The IEC has commissioned Dr. Christopher Ollson to conduct an independent review of all human health related surveys, research and risk assessments that have been carried out in related to the Muskrat Falls project. This study will identify what we know, and highlight gaps that may need to be filled by a larger study. If a larger study is needed a scope of work and estimated cost will be determined. This initial review will also enable IEAC to develop messages regarding the current situation with respect to methylmercury exposure and human health.
One of the first tasks undertaken by the IEAC was the review of the Environmental Effects Monitoring Program (EEMP) for the Muskrat Falls project. The EEMP is a monitoring program that is required by law. The IEC reviewed the EEMP to determine if it was effective at measuring changes in the monitored environmental parameters and made the following recommendations for the Muskrat Falls project:
- The EEMP for the Muskrat Falls project can be considered exceptional compared to other similar monitoring programs in Canada (e.g., Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership, Manitoba).
- Nevertheless, there are a number of issues mainly related to detection limits, sampling frequency, and the scope of sampled components that should be addressed to enhance the overall quality of the EEMP.
- Data analysis and reporting could be improved for some components to allow for unbiased comparisons and better interpretation of the results, particularly when being used in relation to methylmercury exposure of humans and potential health risks.
- Other aquatic monitoring programs exist that collect useful data for the Muskrat Falls Project. Sharing of information between those programs could help to avoid sampling duplication and strengthen the monitoring data base.
You can view the full IEAC review of the Muskrat Falls Project EEMP HERE.