Work still being done on Salmo tailings pond

Crews are still busy working to ensure the tailings pond near Salmo is safe and back to normal after heavy rainfall

Crews are still busy working to ensure the tailings pond near Salmo is safe and back to normal after heavy rainfall and inflow from creeks and streams caused sloughing and ongoing seepage to the dam structure and road surface.

“What we’re doing is replacing the hole that the slough created,” said Amy Wilson, environmental technologist for RDCK, in an interview Tuesday with the Castlegar News. “We’re using sand and gravel to reinforce it. We’re going to be putting in a rock buttress at the bottom to help stabilize it. That should be completed near the end of the week.”

The tailings pond is located on the old HB Mine site and is owned by the RDCK.

“We’re still intermittently pumping to make sure the water level stays down,” she said. “The engineers have instructed us not to refill the pond until the structure is deemed safe.”

A company called Geo-Scan was brought in to survey the area using ground penetrating radar equipment.

“They were on site Sunday,” said Wilson. “They did a scan and did find some smaller voids along the crest of the dam. Early this week they are going to some down slope as directed by the engineers.”

Crews also discovered a sink hole on the upstream side when the water was brought down.

“The impact of that sink hole has to be investigated and repaired as well as the actual slough has to be replaced,” said Wilson. “Once those two things are accomplished, we can stop the pumping and allow the pond to refill.”

 

The HB Mine tailings pond is located approximately 0.5 kilometres east of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3 and 6). it is about seven kilometres south of Salmo. The tailings pond has a surface area of approximately six hectares.