Trace Analysis Facility

A University of Regina research team led by Renata Bailey, an analytical and environmental chemist, is trying to identify and analyze micro-organic contaminants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, which enter the environment from various sources including agriculture, forestry, petroleum production, and urbanization. Utilizing the university's $1.9-million Trace Analysis Facility (TAF), the research will initially focus on the over 200 registered active ingredients of pesticide formulations and their subsequent breakdown products. The TAF is used to identify and analyze these contaminants, to study how they move through the environment, and to examine how they break down in air, water and soil. It will also help investigate the impacts of these substances, for example the declining fertility of some aquatic species and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Saskatchewan has the greatest area of cultivated land in Canada, and more agricultural pesticides are applied in the province than anywhere else in the country. The location in Regina - which itself produces measurable industrial, urban and horticultural emissions - will allow for the study of a model “urban environment” that can be applied to other population centres. Proximity of the TAF research team to the aquatic system of the Qu'Appelle Valley and to the Environment Canada air monitoring field station at Bratt's Lake will be similarly advantageous: Bratt's Lake is only 30 km outside of Regina, and less than 150 km from the United States.

Joe Ralko