PNAS2014-03-21 1:42 PM

通过多介质趋归模型正式公布Athabasca油砂地区多环芳香族碳氢化合物排放的评估 Evaluating officially reported polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions in the Athabasca oil sands region with a multimedia fate model

意义
我们的研究表明对用来批准Athabasca油砂地区发展所实施的对预计多环芳烃排放的环境影响评估可能过低。这一发现意味着相关暴露媒介中的环境浓度如空气,水和食物等使用这些排放的估计也可能过低。Athabasca油砂地区的地表采矿活动被低估会因此对人类和野生动物造成潜在未来风险。
Significance
Our study shows that emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons estimated in environmental impact assessments conducted to approve developments in the Athabasca oil sands region are likely too low. This finding implies that environmental concentrations in exposure-relevant media, such as air, water, and food, estimated using those emissions may also be too low. The potential therefore exists that estimation of future risk to humans and wildlife because of surface mining activity in the Athabasca oil sands region has been underestimated.

摘要

对人体和环境具有潜在毒性有机物质的排放已成为Athabasca油砂地区(AOSR)迅猛工业发展中的主要关注。虽然某些环境样品中的多环芳烃的浓度(PAHs)已有被报道,但Athabasca油砂地区(AOSR)的有机污染物的来源,途径和污水坑还有待阐明。我们试图使用一个动态的多介质环境归趋模型来调节Athabasca油砂地区(AOSR)被报道的3个代表性PAHs的排放和残留量。采集自2个官方渠道的记载空气排放的数据导致了趋降来近似或低于环境中菲,芘浓度和苯并(a)芘最低可测浓度的空气,土壤,水和树叶模拟浓度。蒸发排放(例如尾矿池处置)的记录报告提供了有关Athabasca油砂地区(AOSR) PAH分布更加真实的表现。我们发现这种间接空气排放是导致AOSR地区大气中PAHs的重要因素,该地区大气与已被报道的直接空气排放有关。对于水生系统中PAHs通过大气随意排放的间接运输路径可能是导致其他供应路径以及水生系统中PAHs的显著原因。与基于可得排放数据集的估计相比,这3种导致尾矿池处置的PAHs排放密度估计更接近于预估全球平均水平。我们的研究结果强调了改进的油砂运作中PAH排放记录,尤其是考虑到这些操作的持续扩张时。

Abstract
Emissions of organic substances with potential toxicity to humans and the environment are a major concern surrounding the rapid industrial development in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR). Although concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in some environmental samples have been reported, a comprehensive picture of organic contaminant sources, pathways, and sinks within the AOSR has yet to be elucidated. We sought to use a dynamic multimedia environmental fate model to reconcile the emissions and residue levels reported for three representative PAHs in the AOSR. Data describing emissions to air compiled from two official sources result in simulated concentrations in air, soil, water, and foliage that tend to fall close to or below the minimum measured concentrations of phenanthrene, pyrene, and benzo(a)pyrene in the environment. Accounting for evaporative emissions (e.g., from tailings pond disposal) provides a more realistic representation of PAH distribution in the AOSR. Such indirect emissions to air were found to be a greater contributor of PAHs to the AOSR atmosphere relative to reported direct emissions to air. The indirect pathway transporting uncontrolled releases of PAHs to aquatic systems via the atmosphere may be as significant a contributor of PAHs to aquatic systems as other supply pathways. Emission density estimates for the three PAHs that account for tailings pond disposal are much closer to estimated global averages than estimates based on the available emissions datasets, which fall close to the global minima. Our results highlight the need for improved accounting of PAH emissions from oil sands operations, especially in light of continued expansion of these operations.

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