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Arsenic in the Water Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous People and Research Scientists.

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Presentation on theme: "Arsenic in the Water Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous People and Research Scientists."— Presentation transcript:

1 Arsenic in the Water Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous People and Research Scientists

2 There are six major arctic river systems.

3 Approximately 50% of the Yukon River watershed is north of the Arctic Circle.

4 The Yukon Inter-Tribal Watershed Council is one example of an organization that involves indigenous people in monitoring water quality in the Arctic.

5 The Yukon Inter-Tribal Watershed Councils web site describes an extensive Water Quality Project The indigenous people of the Yukon River have been forming an observational baseline for thousands of years. Until the modern age, the best technology to make observations was our experience on the land. The best means of organizing this baseline data was through stories generated from experience. The modern age has brought new organizational tools and new methods of inquiry: western science. Our goal is to empower communities with the tools and skills necessary to conduct traditional science in the modern age.

6 The Water Quality Project provides a water quality field manual for people to use in the field.

7 Yukon Inter-Tribal Watershed Council members use a variety of technologies and techniques to monitor a wide range of measures of water quality that include. pH levels Concentrations of pollutants Concentrations of nutrients Oxygen levels Carbon Dioxide levels Turbidity Pathogens Petroleum Products Temperature

8 Arsenic Compounds in Your Watershed Prof. Julian Tyson, Department of Chemistry at UMass Amherst, has developed a strategy for your students to collect and analyze soil and water samples for concentrations of arsenic compounds.

9 Test strips in Hach Arsenic Test Kits change color to reveal the concentration of arsenic compounds in a water sample. The test strip needs to be exposed to arsenic compounds for 30 minutes.

10 Begin the analysis of a water sample. You have been provided with: A water sample. A set of directions for determining the concentrations of arsenic compounds in the water sample. A teachers guide for the activity. A Chemistry of Arsenic document and teachers guide.

11 Examples of sources of arsenic compounds in the environment include: Arsenic compounds in natural rock formations that elevate the arsenic levels in the rivers and groundwater. The processing of metallic ores that produce water soluble arsenic compounds. Oil and natural gas drilling operations. Pesticides and herbicides. Wood preservatives in structures. Ash from the combustion of coal. The disposal of semiconductors.

12 The major source of arsenic compounds in the Yukon River Watershed are: The flow of water through natural rock formations and soil that have a high concentrations of arsenic compounds. Mining and drilling operations

13 In 2002, the Alaska Mining Industry was rated as the 4th Largest Toxic Polluter in the U.S. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fairbanks, AK – Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2000 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), an annual compendium of toxic chemicals released by industries in the United States. According to the EPA, Alaska ranked fourth in the nation for the largest total on-and off-site releases of chemicals in The four states – Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Alaska – were ranked highest due to toxic releases by mining facilities in those states. For the third consecutive year the hardrock mining industry is the nations largest toxic polluter: it released 3.3 billion pounds or 47% of all toxics released by U.S. industry.

14 The Ft. Knox Gold Mine operation is one source of arsenic pollution in the Yukon River Watershed.

15 Blasting Rock YouTube movies include explosions at the Ft. Knox gold mine that loosen the rock deposits in the open pit gold mining operation.

16 The rock debris from the blasting operation is then hauled to crushers.

17 The rock deposits that contain gold also contain many impurities. One of those impurities is arsenopyrite shown in this photograph. Arsenopyrite is a mineral with the formula FeAsS. The rock deposits that contain gold also contain many impurities. One of those impurities is arsenopyrite shown in this photograph. Arsenopyrite is a mineral with the formula FeAsS.

18 During the crushing process, arsenic in arsenopyrite reacts with oxygen in the atmosphere and forms an oxide that is more soluble in water.

19 Time to gently swirl your reaction vessel

20 Scientists have helped the Inter-Tribal Councils develop a Principles of Monitoring PowerPoint that describes reasons for and the extent of their water quality monitoring.

21 The Yukon Inter-Tribal Watershed Council web site also describes the relationship between Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Science. We are a Science research entity developing the modern theory of traditional science. Traditional science is the utilization of best technology guided by long-term observations of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into particular focus areas. In this pursuit, we use modern scientific methods of organization to provide education, assistance and direction to communities in the Yukon River Watershed."

22 Observations of the environment made by indigenous people is often referred to as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Traditional knowledge refers to the knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities around the world. Developed from experience gained over the centuries and adapted to the local culture and environment, traditional knowledge is transmitted orally from generation to generation. Source: Source:

23 Swirl the reaction vessel one more time.

24 How healthy is your watershed? What knowledge might people in your area have of changes in the health of your watershed? What groups and organizations are actively involved in a study of your watershed? How might people in your area utilize strategies to evaluate and monitor the health of your watershed? What might be examples of sources of arsenic compounds in your watershed?

25 Arsenic trioxide is used to manufacture chromated copper arsenate The United States has imported huge quantities of arsenic trioxide to meet the demand for manufacturing chromated copper arsenate as a wood preservative. As an example; 31,000 tons of arsenic trioxide was imported into the U.S. in Source 1 :

26 Reducing the use of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) The EPA, in a voluntary agreement with industry in January of 2004, began restricting the use of CCA in treated timber in residential and commercial construction, with the exception of shakes and singles, permanent wood foundations, and certain commercial applications.

27 Environmental Standards for Arsenic OSHA has set a standard of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air for workers exposed arsenic laden dust. The EPA has set a standard of 10 micrograms per liter of water for public drinking water systems.

28 What was the concentration of arsenic compounds in your water sample?

29 Low Levels of Arsenic Exposure May: Discolor and deform the skin Result in nausea Decrease the production of red and white blood cells Damage blood vessels and produce an abnormal heart rhythm. Create a sensation of pins and needles in hands and feet. Increase the risk of lung, skin, bladder, liver, kidney, and prostate cancer.

30 Other ways to compare a watershed in your area with an Arctic watershed can also include a study of: Drainage area Discharge volume Population Topography Annual precipitation Pollutant concentrations Seasonal changes in temperatures Biological diversity Nutrient concentrations

31 Students can compare the drainage area of their watershed with that of the Yukon River watershed.

32 The Arctic RIMS Program provides drainage area and annual discharge date for streams and rivers in watersheds in the Arctic region that can be compared with that data for streams and rivers in the lower latitudes.

33 This NOAA map indicates the discharge of Arctic rivers into the Arctic Sea in cubic kilometers per year.

34 Resources posted on the STEM Polar Connections web site include: This Powers Point A PowerPoint that compares Arctic and Antarctic watersheds. The documents for the use of the Arsenic Test Kit. A watershed resources document.


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