Likely residents are told the water use ban is lifted after tests showed it is safe for drinking.

Mine spill tests turn to long-term effects

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested to determine longer-term effects of metals contamination on the local environment.

The B.C. environment ministry has also collected rainbow trout and lake trout tissue samples, with results expected by the end of August. Sediment and plankton samples are also being tested from the region near Williams Lake.

“The tailings liquid initially released from the impoundment moved very quickly through the system and was diluted greatly by the water in the lake, the Quesnel River and ultimately the Fraser River,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

“As such, the fish exposure was limited and not long enough for uptake into tissues. Combined with the fact that the water in Quesnel Lake meets drinking water guidelines, it is unlikely there will have been any short-term effects on fish in Quesnel Lake or downstream as a result of this event.”

Tourism operators remain open on Quesnel Lake and throughout the Cariboo region.

Environment ministry boat crews have been on the water since the breach Aug. 4, but only one dead fish, a rainbow trout, has been reported. It was collected by University of Northern B.C. researchers and turned over to officials Aug. 6.

Based on water quality test results, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has re-opened the chinook salmon fishery on the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers.

The B.C. First Nations Health Authority is conducting its own tests on migrating salmon at the request of affected First Nations on the river system.

Water use restrictions have been lifted in most of the area affected by the Mount Polley mine tailings breach after health authority water tests confirmed the water is not a risk for drinking or bathing.

Interior Health lifted the water use ban on all areas except immediate zone of the tailings and water spill, including Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and 100 metres around the out of the creek at Quesnel Lake. The tests corroborate earlier samples tested by mine operator Imperial Metals.

The only sample that yielded metal contamination was one taken from an area with visible sediment near Hazeltine Creek, which was scoured out by millions of cubic metres of water and mine tailings.

“Results show slight exceedances of phosphorus and aluminum for drinking water and exceedences of copper, chromium, phosphorus and aluminum for aquatic life guidelines,” the environment ministry reported. “These elevated levels would be expected near an aluminum/copper mine.”

 

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Interior Health will not expand Police and Crisis Team

Southeast Division Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli asked IH to expand the program

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Nelson cyclist run over by truck

Driver ticketed for failing to yield right of way on left turn

Flooding at Castlegar’s Millennium Park delays opening of swimming ponds

The park’s third pond rose after BC Hydro increased its discharge rates at the Keenleyside Dam

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read