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First Nations, residents call for more testing after Mount Polley mine disaster

WATCH: One month after that massive spill at the Mount Polley mine, we’re learning more about the level of devastation. John Daly has more.

One month after a massive tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley mine, we are learning more about the impact on waterways in the area.

Today in Vancouver, residents of Likely, B.C. and First Nations leaders shared their firsthand accounts at a news conference.

They have hired their own experts, including doctors who have worked on issues of mercury pollution in other places.

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The President of the B.C. Indian Chiefs, Stewart Phillip, is also discussing a class action lawsuit to force the government and Imperial Metals to perform more comprehensive water, soil, and fish testing. They also want to clean-up to start immediately.

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“Governments have completely sold out the environmental values of this province to industry,” says Phillip.

The tailings pond spill is now 70 per cent larger than originally estimated.

A local resident brought cloudy water from Quesnel Lake to today’s press conference, showing a high level of sediment.

She says residents have noticed the colour of the lake has changed drastically within the past week, and weeds are growing at “an incredible rate” — something they’ve never seen before.

The government says fish from local waterways is safe to eat, but people can remove the liver and gonads first before consuming, as an extra precaution.

— with files from John Daly

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