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Letter to the Editor: Teck talks about selenium in the Elk River Valley

To the Editor,

I wanted to follow up on your February 28, 2018 article (Some good news from Teck. And other things to consider) and provide some additional context for your readers on the extensive work Teck has underway to protect water quality in the Elk Valley.

Selenium is a naturally-occurring element throughout the environment, the release of which can be accelerated by the mining process. If present in high enough quantities, it can negatively affect fish and other aquatic species. Teck’s focus is on taking action now to ensure that selenium concentrations do not reach a level that impacts fish populations.

That is why Teck, in cooperation with First Nations, scientists and governments in both Canada and the United States, created the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, which sets out clear short, medium and long-term water quality targets. The goal of the plan is to reverse the trend of selenium and other constituents in the watershed to protect and maintain the health of fish and other species.

We are now investing hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve the targets in the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, including constructing water treatment facilities at our operations. In fact, we will be breaking ground on construction of our second water treatment facility later this spring.

We have also undertaken a comprehensive R&D program to find better ways to protect and improve water quality, and this work and those investments will continue as we move towards achieving the objectives of the plan.

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure the health of the watershed for future generations, and we have a comprehensive, long-term approach in place to do just that. I would encourage your readers to visit to learn more.


Marcia Smith

Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs