There go those fish and everything thats coming upstream is dead!

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by KV1, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    What are you getting at? Is this surprising, illegal, or something else? If the donors and ruling party matched your political ideology and this happened would it be an issue?
  2. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Mount Polley update for Lower Fraser First Nations
    August 8, 2014

    Since the Mount Polley tailing pond breach on August 4th, many people have raised concerns about the
    fate of migrating salmon and on how safe it is to eat Fraser River salmon. The short answer is: yes it is
    safe from the point of view of containing Mount Polley contamination. But that doesn’t mean that you
    shouldn’t be concerned about the disaster. Here is a quick update on what has happened and what
    impacts you can expect that the disaster will have on salmon this year.
    Background on the mine
    Mount Polley Mine is an open pit copper-gold mine located in Central British Columbia near Quesnel
    Lake which eventually drains into the Fraser River. Water is used during the metal extraction process,
    and the waste water which contains the non-valuable minerals and contaminants is stored in tailing
    ponds to allow for sedimentation (meaning separation of the solid materials from the water into the
    sediment). When you hear that Mount Polley has been allowed to release water in the past, they have
    indeed been releasing water that has less contaminants than the sediments at the bottom of the pond.
    The problem with this breach is that not only water was released (which the president of the company
    says is drinkable), but so was the toxic sludge. So far at least, the only samples that government officials
    have been taking are water samples, not sediment samples. This is unfortunate because this is where
    the highest concentration of contaminants will lie.
    How will it impact salmon in the lower Fraser River?
    By the time the contaminants in the water work down the system (including through Polley Lake,
    Hazeltine Creek, part of Quesnel Lake, Quesnel River, and finally into the Fraser River), they will be
    diluted and will likely pose little immediate threat to the migrating salmon. Those salmon would uptake
    contaminants through food (which they consume very little of while migrating upstream to spawn) and
    gills. While they might accumulate some contaminants, the level will be relatively low and should not
    pose a risk for people who eat salmon this year. This assessment is based on salmon migrating to spawn,
    not on resident trout. Those fish may have much higher concentrations and should be tested separately.
    We have heard reports of dying or injured fish lower in the river (Lillooet area, Yale, etc). We are pretty
    sure that these fish have not yet been analysed, but we would caution that something else is likely
    causing their deaths. Remember that we are experiencing higher than normal water temperatures in the
    river (20°C on August 7th at Qualark compared to the 1971-2000 historical average temperature of
    17.8°C), which stress fish and can contribute to disease and death. We need to be concerned about this
    year’s run for a number of reasons; the Mount Polley spill just one of them.
    We should, however, be concerned with how the offspring of these migrating salmon will be impacted
    by the Mount Polley tailing pond breach. The contaminants, especially those in the soil that was
    released, will pollute the fish spawning areas for many years since eggs, alevin, and juvenile salmon tend
    to hang out closer to the sediment and eat small organisms that may be contaminated. Long term
    impacts can range from higher mortality in these young salmon stages, lower reproductive success of
    those that survive, lesions and changes to behaviour (including impacting ability to return to spawning
    grounds). These impacts will be highest closer to the area where the bulk of the sediment are deposited,
    so fish spawning lower, as well as those passing by Quesnel River while migrating further up the Fraser
    system, will be less at risk.
    Carl Walters, an expert on Fraser salmon, does not foresee much of an impact to the sockeye run, but
    does have concerns about how the sediment may impact chinook spawning grounds
    The public should also be concerned about impacts to Interior Fraser River Coho that spawn in the
    upper reaches of the Fraser, including in tributaries to Quesnel Lake. These fish are finally showing slight
    signs of recovery but contamination and over sedimentation of the spawning grounds may have
    important effects.
    What can Lower Fraser First Nations do?
    Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that we shouldn’t be concerned. This is a huge breach of
    contaminants! But we don’t need to panic and overharvest or stop eating salmon. Nations should be
    pushing Health Canada, the Province, and DFO to make sure that samples are taken from water,
    sediments, and salmon tissue now and over the next few years. These samples can be taken relatively
    cheaply and processed quickly.
    Furthermore, this issue highlights gaps in our government regulation of industry. The company had
    warnings in the past that the structure was not adequate, but the government did not force the
    company to do anything about it. Instead the problem got worse until the breach. The company may be
    fined up to $1 million, according to BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, but that will do little to
    compensate for the loss to fish habitat and water quality. First Nations in BC have an important role to
    play in strengthening the protection of the environment. Industrial development can occur if proper
    protections are in place. But that is a separate conversation.

    For more information, see

    2788 Sumas Mountain Road Abbotsford, BC V3G 2J2 Phone: 604-852-4040 EXT:34 Fax: 604-852-4048
  3. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Environmental regulation: better than a pound of cure

    Posted by Anna Johnston 5pc on August 07, 2014 · Flag

    Click here to go directly to our survey on the need for strong federal environmental laws.

    ‘Streamlining environmental regulatory review’ and ‘reducing the regulatory burden on industry’ are among the hottest buzzwords from the federal and BC provincial governments.

    As the Mt. Polley Mine tailings lake breach that occurred on Monday, August 4 demonstrates, however, deregulation of industrial activities that impact the environment is a gamble that can have devastating outcomes for local communities and the environment.

    The magnitude of the impacts of the Mt. Polley breach are still being assessed and it could be years before they are fully understood. What is immediately certain is that there will be profound and long-lasting effects on local, regional and provincial economies, on livelihoods and communities, on fish, wildlife and ecosystems, and on British Columbians’ trust in regulators.

    British Columbia has an economy, not to mention hundreds of communities, that depend on a healthy environment. It is rich in natural resources like fish, water and forests, which provide billions of dollars in direct and indirect economic benefits to its citizens.

    Project proposals abound in BC, including for LNG facilities, pipelines, fish farms and mines. Concerned citizens, local governments, environmental groups and First Nations who wish to have a say in these projects face increasing pressure to juggle multiple proposals amid constraints on their ability to participate. Last week the proposed KSM copper and gold mine received a green light from provincial regulators and now awaits federal approval. KSM would store 63 million cubic meters of tailings water, over a dozen times more than the slurry that spewed out from Mt. Polley.

    Risk is inherent in activities that impact the environment. From the threat of a dam breach, to an inevitable oil tanker spill, to cumulative contamination of wild salmon by fish farm pesticides, the environmental and economic costs of these impacts are ultimately borne by citizens, and in particular by the people who live and work in nearby communities.

    To optimize the benefits of projects and minimize their risks, governments need strong environmental laws, combined with robust information and sufficient monitoring and staffing to ensure compliance. Canadians have a legitimate expectation that when government agencies approve projects like mines, dams, pipelines and fish farms, they will safeguard key environmental, economic, social, heritage, cultural and health values, and ensure adverse impacts are avoided or mitigated.

    Despite this obligation, however, the federal government has been steadily divesting itself of responsibility for reducing the risks of those projects to Canadians.

    In 2012, it enacted two omnibus budget bills that repealed and amended several of Canada’s oldest and strongest environmental laws. It watered down the Fisheries Act, significantly weakening protection of fish habitat and outright eliminating protection for some fish, including species at risk.

    It also replaced Canada’s environmental assessment law with a new, weaker law that resulted in the cancellation of nearly 3,000 environmental reviews across the country. Projects that no longer require federal review include two open pit coal mines near Elkford and Sparwood, BC, an LNG facility near Kitimat, a mine extension in New Brunswick, and, somewhat ominously in the present context, a tailings pond and treatment facility, and expansions of two uranium tailings ponds at McLean Lake and Rabbit Lake, Saskatchewan.

    The rollbacks continue. Changes to the federal Navigable Waters Protection Act that were brought into force this year removed protection for over 99% of Canada’s lakes and rivers. Expected sometime this month are regulations that will make life easier for the aquaculture industry, but not for wild fish, by relaxing the regulation of the dumping of aquatic drugs and pesticides into wild fish habitat.

    Touted as benefitting Canada’s economy, the federal environmental law rollbacks simply shift the load onto citizens, whose tax dollars will pay for emergency responses, cleanup costs, long-term impacts on water and fish, and related litigation and settlements. For local residents whose drinking water, recreation and livelihoods are lost or damaged, the cost is even greater.

    Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the Mt. Polley Mine tailings breach disaster is its preventability. Read our Checklist for Strong Environmental Laws for more information on what core elements a strong environmental assessment law should contain, and visit our General Resources page for publications on the need for strong federal environmental legislation. As Mt. Polley reminds us, Canada needs strong federal environmental laws to protect our communities, the environment and our economy from the risk of harm.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2014
  4. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    Any reports of dead fish in the lake near the entry point of the sludge or at the outflow of Quesnel lake yet? I wonder how long the effects would be expected to take?
  5. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    Wonder why this happened....:rolleyes:
    If it was me and I saw a disaster in the future I would do the same thing....

    added after post...

    August 8, 2014, Vancouver, British Columbia: The breach of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley is an extremely unfortunate incident and Knight Piésold Ltd. shares the concerns with respect to the effects to local communities, First Nations and the environment.
    Going forward, there will be a comprehensive examination of this incident and there will be questions about the engineering and design of the tailings storage facility. As the former Engineer of Record of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley, we feel it appropriate to provide some clarity and transparency of the role of Knight Piésold Ltd.
    Knight Piésold Ltd. informed Imperial Metals that we would not continue as the Engineer of Record for the Mount Polley Mine on February 10, 2011, and subsequently ceased to perform that role. During the time we acted as Engineer of Record, the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley operated safely and as it was designed. A third party Review Panel provided independent review of the tailings impoundment design during initial construction and permitting during 1995 to 1997. In 2006, while we were Engineer of Record, an Independent Third Party Dam Safety Review by AMEC Earth and Environmental confirmed that the three embankments were well-designed and well-constructed entities from a dam safety perspective.
    Since February 10, 2011, Knight Piésold Ltd. has not had any responsibility or knowledge of any aspects of the design, modifications or performance monitoring of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley. The original engineering done by Knight Piésold Ltd. accommodated a significantly lower water volume than the tailings storage facility reportedly held at the time of the breach. Significant engineering and design changes were made subsequent to our involvement, such that the tailings storage facility can no longer be considered a Knight Piésold Ltd. design.
    Upon completing all assignments as the Engineer of Record in 2010, Knight Piésold Ltd. wrote to Mount Polley Mining Corporation and to the Government of British Columbia’s Chief Inspector of Mines and stated that “the embankments and the overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future.” (See letter dated February 10, 2011). A formal handover of design, construction and monitoring responsibilities was conducted on March 8, 2011 when AMEC Earth and Environmental was acknowledged as the new Engineer of Record for all future work at the Mount Polley tailings storage facility.
    Knight Piésold Ltd. is not familiar with, and therefore cannot comment on, the details of the incident, or on the design, construction, operations, water management practices or any other aspects of the Mount Polley tailings storage facility.
    Knight Piésold is an international consulting group providing engineering and environmental services for the mining, power, water, transportation and construction sectors. With offices around the globe, our team of over 800 experienced professionals delivers high quality specialized services and innovative solutions that respect social, environmental and economic responsibilities.
    For more information, please contact:
    Greg Smyth
    Phone: (604) 685-0543
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2014
  6. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    5x3: You are automatically assuming I have a "political ideology" because I posted a news article that details potential collusion due to political interference by a party you support?

    for the record - I believe the system is corrupt and not based on any 1 party's ideology - other than the fact that all parties ideologies assume they have the moral and legal right to muzzle dissenting opinions and votes by members within their own parties - irrespective of the fact that the elected members should be representing the views of their constituents rather than the view of the current premier or Prime Minister. The party system is undemocratic and deeply flawed and needs drastic change - irrespective of what colour of banner they hoist.

    Let me ask you these questions 3x5:

    1/ Do you believe that the Mulrooney/Schriber affair was non-representative of how business is done in Ottawa and elsewhere in BC and the world?
    2/ If corporations spend lots of money in both political party support and paying lobbyists to negotiate with senior government officials - which they do - do you think they expect nothing in return? Why would they spend money then?
    3/ Do you think Clarke and her party is immune to the sense of entitlement and collusion - as demonstrated by Allison Redford? Can only happen in Alberta and no other province?
    4/ If the BC government kept giving the mine warnings - why did they not give them fines and cease work orders? The fact that the owner was a friend of the Premier had no effect at all? If you thought so - why do we then have this breach?
  7. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Well the immediate toxic effects wont be severe, probably - except in localized spots. The biggest problem will be with chronic toxicity at lower levels later resulting in biomagnification up the food chain from long-term leaching of heavy metals and other toxins from the tailings sediments. You won't know those effects by testing for water quality guidelines. Resident fish and juvenile fish will be most affected. Later - when we eat those fish - is where the problems will be.
  8. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    Imperial Metals' Political Gifts to BC Liberals Total $234,000

    Watchdog wants correspondence between firm and government released.

    By David P. Ball, Today,

    Mine, Dam Inspections Dropped Since 2001

    As authorities scramble to clean up one of Canada's worst industrial disasters following the Mount Polley mine breach, cuts to mine and dam inspections since 2001 combined with Imperial Metals Corporation's at least $233,710 in BC Liberal Party donations since 2003 is adding insult to injury for some.

    The campaign donations are slightly less than the $300,000 in fines the B.C. government has threatened the company with if it fails to comply with conditions for cleaning up the breach, which caused 10 million cubic metres of water and five million cubic metres of tailing solids to spill into the Cariboo region watershed on Monday.

    "Companies that have given large donations to the BC Liberals walk away with nothing more than slaps on the risk for various regulatory infractions," said Dermod Travis, executive director of IntegrityBC, a nonpartisan transparency watchdog.

    "There is an ongoing suspicion from the public that these donations aren't being made by companies that just want to be good corporate citizens, but that they want to ensure their voice is heard in the regulatory process... it adds to that cynicism."

    Despite three sets of downstream water samples announced Thursday, the government has not yet released toxicity samples of sediments and solids that spilled from a tailings dam, which held hundreds of tonnes of arsenic, mercury, lead and cobalt.

    Breakdown of contributions

    According to Elections BC's contributions registry, Imperial Metals and its various B.C. mine subsidiaries -- Mount Polley Mining Corp., Red Chris Development Co. and Huckleberry Mines Ltd. -- donated a total of $277,120 to various political parties and candidate campaigns since 2003, the earliest data available.

    Out of that quarter-million in partisan financing, $233,710 went to the BC Liberals or its candidates, representing more than 84 per cent of its contributions.


    Imperial Metals Corp. also gifted $3,000 to the 2009 re-election campaign of today's Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, who told reporters on Wednesday that his government will "determine how this happened" and was "devoting every possible resource to this issue that we can muster."

    "If the company has made some mistakes and are the cause of what happened, they will have to acknowledge that and they will have to bear the cost and responsibility for that," Bennett added. Imperial Metals also gave $2,500 for Premier Christy Clark's party leadership race in 2011, but hedged its bets and also gave to rivals George Abbott and Kevin Falcon.

    Starting in 2010, the company and its mines also gave a total of $43,410 in donations to the BC New Democratic Party, ramping those up two years later as opinion polls began to suggest the Official Opposition could win last year's election, including $2,500 to current NDP head John Horgan's leadership campaign.

    The political contributions go even higher if one searches for donations from Imperial Metals' majority shareholder, Murray Edwards, and his firms Resorts of the Canadian Rockies #$40,972 to the BC Liberals since 2003# and Ensign Drilling Partnership #$15,000 to the BC Liberals#.

    Inspections drop

    For now, IntegrityBC's Travis argues that it is "incumbent" on the government to disclose all of its communications with Imperial Metals so the public can ensure there was no conflict of interest or regulatory favours -- particularly as the donations coincide with cuts to inspections over the years.

    As The Tyee reported on Thursday, since the BC Liberals took office in 2001, mine inspections plummeted by nearly half in the province. In a 2010 internal memo, a senior environment ministry engineer warned that staff cuts would lead to "negative results, which in the field of dam safety are represented by dam failures," and called for increased funding and a more consistent approach to dam inspections, since the oversight of tailings impoundments is delegated to the mines ministry.

    According to the Chief Inspector of Mines' annual reports, as the number of mine inspections dropped from 2,021 visits in 2001 to a decade-low of 309 in 2004, so too did the number of investigations pursued -- from 19 in 2001 to only three in 2004, an 84 per cent drop.

    By the last year of available data, 2012, ministry visits to mine sites rose back up to slightly more than half the original number, or 1,163. But only 875 of those visits were actually inspections, the reports reveal.

    Likewise, from 2001 to 2004 ministry inspectors issued more than 92 per cent fewer environmental orders, despite a rise in "dangerous or unusual occurrences" specifically associated with tailings ponds during that period, from five such incidents in 2001, to nine and seven in 2003 and 2004, respectively.

    Repeated interview requests with Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett were declined, and his ministry spokespeople would not comment on the donations.

    The Ministry of Environment has also declined Tyee interview requests, but emailed to say it was investigating the accident and had issued several warnings about Mount Polley mine in the months preceding the disaster. In May, the ministry warned Imperial Metals that the water level behind its earthen tailings dam was too high. [Tyee]

    David P. Ball is staff reporter with The Tyee. Send him tips or comments by email, find him on Twitter @davidpball, or read his previous Tyee reporting here.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2014
  9. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    Mine Spill Toxins: 'It's Early Days Yet' Says UBC Expert

    Mount Polley water ban partly lifted, but questions remain about contamination, next steps.

    By Maura Forrest, Today,

    A water ban has been lifted for the community of Likely and part of the Quesnel River, following a massive tailings pond spill from the Mount Polley mine in B.C.'s Cariboo region on Monday.

    The ban remains in effect for Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek, Quesnel Lake, and the south part of Quesnel River, while more water samples are collected.

    "The results are encouraging," said Dr. Trevor Corneil of the Interior Health Authority at a press conference on Friday. "We are pleased to be able to open things up from that point on the Quesnel River and around Likely."

    Minister of Environment Mary Polak said samples have been analyzed from five sites along the Quesnel River, including the areas most affected by the spill.

    Ministry officials have also taken four samples from Polley Lake, but have not yet received results.

    Al Richmond, the Cariboo Regional District chair, is optimistic about the quality of water throughout the spill area.

    "We look forward to more promising announcements as the week progresses," he said at the conference.

    'It's early days yet'

    Jeff Curtis, an expert on water quality at the University of British Columbia, agrees that the results so far are encouraging.

    But he said there are still unanswered questions.

    "I would say it's early days yet," he said. "We can't predict everything because these spills are rare. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this was uncharted territory."

    Curtis said the big unknown is whether the 4.5 million cubic metres of sediment that spilled from the tailings pond will pose a long-term threat to the environment.

    According to Polak, officials have started to collect sediment and fish samples to find out whether the silt is toxic.

    "The most significant amount of the sediment seems to have landed in the Hazeltine Creek valley and Polley Lake," she said. "In Quesnel Lake, we are not seeing broad distribution sediment."

    But Curtis said finding out where the sediment landed is just the first step in a long process.

    Next, experts will need to figure out whether toxins in the tailings, like arsenic and mercury, are "bioavailable" -- that is, whether they are in a form that could leach into the water or be consumed by animals.

    If they are, they won't necessarily show up in fish right away.

    Curtis said the first organisms to be affected would be insects and worms that live on the lake floor and eat sediment directly. The toxins could then travel up the food chain.

    No easy cleanup for sediment

    According to Curtis, the threats to human health are much lower than the risk to the ecosystem. He said water from the tailings pond prior to the spill was probably better than some Canadian drinking water, based on water quality results released by Imperial Metals for the last five years.

    "We tend to make it all about us," he said. "But our exposure to water is quite low. The greatest likelihood is that aquatic organisms will be the most exposed. They'll feel the brunt of this."

    If the sediment turns out to be dangerous, Curtis said there are no easy cleanup options.

    The silt could be buried under a layer of uncontaminated sediment, or it could be dredged up and removed. Both methods are very expensive, and neither is failsafe.

    Tailings could be swept into Quesnel Lake

    But some of the tailings from the Mount Polley spill could soon be inadvertently washed into Quesnel Lake, according to a critic.

    Currently, sediment is lining the Hazeltine Creek valley, which was carved into a wider channel when millions of cubic metres of water flooded through it on Monday.

    The Ministry of Environment is now planning to pump excess water from Polley Lake through the valley into Quesnel Lake, to stop Polley Lake from overflowing its banks.

    At the conference, Polak said the water will not be pumped "until there is testing that shows that water is of drinking water quality."

    But Ramsey Hart of MiningWatch Canada said the ministry is ignoring the tailings sitting in the creek valley.

    "Is the streambed safe?" he asked. "Are you not going to mobilise more solids down to the lake? You're kind of just going to make it worse."

    Hart said the potential for leaching of the various metals in the sediment needs to be tested immediately.

    Maura Forrest is a science-focused journalist pursuing a master's degree at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism. She is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

    Mount Polley mine and route of flooding from breached tailings pond. Source: BC Ministry of Environment.
  10. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Mount Polley Mine Communique #3

    Aug 8, 2014

    ​​The First Nations Health Authority received the results of August 5th ​water quality samples and evaluated them against the BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines. Samples were collected in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River and were analysed for physical parameters, total and dissolved metals.

    Results indicate that samples meet both BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines. This means that during the two days following the breach the water quality within Quesnel Lake and subsequent flows into the Quesnel River and Fraser River were of drinking water quality.

    Ministry of Environment (MoE) continues to sample water quality in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River on a daily basis. Additional sites have been added, including the confluence of the Fraser River and Polley Lake. MOE indicates that Quesnel Lake sediment samples were collected on Thursday. Samples of rainbow trout were also collected for fish tissue analysis. Results are expected approximately Sunday August 10.

    A fish tissue sampling program is being prepared by MOE. Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has requested that their fish science experts review the monitoring plan. FNHA has also requested to review the monitoring plan.

    FNHA staff, including Environmental Health is working with the various Nations to address health concerns. A sampling program is in development which will focus on salmon tissue sampling in the confluence areas of the Quesnel and Fraser River. Collection of salmon will be coordinated with Nation fisheries departments, and analysis coordinated through the FNHA Environmental Health Services contracted laboratory. A 2-3 day turnaround time is anticipated following the arrival to the lab.

    Fish which are observed to be sickly can be frozen and held for potential analysis by FNHA Environmental Health. Submission to labs can be coordinated through the FNHA Environmental Health Officer or your Fisheries Departments.

    The FNHA along with expertise from Health Canada will be reviewing the mines tailings supernatant (liquid component) water quality results from the past 5 years, the Independent Report of Mount Polley Mine from 2011, as well as any new test results.

    FNHA will continue to receive and review new data and assess for public health risks.

    Download this communique in PDF form here​. (PDF 118 KB)


    Ministry of Environment makes raw data available here: ​

    Additional information from Ministry of Environment can be located:

    For updates on the Mount Polley Mine event and FNHA public health response please visit:
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2014
  11. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Mount Polley mine: Ex-engineers warned tailings pond 'getting large'

    Knight Piésold posts statement to its website saying its design was for significantly lower water volume

    CBC News Posted: Aug 09, 2014 2:53 PM PT| Last Updated: Aug 09, 2014 3:22 PM PT

    An aerial view of the Mount Polley mine tailings pond shows the area where the earthen wall gave way early on the morning of Aug. 4. A letter posted on the website of Knight Piésold Consulting said the Vancouver company had warned mine owners in 2011 that the containment pond was "getting large."

    External Links

    ■Knight Piesold's letter on Mount Polley mine

    (Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

    Knight Piésold Consulting, whose engineers had designed the Mount Polley tailings pond containment system, says the Vancouver company had warned mine owners in 2011 that the containment pond was "getting large."
    ■Mount Polley mine tailings pond breach followed years of government warnings
    ■Tailings ponds for mining and oilsands waste: FAQs
    ■Drinking ban lifted for most of Likely, B.C.,

    "The original engineering done by Knight Piésold Ltd. accommodated a significantly lower water volume than the tailings storage facility reportedly held at the time of the breach," the company said in a statement posted Friday to its website.

    'The embankments and overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future.'- Knight Piésold letter to Imperial Metals

    On August 4., a breach of the tailings pond's earthen wall sent billions of litres of potentially toxic waste water into local waterways and lakes.

    At the time, Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said the dam was an independently engineered structure that operated within design limits and specifications, and there was no indication of an impending breach.

    Knight Piésold informed mine owners in a February 2011 letter it would not continue as the engineers of the tailings pond system, but its statement gave no reason why it made that decision.

    In the letter, it noted, "The embankments and the overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future."

    Mount Polley tailings pond failure
    On Monday, a breach of the Mount Polley tailings pond's earthen wall sent billions of litres of potentially toxic waste water into local waterways and lakes. (Ministry of the Environment)

    It then opted out of the bidding to remain as engineers.

    "It is essential that it be recognized, Knight Piésold will not have any responsibility for any aspects of the on-going operations, or of any modifications to the facilities that are undertaken from now onwards," wrote managing director Ken Brouwer.

    Knight Piésold says it provided the Mount Polley mine with a formal design, construction and monitoring handover the following month.

    While it was the engineer of record in 2006, Knight Piésold said an independent third party dam safety review by AMEC Earth and Environmental confirmed the three embankments it had built were well-designed and well-constructed from a dam safety perspective.

    The company says significant engineering and design changes were made subsequent to its involvement, and it has no knowledge of and cannot comment on the current design.

    Gerald MacBurney, a former foreman who worked on the tailings pond, says he had warned of a disaster in the making for two years. He said management kept building the dam higher but ignored his requests to shore up the dam with enough rock to make it safe.

    On mobile? Click here for Knight Piésold's letter
  12. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    A good read....

    [h=1]Mount Polley Tailings Spill[/h][h=2]A Disaster Close to Home[/h]
    I was glad to be working at the WaterWealth office when I first heard the news of the Mount Polley tailings disaster. My dad would approve of my being at work on a holiday, and I felt somewhat better to be working for water rather than relaxing somewhere when I heard the news. It was strange to see that news with the knowledge of the personal connection Dad and I shared to what may prove to be the worst industrial disaster in BC history. A disaster involving a mine, that mine, and water..............
  13. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    From someone who is right there apparently he was just ask to leave area this morning. Have a look at the photos on there he went to Lake Polley. Its amazing how these photos and reporting are not being covered.

    Here is a few he had posted up...... Brave guy put it that way...


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  14. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

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  15. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    Time to forget about it I guess...

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  16. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    I did assume you had an ideology as a big percentage of your posts have a not so subtle political undertone to them. The answers to those are a forgone conclusion, anytime anyone gives money they expect something in return. I mean everybody, even the most active philanthropist gets a good feeling from the deed so it's not like this is isolated to the current liberal crop. You're right I do support the current party not because they're perfect but they're the lesser of all the evils in my mind and offer the compromises I'm most willing to make.

    It sucks this accident is being turned into a political issue for gain. The system sucks, people suck and most aren't smart enough to see the big picture then they buy into the little blips in the biased media.
  17. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

  18. SpringVelocity

    SpringVelocity Well-Known Member

    I didn't see that...yes your right its an order. Anyhow its crazy this guy went in there...
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  19. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    Maybe it's for his own safety, beside he doesn't show us anything we didn't see the first day from the Global News chopper. They're still assessing what's really on the ground, no tinfoil hats needed. I wonder if Little Miss Swiss paddled or sailed a homemade wooden boat with no synthetic materials across or if she (like this kook) happily reaps the benefits of the industries they flog? Rolling in his metal chair posting on his laptop full of copper, considering his predicament he's most likely been a big benefactor of public health care (assuming he's a Canuck). I wonder how he thinks that's funded, seasonal kayak guides from Quadra pulling EI half the year?

    Not to change the focus of this thread but all this anti industry rhetoric from the very people who consume and make the industry viable is becoming so boring, and predictable. It really shows how most can't see the big picture and accept the risks that bring the rewards they enjoy.
  20. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Reports Of Skin Falling Off Salmon After Mount Polley Mine Spill

    The Huffington Post B.C.
    Posted: 08/08/2014 6:08 pm EDT Updated: 08/08/2014 9:59 pm EDT

    Reports of sickly salmon with skin that’s peeling off have prompted a First Nations fishing shutdown in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, which was hit by a mining waste spill this week.

    “We are closing all fishing activities down the river immediately, fish are being found very sickly as we speak,” read a notice issued Thursday by the chiefs of the Xaxli’p, Sek’wel’was and Tsk’way’laxw First Nations near Lillooet.

    The Secwepemc Fisheries Commission issued a similar advisory telling its members to “exercise caution and stop fishing until further notice.”

    A dam holding back the tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in central B.C. failed on Monday, releasing 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of silt into nearby creeks, rivers and lakes.

    mount polley salmon no skin

    Michael LeBourdais, chief of the Whispering Pines/Clinton Indian Band, posted a photo of a salmon with its skin peeled back on his Twitter account. The fish was caught by his nephew in Six Mile Lake.

    “What happened is when you catch a salmon, you take a newspaper and you wipe the slime off so it keeps it from sliding off the board when you're splitting it open,” LeBourdais told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. “When they went to wipe it with the newspaper, the skin came off.”

    The longtime fisherman and rancher said, “I've been doing this my whole life, that's never happened before, that you can literally wipe the skin off with your hand.”

    He said his sister is trying to get samples of the salmon to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for testing. The notices from the chiefs referred to a similar sickly fish being found in Lytton.

    “The First Nations know what a healthy fish look like and they just don't look healthy,” said LeBourdais, who suspects the Mount Polley spill is affecting the salmon. “That's the only thing different in this whole scenario.”

    Since the spill, residents in the region have been warned not to bathe in or drink the water amid concerns that toxic heavy metals from the mine, owned by Imperial Metals, could pose a danger to human health.

    Water test results on Friday from five locations in the Quesnel River fell within drinking water and aquatic life guidelines, said the province. A water use ban has also been partially lifted, easing drinking, bathing, and swimming restrictions that affected as many as 300 people.

    The DFO halted salmon fishing in the Cariboo and Quesnel Rivers starting on Tuesday night.

    LeBourdais said First Nations people are trying to get reassurance that fish caught in area lakes are safe to eat. He said they’ve been anticipating a huge salmon run this year.

    “People were crying. To First Nations, to many, this is half their winter food supply along the Fraser River.”

    Some conservationists and wildlife experts are concerned the mine spill poses a threat to sockeye salmon and the animals that depend on them.

    However, one salmon expert told Maclean's magazine that there should be no impact on the salmon run because any tailings pond contamination would move quickly out of the system and be diluted by a heavy volume of water in the Quesnel River.

    The Shuswap National Tribal Council and Adams Lake Indian Band are holding a public meeting on Monday to address the Mount Polley spill and its aftermath.

    With files from The Canadian Press

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014

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