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May 10th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 19
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Blairmore Creek discolouration update
Service water standing is likely the result of elevated iron and manganese
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Before and after picutres of creek in England with iron contamination.
Pass Herald Contributor
As previously reported, on the morning of April 13, 2017, Benga Mining Ltd (Benga) observed a temporary discoloration occurring in Blairmore Creek. The source of the discolouration was a groundwater spring (seep) discharging from the old underground workings at the abandoned Beaujolais mine site into a minor tributary of Blairmore Creek. Benga reported the situation to the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and has continued to monitor the situation to verify there is no risk to human health or the environment. Water samples were collected at the seep and in Blairmore Creek above and below the confluence.

Benga asked Millennium EMS (Calgary) to review the results of water samples collected at the seep (source) and above and below the tributary’s confluence with Blairmore Creek and provide an overview of the results. On review of the provided water quality samples, related to the groundwater seep; overall, the majority of any potential impacts appear to be localized to the seep and the tributary.

The surface water metals data were compared against the CCME (freshwater aquatic life [FAL]), Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) FAL and drinking water quality guidelines and Health Canada’s drinking water objectives.
continued below ...
Overview of Results

· Surface water staining is likely a result of elevated iron and manganese.

· Dissolved aluminum and iron concentrations are elevated in comparison to both chronic FAL guidelines and human drinking water (aesthetic objective). Based on the reduced concentrations of both aluminum and iron in Blairmore Creek we postulate that sufficient dilution is occurring to reduce potential risks to aquatic life in the river. Adverse ecological and human health risks are considered negligible in Blairmore Creek.

· Total arsenic was marginally elevated for a single sample. Due to the remote nature of the sampling location, and aesthetic objective exceedance (staining and foul taste), the use of the seep as a drinking water source is unlikely and human health risks are considered negligible. Arsenic concentrations met both the acute and chronic FAL guidelines.

· Total cadmium concentrations are elevated compared to both the FAL and human health guidelines. However, these concentrations are below guideline at the conflux of the tributary and Blairmore Creek. Use of the seep as a drinking water source is considered low and the potential for adverse effects to either human or ecological receptors is considered low.

· Total chromium was elevated for a single sample collected in Blairmore Creek. It does not appear related to the seep and may be a spurious sample result (particulate related).
continued below ...
· Total copper was elevated for a single sample at the seep. However, these concentrations are below guideline at the conflux of the tributary and Blairmore Creek. The elevated copper guideline is not considered to pose a risk to FAL.

· Total manganese exceeds only for a drinking water aesthetic objective (taste). It is not a human health concern.

· Total zinc concentration was elevated at the seep, the conflux with Blairmore Creek and 100 m downstream. The elevated zinc concentration was compared to the chronic FAL guideline; it is not known whether the measured concentration is representative of a long-term surface water concentration at this location. Additional sampling would be useful to establishing whether or not the seep is continuing to provide a source of elevated zinc impacts which have potential to adversely affect FAL.

· Alkalinity is elevated in all samples and appears natural.

· Sulfates and TDS appear to be elevated only at the sampling locations of the seep and the tributary. Elevated TDS is an aesthetic objective and is therefore not of human health concern.

Recommendations

It is recommended that an additional set of samples be taken to verify any downward trends in metals, however based on these results, there is no risk to human health or aquatic life. The impact is primarily aesthetic.

Benga has collected another set of water samples as recommended.
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May 10th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 19
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