Earlier this week, Vancouver-based Teck Metals Ltd. Trail Operations, which represents a zinc and lead smelting and refining complex, participated in a community justice forum that focused on an October 7, 2010 mercury discharge into the Columbia River and a leachate overflow into Stoney Creek that occurred September 13, 2010.
After a joint investigation under the Fisheries Act and the Environmental Management Act, the Conservation Officer Service and Environment Canada’s Environmental Enforcement Branch recommended the community justice forum process as a method to resolve these incidents. The forum was coordinated by trained facilitators from the Conservation Officer Service.
The forum brought together the parties involved and those impacted by these incidents, including representatives of the company, employees, community and environmental groups. As a result of the forum, and to compensate for the incidents, all parties have reached the following agreement:
- Teck agrees to pay $325,000 in total for the two incidents, which will be used to benefit community environmental initiatives, including; LeRoi Community Foundation, Environmental Damages Fund, Gyro Park Spray Park Water Recycling Project, Trail Wildlife Association Endowment Fund, Columbia River Interpretive Centre Project, Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, and Bear Aware.
- Potential Columbia River entry points through sumps will be clearly identified.
- Complete a review of all process sumps to ensure piping configurations will not allow for entry into any river discharge systems.
- Procedures will be established to ensure process solution does not enter the sanitary sewer system.
In addition, Teck has inititated a number of steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future, including the second phase of a $5.5-million Effluent Spill Reduction Program, increased training, a review of the Hazard Risk Assessment, and a rebuild of the Stoney Creek leachate sump and control system.