The oil sands production requires a large amount of water and most of its acquired from the Athabasca River. To give you an idea of how much water that is, the oil sands use more water per year than the entire city of Calgary. The government of Alberta report warned that there may not be enough water to meet the needs of all planned oil sands projects while trying to maintain enough stream flows. Also sometimes pollutants from the oil sands find their way into lake and contaminate fish, the fish show signs of diseases, many worry about the fishing industry and their ability to work successfully with contaminated fish in the water because eating it might kill you. Also When extracted oil has a chance to spill it can have a massive effect on the hydrosphere, it spreads over the surface in a thin layer that stops another important resource from getting through and that is oxygen, it stops getting to the plants and animals that live under water. Having an affect on our resource can also lead to having a impact on our physical environment.
The Athabasca River before and after (Tar sands). As you can see the massive change of the river, it is very dirty and unclean.
The oil sands have many benefits but they cause many issues to the physical environment. The tar sands cover around 140,000 square kilometers of Alberta. The oil is extracted using mines or drilling but tar sands reserves that cannot be gained through open pit mines are extracted using situ methods, situ methods are used to recover bitumen that is too deep beneath the surface for mining. This technology uses steam, injected into the ground to thin the oil and then it's pumped out, the sites which they are using the in situ methods are frightening wild caribou herds. The open pit mines have removed 686 square kilometers of boreal forest, the boreal forest is very important globally. It helps our fight against climate change and providing habitats for wildlife.
The Oil sands also use a lot of water, around 652 million cubic meters of water each year. Mine dumps are toxic, they are kept in lakes that were created by man to store the waste, the toxic lake seeps into natural waters and contaminate the fish and other wildlife. Tar sand also affect the air, tar sands release a large amount of sulfur dioxide which is toxic gas and nitrogen dioxide which is a poisonous gas. These harmful gasses are released into the environment and can cause acid rain.