Mackenzie River Basic Board

Guiding Principles for Cooperative Management: Equitable Utilization; Prior Consultation; Sustainable Development; and Maintaining Ecological Integrity.

Contact Us

Mackenzie River Basin Board
#201-401 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, V6C 3S5

Telephone: (604) 664-9143

Understanding Contaminants

Surface water quality is generally good enough for it to be treated and used as a source of drinking water. Very little is known about groundwater in the Basin, however, some Basin residents rely on groundwater for domestic and industrial uses. Waters of the Basin are generally capable of supporting all of the Basin's native aquatic plants and animals. Many Basin residents consume local fish and waterfowl as part of their daily diet. Since the 1980s, the quality of treated effluents discharged from industries and communities within the Basin has greatly improved. Concerns remain including: nutrient loadings from pulp mills, oil sands tailings, abandoned uranium mines around Lake Athabasca, Yellowknife's underground arsenic storage sites and other abandoned metal mines in the Northwest Territories. Airborne pollutants including mercury and PCBs from far away are also a threat to the quality of water and country foods. It is necessary to understand these threats and to respond to them effectively.

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Page last modified: 08 September 2010