Water Quality in Northeastern British Columbia
Written by Dr. Gilles Wendling, Hydrogeologist, P.Eng
June 11, 2018
Monitoring results compiled for baseline assessment now available on DataStream
By Dr. Gilles Wendling, Hydrogeologist, P.Eng (originally published on DataStream February 2018)
This week, my team at GW Solutions shared a collection of water datasets on Mackenzie DataStream that we had compiled for a project for the Peace River Regional District and Treaty 8 Tribal Association.
As any scientist knows, it can take a lot of time and effort to organize and pull data together. This is why we are so pleased to be making this information openly accessible on Mackenzie DataStream, so that it can be of benefit to others.
About the project
In 2014, we began a two-year project to assess the water quality baseline in the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) in Northeastern British Columbia. There is extensive oil and gas development in this region, with roughly 24,000 drilled wells in the area.
Prior to this project, trying to establish the status of water quality in the region was a challenge. Different agencies that collect water monitoring data store this information in different places, and there is no standardization around how results are reported.
We completed a search of all the publicly accessible water quality data in the region. Data from 11,935 surface water samples from 364 locations were compiled from the following sources, and are now available on DataStream:
- Environmental Monitoring System (BC Ministry of the Environment) – view dataset
- Municipality of Hudson’s Hope – view dataset
We also sourced 875 groundwater samples from 522 locations that were included in our water quality baseline assessment.
We compared surface water and groundwater monitoring results with federal and provincial guidelines. Using this information, we identified locations of concern where water quality is declining, as well as areas where monitoring data is lacking.
The project findings are summarized in the publicly available PRRD Water Quality Report that we prepared.
Funding and support
The PRRD Water Quality project was funded by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia and the Peace River Regional District. Other contributors included Treaty 8 Tribal Association, GW Solutions, and Interraplan Inc.
Bringing this data onto DataStream was supported by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority Community Investment Program.
Meghan joined us at the beginning of the year right after finishing her master's degree at the University of Waterloo. Her studies focused on nutrient contamination in the Lake Erie basin. She used long-term data and process-based models to predict past, present, and future nitrogen storage in the surrounding sub-basins of Lake Erie. Meghan will be contributing to the continued development of DataStream by working with data contributors and users across the Great Lakes region and beyond.
In May, the DataStream team gathered in Toronto for the 66th Annual Conference on Great Lakes Research, hosted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR).