Canadians Can’t Drink Their Water After 1.3 Billion Gallons Of Mining Waste Flows Into Rivers | ThinkProgress

by Katie Valentine Posted on August

5, 2014 at 11:47 amUpdated: August 5, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Canadians Can’t Drink Their Water After 1.3 Billion Gallons Of Mining Waste Flows Into Rivers

Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach

CREDIT: Cariboo Regional District/screenshot

Hundreds of people in British Columbia can’t use their water after more than a billion gallons of mining waste spilled into rivers and creeks in the province’s Cariboo region.

A breach in a tailings pond from the open-pit Mount Polley copper and gold mine sent five million cubic meters (1.3 billion gallons) of slurry gushing into Hazeltine Creek in B.C. That’s the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic swimming pools of waste, the CBC reports. Tailings ponds from mineral mines store a mix of water, chemicals and ground-up minerals left over from mining operations.

The flow of the mining waste, which can contain things like arsenic, mercury, and sulfur, uprooted trees on its way to the creek and forced a water ban for about 300 people who live in the region. That number could grow, as authorities determine just how far the waste has traveled. The cause of the breach is still unknown.

…(read more).

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