Dataset for: Simulating a spill of diluted bitumen: Environmental weathering and submergence in a model freshwater system
datasetposted on 12.12.2019 by Sawyer Stoyanovich, Zeyu Yang, Mark Hanson, Bruce P Hollebone, Diane M Orihel, Vince Palace, Jose R Rodriguez-Gil, Robert Faragher, Fatemah S Mirnaghi, Keval Shah, Jules Blais
Datasets usually provide raw data for analysis. This raw data often comes in spreadsheet form, but can be any collection of data, on which analysis can be performed.
The main petroleum product transported through pipelines in Canada is diluted bitumen (dilbit), a semi-liquid form of heavy crude oil mixed with natural gas condensates to facilitate transport. The weathering, fate, behaviour, and environmental effects of dilbit are crucial to consider when responding to a spill, however few environmental studies on dilbit have been completed. Here we report on 11-day long experimental spills of dilbit (Cold Lake Winter Blend) in outdoor micro-cosms meant to simulate a low-energy aquatic system containing natural lake water and sedi-ments treated with a low (1:8,000 oil:water) and high (1:800 oil:water) volume of dilbit. In the first 24 hours of the experiment, volatile hydrocarbons quickly evaporated from the dilbit, result-ing in increased dilbit density and viscosity. These changes in dilbit’s physical and chemical properties ultimately led to its submergence after 8 days. We also detected rapid accumulation of polycyclic aromatic compounds in the water column of the treated-microcosms following the spills. Our study provides new information on the environmental fate and behaviour of dilbit in a freshwater environment that will be critical to environmental risk assessments of proposed pipe-line projects. In particular, our study demonstrates the propensity for dilbit to sink under ambient environmental conditions in fresh waters typical of many boreal lakes.