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Wildsight Welcomes Elk Valley Water Quality Plan

By Contributor
November 19th, 2014

“Wildsight welcomes the approval of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment,” said John Bergenske, Wildsight’s Conservation Director said in a media release.

The plan addresses water quality reduction and diminished health of fish and biodiversity in the Elk River as the result of coal mining.

 “We’re past the stage of simply identifying a problem,” Bergenske said.

“Teck recognizes the issues and is taking responsibility to improve water quality in the Elk River. I am confident that success is possible, but only with ongoing monitoring and adapting new strategies as more information becomes available. This problem took decades to reach the critical point we are now at, but the negative trend in water quality has to be reversed right away. Teck is the only one in a position to do this effectively over time.”

The Plan establishes short, medium and long-term water quality targets that will protect the environment and human health against selenium, nitrate, sulphate and cadmium, as well as a plan to manage calcite formation.

The approved Plan will guide future regulatory decision making regarding water quality and mining in the Elk Valley.

Wildsight has participated in public and Technical Advisory Committee meetings that led to recommendations to the Minister of Environment.

“The serious concern over the health of fish and other organisms in the Elk River are not going to go away, but there is increased confidence that Teck’s commitment to both water treatment facilities and long-term plans will lead to a reduction in the levels of selenium and other toxins in the river. The Ktunaxa Nation has played a key role in keeping the health of the Elk River front and centre throughout the process to date. And while a lot of questions remain unanswered, there is now a process in place to address ongoing concerns.”

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