Likely residents are told the water use ban is lifted after tests showed it is safe for drinking.

Likely residents are told the water use ban is lifted after tests showed it is safe for drinking.

Mine spill tests turn to long-term effects

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested to determine longer-term effects of metals contamination on the local environment.

The B.C. environment ministry has also collected rainbow trout and lake trout tissue samples, with results expected by the end of August. Sediment and plankton samples are also being tested from the region near Williams Lake.

“The tailings liquid initially released from the impoundment moved very quickly through the system and was diluted greatly by the water in the lake, the Quesnel River and ultimately the Fraser River,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

“As such, the fish exposure was limited and not long enough for uptake into tissues. Combined with the fact that the water in Quesnel Lake meets drinking water guidelines, it is unlikely there will have been any short-term effects on fish in Quesnel Lake or downstream as a result of this event.”

Tourism operators remain open on Quesnel Lake and throughout the Cariboo region.

Environment ministry boat crews have been on the water since the breach Aug. 4, but only one dead fish, a rainbow trout, has been reported. It was collected by University of Northern B.C. researchers and turned over to officials Aug. 6.

Based on water quality test results, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has re-opened the chinook salmon fishery on the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers.

The B.C. First Nations Health Authority is conducting its own tests on migrating salmon at the request of affected First Nations on the river system.

Water use restrictions have been lifted in most of the area affected by the Mount Polley mine tailings breach after health authority water tests confirmed the water is not a risk for drinking or bathing.

Interior Health lifted the water use ban on all areas except immediate zone of the tailings and water spill, including Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and 100 metres around the out of the creek at Quesnel Lake. The tests corroborate earlier samples tested by mine operator Imperial Metals.

The only sample that yielded metal contamination was one taken from an area with visible sediment near Hazeltine Creek, which was scoured out by millions of cubic metres of water and mine tailings.

“Results show slight exceedances of phosphorus and aluminum for drinking water and exceedences of copper, chromium, phosphorus and aluminum for aquatic life guidelines,” the environment ministry reported. “These elevated levels would be expected near an aluminum/copper mine.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

We’re all at fault, but today I’ll pick on politicians

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Be thankful for volunteers

It amazes me just how much people do to make the Cariboo Chilcotin region a better place for all

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.
FOREST INK: A year to remember for lumber prices

As of March 12, a basic SPF (spruce, pine, fir) two-by-four cost $1,040 per thousand board feet

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Drier weather good for calving season

My partner and I team up to look for any newborns and note them for later in the day

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read