WATCH: How much will it cost to clean up the Mount Polley tailings pond disaster, and who will pay the bill? Rumina Daya explores those questions.
VANCOUVER – At this point it is unclear just how far reaching the damage is and just how much it will cost to clean up the mess.
Environmental experts say it’s one of the worst tailings pond breaches in the world.
When the pond burst it sent millions of cubic meters of sludge and water cascading through the natural landscape.
It caused massive damage to everything in its path.
The government says it’s really too early to know how long the cleanup will take and how much it will cost.
But we can compare it to a tailings pond breach in Tennessee in 2008. Officials there anticipated the cleanup would take six months, but within that time, they only managed to cleanup three per cent of the destruction.
“The estimates of Tennessee were approximately 600 million and 800 million dollars,” said Gwen Barlee from the Wilderness Committee. “That’s huge and is it going to be the public that’s left on the hook for the cleanup costs? Does Imperial Mines have enough money? Have they put enough bonds down to be able to cover the costs of an appropriate cleanup?”