Mount Polley water advisory remains in place after preliminary testing

A water advisory for the region around Mount Polley Mine remains in effect after water tests by the BC Environment ministry did not show any elevated levels of contaminants.

This afternoon Interior Health released a public service announcement:

Preliminary water quality samples have been collected and tested by the Ministry of Environment. A team of Medical Health Officers and water specialists from Interior Health have reviewed the water sample results, and while these initial samples meet both provincial and Canadian drinking water guidelines, additional sampling is required before a final determination can be made on the current water use restrictions.

As a result the Do Not Consume water restrictions related to the tailings pond breach remain in place. This affects water drawn from Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel Lake, and the Quesnel River system to the Fraser River. The public should also continue to refrain from using the waterways for recreational purposes. This includes swimming and fishing. In addition, given the presence of debris on these waters, recreational users are advised toavoid these areas until all clean-up activities are complete.

A summation of the test results were published in a letter:

“Samples collected near the Town Site of Likely and on the North Shore of Quesnel Lake indicate that none of the analysed chemical and physical contaminant concentrations exceeded BC or Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines,” writes the Jim Standen, Assistant Deputy Minister.

However, some contaminants could not be tested.

“Contaminant concentrations at the above sites were well below aquatic life guidelines at all sites. However, the concentrations for Cadmium and Zinc could not be compared to guidelines, since the lab analysis detection limit was higher than the guideline and the detection limit for Chromium was at the guideline.”

Letter is embedded below. The full report is on the ministry’s website.

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Post will be updated as information becomes available.

DISCLOSURE: The reporter Michael McCrae is an investor in Imperial Metals.