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.

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

Just Posted

Patrons exercise at Re4rm Fitness prior to last week’s new, provincial COVID-19 regulations. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake fitness centres adapt amid new COVID-19 regulations

Gymnastics, dance studios, martial arts, yoga, pilates, strength and conditioning impacted

Patrons enjoy some skiing and the views at the top of the chairlift at Mt. Timothy Recreation Resort. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Mt. Timothy nearing opening date; owners excited for upcoming season

Once open, hours will be Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘It was just a matter of time’: SD27 superintendent confirms two COVID-19 cases at LCSS

An entire PE class is self-isolating as Interior Health engages in contact tracing

A volunteer with the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association for the past 12 years and its current president, Mike Rispin moved to the lakecity in 1991. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
OUR HOMETOWN: Rispin skates through pandemic at helm of minor hockey

“I never did plan on staying here, but I liked the outdoor activities,” Rispin said.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

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

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Most Read