News

Water pumped down from Polley Lake

Water flow has subsided from the Mount Polley tailings pond breach, and work has begun on a temporary berm before rainfall washes down more mine tailings. - Cariboo Regional District
Water flow has subsided from the Mount Polley tailings pond breach, and work has begun on a temporary berm before rainfall washes down more mine tailings.
— image credit: Cariboo Regional District

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.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Hunters protest shift favouring non-residents
 
B.C.-only wines to come to some grocery stores
 
Virk shuffled to new job after Kwantlen flap
Penticton MLA gets promoted
 
Penticton families receive Christmas cheer with hampers
 
Dognapping victim returned to Penticton SPCA
Camera-toting witness helps Penticton police
 
Judge chides police for ‘troubling’ rights breach
 
NDP blasts lottery corporation spending

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.