Saturday, August 09, 2014

Mount Polley Disaster....They All Knew, Chapter Two.


The following is a news release, in its entirety, from Knight Piesold Ltd, a company that used to be (but is no longer) the engineer 'of record' for what became the massive, over-filled, tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine.

It makes for most interesting, and important, reading:

VANCOUVER, Aug. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The breach of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley is an extremely unfortunate incident and Knight Piésold Ltd. shares the concerns with respect to the effects to local communities, First Nations and the environment.

Going forward there will be a comprehensive examination of this incident and there will be questions about the engineering and design of the tailings storage facility. As the former Engineer of Record of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley, we feel it appropriate to provide some clarity and transparency of the role of Knight Piésold Ltd.

Knight Piésold Ltd. informed Imperial Metals that we would not continue as the Engineer of Record for the Mount Polley Mine on February 10, 2011, and subsequently ceased to perform that role. During the time we acted as Engineer of Record, the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley operated safely and as it was designed. A third party Review Panel provided independent review of the tailings impoundment design during initial construction and permitting during 1995 to 1997. In 2006, while we were Engineer of Record, an Independent Third Party Dam Safety Review by AMEC Earth and Environmental confirmed that the three embankments were well-designed and well-constructed entities from a dam safety perspective.

Since February 10, 2011, Knight Piésold Ltd. has not had any responsibility or knowledge of any aspects of the design, modifications or performance monitoring of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley. The original engineering done by Knight Piésold Ltd. accommodated a significantly lower water volume than the tailings storage facility reportedly held at the time of the breach. Significant engineering and design changes were made subsequent to our involvement, such that the tailings storage facility can no longer be considered a Knight Piésold Ltd. design.

Upon completing all assignments as the Engineer of Record in 2010, Knight Piésold Ltd. wrote to Mount Polley Mining Corporation and to the Government of British Columbia's Chief Inspector of Mines and stated that "the embankments and the overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future." (See attached letter dated February 10, 2011). A formal handover of design, construction and monitoring responsibilities was conducted on March 8, 2011 when AMEC Earth and Environmental was acknowledged as the new Engineer of Record for all future work at the Mount Polley tailings storage facility.

Knight Piésold Ltd. is not familiar with, and therefore cannot comment on, the details of the incident, or on the design, construction, operations, water management practices or any other aspects of the Mount Polley tailings storage facility.

Knight Piésold is an international consulting group providing engineering and environmental services for the mining, power, water, transportation and construction sectors. With offices around the globe, our team of over 800 experienced professionals delivers high quality specialized services and innovative solutions that respect social, environmental and economic responsibilities.

Please note, specifically, the passage bolded, above.

Because, as we said the day after the disaster, they ALL knew.

And if the proMedia in this province does not hound the Ministers responsible, and their Boss, to the ends of the earth until they get give them straight answers about what they knew and when they knew it by this time Monday morning then they should all hang their heads in shame, regardless their so-called 'established credibility'.


Upshot, now?

The focus should ALL be on the government, whose job it is to protect British Columbians and British Columbia from such ridiculously reckless activity.

And to make sure that the mess created by this activity is really cleaned up properly - and we're not just talking drinking water here.

Because, long term, it is the toxic sludge that tailings ponds are created to contain that will be the real problem here.


And as an important follow-up, the proMedia should be asking the government who, specifically, made the 'significant engineering and design changes' to the dam after Knight Piesold pulled out in early 2011.



Anonymous said...

There is a recall petition out, for the removal of Christy Clark. Harper too needs to go. Both of them have, deregulated safety standards. Removed environmental standards. Permitted resource corporations to operate, with severe shortages of staff.

Jason Kenny out and out blatantly lied regarding his TFW program and, the shortage of labor in Canada. One fellow made a courtesy call to a HR person. She said, there were over 4,000 applications for just that one job. Where is this shortage of labor, Mr. Kenny?

Acid generated rock, PAG can continue to release toxins for 60 years. This is catastrophic not merely a breach, as they put it. It isn't possible to clean that up.

If the water is now safe to drink? Why are fish dying and their skins falling off?

This Mount Polley disaster, is all about greed. The mining Barons are just as greedy as, Harper's oil and gas Barons. Harper has Kenny, bringing over cheap foreign labor for, the resource Barons to exploit.

Foreigners could very well be, a tragedy in the making. Foreigners don't understand the language well enough and most Canadians, don't want them on their crews.

North Van's Grumps said...

From your link: (See attached letter dated February 10, 2011) second to last paragraph:

As we have a long relationship with the Mines Branch and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, we consider that it is prudent to notify them of the change in status. Therefore, we have copied them on this correspondence.

Would this be the RIPE time to seek out a FOI for the document received by ... Rich Coleman took over the reins for MINES on March 14, 2011 in Christy's new Cabinet.

Premier Gordon Campbell hadn't quite left his Office and Pat Bell was the Minister of Mines. Search for MINES and Pat Bell who WAS on the receiving end of the February 10, 2011 letter from Knight Piésold Ltd

Anonymous said...

All documents are in a 10 year archive incompetent wait list to be accessible to public..?

Is pro media ,in bc,professional.?

Ndp fail