Monitoring - Long Range Transport of Pesticides

Water Quality Monitoring

Rationale

Mary Anne Francey taking water samples from the Thompson River
Mary Anne Francey taking water samples from the Thomsen River

Contaminants from sources in the south have been found in Arctic ecosystems. These contaminants travel through the atmosphere and are deposited in the Arctic, where cold temperatures keep them from travelling any further. The presence of contaminants such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), heavy metals and radionuclides are a concern because they can have negative effects on Arctic ecosystems and human health. Water quality monitoring is conducted on the Thomsen River in Aulavik National Park, the Firth River in Ivvavik National Park and the Hornaday River in Tuktut Nogait National Park. Water quality information for these rivers is used to determine current water quality conditions and to monitor changes in water quality over time.

Objectives

  • To determine the current water quality of the Thomsen River in Aulavik National Park, the Firth River in Ivvavik National Park and the Hornaday River in Tuktut Nogait National Park.
  • To determine if water quality changes over time in Aulavik, Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait national parks.

Methods and Information Collected

  • Christian Bucher taking water samples from the Hornaday River
    Christian Bucher taking water samples from the Hornaday River
    Water quality samples are taken from the Thomsen River at Green Cabin, from the Firth River at the water survey site and at 2 sites in the Upper Hornaday River.
  • Three sets of water samples are taken at each site from the Firth River and Hornaday Rivers each summer. The first set of samples are typically taken in May or June just after the ice breaks up on the river. The second set of samples are usually taken in late June of July and the third set of samples are taken in September.
  • Two sets of water samples are taken from the Thomsen River each summer. Samples are typically taken in June and July. Two, rather than three, sets of samples are taken from the Thomsen River because of the expense of travelling to Aulavik National Park.
  • Quality assurance and control samples are taken at some sites to test the quality of the samples and the accuracy of the laboratory analysis.
  • Water temperature, conductivity and pH are measured at the site.
  • Water quality samples are analysed for physicals, nutrients, major cations, major anions, trace metals and organics.

Years of Data


  • Aulavik and Tuktut Nogait: since 1999
  • Ivvavik: since 2000

Partners

  • Environment Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Results

  • Water sampling site on the Thompon River in Aulavik Nationla Park
    Water sampling site on the Thomsen River in Aulavik National Park
    The Firth River was sampled in May, June and September, 2002 at the water survey site.
  • The Thomsen River was sampled in June and August 2002 at Green Cabin.
  • The Hornaday River was sampled twice in May and once in September, 2002 at 2 sites in the Upper Hornaday River. An additional two sites, one at the Hornaday River gauge and one at the mouth of the Hornaday River, were sampled in April. Sampling at the mouth of the river was unsuccessful due to thick ice. These sites were sampled in order to assist the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada with their sampling program.
  • Results from the Thomsen, Firth and Hornaday River water quality samples indicate that all three rivers have excellent water quality.
  • Traces of lindane, a pesticide used in other regions of Canada and around the world, were found in the 1999 Thomsen River samples. The presence of lindane in the Thomsen River is an example of the long range transport of pollutants to the Arctic.