Mount Polley report finds sediments exceed government standards

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
Mount Polley report finds sediments exceed government standards

The Ministry of Environment and Interior Health Authority have released their findings into sediments found in the water ways affected by the Mount Polley tailings pond breach.

Minister Mary Polack said they feel confident humans are no longer in danger; however, It may pose adverse affects on aquatic life and it exceeds BC guidelines for sediments and contaminated sites for regulations standards for copper and Iron.”

Polack adds the area is considered contaminated under provincial regulations and the company responsible for the spill– Imperal Metals– must submit a plan detailing how it will address the situation. Imperial Metals must assess the areas affected by the spill before determining what, if any, cleanup approach can be used.

Despite the possible threat to Aquatic life, Dr. Andrew Larder with the Interior Health Authority said they are pleased with what they found. “If we had soil with the type of results that were generated from these samples, it would be fit to use for agriculture that was destined for human consumption, and it would be safe for areas where recreation would take place. So, we’re very pleased with that.”

The Mount Polley gold and copper mine tailings dam failed last week, sending millions of cubic metres of water and silt into lakes and rivers.

Hundreds of people were ordered not to drink or bathe in the water following the breach.


Leave a Reply

  1. I’m not understanding. The other day Billy Bennett is quoted saying that the spill was no different than the many natural avalanches that take place in British Columbia every year? I didn’t know that they were toxic too! Our fish stocks must have a tough go of it every year.

    • Bill Bennett was simply putting on a spin when he compared the Mount Polley tailings=pond breach to a natural landslide. Certainly the Mount Polley could be compared to the Hope and Johnson Landing slides in general sppearance and degree of landscape disturbance.

      But the concern is with the slurry which now is sediment. As many of us already predicted, the slurry contained heavy metals, which if not contained in a tailings pond, would probably be harmful to auatic life. That’s good enough evidence to require IMperial Metals to clean it up.

      That was clearly obvious that if the slurry/sediment was completely benign as Bennett claimed, why contain the slurry in a tailings pond in the first place? Why not release it in continously in a controlled fashion?

      Polak is right that people do not trust government especially when a cabinet minister releases misleading, if not false information.

      That the Mining Association received advance notice in strictest confidence from the government of an “independent” investigation suggests that it may be up to its armpits in having a hand in determining the terms of reference.Why would the Mining Association receive a confidential heads up? What is being hidden from public eyes? Not a very good start.

    • @David. BTW good comment. I was slow to pick up on your thoiughts. If Bill Bennett was really serious, someone should ask Bill Bennett and Polak if the government will now test sediment from every natural avalanche for toxicity because he claims slurry from tailings pond breaches and avalanche debris have similar properties.

      Government must also ensure that toxic landslide and avalanche debris do not pose harm to humans or the aquatic environment.

  2. I think Trixie’s friends should just assess things and declare that it isn’t possible to clean things up. That is the easiest and cheapest way to deal with this so called “Non Disaster”. Just take their slap on the wrist fine and start pumping out production again !
    But the soil is real good, that just means that the copper and iron and some heavy metals that they don’t want to mention haven’t leached their way into the soil yet. That finding will satisfy the ignorant.
    Maybe Trixie and her friends heard that Hollywood is looking for a suitable script for “Avitar 2″, in that case they make the perfect cast and script.

  3. I can only hope that it doesn’t take as long to clean up Hazeltine Creek as it did to clean up the Tsolum River in Courtenay…..We could drink from it, but the fish died for years….I trust all those who say that the copper levels aren’t dangerous will read this….PS: I read the letter from the ministry, and no where does it say what the level is. It needs to be below 5 micrograms per litre for fish to survive. Good luck Likely!

    • There is a big difference between this mess left in the 1960′s and the tailings breach at Mt Polley.
      It was acid generating and metallurgical technology at the time left a lot of metals in the slag.

      Mt. Polley is alkaline and not acid generating.
      So it’s not the same situation.

      Here area two excerpts from the article you posted:
      “for the next 44 years brewed sulphuric acid, which in turn leached copper and other heavy metals from the slag”
      “Salmon runs were already depressed by the mid-1960s because of logging damage. The acid rock drainage kept them from recovering, by impairing the development of young salmon and by forcing adult salmon to turn away from the river when they returned to spawn.”

      Once they stopped the acid rock drainage from getting into the waterways and repaired the damage from logging- the salmon returned.

  4. Perhaps Trixie will call the BC Legislature back for an early emergency fall seating, so that they can quickly draft up and pass some kind of changes to the acceptable BC Guidelines to let her friends off the hook.
    Who am I kidding? She is that deceitful, but she isn’t anywhere near that clever !

  5. Never let a good crisis go to waste. The anti resource industry, anti business crowd NEED the Mount Polley problem to be a disaster-and will seize on every bit of information to make it so. Two weeks ago it was”B.C.’s Exxon Valdes”. Anyone who doesn’t keep promoting the “this is a big disaster” theme is “on the take”.

    After all. we don’t really need the mining industry, or the petroleum industry. We can just tax the hell out of the 1%, or 2%, or 25% or whatever the politics of envy argument of the day is. And why does anyone need to work when they can just rely on “government funding”?

    • @John-Since you have no qualms of branding persons who have legitimate concerns with the Mount Polley Mines tailings-pond breach, I shall, in turn, brand you as an ignorant, closed mind goof. And I will tell you why.

      When you suggest that that we are opposed to all resource development and the revenue accruing to government and will employ this event to shut everything down reflects fear-mondgering at its lowest level. Even a snake has more class and slithers higher. Especially when you claim we are on the take when Imperial Metals and its major shareholder has contributed nearly $1.5 million into Liberal coffers?

      BTW this event is unfolding as planned such to get Imperial Metals off the hook for having to reclaim all the sediment that was previously contained. Both the Health Authority and Regional District are weighing to pronounce their relief that both the spilled water and slurry present no hazard to humans and the long-term effect on the environment, fish and aquatic life are undetermineable. TRANSLATION: Let’s leave the sediment where it is and monitor it. Let’s just clean up the beaches and wood debris to restore the affected waterways to their original pristine conditions. And everyone will be happy. And while we’re at it, let’s blow up every tailngs pond dam in BC which are totally unnecessary and an impediment to profit because tailing s pond dam breaches are as benign as natural landslides and avalanches.

      If the Mount Polley event is finally handled as many of us fear, we will really have reason-if we already didn’t have- to not trust our government.

      Although I own shares in publically-traded mining , coal, oil and natural gas companies which operate in BC, I am for growth and profit. BTW, I have done very well. But I believe in growing our economy and protecting our environment.

      What is most puzzling is that the Federal government has largely remained on the sidelines. Federal fishery officials, who are the experts in their field, are seeming defaulting to provincial authorities who may not act in the best interests of the salmon run.

      Finally, I look to less crap from you like “Spill-baby-Spill” when you offer no ideas on how you would have resource development protect the environment. The only positive is that people like you will have no say-thanks to the First Nations.

      Look forward to your reponse because I can take it as well as hand it out (very well). Commonsense nad ronnie -take note. where are you?

    • Good post John.
      Ever notice how it seems to be those who have been feeding on the public purse all their lives, and as such not had to worry about the real world, that are the ones oppose everything?

  6. Well said John. So far we dont know all the damage done so what is the harm in waiting for the final outcome. Christies so called friends are the employers of thousands plus many people plus union pension plans have invested in these companies. Without her so called friends most of you posters would not have a job.

  7. Insite-my point is that from the moment this story broke, the anti business forces have been doing everything they can to keep up the alarm by speculating on what the damage might be. In that respect, they are doing what good left wing idealogues always do-never let a good disaster go to waste without using it to advance a larger agenda. In the 1970′s and again in the 1990′s, the NDP pretty much shut the industry down. This is their goal still, together with the greens and others-do not be fooled by their moderate rhetoric. The left and the greens ,et al have a post modern fantasy world in mind in which there is prosperity without any economic activity. We all can’t build condos for foreign buyer, work on violent computer games, and work for government.

    The NDP has been very quiet throughout this. Mr. Horgan (remember him?) opined that this situation could get very serious. Whoa-nothing gets past this guy. But the NDP need do nothing because there are plenty of surrogates doing the job for them.

    I say lets get the facts first and then start condemning those responsible. The other side are into Alice in Wonderland-carry out the sentence first and have the trial later. We constantly read inferences that people have been bribed to have allowed this situation to take place-and not one shred of evidence having been produced. This government wide bribery conspiracy is alleged to exist and yet no evidence to support the accusations.

    This is a disaster for everyone, including the company which now has a virtually worthless mine property, millions in clean up costs, and of course their employees whose jobs are going to go out the window. This is lose lose all around and to suggest that the company is going to come out of this OK is absurd.

    There are plenty of investigations under way and the intelligent thing to do is to allow them to be completed and assess the evidence produced. If there is evidence of wrong doing, then by all means take action.

    • Well put John. Casual couch consultants will still carry on with “could be’s” and “what if’s” though. It seems a few minds were made up on day one – evidence or not.

    • Well…. That’s better. You’re now expressing some good thoughts about how this event ought to play out. But we will see if the investigation will be as independent as promised. The news that the Mining Association received a heads up of the pending investigation in strictest confidence is very worry some.

      Sounds like it has been asked to help write the terms of reference. Reminds me of the fox guarding the chickens. I hope that the member companies in which I hold shares declined any comment, or refused any assistance.