February 23, 2016
GeoEnviroPro hosted a workshop exploring the Mount Polley Mine tailings dam failure. The tailings dam failure at the Mount Polley Mine caused water and tailings to be released. The Mount Polley Mining Corporation immediately began work to stabilize and contain the tailings, initiated scientific studies to identify the impacts of the release on the environment and, develop strategies to remediate the effects of the spill. Part of this work included an ecological risk assessment of tailings released to the environment. A unique approach was developed which included physical, chemical and biological assessment in a TRIAD fashion, in order to better understand terrestrial effects and how to best restore the forest ecosystem.
This workshop looked at the approach to ecological risk assessments for large wildlands sites, like the Mount Polley Mine. The approach combines the traditional approach of terrestrial risk assessment with tried and proven methods from forest ecology to create a new TRIAD approach (similar to the TRIAD approach used for aquatic risk assessment).
The workshop was tailored for broad participation by risk assessors, site assessors, site managers and regulators.
This workshop covered the investigation approaches used, the TRIAD weight of evidence risk assessment methods and tools for forest ecology restoration and management.
The topics included:
- Mine geology and process
- Conceptual Site Exposure Model (CSEM) for the tailings released
- Site investigation based on terrestrial habitat plots and stratification
- Soil community diversity and abundance
- Toxicity testing
- Weight-of-evidence assessment
- Terrestrial receptors impacts and limitations
- Forest ecology restoration plans and management