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February 24th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 8
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Line Creek water treatment facility
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
On Feb. 17, Teck announced that its first water treatment facility in the Elk Valley had completed commissioning and was achieving 100 per cent of its design target for reducing selenium concentrations in water.

The West Line Creek Active Water Treatment Facility, located at Teck’s Line Creek Operations was constructed to remove selenium as well as nitrate from mine affected water as part of Teck’s work to implement the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.

The goal of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan is to stabilize and reverse the increasing levels of selenium and other harmful substances entering the Elk River watershed due to decades of mining.

The facility cost about $120 million and can treat up to to 7,500 cubic metres of water per day – enough to fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools. It is part of Teck’s $600-million plan to address the threat to westslope cutthroat trout and other aquatic life.

The West Line Creek Active Water Treatment Facility treats water drawn in from Line Creek and West Line Creek at the Line Creek Operations site. Biological treatment technology is used to turn selenium into a solid form that can be extracted from the water and disposed of in at an onsite waste facility.

The facility is designed to reduce selenium concentrations by about 96 per cent in treated water and nitrate concentrations by about 99 per cent.
continued below ...
In July 2014 when it was first put into service, the West Line Creek Facility was responsible for a fish kill when its biological treatment technology malfunctioned.

A total of 74 dead fish were found near the facility from October 16 to November 5, 2014.

“We accept responsibility for this unfortunate occurrence and are now working to restart the facility and implement measures to prevent a reoccurrence,” said Robin Sheremeta, Vice President of Coal Operations in a statement.” Teck is committed to learning from this incident and implementing the measures necessary to maintain water quality and aquatic health in the Elk River watershed.”

An internal review of the incident found the facility had been discharging water containing substances that should normally have been managed by the biological treatment process including nitrite, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and carbohydrates.

Nic Milligan, manager of community and aboriginal affairs for Teck, said a water treatment facility at Fording River Operations is the next project identified under the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan. It is anticipated that another water treatment facility will be necessary at Elkview Operations following that.
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February 24th ~ Vol. 85 No. 8
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