Elevated levels of chemicals found in Mount Polley sediment

Mine tailings water ban partly lifted
A aerial view shows the damage caused by a tailings pond breach on Lake Polley, B.C. Tuesday, August, 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The most recent test results of sediment near a tailings pond breach in B.C.’s Cariboo region reveals elevated levels of seven chemicals. They include copper, iron, manganese, arsenic, silver, selenium, and vanadium.

However, the Ministry of Environment says these levels are consistent with testing done before the Mount Polley disaster.

The tailings pond dike breach near the town at the Polley Mountain mine site in B.C. is pictured Tuesday August, 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Contents from a tailings pond is pictured going down the Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely, B.C. on August, 5, 2014. A toxic spill from a British Columbia mine has prompted the country's nuclear watchdog to request a series of checks at seven uranium facilities.The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission will discuss the failure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine during a meeting Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Ministry also added in a statement the results suggest “low but potentially significant arsenic and selenium concentrations” in sediments from within the immediate impact zone. As a result, Interior Health will closely monitor the results for long term health risks.

Story continues below advertisement

Water inside the impact zone has not been deemed safe to drink, but water from outside this zone, according to the Ministry, is safe for consumption.

READ MORE: Water from Quesnel Lake meets drinking water standard, but water ban remains

About a month ago, a breach of the tailings pond on Mount Polley Mine sent five million cubic meters of toxic waste, into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel lake and Polley Lake. The sheer size of waste is equivalent to 4,000 swimming pools.

READ MORE: Before and after photos show devastation of Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach

The provincial government is conducting an independent investigation into the massive spill, and reviewing all tailings ponds in B.C.

Sponsored content