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Monitoring - Long Range Transport of Pesticides

Water Quality Monitoring

Rationale

Christian Bucher drilling a hole in the Hornaday River ice to take a water sample.
Christian Bucher drilling a hole in the Hornaday River ice to take a water sample.
© Parks Canada

Contaminants from sources within and outside of the north are found in Arctic ecosystems, including rivers and lakes. 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 in these rivers changes over time.

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 at 2 sites in the upper Hornaday River.
  • Three sets of water samples are taken at each site on the Firth and Hornaday rivers each summer. The first set of samples is typically taken in May or June, just after the ice breaks up on the river. The second set of samples is usually taken in late June or July and the third set of samples is taken in September.
  • One or two sets of water samples are taken from the Thomsen River each summer. Samples are typically taken in June and July. Fewer sets of samples are taken from the Thomsen than the Firth or Hornaday rivers because of the expense of travelling to Aulavik National Park.
  • Quality assurance and quality 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.

Results

  • The Hornaday River.
    The Hornaday River.
    © Parks Canada
    The Firth River was sampled in May, June and August in 2003.
  • The Thomsen River was sampled in July 2003.
  • The Hornaday River was sampled in June, July and September in 2003.
  • Results from the Thomsen, Firth and Hornaday rivers indicate that all three rivers have excellent water quality.
  • Traces of lindane, a pesticide used in other regions of Canada and around the world, has been found in the Thomsen and Hornaday rivers. This is an example of the long-range transport of pollutants to the Arctic.

Years of Data

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

Partners

  • Environment Canada

Funding

  • Parks Canada

Data Location

  • Parks Canada, Inuvik
  • Environment Canada, Yellownife