Contaminants From Mount Polley Tailings Spill Continue to Affect Quesnel Lake


Metal-rich sediment is mixed into the water column each spring and fall

Natural mixing of lake waters may resuspend contaminants deposited in Quesnel Lake by the Mount Polley mine spill, according to scientists who have been studying the lake since the spill in 2014.

The new paper, published recently in Water Resources Research, found that turbidity, or cloudiness, in portions of B.C.’s Quesnel Lake increases each spring and fall, when the lake mixes from top to bottom in a natural process called turnover.

The source of the turbidity appears to be the resuspension of spill-related material from the bottom of the lake, raising concerns about contaminants being reintroduced to the water column.

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Image via University of British Columbia