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

National trail group decries province’s plans for West Kootenay trail

Converting trail back to motorized use will harm its international reputation, says official

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

West Kootenay Open returns to new Nelson Tennis Club

The tournament runs Friday to Sunday

PHOTOS: Nelson mural festival: ‘a huge act of community’

This year the mural festival became a music festival as well

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Most Read