The controversial Alberta tar sands has sparked heavy debate amongst government agencies, politicians, industry, First Nations communities, concerned citizens, and Hollywood celebrities. Environmental degradation, water quality issues, human health, and energy demands are at the heart of the matter. But, what exactly are the tar sands? In short, Canada’s tar sands extracted oil product is not like conventional crude oil. The substance, also referred to as bitumen, is sticky, thick oil that cannot flow down a pipeline prior to intense processing. The naturally occurring oil present in the tar sands is comprised of clay, sand, water, and roughly 10% bitumen. Pollutant monitoring plans have been initiated to assess the impacts of the tar sands processing activities.

BRL has extensive experience testing for the metals and metals species of concern (such as methylmercury) or interest (such as rare earth elements). Such complex samples require a high degree of expertise!