Courtesy of the BC Ministry of Environment:
British Columbians have 30-days to comment on Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s Post Event Environmental Impact Assessment Report (PEEIAR).
As a requirement of the pollution abatement order, Mount Polley Mining Corporation must submit a report to the ministry outlining the environmental impact caused by the breach of the tailings storage facility and assesses physical, chemical and biological information collected from the spill.
Public feedback will help inform the company’s long-term environmental remediation and restoration plan.
Findings in Mount Polley’s report include:
Remediation and restoration work is resulting in re-vegetation and recolonization of impacted areas, including Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, the mouth of Edney Creek and the West Basin of Quesnel Lake
Geochemistry investigations continue to indicate the tailings are not acid-generating and have low leaching potential.
Surface water and toxicity tests show total metals and turbidity are not toxic to various aquatic species and are decreasing in concentrations.
Additional information regarding sediments lost to Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake still needs to be collected by the company. More detailed information regarding sediment quality in Polley and Quesnel lakes also needs to be collected to determine the impact of the deposited materials.
This work will be carried out in 2016.
Phase 2 of the environmental remediation and restoration plan is ongoing and current activities include assessing the impacts and extent of the breach (including impacts on fish and fish habitat), determining risks to human health and the environment, and developing and implementing long-term monitoring, mitigation and remediation plans.
First Nations, local community members, the regional district, provincial and federal government representatives and their associated consultants have all received advanced copies of the report.
This is the second version of the PEEIAR being released for public comment. The first report was posted last June and has since been updated with new information gathered over the past year.
Final comments to the ministry on this report are due on July 21, 2016. Please submit comments to MtPolleyEnvironmental.Enquiries@gov.bc.ca with the subject line “Comments on second version of the PEEIAR”.
Mount Polley’s Post Event Environmental Impact Assessment Report can be found at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/mount-polley/
All information on the incident can be viewed on the ministry’s dedicated webpage: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/mount-polley/
The Hon. Mary Polak - BC's Minister of the Environment said:
“I encourage British Columbians to offer their feedback on this important report so we can continue and improve upon the great remediation work that’s been done to date. Full environmental remediation will take years of dedicated work and the Province will continue to work alongside First Nations, the company and local communities to ensure a strong and robust long-term plan for restoration and remediation is put in place.”
Version one of the PEEIAR released in June 2015 included findings relating to overall environmental impact – the following are also included in this updated report:
Approximately 132 hectares (236 acres) of land were impacted by the spill.
Approximately 181 hectares (447 acres) of Quesnel Lake bottom are covered by sediment with a depth of up to 10 metres.
Turbidity levels in Quesnel Lake are near or at normal levels and water quality has improved over time.
Turbidity levels in Polley Lake have returned to pre-event levels.