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

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

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Crews work to repair Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake . (Ministry of Transportation video)
MoTI activates district operations centre, response to flood damaged roads in Cariboo region

Engineers, experts being pulled from across the province to help

RCMP officers on scene Friday, May 14 off Bond Lake Road on the outskirts of Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Update: Williams Lake RCMP arrest one suspect after firearms incident near Bond Lake Road

Given the severity, suspect is being held in custody for a court appearance

An official naming ceremony for the Nekw7usem Bridge connecting the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island will take place Monday, May 17 at noon. (Patrick Davies file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
City, WLFN hosting naming ceremony for Nekw7usem Bridge in Williams Lake

The pedestrian bridge connects the RC Cotton Trail to Scout Island

Patricia Froberg (from left), Pat Mitchell and Dorothy Ouellette enjoy lunch prepared by members of the Old Age Pensioners Organization for St. Patrick’s Day Wednesday afternoon. Today, May 14, the Old Age Pensioners Organization Branch 93 and the Seniors Activity Centre are hosting an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch with car hop service at the SAC parking lot from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Old Fashioned Drive In Lunch on menu at seniors centre today, May 14

From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., swing on by the SAC parking lot for an Old Fashioned Drive In lunch

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

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

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read