The First Nations Health Authority received the results of August 5th water quality samples and evaluated them against the BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines. Samples were collected in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River and were analysed for physical parameters, total and dissolved metals.
Results indicate that samples meet both BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines. This means that during the two days following the breach the water quality within Quesnel Lake and subsequent flows into the Quesnel River and Fraser River were of drinking water quality.
Ministry of Environment (MoE) continues to sample water quality in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River on a daily basis. Additional sites have been added, including the confluence of the Fraser River and Polley Lake. MOE indicates that Quesnel Lake sediment samples were collected on Thursday. Samples of rainbow trout were also collected for fish tissue analysis. Results are expected approximately Sunday August 10.
A fish tissue sampling program is being prepared by MOE. Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has requested that their fish science experts review the monitoring plan. FNHA has also requested to review the monitoring plan.
FNHA staff, including Environmental Health is working with the various Nations to address health concerns. A sampling program is in development which will focus on salmon tissue sampling in the confluence areas of the Quesnel and Fraser River. Collection of salmon will be coordinated with Nation fisheries departments, and analysis coordinated through the FNHA Environmental Health Services contracted laboratory. A 2-3 day turnaround time is anticipated following the arrival to the lab.
Fish which are observed to be sickly can be frozen and held for potential analysis by FNHA Environmental Health. Submission to labs can be coordinated through the FNHA Environmental Health Officer or your Fisheries Departments.
The FNHA along with expertise from Health Canada will be reviewing the mines tailings supernatant (liquid component) water quality results from the past 5 years, the Independent Report of Mount Polley Mine from 2011, as well as any new test results.
FNHA will continue to receive and review new data and assess for public health risks.
Download this communique in PDF form here. (PDF 118 KB)
Ministry of Environment makes raw data available here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/pdf/2014Aug4_WaterSampleResults_20140807.pdf
Additional information from Ministry of Environment can be located: http://www.gov.bc.ca/env/
For updates on the Mount Polley Mine event and FNHA public health response please visit: http://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/mount-polley-mine-communique