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Canadian mines contaminate waters shared by Canada and the United States

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov21,2023


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Water treatment plants are not enough to recover selenium tailings from Teck Resources, according to the United States Geological Survey. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

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A new American study concludes that coal mines in southeastern British Columbia are contaminating waters shared by Canada and the United States.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) notes that attempts to remove selenium from mining company Teck Resources' wastewater are not having a big effect on the amount flowing south into the river. Elk.

Meryl Storb, lead author of the study, acknowledges that Teck Resources' wastewater treatment attempts are working, but She says the company's facilities are less efficient when they are most needed, including when melting snow creates high river flows.

Storb says the overall annual amount of selenium flowing down the Elk River and into Lake Koocanusa has more than quadrupled since implementation measurements, in 1985.

Teck Resources says the company has quadrupled its water treatment capacity since 2020 and plans doubling it again by 2027. A Teck spokesperson adds that the rate of increase in total selenium in the Elk River has slowed.

These flows have been a bone of contention between Canada and the United States since at least 2015, with Canada refusing to accept American requests for a joint investigation.

Selenium is toxic to fish and has exceeded environmental guidelines in the Elk River for years.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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