Work continues at the tailings pond near Salmo.

Tension over tailings pond near Salmo eases

The concern over the tailings pond near Salmo is easing after hard work and favourable day of weather.

The concern over the tailings pond near Salmo is easing after hard work and favourable day of weather.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay issued a press release late Thursday afternoon saying the situation with sloughing and seepage at the tailings pond on the old HB Mine site near the Village of Salmo is improving. The tailings pond is owned by the RDCK as part of their central landfill area.

Heavy rainfall, particularly Tuesday, and inflow from creeks and streams caused sloughing and ongoing seepage to the dam structure and road surface. The problems were identified as part of a regular monthly inspection of the dam.

The improvement in weather on Wednesday and Thursday, coupled with the installation of additional high capacity pumps to draw down the pond, has reduced the pressure and lowered the water level considerably in the past 24 hours. Siphoning hoses and other equipment is also being sent from the East Kootenay and Alberta to assist with reducing the pressure on the dam.

Environmental monitoring and sampling is taking place daily at three on-site locations: at the top end of the tailings pond, at the top of the spillway and downstream at the culvert crossing Highway 3 and 6.

The RDCK says the surface water being pumped and flowing down the spillway and a natural drainage area on the other side of the dam is “relatively clean.” There is some cloudiness from sediment and turbidity caused by erosion and sloughing from the dam itself. The tailings are particulate and ordinarily do not dissolve, although minute amounts could be suspended particulate as a result of lowering the water levels.

Pumps have been strategically placed to ensure there is no disturbance of tailings.

All water being pumped is flowing downstream in the channels as intended. The two flow streams join and enter a culvert at the highway and then into a drainage ditch before entering the Salmo River. There have been no impacts on the few residents in the immediate area.

The press release said that engineers are on site from the RDCK and assisting agencies are developing a longer term remediation plan once the pond has been lowered to a more manageable level. This will involve examining piping and other refinements made to the tailings pond and dam over the years. Once the exact sources of seepages are identified and the structure is determined safe for heavy equipment and operators, in-filling, shoring and rock replacement will begin.

The HB mine site tailings pond is located approximately 0.5 kilometres east of the Crowsnest Highway (3 & 6). It is about 7 kilometres south of the Village of Salmo in the West Kootenay Selkirk Mountain range. The tailings pond has a surface area of approximately 6 hectares.

 

Just Posted

Trail company bids to replace Greyhound for Nelson-Kelowna run

Silver City Stage Lines has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board

Observant neighbour averts fire disaster

Blueberry resident spots neighbour’s truck on fire.

COLUMN: Carrot thief, forest fires, and a horse-boat collision

Greg Scott brings us news from the archives of the Nelson Daily News fifty years ago

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

VIDEO: Auto repair shop celebrates Nelson mural festival

A painting by Barry Overn at Downtown Automotive turned heads at the festival opening.

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Trudeau says he won’t apologize to heckler, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

Prime Minister had accused woman of racism as she shouted about illegal immigration at Quebec rally

Most Read