The Alberta NDP leader accused Imperial Oil and the Alberta Energy Regulator of downplaying an allegedly arsenic-laced toxic spill in Fort McMurray from the company's oil sands facility, which was later revealed to be regular muddy rainwater.
"Additionally, no exceedances in arsenic have been measured in the drinking water. Lab reports of hydrocarbons and toluene in some samples were determined to be false positives due to lab error," wrote Chief Scientist Jonathan Thompson.
Last week, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation reported a leak of 670,000 litres of treated water escaping a settling pond into the Muskeg river.
The First Nation reported 140 mg of suspended solids per litre, which is 4 times the legal limit.
According to the oil company, it was sediment from the soil around an overflow culvert.
Rain and snow runoff caused mud. The Alberta Energy Regulator noted the pond in question collects runoff water from areas not disturbed by mining.
But according to Rachel Notley, former premier and current leader of the NDP opposition, it's systemic racism against First Nations via toxic tailings pond runoff, and she's demanding an apology from anyone who says anything different. Evidence or testing be damned.
Brian Jean, the MLA for the region, tried to explain the difference between a spill of toxic chemicals and mud to the Edmonton-centric MLAs who have a hard time getting their birkenstocks off the pavement in the concrete jungle of the capital city.
Notley, taking a page from former Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, reiterated her misinformation louder than ever.
However, when the facts came out, the NDP had mud on their faces. The region's drinking water is some of the most tested in the province and there is no poison being served up to unwitting locals thanks to a careless job creator.
Jonathan Thompson, Chief Scientist of Alberta, issued the following statement on drinking water quality in the Lower Athabasca Region:
Alberta Environment and Protected Areas (EPA) requires that all water treatment plants in the province have certified operators and that the quality of treated drinking water meets the Canadian guidelines for drinking water set by Health Canada. These guidelines are set to ensure that drinking water is safe for human consumption.
Drinking water is provided in Fort Chipewyan after treatment by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) treatment facility. In response to concerns around the Kearl incident, the Regulatory Assurance Division at EPA has worked with the RMWB to increase the frequency of drinking water quality monitoring to ensure the safety of users. Since March, Fort Chipewyan has been one of the most intensively monitored water treatment facilities in the province.
The RMWB has conducted more than 35 enhanced monitoring tests on raw and treated water samples since March, and all treated drinking water samples have met the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality limits set by Health Canada.
Additionally, no exceedances in arsenic have been measured in the drinking water. Lab reports of hydrocarbons and toluene in some samples were determined to be false positives due to lab error.
Drinking water quality monitoring results have been posted on the RMWB website, shared with EPA and the communities, and all results indicate that the drinking water is safe.
In addition to water quality monitoring to ensure local facilities are treating water to appropriate standards and the quality of drinking water is safe for consumption, EPA also monitors ambient surface water quality.
It's a bad day to be Rachel Notley, but it it would be more newsworthy if she had a good one.