The Interior Health Authority has partially lifted the water-use ban following the tailings pond spill in the Cariboo region.
Dr. Trevor Corneil of Interior Health says the ban is rescinded for parts of the Quesnel River north of Quesnel Lake, including the small community of Likely.
Corneil says people can drink and bathe in water as they normally would in that area, although because of debris, officials are still recommending people not use the river for recreational use.
The water ban remains in place for Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek, Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River south of 6236 Cedar Creek Rd.
Corneil says people using well water still need to follow their usual precautions, such as measuring turbidity, to ensure their water is safe.
This follows results released today from a second round of samples taken from five locations in the Quesnel River on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Environment says the samples meet provincial and federal drinking water guidelines.
Meanwhile, Mines Minister Bill Bennett says he will resign if it’s discovered his ministry was at fault in the tailings pond disaster.
CKNW’s Sean Leslie asked Bennett about the ministry’s cuts to mines inspections in the last 10 years.
“I’ll take personal responsibility for what happened if it’s our ministry that’s been negligent. I don’t believe that we’re going to find that.”
When asked about calls to hold a public inquiry into the breach, Bennett says he’ll announce the government’s plans on that next week.
Bennett also responded today to a former employee of the Mount Polley mine’s startling allegations.
Gerald MacBurney, who was a tailings foreman at Mount Polley and worked there for seven years, quit this past June over allegations that the dam didn’t have enough rock to contain the amount of water which eventually spilled back on Monday.
Bennett says he’s spoken to that individual and has pledged further investigation.
“We’re going to investigate that. I talked to that gentleman yesterday and he’s going to have lots and lots of opportunity to prove his assertions and if he’s right and the company knew something – or even if the company didn’t know something and made a mistake, they’ll be held to account. There’s no question about that.”
MacBurney told Global News that Mount Polley needed to put in five million tonnes of rock but added only a couple hundred thousand. He also alleges there was a breach at the tailings pond in May, but the company “just patched things together”.