The most recent test results of sediment near a tailings pond breach in B.C.’s Cariboo region reveals elevated levels of seven chemicals. They include copper, iron, manganese, arsenic, silver, selenium, and vanadium.
However, the Ministry of Environment says these levels are consistent with testing done before the Mount Polley disaster.
The Ministry also added in a statement the results suggest “low but potentially significant arsenic and selenium concentrations” in sediments from within the immediate impact zone. As a result, Interior Health will closely monitor the results for long term health risks.
Water inside the impact zone has not been deemed safe to drink, but water from outside this zone, according to the Ministry, is safe for consumption.
READ MORE: Water from Quesnel Lake meets drinking water standard, but water ban remains
About a month ago, a breach of the tailings pond on Mount Polley Mine sent five million cubic meters of toxic waste, into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel lake and Polley Lake. The sheer size of waste is equivalent to 4,000 swimming pools.
READ MORE: Before and after photos show devastation of Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach
The provincial government is conducting an independent investigation into the massive spill, and reviewing all tailings ponds in B.C.