Around 16 people attended a community meeting in the Legion hall Thursday for an update about Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s remediation plan. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Mount Polley shares remediation plans

Remediation work and planning continues in response to the 2014 tailings impoundment breach

Mount Polley Mine has removed 350,000 tonnes of tailings in a 13.9-hectare area and restored 1.25 kilometers of fish habitat as part of its ongoing remediation of areas impacted by the 2014 tailings impoundment breach, environmental supervisor Colleen Hughes said.

Hughes was speaking at a community meeting hosted by the mine at the legion in Williams Lake Thursday that attracted 16 people.

“We have also installed 6.4 kilometres of the pipeline [to Quesnel Lake] and Hazeltine Creek is no longer reporting to the diffusers in Quesnel Lake,” Hughes said.

Lee Nikl, senior environmental scientist with Golder Associates, outlined remediation monitoring that has been completed so far and considerations Imperial Metals is taking as the work continues.

A human health risk assessment completed and submitted by Golder has been accepted by the Ministry of Environment and an ecological risk assessment is being finalized, Nikl said.

“We were asked immediately after the breach what is being done to stop ongoing releases from the breach area, how much was released and what are the effects of the release on health and on the environment and what is Mount Polley doing to fix the environmental effects?” Nikl added.

As a result, the mine identified nine remediation areas that included the plug at Polley Lake, Polley Lake, the tailings storage facility, upper Hazeltine Creek, Hazeltine Canyon, Lower Hazeltine Creek, Edney Creek Mouth and Quesnel Lake.

“For each of those areas we’ve come up with a table to see what are the problems, what do we know is wrong, what is it that we already know that will inform the decisions that we make, and what do we need to know to do in the short-term and what do we think we will do in the long-term,” Nikl said. “There is always uncertainty in any sort of scientific endeavour, so we needed to determine what sort of contingency there might be to deal with that uncertainty and what kind of monitoring would be done.”

Quesnel Lake resident Doug Watt said he knows the pristine quality of the lake prior to the breach has not been restored.

“In the last three weeks we’ve seen more of that green slime and greenish water coming down the lake, which would be indicative of a recent release of suspended solids,” Watt said.

Responding Chief Scientific officer Lyn Anglin said a research group from the University of Northern British Columbia has sent lake sediment core samples to a lab in the United Kingdom for further research.

“They will be looking at what the sheer force needs to be to re-suspend sediments off the bottom of Quesnel Lake,” Anglin said. “All of the creeks that run into the lake do contribute sediment so there are a lot of sources.”

Anglin said it is difficult to make comparisons because the data prior to the breach is very limited, but if there are things people think the monitoring programs are missing, Mount Polley is open to suggestions.

Watt said people on the lake know the slime, which they call “rock snot,” was not there before.

“The turbidity is there and there is copper in the bottom of the lake that is coming up,” Watt added.

He also criticized the company for adhering to water quality standards that are “totally artificial to Quesnel Lake.”

“You are not looking to return the lake to what it was before and you are using the lake as a depository for the effluent,” Watt said. “That still bothers us.”

Nikl replied that water quality guidelines are only one of the measures used for monitoring.

“We look at many other measures such as invertebrate, toxicity testing in solid phase and water phase,” he said, noting ongoing geochemistry studies are looking at whether the copper is being released from the bottom of the lake.

Hughes encouraged people at the meeting to read the technical and monitoring reports that area available on the Imperial Metals website.

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: 28th annual Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo kicks off with Friday night performance

It was a full house at the arena for the first rodeo of the season

Cattle Country: Ranchers adjust after 2017 wildfires and lingering winter

Ranchers in the Cariboo Chilcotin are making adjustments this calving season with prolonged winter conditions

GALLERY: 81st Annual Williams Lake Bull Sale

More than 150 bulls were sold in Williams Lake Friday

Cariboo Fire Centre urges caution with open burning

With 40-kilometre wind gusts in the forecast for Saturday, the public is urged to be careful with any open burning

Theft at Mt. Timothy latest challenge for local ski hill

Society president Mike Kidston still hoping local politicians will support referendum on funding

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs to sleep

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

Most Read