Arsenic speciation in Yellowknife Lakes during spring bloom

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, vegetation, arsenic, hydrology, limnology

Principal Investigator: Reimer, Kenneth J. (3)
Licence Number: 14732
Organization: Royal Military College of Canada
Licenced Year(s): 2010
Issued: Jun 03, 2010
Project Team: Iris Koch (Co-Research Supervisor, Royal Military College of Canada), Guilhem Caumette (Field team member, Royal Military College of Canada), Esteban Estrada (Field team member, Royal Military College of Canada)

Objective(s): To determine total arsenic and arsenic species in water from Kam Lake and Meg Lake.

Project Description: The objectives of this research are to:
1. Determine total arsenic and arsenic species in water from Kam Lake and Meg Lake,
2. Determine total arsenic and arsenic species in porewater (which is a link between sediments and overlying water) from Kam Lake and Meg Lake,
3. Determine plankton communities, and total arsenic and arsenic species in plankton fractions,
4. Determine arsenic in food sources for hare (plants and soils as applicable).

The researchers will collect water and sediments from a boat provided by Environment Canada, using Van Dorn samplers, Ponar grabs (for sediments) and corers as needed and will obtain porewater by syringe or by centrifugation and plankton using methods still to be determined (large water samplers, filters and possibly nets are most likely). The researchers will measure water conditions (pH, temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, among others) using meters. None of the sampling procedures will be invasive, nor will significant amounts of samples be collected. Analysis will be carried out by using a combination of high performance liquid chromatography – inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry at RMC and x-ray absorption spectroscopy at synchrotron facilities available.

Plant sampling will involve collecting minimal amounts of plants that are judged from reading of the scientific literature, or according to advice from guides, to be food sources for hare. Minimal amounts of soil will be collected from plant sampling locations. The same analytical methods will be used as for the lake study.

The research team has been in contact with Miramar Northern Mining Limited for support and access to mine property and have also contacted Environment Canada who will support with boat access, warehouse space and staging. The researchers have carried out similar work in Yellowknife before (in the mid to late 1990's) and expect that this work will provide valuable information about arsenic cycling in the contaminated terrestrial lakes, which may be of use in understanding other lakes in the region.

Drafts of publications and presentations will be communicated to Aurora Research Institute, to Environment Canada, DFO and Miramar Northern Mining Limited as a minimum, and to other organizations (e.g., First Nations groups) if they are interested, or if ARI judges it to be appropriate. Any communications that we provide will be freely available to ARI, EC, DFO and Miramar for distribution as they wish. The principal investigators are available for giving lectures or information sessions if desired.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 7, 2010 to June 28, 2010.