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Overview of selenium in surface waters, sediment and biota in river basins of west-central Alberta

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Title: Overview of selenium in surface waters, sediment and biota in river basins of west-central Alberta
Author: Casey, Richard; Siwik, Paula
Issue Date: 2000
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-07-07
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2000
Abstract: This report includes the initial findings of a study begun in spring 1999. The study was designed to obtain data on the concentrations of selenium in surface water, sediment and aquatic biota at about 30 sites, including areas upstream (reference sites) and downstream of four coal mines located in west-central Alberta. Sample sites were mostly in lotie systems, but also included an end pit lake and a reference lake. Data from all surveys showed low concentrations of selenium in water at the reference sites. Most of these concentrations were less than the CCME water quality guideline for the protection of freshwater aquatic life. The highest selenium concentrations, often an order of magnitude greater than both the CCME and US-EPA chronic guidelines, were found at sites immediately downstream of 3 mines. Similar high concentrations of selenium were found in the end pit lake compared to the reference lake. Selenium concentrations generally decreased downstream of the mines. Almost all of the selenium in the water samples was in the dissolved form. Selenium concentrations in samples of littoral sediments were always higher in the pit lake than in the reference lake. Selenium concentrations in rainbow trout eggs were greater than in muscle. Selenium in eggs was positively related to selenium in muscle tissues. With few exceptions, the lowest concentrations of selenium in muscle and eggs were found at the reference sites compared to the remaining sites. Greatest mean concentrations of selenium in both muscle and egg tissues were found at the pit lake and stream site closest to one mine. Mean selenium concentrations in rainbow trout muscle and eggs showed a positive correlation with selenium concentrations in surface waters.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/10382
Peer Review Status:

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