Water samples taken from the shore of Polley Lake on Aug. 7, 2014, have been tested and are very close to historical levels prior to the Aug. 4, 2014, tailings pond breach at Imperial Mines.
Based on the encouraging water sample results from Polley Lake, the Province and the Interior Health Authority have given the green light to Imperial Metals to use a discharge pipe to divert the build-up of water in Polley Lake into Hazeltine Creek. The water will then flow downstream into Quesnel Lake where it will be tested daily.
By controlling the releases of Polley Lake water into Quesnel Lake as soon as possible, it will significantly lower the potential risk to human health over the following days.
Once the water level is reduced to a safe level, technicians will begin water and sediment sampling in Hazeltine Creek. The map of the discharge pipe route is available at: http://wwwt.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/pdf/PolleyLakeDischagePlan_20140808.pdf
This controlled release of excess water with a discharge pipe will help to stabilize the area and reduce the risk of a breach and further sediments reaching Quesnel Lake. Despite these encouraging results from the Imperial Mine's tests, the DO NOT USE Order for Quesnel Lake, Polley Lake, dated Friday Aug. 8, 2014, 4 p.m. by the Regional Medical Health Officerremains in place until corroborating independent Ministry of Environment sample results from Polley Lake are reviewed by all parties involved. These are expected within the next two days.
Additionally, Ministry of Environment water samples taken on Aug. 6, 2014, from six locations in Quesnel River and Quesnel Lake have been tested and confirm all samples from these two water sources meet provincial and federal drinking water guidelines for a third straight day.
Analysis of these samples indicates that all results were also below BC Aquatic Life Guidelines.
Daily water sampling will take place in accessible locations for the foreseeable future. Test results will be shared with local First Nations, First Nations Health Authority, Interior Health, the Cariboo Regional District.
More information regarding response to the Mount Polley mine incident can be viewed here: http://wwwt.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley.htm
Ministry of Environment