Snow Man
Bill Ruttan moves snow off his Provost sidewalk the old fashioned way—with muscle-power, following a heavy downfall of frozen precipitation in the area. Many others addressed the tons of white hexagonal ice crystals as the biggest single snowfall across the area in several years. ©Provost News Photo. Want to Subscribe to The Provost News? Click here.
Underground Salt Migration ‘Serious’
• Groundwater Contaminated in Hughenden-Czar Area
Alberta Environment is monitoring the migration of an underground plume of water that is contaminated with salt that originated from industrial activity in the M.D. of Provost over a 45 year span.

The plume is appearing in the Hughenden-Czar area about 60 to 70 feet down but there is evidence of some salt now reaching the surface and that has some residents very concerned about the potential pollution of their dugouts and to soil that could cause crop damage.

From 1950 to 1985 Alberta Underground Storage Ltd. (AUSL) operated an unlined brine pond as part of their gas storage operation. A licence was obtained and fresh water was pumped from Shorncliffe Lake to wash four underground salt caverns. That resulting saline water (brine) was then pumped into an alkali lake for storage.

In 1985 AUSL stopped operation and removed piping. No efforts were undertaken to restore the alkali lake. In 1996 a shallow water supply about 2.4 kms southeast of the alkali lake encountered high chloride concentrations (40,000 mg/L). Based on available information, typical chloride concentrations measured in shallow groundwater were less than 50 mg/L.

Alberta environment says that in 1997 and 2002 two geophysical surveys were done that indicated chloride was migrating outwards from the alkali lake.

A spokesman for Alberta Environment, Kim Hunt told The News that it is a large plume, estimated to be two kilometres long but very narrow. It appears to have moved about two kilometres southeast of the alkali lake, heading towards Shorncliffe Lake.
Alberta Environment has since the summer of 2002 drilled 14 wells in the area to monitor the situation and found the groundwater is now contaminated with salt at a level of 20 to 30 metres deep.

Alberta Environment continues to pay for the investigation.

Hunt says that they want to continue monitoring to learn more about the plume and where it is moving.

She says there is concern with the impact that may occur at Shorncliffe Lake and to landowners. Hunt adds that several people are working on this project.

She stated that she didn’t know if the levels of chloride were necessarily increasing and that they (Alberta Environment) are finding that in general the water and sediment samples show water is good—but there are elevated salt levels in five local water bodies.

Hunt, when asked if people should be concerned replied that “we are still monitoring . . . there is no reason to be concerned at this point.”

Local resident Dr. Keith Degenhardt said in an interview however that the issue is a concern and could cost them (Alberta Environment) “significant dollars if this comes to the surface—and they are not looking forward to that.”

“I don’t think they are doing anything but hoping it doesn’t get worse and move into Czar lake.”

Degenhardt says one plume is heading southeast towards Shorncliffe Lake and another one is heading north east towards a smaller slough by their land. He said four other landowners could also be affected.

Full story and pictures in February 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Drilling Activity Remains Strong
Full story in February 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Fire Department Using Two New Thermal Cameras
Full article in February 4 edition of The Provost News.
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Street Spokesman
This week we asked: "How Do You Keep Warm Working Outside?"
. . . and we heard opinions from Tom Proctor, Neil Blue, Bryan Mattock, Barry Livingston and Dan Lavigne.
Check out the
February 4 edition of The Provost News for their answers.
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This, along with many other stories and pictures can be found in this week's edition of The Provost News.
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