Despite positive water testing more questions left in Likely

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Despite positive water testing more questions left in Likely

A contaminated sites specialist says initial water testing looks good in Quesnel lake but there are still more questions needing answers.

Biologist Blair King says testing the sediment that escaped the tailings pond is key because it contains the toxins.

“The shear mass of sediment that went in there leaves a big question mark and until you know what is in the sediment you don’t know what is coming down the pipe.”

While water testing has only been done at a depth of five meters, King says it needs to be done much deeper.

“You should be looking at the depth where the drinking water is actually going to be drawn from. If Likely’s water intake is at 30 meters below the surface in one of those deep crags then that is where I would be wanting to get my water sample. Otherwise you are just sampling water people are going to swim in but not drink.”

King says the sediment that escaped the tailings pond is key and testing it will provide crucial information.

“The material on the side of the creek there would really give you an indication of what is coming down the line and ultimately what the fish are going to be exposed to. The fish are swimming through the sediment. The bottom feeders are chewing on that sediment. All of that is going to get bio-accumulated over time.”

He says there is a lot of work and expense ahead to clean up the Imperial Metals tailings pond breach.




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    • I’m certainly don’t fall into the “environmental wacko” category and don’t know about BK’s philosophy, but there is some truth in what is being said. In order to get the data to assess the situation, the testing regime has to cover all areas – top to bottom. I suspect the information and testing done thus far is still preliminary and there is a lot more to come. It will be especially important to get a complete picture of the situation in order to calculate the costs and planning of any remediation that can be done and for assessing damages in any potential legal actions.

      At least the initial information (that has been released in the press) looks promising. The “world is coming to an end” groups can put some flame retardant on their hair for the time being. Of course they could just let the retardant seep up from under their skulls.

      If there are more studies to be done, maybe we could get an impartial group like the Suzuki Unfoundedation to do their unbiased testing for us. Nah!

  1. This is another example of the media finding “their” expert, whose approach is different from that of the people actually doing the work, and thus who are the ones responsible for the findings. His job is to keep the controversy front and centre. Of course their are questions yet to be answered about the water. No one is suggesting that the findings announced so far are conclusive, or the end of the story. A non story designed to keep the hype and hysteria on page one.

    • John,

      FYI, the “biologist” in the story is myself. I am a Professional Biologist but am also a Professional Chemist with over 20 years working in the Industry in BC over 15 of those years working on Contaminated Sites. I don’t have a “different approach”, my approach matches that of my peers and the industry standard for the investigation of impacts. I was asked to speak on the issue precisely because of my demonstrated expertise on the topic and most importantly, because I have absolutely no conflicts of interest on this file and can comment on the quality of the work with no concern that it will affect my bottom line.

    • I have to agree John. I’ve rarely read this volume of stories flooding out on 1 subject. (Well, perhaps a couple of hours of disrupted skytrain comes close.) This site (mostly Shane) is pumping out the same thing with minor updates like this one – “…more questions left…” – so other armchair experts (someone in the family that knows something even counts) can spout the same 2 cents worth that they did an hour ago. Did we really need another story that more information is needed about more complete and deeper testing? I want to hear the proper experts saying what they know as they know it, but the silly finger pointing and endless stories with trivial content seems nothing more than having one’s name on yet another story. How about if the next story has some real new content without the biased editorial hum-drum? Just the facts man.

  2. is this “biologist” a High Scool biology teacher or memployee of the ministry or an apostle to Rafe Mair — why him?


    WHERE ARE THE DEAD FISH ????????????????

  3. Why is anyone who expresses a concern for the environment outed out and dismissed outright? What kind and magnitude of an event need to occur to get the attention of ALL British Columbians?

    How this event plays out is going to affect resource development in this province so collectively British Columbians ought to pay attention. The water-quality thankful has not yet been adversely affected. But the big unknown is the the effect of the sludge yet to impact both the water and the environment. First Nations, backed up by the-recent SCOC decision will have a lot to say about the conditions to be fulfilled before the mine reopens and before other resource development proceeds.

    An Imperial Mines commitment to undertake a long-term project to ensure permanent environmental damage is mitigated or eliminated may not not adequate to receive FN and provincial-government approval for the mine to re-open. A promise may be inadequate. The FN may have a stronger voice than the BC government.

    In my opinion, the only socially-responsible course of action for Imperial is to FIRST demonstrate that it can and does clean up the sludge and prove no long-term environmental damage was caused. Also, Imperial should re-construct the tailings pond and dam, develop monitoring and emergency plans that will prevent re-occurrence of this event. Lastly, the amount of bond, if any, posted by Imperial should be reviewed and adjusted if necessary to ensure sufficient funds are available to pay for the necessary restoration of the mine site when ore is exhausted.

    This issue is not only about the tailings breach and the economy but it is about protecting the interests of the BC taxpayer. I do not wish to be stuck with the costs if and when any mine shuts down and the owner skips town or pleads poverty that it cannot protect the environment.