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.