The Wanipigow Sand Extraction project may negatively impact quality of groundwater and surrounding surface waters, thus impacting local drinking water. The proposed Wanipigow Silica Sand Extraction Project needs to go for a full Environmental Assessment before construction is allowed in order to address the following water quality concerns:
- Canadian Premium Sand has admitted to using polymers (including polyacrylamide polymers) during the sand processing activities as described in Appendix B of their Environment Act proposal. These polymers have been found to infiltrate groundwater when used in other sand mining operations. Given that the project area is at a higher elevation than surrounding surface waters, it’s reasonable to expect groundwater contamination resulting from the sand mine could contaminate surrounding surface water. Local drinking water, whether it be surface or well water is at risk for polyacrylamide polymer contamination. Long term exposure to these water soluble polymers through contaminated drinking water can lead to nervous system damage and an increased risk of cancer. Local drinking water is not currently regulated for polyacrylamide concentrations and IF contamination were to occur – local residents would NEVER know!
- Acid Rock Drainage. The silica sand at the Seymourville deposit has a layer of shale on top of it. This layer of shale is considered overburden and is likely to be reused as backfill during the mine reclamation process. Therefore it will be stockpiled onsite until it can be reused. However, this layer of shale contains iron sulfide, a compound that when exposed to air and water become sulphuric acid – a process commonly called Acid Rock Drainage. Acid Rock Drainage results in sulphuric acid leaching, leading to groundwater and surface water contamination.
- The Wanipigow Sand Extraction project is located on a peninsula of land that is surrounded by surface water on three sides and higher in elevation than the surrounding areas. Rainwater and meltwater drains from the proposed project site into the surrounding surface waters. There lies the potential for surface water contamination as a result of the Polyacrylamide polymer and sulphuric acid byproducts known to result from the proposed silica sand mining activities. Canadian Premium Sand has admitted to using polyacrylamide polymers in their wet sand processing in Appendix B of their Environment Act proposal.
- The silica sand deposit in the Seymourville area where Canadian Premium Sand proposes to mine, is located below the water table and thus groundwater contamination is very likely, especially if Canadian Premium Sand plans to refill the excavation areas with sulfide containing shale.