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Disciplinary Hearings Announced for Three Mount Polley Engineers

Three professional engineers involved in the design, construction, and monitoring of the Mt. Polley tailings storage facility will be facing disciplinary hearings.

The licensing and regulatory body for engineers and geoscientists in BC has announced disciplinary hearings for engineers Stephen Rice, Laura Fidel, and Todd Martin in relation to the 2014 Mount Polley Mine tailings breach that released nearly all of its contained water and mine tailings into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and nearby Quesnel Lake.

Engineers and Geoscientists BC chief of strategic operations, Max Logan says this follows a comprehensive and multi-year investigation.

“Our investigation committee now alleges that three individuals involved in the design, construction, and monitoring of the Mount Polley tailings storage facility demonstrated negligence and or professional misconduct in the course of their professional activities.”

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The investigation according to Logan was led by a 3-person subcommittee of senior professionals from their Investigation Committee.

He says over the course of the investigation, they received more than 13,000 documents for review including contracts, reports, correspondence, and daily site reports.

“They also considered reports resulting from the other public investigations conducted by the investigations conducted by the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel and the Chief Inspector of Mines,” Logan said.

Disciplinary hearings against Fidel and Rice are scheduled to take place early next year in Vancouver. A hearing date for Martin has yet to be determined.

Logan says if the allegations are proven at the conclusion of the hearing, Engineers and Geoscientists BC has the ability to impose a number of sanctions up to and including cancellation of the license to practice engineering or geoscience in British Columbia as well as a fine up to $25,000.

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