe. While there was a temporary increase in some contaminants those levels are returning to normal.”

- Dr. Jim Talbot, Chief Medical Officer of Health

As a precaution, community water treatment plants will continue to refrain from using the Athabasca River when the plume is near.

  • Residents are reminded not to consume raw, untreated river water at any time, regardless of the sediment plume.
  • Determining the full extent of the release on the ecosystem of the Athabasca River will require long-term monitoring.

“We’ve implemented an intensive sampling program and we are working closely with experts at Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services, and other agencies. Determining the full extent of impacts to the ecosystem will require long-term monitoring and ongoing partnership with cross-government experts.”

– Dr. Colin Cooke, Limnologist and Water Quality Specialist, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development

The Government of Alberta notified all affected communities on Nov. 1 of the release and advised downstream municipalities to not draw water from the Athabasca River.

Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Alberta Health, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and agencies like the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, Alberta Health Services, and the Alberta Energy Regulator have responded to this event and have been working with communities located along the Athabasca River to address environmental and health concerns.

Water quality testing on the Athabasca River began on Nov. 1 and will continue. Preliminary raw data is also being released and will continue to be verified as new information is received. 

Related information

Summary report (pdf)

Preliminary raw dataset (xls)

Related announcements

November 4 update

November 2 update

Media inquiries