Clear water: Teck water treatment facility nears completion

Clear water: Teck water treatment facility nears completion

Teck will be flicking the switch on the Fording River South facility within months

Teck’s water treatment program will see a large increase in capacity coming online over the next six months with two projects nearing completion.

The Fording River South facility, which will be completed by March 2021 has the capacity to treat 20 million litres of water per day to filter out nitrate and selenium, while the Elkview facility is having its capacity doubled from 10 million, to 20 million litres per day.

“Once (Fording River South) is commissioned and treating water, you will see the effects of the plant immediately,” stated Teck’s Dean Runzer, who is general manager of water quality management with Teck.

When Fording River South is fully commissioned, Teck’s water treatment plants will be filtering 47.5 million litres of water per day, up from 7.5 million litres today.

According to Runzer, Teck’s technology can remove 95 percent of the selenium from the water, which was then discharged back into the river. Selenium is filtered out and then buried in a lined landfill on site in solid form. Nitrate gas is released back into the environment.

Runzer said that Teck was confident that Fording River South, together with the already-existing and planned water treatment facilities to be built would be able to meet the conditions of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, which is the company’s plan to manage selenium and nitrate in the environment as a result of historical, existing and future mining operations.

Fording River South has been in construction since the second half of 2018, and was initially planned to come online late this year, but workforce constraints due to the pandemic and other delays -including an outbreak of COVID-19 at the site itself – caused its commissioning to be delayed to the first quarter of 2021.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases reported at Teck site in Elk Valley

“Right now we’re just completing the electrical, the instrumentation and the piping inside the building, and that’ll take another three to four months, and then we’ll start commissioning the plant,” said Runzer.

At the busiest time of construction, more than 300 workers were on-site at the facility daily. 27 full-time jobs will be created when the facility is fully up and running.

“It will take up to a year to achieve 100 per cent capacity,” said Runzer. “We slowly turn on the system, grow our biology and commission the plant and make sure everything operates properly.”

At the same time, Teck is also finishing up with the expansion of its Elkview water treatment facility, which uses a different version of the same technology to filter 95 per cent of the selenium from the water.

While Fording River South is a tank-based system, Elkview is a saturated rock-fill. That is, a re-filled pit created during the mining process. The biological process is the same, but the saturated rock-fill technology has multiple advantages over the tank-based facilities, namely scale.

“It’s quicker to build, and less complex,” said Runzer, who explained that using former mining areas meant Teck had many possibilities available going forward. ”We’re using something that’s already in the ground. It has lower capital, and lower operating costs. It has the ability to treat larger volumes of water into the future.”

Runzer said that Teck was committed to following the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan, and was “spending a lot of money doing that.”

So far, Teck will have spent $742 million on water treatment studies and facilities by the end of this year, with a further $350-$400 million by the end of 2024.

“The rewarding part of this project is being able to take a very complex problem, develop new technologies, implement them, build them, then actually see the results in the environment.”

READ MORE: Teck calls federal intervention in Castle Project ‘unfortunate’
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

(File photo)
Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Teck’s Elk Valley operations over

48 cases were linked to three Teck locations in the Elk Valley

(File photo)
Sparwood backs calls to declare Canadian overdose crisis a national public health emergency

Paramedics across B.C. responded to more overdose calls in 2020 than ever before

The district of Sparwood is seeking feedback on its Recreation Master Plan. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Non-medical cannabis store proposed for Sparwood

If approved, Elk Valley Cannabis would be the first cannabis business in the district

Natalie Joynes, Theo Hepher, Kai Dedey, and Sophia Becker sit on a blanket enjoying FYAN’s summer youth programming. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Job Readiness Workshops available for local youth

Registration is now open for the series of free virtual workshops

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

Volunteer firefighters from Grand Forks Fire/Rescue head towards the scene of fatal car crash near Gibbs Creek Road, below Highway 3, Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram could be playing for Colorado when the NHL resumes play. (Rik Fedyck/file)
Cranbrook product Bowen Byram makes NHL debut with Avalanche

Highly touted prospect marks first pro game following World Junior tournament in Alberta

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

Most Read