Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 230:229 | Cite as

Predicting Naphthenic Acid Migration Through the Foundation of Oil Sands Tailing Pond

  • Liang Ma
  • Cheng HuangEmail author
  • Zhong-Sheng Liu


In this paper, a conceptual model was developed to predict the seepage of oil sands process-affected water with capabilities of evaluating the transport and attenuation of naphthenic acids through the dykes and the foundations of oil sands tailings pond. The model incorporates naphthenic acid diffusion, adsorption, dispersion, advection, and biodegradation, and was modeled through the commercial software tools to predict naphthenic acid fate in both spatial and time scales. The tailing pond of the Muskeg River Mine in the Athabasca oil sands deposit was investigated in the case study. The comparison between the onsite monitoring data and the simulation results was in good agreement. In addition, limiting factors for migration of naphthenic acid were also discussed based on a parametric sensitivity study.


Naphthenic acids Oil sand Tailing ponds Transport and attenuation Conceptual model 



We gratefully thank the Program for Energy Research and Development operated by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Environmental Advances in Mining Program in the National Research Council Canada for the financial support. We would like to thank Dr. Kim Kasperski, the Director of the Environmental Impacts at CanmetENERGY-Devon, NRCan, for her useful suggestions and comment.


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© Crown 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Energy, Mining and Environment Research CenterNational Research Council CanadaVancouverCanada

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