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Teck unpacks water treatment plan for 2023 and beyond in Fernie area

Fourth facility being comissioned; additional expansions of current facilities being planned
Teck’s Fording River South Water Treatment Facility located at Teck Fording River Operations (Submitted photo/Chris Stannell).

2023 is shaping up to be another busy year for water management expansion and upgrades in the Elk Valley.

There are currently three water treatment facilities operated in the area by Teck Resources – with the most recent location, the Fording River South Active Water Treatment Facility, completed in 2021.

Expansion on that treatment plant, as well as the company eyeing a fourth location, is expected to continue this year.

The facilities treat water to remove nitrate and selenium, a mineral that can be carried into the watershed by leftover rocks from nearby mining. High concentrations can impact aquatic health.

Teck public relations manager Chris Stannell told the Free Press that in 2022, the three existing facilities treated four times as much compared to 2020.

The company’s goal is to increase that a further four-fold, to 142 million litres per day by the end of 2027.

Back in November, Teck Resources held an open house to outline their water management plans for the new year.

A fourth facility, called the Fording River North Saturated Rock Fill, is expected to increase the treatment capacity to 77.5 million litres of water per day from the current 47.5 million litres per day. Phase 1 of this project was completed in 2022.

“With this capacity, we expect to achieve one of the primary objectives of the Elk Valley water quality plan: stabilizing and reducing the selenium trend in the Elk Valley. We have invested $1.2 billion so far in water quality with plans to invest a further $750 million over the next two years in additional treatment facilities,” Stannell said.

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