The Globe and Mail

New federal research has strongly backed suspicions that toxic chemicals from Alberta's vast oil sands tailings ponds are leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River.

Leakage from oil sands tailings ponds, which now cover 176 square kilometres, has long been an issue. Industry has acknowledged that seepage can occur, and previous studies using models have estimated it at 6.5-million litres a day from a single pond.

The soil around the developments contains many chemicals from naturally occurring bitumen deposits, and scientists have never able to separate them from contaminants released by industry.

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