The results are in! Apparently the residents of Likely, BC are safe to drink the water after 4,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of toxic water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metal-ladel toxic material from Mount Polley Mine's tailings pond poured into their water supply. But when we look a bit closer, we know things aren't right.
The biggest issue? The samples were taken on the day of the spill, when the chemicals from the tailings pond, including arsenic and mercury, hadn't yet had a chance to get to the area where the samples were taken. Nearly a week after the spill, scientists still can't get close enough to take a real sample, given how precarious the tailings are.
Do we really trust the government and the mining company's scientists, when they couldn't even prevent this disaster from happening in the first place?
There is no way that residents of the area should be drinking this toxic soup, and we want to make sure they're getting real data on their water to keep them safe.
And while we're at it, we're going to bottle some of the water that's "safe to drink" and take it to Brian Kynoch, CEO for Imperial Metals Corp. who owns the mine, so we can see how comfortable he is drinking a nice tall glass of arsenic-laced water, like residents of the region.
This tailings pond breach has followed five years of warnings from the BC government of a coming catastrophe. Even former employees tried to stop this disaster. And environmental data from the mine prior to the tailings pond breach shows that levels of selenium, sulphate, molybdenum, and organic carbon concentrations all exceeded the province's own regulations.
It turns out the largest shareholder of Imperial Metals has given $482,857 to the BC Liberals in the last few years -- the people in charge of keeping our water safe and making laws that protect us.
And it gets worse: The largest salmon run in British Columbia is about to pass through these now tainted waters. Approximately 1.5 million salmon are due to swim the rivers soon -- and eventually could find their way onto people's plates.
It's obvious from any of the images of the spill that the water supply has been badly contaminated by the toxic materials of the tailings pond. It's simply irresponsible that the government would share findings from its water tests with vulnerable residents whose daily lives have been so badly interrupted.
But you can help provide the information they badly need to keep them safe -- and hold Imperial Metals accountable.
Thanks for all you do,
Paul, Jon and the team at SumOfUs
Mount Polley mine spill: Water quality test results within drinking guidelines, CBC News, 7 Aug 2014