Golder Associates environmental chemist Jerry Vandenberg (left) talks with Peter Opie at the Mount Polley community meeting held at the legion in Williams Lake to discuss the company's proposal for long-term water management at the mine.

Golder Associates environmental chemist Jerry Vandenberg (left) talks with Peter Opie at the Mount Polley community meeting held at the legion in Williams Lake to discuss the company's proposal for long-term water management at the mine.

Mount Polley water management proposal discussed

Mount Polley Mine Corporation shares information at public meetings on its proposal to continue discharging water into Quesnel Lake.

Mount Polley Mine Corporation has been sharing information at public meetings on its proposal to continue discharging water into Quesnel Lake as part of its long term water management plan.

At a public meeting held at the legion in Williams Lake, Jerry Vandenberg, an environmental chemist with Golder Associates, said the water is monitored frequently before discharge with samples sent to a lab in Vancouver.

It is monitored before it goes into the water treatment plant, before it goes into the pipe, at the end of the pipe, in several points along Hazeltine Creek, in the sediment collection ponds and in multiple points in Quesnel Lake, including 100 metres from the diffuser to verify that water guidelines are met, Vandenberg said.

It’s that meeting of water quality guidelines that has Likely residents concerned, said Likely Chamber of Commerce board member Doug Watt who attended a similar presentation held in Likely on Sunday, Oct. 30.

“The community is concerned because Mount Polley is working towards meeting B.C. water quality guidelines, they are not working toward protecting Quesnel Lake and ensuring it returns back to the pristine conditions that it was before the breach,” Watt told the Weekend Advisor Thursday. “Quite a few questions were asked and the mine just kept responding that it is meeting water quality guidelines.”

Likely residents support Mount Polley Mine continuing to operate, but are worried if the mine ends up running for another 10 or 20 years, then water from the mine will be discharged into Quesnel Lake for all that time, Watt said.

“That won’t return the lake to its original condition and it will probably have long-term negative impacts on the lake.

“We are the people that live here and we are the ones that see changes in the lake. It is not like it used to be.”

The public has until Nov. 24, 2016, to respond to the plan. Watt said many Likely residents plan to respond.

Here Vandenberg talks about the discharge into Quesnel Lake.