Sunday, August 31, 2014

Elevated heavy metals after Mine Tailings Spill

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. - Elevated levels of seven chemical elements have been found by B.C. government staff in the sediment near a mine tailings spill.

The Ministry of Environment says copper, iron, manganese, arsenic, silver, selenium and vanadium were found in concentrations that exceeded provincial standards during testing near the Mount Polley mine Aug. 12 and Aug. 15.
B.C. officials say sediment discharged from a tailings pond that spilled mining waste in the Cariboo region is not toxic for humans but may harm aquatic life.
The province says the sediments exceed guidelines and contaminated sites regulation standards for copper and iron.

Environment Minister Mary Polak says the area is considered contaminated under provincial regulations and the company responsible for the spill must submit a plan detailing how it will address the situation.
The chiefs in two First Nations communities in the area have said their residents don't trust the government's claims that the fish are safe, so they've opted not to harvest salmon in what would normally be the busiest time of the year.

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