Letters: Analyze first

Each week Sooke News Mirror readers express themselves on the Letters to the Editor pages

Mr. Hicks’ campaign promises are interesting.I will direct this letter to only one; his promise to re-introduce pink salmon into Jordan River. As a retired chemist with some experience in dealing with pollution, I’d like to ask this candidate if he is aware of certain factors that might affect this re-introduction.

First, abandoned mines are notorious for producing water pollution for decades after mining has ceased. The ore body at this particular site was made up largely of chalcopyrite, a sulfide that contains both iron and  copper. Such deposits usually contain  small amounts of other sulfides, such as that of arsenic.

Air, in the presence of a little moisture, slowly converts these sulfides to water soluble chemicals. The sulfur forms sulfurous acid,which is then converted to sulfuric acid. This process results in the well known acid mine drainage which is fish toxic. Arsenic is very poisonous, even in extremely low concentrations.

Copper is also toxic to fish. This toxicity is greatly enhanced because the soluble form of copper sticks to fish gills; salmon are thus asphyxiated. These effects are evident even when concentrations are in the one to three parts per million range.

When the first fall rains start, a significant amount of these toxic chemicals is flushed into the nearest watercourse. That is, the toxicity is greatest when salmon are heading upstream to spawn.

Some friends and I visited one of the tailings dumps beside Jordan River a few months ago. Still, several decades after mining stopped, conifers were showing significant evidence of toxicity. They were stunted- just a few cm. in height, and they were a sickly yellow-green colour.

To the best of my knowledge, pink salmon are less ‘stream specific’ than other types of salmon. That is, a finite chance exists of them straying up a stream other than the one in which they were hatched. Other salmon spawning streams exist in the area. That is, if the water in Jordan River were clean enough for fish to use, then they would have, in all probability, have re-established a spawning run on their own.

Perhaps, before Mr. Hicks were to embark on a costly experiment such as this one, he should have a few water samples analyzed during the early fall rainy period, and he should consult with a fisheries biologist.

Dale W. Read

East Sooke

Just Posted

Alex Fiset and Cooper Oakes, both Grade 4, running to the finish, raising money for the ALS Society of B.C. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
John Muir students rally for ALS support

‘Hey ALS. Nobody likes you!’ the students yelled

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Helicopter crew members onboard HMCS Halifax conduct inflight refueling during Operation Reassurance in the Mediterranean Sea in 2020. Some of the military choppers flying around Greater Victoria recently are taking part in a special ops training exercise. (Photo by Cpl. Braden Trudeau/Trinity-Formation Imaging Services)
Special Ops exercise brings influx of helicopters to Victoria

Ontario-based air force unit comes to Victoria to train over ocean

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read