New report highlights safety of food and water near Cameco’s northern Sask. operations
Cameco’s comprehensive environmental protection programs are supported by independent monitoring of fish, animals and water quality near communities downstream of our operations undertaken through the Eastern Athabasca Regional Monitoring Program (EARMP), as well as the former Athabasca Working Group’s community monitoring, now the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Program (CBEMP).
EARMP was established in 2011 under the Province of Saskatchewan’s Boreal Watershed Initiative. This industry-government partnership is supported by stakeholders including Cameco, Orano, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
The recent 10-year anniversary of the EARMP program provided an opportunity to summarize and highlight the positive findings over the past decade.
Since its inception, community members have collected and submitted 431 fish samples, 121 moose/caribou samples, 47 water samples, 16 spruce grouse samples, 34 organ samples and 28 snowshoe hare samples for testing. The results have continued to show that traditional foods are safe for consumption with chemical profiles for water, fish, and mammal tissue samples similar to natural background.
Community involvement is essential to the success of the EARMP program. To meet this objective, samples are collected independently by community members or in conjunction with Canada North Environmental Services, a third-party consultant 100% owned by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band. Community members are trained in sample collection, storage and shipping procedures and their knowledge helps determine sample locations for water sampling near each community during the training sessions.
Sample locations for fish, berries and mammals are determined annually by community members and focus on areas where members routinely fish, hunt and gather. There is also an opportunity for community members to submit samples whenever they like.
“Community-based monitoring is important for all parties, as it provides transparency and demonstrates that the food and water near our operations remains safe, and that it is a healthy dietary choice for Athabasca Basin residents,” says Brady Balicki, manager of Cameco’s SHEQ & Regulatory Relations. “EARMP is a great example of Two-Eyed Seeing, where western science and Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are combined to provide a benefit for all.”
To learn more visit cameconorth.com/environment/monitoring