Detoxification of oil sands process-affected water

Alberta’s oil sands tailings ponds contain approximately one billion m3of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). This water is toxic and must be treated in order to comply with environmental regulations. In this project, Metabolik’s team will conduct two sequential field trials in small, contained environments, where they will identify, and assess the impact of the key environmental parameters such as dissolved oxygen, pH, osmolarity and temperature on the ability of the strains to degrade the toxins in tailings pond water. These results will provide critical information for the company’s on-going efforts to evolve the microorganism strains to improve their toxin degradation rates. Metabolik will also develop standards and testing protocols to assess the effectiveness of the technology, which will allow the company to establish the optimal environmental and operational conditions for the large-scale deployments.
Metabolik’s technology will initially be focused on detoxifying of OSPW but the methods and analytics developed during this project can be customized to remediate other challenging water pollutants, allowing BC to become a world leader in developing genomics tools to remediate contaminated sites.

Faculty Supervisor:

Corey Nislow


Joseph Ogbede;Hamid Gaikani






Professional, scientific and technical services


University of British Columbia



Current openings

Find the perfect opportunity to put your academic skills and knowledge into practice!

Find Projects