Writer: Get history right on breach: Imperial sought safe discharge in 2009

Coquitlam, B.C. – Dear Editor: Much has been written about the Mount Polley tailings pond breach in the past few weeks. However, I think it is important for those who write about the breach to make sure they get the history correct.

For example, in an August 5th McLean’s Magazine article entitled “Warnings about BC tailings pond ‘ignored'” it was suggested that the community and local First Nations raised alarms about the stability of the dam but were ignored.

Yet, in an October 13th 2011 article in the Williams Lake Tribune entitled “Mine discharge application raises concern,” it was reported that Imperial

Minerals had applied to safely discharge treated mine water from the tailings pond in November of 2009; treated water that would not include man-made chemicals, only elements that occur naturally in the Quesnel Lake watershed. The Tribune article goes on to note that Imperial Minerals held six public meetings to demonstrate how safe the water discharge would be, but it was blocked by local First Nations and community members citing “concerns.”

If the original application to discharge treated water had been approved, as recommended by the engineers and scientists, the water level in the tailings pond would have been reduced and the breach may never have happened.

Moreover, it is very clear now from water testing that the water released from the pond was at or close to safe human drinking standards.

These are important facts to keep in mind and they show how important it is to get the history correct.

I don’t think we can point a finger at any one party in this unfortunate incident, but hopefully we have all learned to let the scientists and engineers do their jobs and make the best possible and most scientifically informed recommendations and decisions that safeguard us all.

Michael Taylor

Coquitlam, B.C.

Just Posted

West Coast’s FM radio licences up for renewal

Deadline for comments on broadcasting rights for both Tofino and Ucluelet is July 29.

Ucluelet set to celebrate Pride on Saturday

Pride Walk begins at Ucluelet’s Army, Navy and Air Force Veteran’s Club at 6 p.m.

Tofino mourns sudden loss of municipal councillor and community champion

Longtime resident Dorothy Baert died on Wednesday.

Short documentary showcases Chez Monique’s on Canada’s West Coast Trail

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Confirmed case of Parvovirus could spread through Tofino-Ucluelet puppy population

“We need to keep this contained and the animals within communities need to stay at home.”

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read