Monitoring - Long Range Transport of Pesticides

Water Quality Monitoring

Rationale

Ian McDonald taking a water sample.
Ian McDonald taking a water sample.

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

Methods and Information Collected

  • Water quality samples are taken from the Thomsen River at Green Cabin, from the Firth River at the water survey site and from the Hornaday River at the water survey site and the delta.
  • 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 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 bottles.
    Water sampling bottles.
    The Firth River was sampled in June, July and September, 2001 at the water survey site.
  • The Thomsen River was sampled in June and August, 2001 at Green Cabin.
  • The Hornaday River was sampled twice in June and once in September, 2001 at the water survey site. The Hornaday delta site was only sampled once in June and once in September. The number of sites that are sampled on the Hornaday River was cut down this year from six to two due to lack of funding.
  • 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.