In August 2014 a breach occurred at the Tailings Storage Facility at the Mount Polley Mine near the town of Likely, British Columbia, causing water and tailings to be released into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake. The tailings blocked the flow of water from Polley Lake at the discharge to Hazeltine Creek in the area now referred to as the Polley Plug, and resulted in the loss of about 17 million cubic meters of water and 8 million cubic meters of tailings/materials into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake.
As a result, in June 2015 the Mount Polley Post-Event Environmental Impact Assessment Report (PEEIAR) was published, the report outlined the environmental impact as a result of the tailings pond breach and included physical, chemical and biological impact information collected from the spill, allowing for a better understanding for long-term mitigation and restoration.
The Ministry of Environment invited comments on this report between June 12 and September 12, 2015. Public input was sought to help ensure the Mount Polley Mining Corporation has the foremost remediation and restoration plan in place.
Phase 2 of the environmental remediation and restoration plan is ongoing and current activities include assessing the impacts and extent of the breach (including impacts on fish and fish habitat), determining risks to human health and the environment, and developing and implementing long-term monitoring, mitigation and remediation plans.
A second updated version of the PEEIAR with information gathered over the past year was released for public comment on June 21, 2016. First Nations, local community members, the regional district, provincial and federal government representatives and their associated consultants all received advanced copies of the report.
Review additional information on the Mount Polley incident and reports.
June 12 and September 12, 2015
June 21 to July 21, 2016
Public meetings were held where people could ask questions about both Mt. Polley and the Report; input was also invited through an online consultation process.
Input leads to action:
Public comments received as result of the PEEIAR review has resulted in the following actions being taken:
- Mount Polley Mining Corporation has removed the trees, removed the sediments and will be replanting the areas now in the Hazeltine Creek corridor halo.
- Increased sampling of vegetation (both in the number and variety of the species) for possible contaminant uptake.
- Increased seasonal sampling of fish in Quesnel Lake by Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
- More extensive air monitoring program implemented around the mine site in response to concerns over dust generation from exposed material in the tailings storage facility.
- Increased sampling in Mitchell Bay (no exceedances of drinking water standards have been recorded).