Line Creek Landslide Update

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An update on the landslide at Teck's Line Creek Operations from Nic Milligan, Manager, Community & Aboriginal Affairs:

All,

I have been corresponding with some of you but I know many of you will be very interested in how we are progressing on the Line Creek Operations (LCO) landslide situation. As such, here is an update for July 17th:

After review of the slide site and the progress we have made, it has been deemed safe to remove the access exclusion from our private land around the boat launch. We will be removing the barricades and “The Boat Launch is Closed” sign and replacing it with a sign that speaks to caution still being advised as well as a request to contact LCO in the event dirty water is being observed.

Background:

  • July 11, 2011
    • 16:00 – Heavy rain starts in a microcell event, localized to the Wisukitsak, above the LCO plant and North
      • 11mm or rain collected at the Plant, however, significantly more rain in the canyon area
      • A long term employee reported it as “the most significant rainfall event he had seen in mining”
    • 18:10-18:45 – Two slides occur in the canyon area about 400 m apart
    • 19:10 – LCO Crisis Management Team activated

Remediation Plan:

  • Excavation of debris:
    • As part of the plan to start excavation of the debris material located above the grade of the main access road, culverts were installed in the channel excavated in the debris pile to:

a.) lower the water level backed up behind the slide to reduce saturation of the debris; and

b.) to provide access for heavy equipment to begin excavating the debris  

    • The first loads of material began moving July 14th, the debris will be dumped in a location near the Process Plant, the plan will be to reclaim in this season.
  • Incident Remediation Planning:
    • A plan to excavate the material to an end-leave state has been developed and was reviewed with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO).
    • The plan considered several options. The most practical from a safety and environmental perspective will involve pumping the clean upper water around the debris slide and back into Line Creek. This will allow the debris material to drain and improve operator safety and reduce the risk of re-mobilization downstream. The plan also is the best means to manage sediment loading to the receiving environment as it essentially acts as a clean water bypass.
    • Next steps:
      • Regulatory approval of the plan to ensure we can get pumps on site (five- to six-day lead time).
      • Continued excavation of above-water debris.
  • Environmental Monitoring:
    • LCO has retained an independent Environmental Monitor (IEM) to conduct environmental sampling and reporting for the duration of the incident.  Sampling began on July 16th, their scope of work is as follows:
      • Will be onsite for the duration of the remediation work;
      • Will monitor three monitoring locations downstream of landslide remediation work area for turbidity, including downstream of the Elk River Bridge;
      • Turbidity monitoring will occur twice a day, at start of the day and end of the day at each site; and
      • Will also provide input to remediation work to ensure final channel configuration provides adequate fish passage.
  • General:
    • Total Suspended solids (TSS) in the system has begun to clear up with the bypass of the clean, dammed water, at 6:15 am July 16th the Fording River had cleared up significantly to near normal.
    • Large rain events will, from time to time, shutdown operations in alignment with our Trigger Action Response Plan developed for the safety of those working in the area.

I hope you find this helpful. Will update further as information becomes available.

Best regards.

Nic

Nic Milligan
Manager, Community & Aboriginal Affairs
Teck Coal Limited
Sparwood Office
Direct Phone: +1 250 425 3335
Mobile: +1 250 433 1210
eMail: nic.milligan@teck.com
www.teck.com


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Elk River Alliance
a community-based water group that aims to connect people to the Elk River ensuring it is drinkable, fishable and swimmable for future generations.