Cariboo Regional District in Canada has declared a state of emergency.
This follows the millions of cubic meters of waste water which found its way to the water ecosystems and caused a huge scare. Tests that were carried out to determine the safety of the water for human use failed. This is according to the statement provided by the B.C. environment ministry. The test results show that the amount of selenium which was discovered in the water surpassed the required water guideline by 2.8 times.
Over the past few years, there have been reports that the amount of sculpture present in the water exceeded the recommended levels. This is according to Dave Crebo, a spokesman for the ministry of environment.
In Richmond, which is still part of the Cariboo district, the testing was expedited and the results would be ready by Thursday. However, the Regional district didn’t want to take chances on the worrying discovery, therefore declaring a state of emergency early Wednesday.
According to the district spokesman, the move to declare emergency is to allow access to government and privately owned resources which is needed to protect government infrastructure and government property.
The 10 million cubic meters of water that was released is just enough to fill up the entire British Columbia – and is contaminated by hordes of metals such as mercury and arsenic, which is a huge concern to the residents and the very important salmon habitats that are available there.
MountPolley is operated by Imperial metals, which concentrates mainly in open pit gold and copper mining. The company maintains a tailings pond where its water residues are kept.
However, Bryan Kynoch the company’s chief executive took personal responsibility for the spill yesterday and reiterated that they don’t know what caused the collapse. He asked for patience from the people whose water have been contaminated, but again added that the water were nearly safe for human consumption.
Provincial officials have already taken water samples from the area and are conducting tests to find out how severe the contamination is. As the ban remains in effect, about 300 thousand people who live in the vicinity will remain affected.
Addressing residents who gathered in the community hall Tuesday Bryan Kynoch said that he was deeply apologetic for what happened. He said that if asked whether this disaster could have happened in the past, he said “it would never happen”
“I know it would take quite some time to win back the trust of the community, “he said. “Without doubt, this is a gut wrenching experience not only for you, but also for me”.
However, the state of emergency was met with shock and disbelief as some of the residents braces themselves to stay without safe drinking water. “I’m utterly shocked by the announcement by the regional district government. However, it’s good because it shows our safety ranks high in their priorities.