3e concours de vulgarisation scientifique EcotoQ | Scott Hepditch

Scott Hepditch est étudiant au doctorat l’Institut nationale de la recherche scientifique (INRS) sous la direction de Valérie Langlois (INRS) et Jason Ahad (NRCan). Son projet de recherche s’intitule : 

Characterization of diluted bitumen spills within freshwater systems

Résumé du projet :

Federally supported projects are currently underway to increase the volume of diluted bitumen (dilbit) transported within Canada’s oil pipeline network, which already covers more than 840,000 km of terrain, and yet there are currently no investigations on the fate and behaviour of spills within groundwater systems. Furthermore, accidental spill events such as that near the Kalamazoo River in 2010 have given clear evidence that the environmental fate and behaviour of dilbit is markedly different than the much more well studied conventional crude oils within fresh surface waters.

For my doctoral research, I have utilized large-scale mesocosms to model accidental spill events while characterizing the chemical evolution and resultant environmental toxicity of dilbit within both ground and surface water systems. Water and soil samples were routinely collected for 2-4 month periods to measure changes in the movement and chemical composition of dilbit (PACs, VOCs, naphthenic acids), and to assess the subsequent environmental toxicity to aquatic ecosystems using the representative North American indicator species, the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). My research has identified significantly greater toxicity and environmental contamination from dilbit spills as compared to conventional crude oils, and has identified new toxic compounds of importance for future environmental risk assessment.