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Public asked to comment on Mt. Polley Report

With significant public input having been received on the restart application by Mt. Polley and a decision expected shortly, public input is now being sought to help ensure the company has the foremost remediation and restoration plan in place by early next year for the longer term says a press release issued Monday by the Ministry of Environment (MOE).

The temporary re-start evaluation process is separate and distinct from the longer-term environmental remediation and restoration process.

The Post Event Environmental Impact Assessment Report is now posted for public comment.

Under the May 27, 2015 amendment of the Aug. 5, 2014 Pollution Abatement Order, Mt. Polley was required to complete the report.

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The report outlines the environmental impact as a result of the Aug. 4, 2014 tailings pond breach. It includes physical, chemical and biological impact information collected from the spill, allowing better understanding and planning for long-term mitigation and restoration.

The report is being presented to First Nations, local community members, regional district representatives, and the Environmental Working Group.

Information in this report will help shape Phase 2 (The Remediation and Restoration Phase) as the Province oversees the planning and implementation of mitigation and offset measures.

The Remediation and Restoration Plan is expected to be developed in early 2016, with remediation efforts and ongoing restoration work in this phase running through summer 2016 and beyond, says the MOE.

Notable findings in Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s report include:

* Approximately 132 hectares (236 acres) of land were impacted by the spill.
* Approximately 181 hectares (447 acres) of Quesnel Lake bottom are covered
by sediment with a depth of up to 10 metres.
* Turbidity levels in Quesnel Lake are near or at normal levels and water
quality has improved over time.

Efforts by Mount Polley to mitigate the impact of spring freshet this past season were successful: the stabilization of Hazeltine Creek was just completed, furthering work that has already seen the tailings pond reinforced says the MOE.

“Information and lessons learned from this spill event will inform the Province’s world-leading land-based spill regime announced June 15, 2015 including future preparedness, response and recovery actions,” states the MOE.

Final comments to the ministry on this report are due on Sept. 12, 2015.

The report, along with all the information on the Mt.Polley incident, can be found at the ministry’s dedicated webpage:

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley/

A community meeting hosted by the MOE is scheduled to take place in Williams Lake at the Gibraltar Room on Wednesday starting at 7 pm.

Independent investigations by the Conservation Office Services and Chief Inspector of Mines are still ongoing.

 

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