Water flow has subsided from the Mount Polley tailings pond breach

Water pumped down from Polley Lake

Mount Polley mine workers began pumping water from Polley Lake down a discharge pipe to Quesnel Lake Sunday

Mount Polley mine workers began pumping water from Polley Lake down a discharge pipe to Quesnel Lake Sunday, after the water passed lab tests with no significant contamination.

The surge of water and mine tailings from the breach of the mine tailings pond Aug. 4 created an unstable plug of debris at the mouth of the smaller Polley Lake, raising its level even after the majority of the torrent scoured out Hazeltine Creek and poured down into Quesnel Lake.

Government and Cariboo Regional District officials approved the pumping in an effort to avoid another breach and uncontrolled release, to make the site safe for further water testing and reconstruction.

Water samples from the shore of Polley Lake Aug. 7 tested “very close to historical levels” where it was used for drinking water, the province said in a statement released Sunday afternoon. Water being pumped from the lake will continue to be tested daily.

Environment ministry water samples from six locations on the Quesnel River and Quesnel Lake also met federal and provincial drinking water guidelines for the third straight day. Water from portions of the river have been approved for drinking and bathing. The water use ban remains for Polley Lake as confirmation water testing continues, with results expected by Tuesday.

The CRD has established a restricted access order to the affected region as investigation continues to determine the cause of the dam breach.

Mount Polley Mine is an open-pit copper-gold mine that opened in 1997, owned by Imperial Metals. It had recently undergone expansion of the mine and tailings pond.

The mine ore body does not contain acid-producing minerals, so heavy metal and other contaminants in the ground rock of the mine tailings are not dissolved in water in high concentrations.

Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said the water in the tailings pond was routinely tested with rainbow trout and did not harm the fish.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Fire at Victoria hotel contained to one room, leaves 20 suites in need of remediation

Fire crews extinguished the blaze at the Comfort Inn in 12 minutes

Telus headquarters to come to Victoria in ‘landmark building’ development

City sells land on coroner of Douglas and Humboldt streets for $8.1 million

Victoria man identified as victim in Thunder Bay murder

Police investigating after Paul Vivier, 29, discovered in hotel

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read