Taseko Mines Ltd. confirmed there was an unintended discharge on Tuesday, July 5, of approximately 1,200 cubic metres of water from the 12-kilometre pipeline that goes to the Fraser River from its Gibraltar Mine, north of Williams Lake.
Vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said the leak, which happened in the early hours of July 5, posed no environmental damage or health risks.
“The water leaked onto the ground and was absorbed,” Battison told the Tribune. “It leaked at one of the pump houses along the pipeline route.”
Battison said there were no human health risks from the water leak.
It was a flow metre on the system that alerted staff there was something amiss when the amounts of how much water went in and how much came out at the other end of the pipeline weren’t adding up, Battison said.
The pipeline is visually inspected two times daily, Battison added, noting it is suspected a faulty valve was the cause of the leak.
A Ministry of Environment spokesperson said Gibraltar Mine reported the spill to the Provincial Spill Reporting Line, indicating that processed water from their reclaim pond was spilled to ground and that no waterways were affected.
“They further reported that the water spilled was water which they have a permit to discharge to the Fraser River under their authorization with MOE,” the ministry spokesperson said, noting the amount of water discharged to the ground is relatively small compared to the overall discharge authorized by the permit.
“Initial sampling by the company was conducted and at this time have not raised any concerns,” the ministry spokesperson added. “Ministry staff have been in contact with the local First Nation on this matter and will also follow up with the company to determine any required next steps.”
This story was updated with an e-mailed response from the Ministry of Environment received after press time.