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First Nations Health Authority – Mount Polley Mines Communique

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Water Sampling

The First Nations Health Authority received the results of August 18th and 19th water quality samples and evaluated them against the BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines. Samples were collected from the Fraser River at Skyline Road, Gang Ranch and Rudy Johnson Bridge (see figure 2) and were analysed for physical parameters, total and dissolved metals. Samples taken from these three sites were compared to baseline samples collected at the Fraser River near Soda Creek in 2008.
Results indicate that samples were below all health related guidelines. Samples did exceed BC and Health Canada Drinking Water Guidelines for the following non-health parameters: Phosphorus, aluminum, iron and manganese.

Phosphorus standard applies only to lakes and is based on preventing algae growth within water systems. Aluminum is considered an operational measure for certain treated water systems. Iron and manganese are considered “smell and taste measures.” At the levels found on testing these parameters have no demonstrated health effects, either short term or long term. Drinking water guidelines are generally based on the consumption of 1.5 liters of water per day and are designed to be protective for chronic, long term exposure at this level over a lifetime.

Fish sampling project

The fish sampling project parameters were shared with impacted First Nations on August 15th. In total, 45 fish samples have been collected from the sites indicated in green in Figure 2. The FNHA would like to thank the community harvesters who have donated 2013 and 2014 fish tissue samples to support this project. Specifically, harvesters from: Northern Shuswap Tribal Council, Esketemc, Tl’esqox-t'in, (Toosey), St'át'imc Eco-Resources, Xaxli’p, Xwisten, T'it'q'et, Nazko, Lhtako Dene, Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council, ?Esdilagh and Coldwater Band (Nicola Tribal Council).

The first set of fish tissue results is expected this week. Long term monitoring of fish will be needed to determine if fish habitat has been impacted or if future salmon runs will have accumulated the metals of concern. Working with impacted Nations, the FNHA is seeking to understand federal, provincial, and industry roles and responsibilities in terms of the longer-term monitoring and remediation needs.

FNHA will continue to receive and review new data and assess for public health risks.