For immediate release
Calgary, Alberta (Nov 15, 2010)… The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) is correcting the record on a story which ran on CBC News which implies that a tailings pond licensed to Canadian Natural Resources Limited is leaking into a stream at its western edge. There is no tailings release at the CNRL pond.
The CNRL tailings pond is contained by a dike at its east, north and south edges. The western edge of the pond is contained by a hill, which acts as a natural dike or berm and contains a thick layer of clay that acts as a seal for the fluid. The water body in question is a minor stream which flows downhill into the tailings pond. The tailings pond and the stream lie at the bottom of a natural depression and all water in the area flows into the pond, not out of it.
In addition, the story implies that muskeg at the west edge of the tailings pond is being contaminated. The area in question is a low area flooded by the pond reservoir. The tailings pond and the surrounding areas lie well within CNRL lease boundaries and have been authorized for industrial use. CNRL’s Directive 074 tailings plan (which is under review by ERCB staff) proposes to use the entire area at the western edge of the tailings pond as a Dedicated Disposal Area (DDA) to dry Mature Fine Tailings so they can be restored to a trafficable surface ready for reclamation.
ERCB staff inspect every tailings pond in Alberta at least once a year. ERCB staff inspected the CNRL site two weeks ago and saw no evidence of any problems with the containment of the pond. As a precaution, ERCB staff inspected the CNRL pond again today and found that it is being operated in compliance with ERCB regulations.
The CBC never called the ERCB to check any facts in the story before running it. The ERCB is following up with the CBC to get the story corrected.
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For more information, please contact:Davis Sheremata, ERCB Communications