Teck proposes new settling pond for Sparwood

Teck proposed building a new settling pond project to filter out water near Aqueduct Creek.

During the October 6 Sparwood City Council meeting, Teck proposed building a new settling pond project to filter out water near Aqueduct Creek.

The purpose of the sedimentation pond — which will span 1.6 hectares and reach approximately 1.5 metres deep — will be to treat total suspended solids that originate from the Elk View mine site and its access roads, according to Teck representative Rick Magliocco.

The proposed pond will treat flow from both the Qualteri and Aqueduct Creeks and then discharge the filtered water back into the Aqueduct Creek.

“The key message here is that the pond will not be storing any tailings,” explained Magliocco, “it’s strictly for water storage.”

Tailings are residue materials that are made in the process of mining that can often be left suspended in water.

The pond system will feature the main sedimentation pond, as well as a smaller control pond that will direct the flow into the sedimentation pond and pass excess flow into the Aqueduct Creek channel.

Teck sought out two viable options for the new pond location. The first proposed option would be on Teck leasehold land between GN Road and Michel Creek, and the second proposed location is at the old sawmill site, between Michel Creek and the CP Rail tracks.

Teck has stated that the sawmill site would be their favored option.

“The topography was very steep at the first location,” said Magliocco. “The sawmill location is the preferred option, it’s the lowest cost option and has minimized impacts on the leasehold residents.”

In order to mask the view of the pond from Highway 3, Teck plans to plant willow staking along the Michel Creek bank.

The control pond will be fenced to prevent unauthorized entry and there will be warning signage placed around it.

Coun. Harold Baytaluke asked, “What will be the expected dredging or maintenance of the pond?”

Magliocco responded that the control pond would need to be cleaned out more often, but the main sanitation pond is expected to only need a clean out once every ten years.

Teck plans to submit a permit application package at the end of December to the Koootenay Mine Development Review Committee and hopes to commence construction of the pond by May 2015.