For the past two days, life for people in the area around Mount Polley has been anything but ordinary.
Brenda, who works at the general store in Likely, B.C, says business was beyond hectic yesterday, and she opened early today.
Residents and campers are under a full water-use ban after a tailings pond from the Mount Polley gold and copper mine broke Monday morning, unleashing about 15 million cubic metres of wastewater into local waterways.
When it comes to personal hygiene, Brenda says she’s had to adjust.
“I come to the store to have a shower and brush my teeth and stuff here. Or I put my water in a glass and brush my teeth in the evening that way. We’ve got lots of water right now because we got it out of the tap as soon as we heard about it.”
Another resident who lives on the water, Pohney Whitmer, says they have rigged up a shower at their place from a small creek on their property so they can still shower at home.
Longtime resident Sharon Potter, meanwhile, hopes her neighbours remember the benefits the Mount Polley mine has brought.
Potter says she understands people are scared about what might be in their water, but there has been a lot of misdirected finger pointing.
“If people would just think back to the last 15, 10 years of what the mine has provided here in Likely, they should really be very grateful and realize that this is a dreadful accident that nobody wanted to happen.”
She says many young people in Likely, Horsefly, Big Lake and Soda Creek have jobs thanks to the mine.