The tailings pond during the height of the emergency earlier this month.

The tailings pond during the height of the emergency earlier this month.

State of emergency lifted at Salmo tailing pond

The Regional District of Central Kootenay lifted a state of emergency for the site Thursday morning

With sinkholes repaired and the slough area rebuilt around the Salmo tailing pond at the HB mine dam site, the Regional District of Central Kootenay lifted a state of emergency for the site Thursday morning.

The state of emergency had been in effect since July 3. Saturated soil, caused by heavy rains, resulted in some seepage and initial slough, threatening the stability of the dam.

The sinkhole had developed below the usual high water mark, which is likely what caused the slope failure. Over the past three weeks, crews have been on scene pumping water out of the dam and repairing the damage.

Though the area is now considered safe, there is still work to be done. The sloughed area will be reinforced with rock buttressing. And the RDCK is also developing an ongoing dam monitoring and pond pumping protocol to keep water levels low while options for permanent pond decommissioning are being investigated.

The regional district assumed ownership of the six hectare tailings area in 1998 as part of their central landfill area.