In-depth study shows the Peace River is healthy
April 3, 1996
IThe final report of PRPD' s Environmental Effects Monitoring (EEM) study states, "Overall, PRPD effluent has not affected growth, health and reproductive ability of water insects and fish living in the Peace River." The EEM study was conducted by an independent company, Sentar Consultants Ltd., during the fall of 1994.
Every pulp mill in Canada must monitor its environmental effects every three years. Pulp mills are required by law to submit these study results to the federal government.
The EEM study extensively examined the health of fish and water insects and the impact of pulp mill effluent on water quality. Fish were collected from 25 sample sites several kilometers below the pulp mill as well as fish from the Peace River above the Smoky River confluence. In total, 167 fish were inspected.
"We compared the results of this study to a 1988 Alberta Environment water quality study conducted before the mill started up and the results correspond. The quality of the water in the Peace River has not changed noticeably, " says Tom Tarpey, Peace River Pulp's environmental manager.
Following are the highlights of the study comparing the sample sites downstream and upstream of the pulp mill:
- no difference in growth, reproductive capability and general health in fish.
- no detectable concentrations of dioxins or furans were found in fish tissue.
- no difference was found in water insects upstream or downstream of the pulp mill.
- Less than 1% concentration of the mill's effluent could be detected 50 metres past the pulp mill's discharge. Peace River pulp mill effluent dilutes very rapidly because of the large size of the Peace river and the rapid dispersion of the mill's effluent
- When water insects and fish were exposed to high concentrations of pulp mill effluent there was no effect on their growth or reproduction abilities. These results indicate our effluent does not have a toxic effect on the water in the river.
Peace River Pulp consistently meets and exceeds all Alberta Environment requirements that protect water quality. PRPD's pursuit of continuous environmental improvement means our performance is getting better all the time. The EEM final report was submitted to the Federal Government on April 1.