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

Advocates call safe drug supply a victory but worry about logistics in pandemic

Pandemic contributes to scarce supply, advocates worried about potential impact on the streets

Greater Victoria survey shows third of respondents did not pay, or partially paid rent for April

Survey of 70 respondents says 40 per cent expect they will not be able to pay May rent

City of Victoria looks to shift tens of millions in 2020 budget due to COVID-19

Mayor Lisa Helps offers her daily municipal, provincial and federal updates

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

BC Transit extends free fare, installs vinyl barriers in some buses

Free fare will now be offered until April 30

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read