August 22, 2014 3:32 pm
Updated: August 22, 2014 5:27 pm

Latest tests in Mount Polley area show fish safe to eat

FILE PHOTO: The tailings pond of the Mount Polley mine, southeast of Quesnel, was breached, discharging waste water into Hazeltine Creek on Aug. 4, 2014.

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — A person would need to consume about a cup of lake trout and rainbow trout livers and gonads from the Mount Polley Mine area, to exceed recommended health guidelines of selenium. This comes from the latest results taken from fish in the area. Other than that, the fish flesh is safe for human consumption, according to a report from Environment Minister Mary Polak. These results are similar to fish tested in 2013 in the same area.

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The lake trout, whitefish and rainbow trout were taken from Polley and Quesnel Lakes on August 8.  Samples also showed slightly higher levels of arsenic, copper, manganese and zinc when compared to fish sampled from 54 other lakes throughout B.C.

As for water samples, an analysis that included assessment of pH, suspended and dissolved solids, alkalinity, dissolved metals and E.coli showed concentrations were below the aquatic life guidelines in most sites.  The 30-metre depth mark of the Quesnel Lake Cariboo Island Shelf site exhibited an excess of copper and a section of the surface of Quesnel Lake exceeded acute aquatic life guidelines. Hazeltine Creek Deep Station area and the discharge of Polley Lake water into the Hazeltine Creek slightly had exceeded pH and copper levels.

The “Do Not Use” water order remains in effect, in what officials call the “impact zone” involving Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and a small portion of Quesnel Lake.

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