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

Daycare in Abbotsford evacuated after heavy smoke reported

Crews called to 33400 block of South Fraser Way on Thursday afternoon

Minimum charge at Mission landfill doubles

Fee goes from $5 to $10 a load, designed to deter frequent small load visits

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Two men charged in separate drug busts in Abbotsford

Items seized in one case include fentanyl, heroin and $6,000

Second suspect wanted in attack on autistic man was alleged target in 2015 shooting

Parmvir Chahil lived next door in Abbotsford to victim Ping Shun Ao, killed by stray bullet

VIDEO: Mission’s Todd Davies Spring Break Showdown

Youth hockey tournament draws in 28 teams from nearby communities

Canucks find scoring touch in 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Four Vancouver skaters have two points apiece in victory over Chicago

‘Not well thought out:’ Arizona family slams B.C. speculation tax

American family spends half the year in vacation home on Vancouver Island

Family of B.C. wildfire victim wants better emergency preparedness for vulnerable people

Williams Lake’s David Jeff “fell through the cracks”

Senate backs bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Justin Trudeau reminded senators that his government was elected on a promise to legalize pot

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

LISTEN: Retired broadcaster gives voice to Fraser Valley history

Heritage buff Mark Forsythe introduces Valley Voices, a podcast featuring local history.

Most Read