Interior Health partially rescinds water use restrictions related to Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach

Residents of the area impacted by the Mount Polley Mine Tailings Pond Breach on August 4 are advised of the latest health update by Interior Health this afternoon.

A team of Medical Health Officers and water specialists from Interior Health have reviewed the most recent water sample results from Ministry of Environment (MoE).  They have also consulted with officials from Environment Canada and MoE with regards to weather and environmental information surrounding the spill site.

As a result all Do Not Use water restrictions are rescinded north on the Quesnel River where it narrows and is shallow.

This area is described as including and north of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on the Quesnel River and the balance of the Quesnel River system to the Fraser River.  This means that water drawn from the Quesnel River, including and North of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on Quesnel River in Likely may be consumed per normal practice, and is now safe for recreational purposes from a health perspective. However, given the presence of debris on these waters, recreational users are advised to avoid these areas.

Until further notice, a Do Not Use order for drinking water, personal and recreational use remains in effect for Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek and all parts of Quesnel Lake and points south of 6236 Cedar Creek Road on the Quesnel River in Likely (see attached maps). The public should also continue to refrain from using the waterways for recreational purposes. This includes swimming and fishing.

It is important to note, in the event of an unplanned large flow of water from Polley Lake, the Do Not Use order will be reinstated on the larger region.

While making this decision, Interior Health has considered fully the impact of this order on the emotional, social and economic hardship of residents.  Interior Health also fully recognizes the important connection between the environmental impacts of this incident and the spiritual, emotional and mental well being of First Nation community members.

A map of the water restriction areas is available at

The details from the Ministry of Environment water sampling are available at






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