Aerial photo shows upstream dike and sumps to contain tailings at Mount Polley mine

Mount Polley dike completed, investigators move in

New dike makes breach safe, allows downstream work on sumps to prevent further tailings to escape as mine investigation continues

An upstream dike has been completed at Mount Polley Mine, allowing investigators to probe the site of the original Aug. 4 dam breach.

The new structure is to make the breach area safe for inspection and work below, not to repair the original breach or retain water in the tailings pond, said Steve Robertson, Imperial Metals vice-president for corporate affairs.

“We’ve finished construction of the upstream dike, and now we’re establishing the sumps on the upstream side of that, and that will intercept the water that’s going to continue to flow out of the tailings,” Robertson said in an interview Friday. “If anything should get past that, we’ll have another sump outside of the breach that will capture any water that comes out through the breach and make sure that it gets put into the reclaim system.”

The sumps act as settling ponds, with the water pumped back up to another pit on the site of the copper-gold mine near Williams Lake.

Robertson said the continued work addresses the Ministry of Environment‘s non-compliance notice issued to the company Sept. 9, regarding discharge of water into the Hazeltine Creek channel.

Most of the available mine employees are back at work, with about 30 working on cleanup around Quesnel Lake. Work is expected to continue until there is too much snow cover to continue.

The environment ministry released more water test results Thursday, showing water collected at various sites and depths in the area remains safe to drink.

The immediate area of the tailings spill remains a “do not use” zone, and Interior Health advises local residents to avoid drinking cloudy water.

 

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

Just Posted

Lightning blamed for multiple fire starts across Kootenays

Southeast Fire Centre says ground crews, air support responding to fires near Revelstoke, Nakusp

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Kootenay Gallery of Art set to reopen to the public

The public will be able to enjoy artwork at the Castlegar facility again on Aug. 6

West Kootenay meat processor pushing for farm slaughter changes to regulations to allow more farm slaughter of animals in the Slocan Valley.

Processor would like to see regulations allow more farm slaughter of animals in the Slocan Valley.

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read