Likely residents are told the water use ban is lifted after tests showed it is safe for drinking.

Mine spill tests turn to long-term effects

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested

Samples of fish and sediment in the region of the Mount Polley mine tailings breach are being tested to determine longer-term effects of metals contamination on the local environment.

The B.C. environment ministry has also collected rainbow trout and lake trout tissue samples, with results expected by the end of August. Sediment and plankton samples are also being tested from the region near Williams Lake.

“The tailings liquid initially released from the impoundment moved very quickly through the system and was diluted greatly by the water in the lake, the Quesnel River and ultimately the Fraser River,” the environment ministry said in a statement.

“As such, the fish exposure was limited and not long enough for uptake into tissues. Combined with the fact that the water in Quesnel Lake meets drinking water guidelines, it is unlikely there will have been any short-term effects on fish in Quesnel Lake or downstream as a result of this event.”

Tourism operators remain open on Quesnel Lake and throughout the Cariboo region.

Environment ministry boat crews have been on the water since the breach Aug. 4, but only one dead fish, a rainbow trout, has been reported. It was collected by University of Northern B.C. researchers and turned over to officials Aug. 6.

Based on water quality test results, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has re-opened the chinook salmon fishery on the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers.

The B.C. First Nations Health Authority is conducting its own tests on migrating salmon at the request of affected First Nations on the river system.

Water use restrictions have been lifted in most of the area affected by the Mount Polley mine tailings breach after health authority water tests confirmed the water is not a risk for drinking or bathing.

Interior Health lifted the water use ban on all areas except immediate zone of the tailings and water spill, including Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and 100 metres around the out of the creek at Quesnel Lake. The tests corroborate earlier samples tested by mine operator Imperial Metals.

The only sample that yielded metal contamination was one taken from an area with visible sediment near Hazeltine Creek, which was scoured out by millions of cubic metres of water and mine tailings.

“Results show slight exceedances of phosphorus and aluminum for drinking water and exceedences of copper, chromium, phosphorus and aluminum for aquatic life guidelines,” the environment ministry reported. “These elevated levels would be expected near an aluminum/copper mine.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fairfield gas station fire deemed arson

Police looking for witnesses, video of 2:30 a.m. April 5 fire

Outreach initiative connects Sooke seniors to support amid COVID-19

Volunteers encouraged to sign up as need increases

Sidney senior grateful for stranger’s help during medical incident

Hendrina Welter never caught a glimpse of the woman who helped her after she blacked out

Victoria company compares drone footage of city streets between August and now

Fewer cars, people seen on streets and at landmarks

240,000 Canadians applied for emergency benefit on morning it opened: Trudeau

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Bars, cannabis sector eligible for $40B credit program from government bank

Applicants must go through their own banks to access the program

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read