• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 4s

Canadian dam fails, over 1 billion gallons of wastewater spilled

By Hope Miller 9:54 PM August 6, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

A Canadian tailings pond dam in southcentral British Columbia failed to hold back an estimated 10 million cubic meters of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of fine sand early Monday, spurring a water ban for a nearby community and raising concerns that have spread to Alaska.

The amount of water spilled would fill roughly 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, the CBC reported, and prompted a local state of emergency. Wednesday, Mount Polley Mining Corp. was formally ordered to submit clean-up plans to officials and stop further release of mine tailings into waterways. The cause of the breach has not been determined.

Mount Polley, an open-pit copper and gold mine, is located about 370 miles from Vancouver.

The Cariboo Regional District in B.C. announced a water-use ban for the area Monday, advising people to only use bottled water until further notice. As of Tuesday, the district advised people to not drink from various creeks and lakes, as well as the Quesnel and Cariboo river systems right to the Fraser River.

Following the dam breach, people expressed concern about this year’s sockeye salmon return. The peak migration of sockeye salmon for the Quesnel system — an area potentially affected by the tailings pond spill — will occur later this month, reported the Vancouver Sun.

Salmon concerns reached Alaska, as the state has a salmon treaty with Canada that includes the Fraser River. At the moment, Brian Lynch with the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association says Alaskan salmon and fishermen aren’t affected.

The breach has also fueled worries surrounding other mining projects. Wednesday, Sen. Mark Begich sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry about the dam failure.

“This week’s failure of the Mount Polley tailings pond dam in British Columbia validates fears Alaska fishermen have regarding Canada’s proposed development of large-scale hardrock mineral mines near trans-boundary rivers with Alaska,” Begich wrote.

Lynch echoed some of those concerns in an interview with KRBD. Approval is pending for the Kerr Sulphurets Mitchell (KSM) Mine near Ketchikan. Mines have also been proposed near the Unuk, Taku and Stikine rivers.

Latest Stories

  • Politics

    House passes state budget with CBR funding

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 30, 0:49

    Sometime around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, Alaska’s House of Representatives passed the 2016 operating budget 32 to 8, with the minority Democrats split and Rep. Lora Reinbold voting no. In a vote of 39 to 1, the House also voted to use the Constitutional Budget Reserve (CBR) to fund the budget; again Rep. Reinbold voting […]

  • Politics

    Legislative Update: Still no budget as debate continues

    by Kate McPherson on May 29, 22:59

    KTVA 11 News’ Kate McPherson was at the newly renovated LIO building to listen in on the continuing debate over the state’s 2016 budget. Contact Kate McPherson at kmcpherson@ktva.com

  • Sports

    Former student gives back to East High School in big way

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 22:55

    Dr. Eugene Chang says he is grateful to East High School for what he has accomplished in his life. He’s taken a huge step to repay his gratitude: The orthopedic surgeon and his wife donated $143,000 to the school, which will use the money to pay for a new scoreboard. The scoreboard is needed in […]

  • News

    Sneak Peek: New visitor center welcomes Kenai adventurers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 22:27

    The grand opening for the Kenai Wildlife Refuge’s new visitors center is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 1:30 p.m. The $9 million upgraded facility will replace the old visitors center next door, and offers visitors a chance to explore habitats in Alaska in the exhibit “From Ice Fields to Oceans.” “It’s hard to really […]

  • News

    Anchorage stylist ‘pays it forward’ with free haircuts

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 22:13

    An Anchorage hair stylist is “paying it forward” by offering free haircuts to people in need. So far, Joseph Williams has given more than 30 haircuts at his business, Karma Cuts, and has no plans to stop. Williams says the philosophy behind the idea is pretty simple: “You put out the good and you get good […]

  • Weather

    Evening News Weather, May 29

    by KTVA Weather on May 29, 20:05

    Kenai Peninsula/Prince William Sound Sunny and warmer. Near-record temperatures for some south central locations.   Southeast Decreasing clouds with patch fog in the morning as the ridge of high pressure continues to bring quiet and stable weather.   Interior/North Slope Mostly sunny with patchy morning fog except for northern areas like Fort Yukon where there […]

  • News

    From rescued to rescuer: Alaska search and rescue volunteers give back

    by Elizabeth Raines on May 29, 20:05

    Brian Aho knows a thing or two about hiking and climbing. He’s been doing it since he was a kid, when he used to take trips with his dad and younger brother in the back country. “We would sit down and pull out the maps, get a pencil out, and we’d go through the whole […]

  • News

    Lifeguards ask parents’ help to keep watch over their children in Alaska’s waters

    by Shannon Ballard on May 29, 19:23

    On days as nice as Friday, Anchorage resident Maggie Eisert says taking her kids to Jewel Lake is the routine. “We have to take advantage of the nice, warm — well, what we would consider hot — weather,” Eisert said. Jewel Lake is one of only two manned beaches in Anchorage. Lifeguard Morgan Brown says the […]