Interior Health is advising residents of the area impacted by the Mount Polley Mine Tailings Pond Breach in August 2014 that all remaining water use restrictions have now been lifted.
“This determination has been made based on ongoing review of various water, sediment and fish toxicology sample results from Ministry of Environment (MoE),” Interior Health said in a press release issued Monday. “These results have continued to show there are no known risks to human health.”
As a result the Do Not Use order for drinking water, aquatic flora and fauna consumption and recreational use has been fully rescinded from the impact zone (defined as the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond, Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and 100m beyond the visible suspended sediment in Quesnel Lake).
“This means that water drawn from Polley Lake and Hazeltine Creek may be consumed, and that it is now safe for recreational purposes from a health perspective.”
Interior Health said residents using untreated water are advised to follow safe drinking water guidelines which include the use of NSF approved (absolute 1 micron) filters and disinfection before using surface waters for drinking, making ice, teeth brushing, or washing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Appropriate treatment removes naturally occurring germs such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Residents unable to treat their water should boil all water used for drinking, washing of fresh fruits and vegetables and making ice for one minute or use water from an alternate potable (drinkable) water source.
For residents who require more information, please contact the IH Health Protection Office at 1-888-702-7771.
Information on Ministry of Environment water sampling is available at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley.htm.