Canadian Forest Service Publications

Air pollution and forest decline near a nickel smelter: the Thompson, Manitoba smoke easement survey, 1972-74. 1974. Blauel, R.A.; Hocking, D. Environment Canada, Canadian Forestry Service, Northern Forest Research Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-115.

Year: 1974

Issued by: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 11612

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


Large quantities of sulphur dioxide and particulate matter are being released from a high stack near Thompson as a means of smelter waste disposal. Atmospheric dispersal of these pollutants has resulted in over 50 square miles of patchy forest decline. All components of the forest vegetation exhibit effects of direct pollutant disposition. Impacts range from patches of tree decline and mortality through to general depletion of sensitive cryptogams. This decline will intensify and the area of decline will expand under current pollutant emission rates. Contamination of soil organic matter has been detected over a much greater area. Levels of sulphur and nickel are highly elevated near the smokestack and decrease with distance from it. Nickel and possibly other heavy metals are building up to toxic levels which will be impossible to correct economically. This represents a high potential for severe site degradiation as a further outcome to aerial dispersal and dilution of the smelter wastes.