The hydrogeology of the uppermost 1000 feet (305 m) of strata in the Bitumount and Namur Lake areas is characterized by 20-year safe yields generally over 5 igpm (about 0.4 l/sec). Along the Athabasca River higher yields are available, mainly from Quaternary sands and gravels. Over 500 igpm (38 l/sec) may be obtained near the Muskeg River from basal McMurray sands.
A practical limiting factor on groundwater use is quality, as salinity of bedrock groundwater usually exceeds 2,000 mg/L and may reach 300,000 mg/L. Water from the bedrock is usually of sodium chloride type. In some places chloridic or sulfatic groundwater discharges to the surface. Quality of groundwater from the Quaternary sands and gravels is usually better.
Muskeg is widespread in the area and degeneration of the groundwater flow systems is noted.
A unique slope denudation process was observed: rock falls from bitumen-cemented sandstone when the viscosity of the bitumen is temporarily reduced by the summer noon-time heat.
Ozoray, G.F., Hackbarth, D.A. and Lytviak, A.T. (1980): Hydrogeology of the Bitumount-Namur Lake area, Alberta; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Earth Sciences Report 1978-06, 14 p.