Monitoring of end-pit lake at oil sands mine

About this project

$1.1 million ( Barr's fees, CAD)
completion date

A Canadian oil sands mine is demonstrating that water-capped tailings technology can be used to convert a former tailings basin into a natural, functioning lake known as an “end-pit lake.” Since 2014, Barr has been conducting monitoring and physical assessments of the fluid fine tailings in this demonstration pit lake. Our work includes using data generated from annual sonar surveys to determine the top of the tailings’ surface; estimating water and tailings volumes, water-cap depth, and rate of settlement; and annual reporting on changes over time.

In 2015, Barr established a program to monitor shoreline erosion and has since performed annual assessments and program refinements. Elements of the program include using sonar survey data to determine lake bathymetry, inspecting shoreline conditions, installing a wave gauge, using weather-station data to create annual “wind roses” with air-dispersion modeling, using a spectral wave-prediction model called SWAN to compute general wave characteristics, modeling local sediment transport and erosion, and preparing annual reports and recommendations.

Key team members

Jim Langseth

Vice President
Senior Civil Engineer

Bob Werneiwski

Senior Geotechnical Engineer

Ben Sheets

Senior Geologist

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