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.

 

Just Posted

Holiday lights displayed in Summerland neighbourhood

Trout Creek neighbourhood to hold fourth annual lights contest

Farm buildings drive value of Sumnmerland’s November building permits

Permits issued so far this year total $45,378,800

Santa Parade lights up the streets of Penticton

People lined Main Street through the rain and chill in the air.

Summerland college operated from 1906 to 1915

Ritchie Hall and Morton Hall were constructed for Okanagan Baptist College

South Okanagan volunteer dental clinic donates rotten teeth to good cause

H.E.C.K. recently gifted 47 rotten teeth to a search and rescue group in the area

Video: Magicians and Bubble Wonders highlight Penticton Shriners Variety Show

The annual fundraiser filled the Cleland Community Theatre on Sunday.

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Two Okanagan residents convicted and fined for hunting out of season

Both residents were convicted in a Kelowna provincial court

Book examines history of B.C. wine industry

Author Luke Whittall has studied the growth of the industry from the mid-19th century to today

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Most Read