Glen Semenchuk of CEMA.

The Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) has launched a new Groundwater Working Group (GWWG) to focus on improving scientific knowledge of regional groundwater systems using effective characterization, monitoring, and modelling approaches that, according to a press release, “support and promote the overall objective of watershed integrity.”

The GWWG will develop recommendations for regional groundwater quality and quantity and will report annually on the environmental risks, status and trends of the groundwater quality and quantity within the surface mining areas, in-situ areas and in association with tailings ponds and end pit lakes. The input of traditional environmental knowledge will be a key component in the GWWG work plan, research, and recommendations, states the release.

“Over the past number of years CEMA has commissioned scientific studies into the groundwater around north-eastern Alberta. Those findings are available on the CEMA website,” says Glen Semenchuk, CEMA executive director. “However, it was only recently that the CEMA board chose to create a new Groundwater Working Group and further examine this important resource to the local ecosystem.”

In recent years, impacts to groundwater resources in the Athabasca oil sands region have become an increasing concern for stakeholders and regulatory agencies. The GWWG is being established by CEMA to address management of cumulative effects of industrial development on the functioning of groundwater systems in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.


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