Team:Consort Alberta

Team project Notebook


Environmental COntaminate Sensor, ECOS, is a biological sensor designed to detect aromatic hydrocarbons found in soil, particularly xylene, which corresponds to other carcinogenic compounds like benzene and toluene. In our beautiful rural village and in most of Alberta, the economy is based almost entirely on agriculture and the oil industry. These two portions of the economy coexist side by side; oil wells are drilled on land adjacent to crops and cattle. This poses an risk to consumer health and to our economy if an oil spill occurs. While oil companies have strict regulations and protocols that they follow to ensure we take care of our environment, it is always important that we increase our environmental stewardship. There is not currently a test that can check for oil contamination on the actual site, and there is little one can do after sending a sample to a city lab, which can sometimes take weeks for the results to come back. In order to properly monitor these sites and facilitate rapid clean up, farmers and oil companies alike need the tools to do so. ECOS will provide an on-site test that is cheap, efficient and easy to use. After talking to many community members intimately involved in the agriculture and oil industry, we believe that our project could be used for semi-annual testing of sites, water monitoring and post spill monitoring, not just to be used in our local area, but all throughout the world.