September 11, 2013 - 9:46 AM
PENTICTON - Roughly twice the estimated amount of tailing water spilled into the Tulameen River on Aug. 24 according to a review of the incident.
The tailing pond of the Basin Coal Mine, which employs about 40 people on-site, overflowed and 6,500 gallons spilled into a gulch before heading out to the Tulameen River which feeds the greater Similkameen River. An independent review of the situation determined 13,000 gallons had left the tailing pond.
Normally the tailing water never leaves the coal mining machinery. It was removed and put in the tailing pond to conduct necessary repairs. There was a malfunction of the tailing pond and a spill occurred. A company spokesperson said the business is working with environment ministry officials and stakeholders to ensure this does not happen again.
When the spill happened the Tulameen River water turned black temporarily which alarmed residents. The province and the Interior Health Authority have said there was damage done to underground drinking water sources. The company held a public information session. Work has already begun to clean up the Tulameen River shorelines.
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