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.

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

Just Posted

Tofino mayor urges “kindness” as tourism reopens

“Health and safety matters to everyone.”

Resorts in Tofino and Ucluelet prepare to reopen in June

“We need to get the tourist economy in our communities back up and running.”

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve plans limited reopening on June 4

The Park Reserve shut down on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society gifting free wellness “check-ins” to all West Coast residents

“This pandemic has led to a lot of isolation and it’s helpful for anybody just to have a soundboard.”

Accident, downed power lines closes Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Detour is available near Hector Road as BC Hydro crews work to restore power

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read