The District of Sparwood (the “District”), Teck Resources Limited (“Teck”), and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy are working in partnership to bring Well #4 online as a new drinking water supply source to residents of Sparwood. This Well will be used in place of Well #3, which will be disconnected from the District’s water system once this new Well is online and fully operational in compliance with Teck’s Baldy Ridge Extension Environmental Assessment Certificate M16-01.
Water quality data from Well #3 suggests that there is surface water infiltration into the well water (groundwater) during seasonal low flow conditions, when selenium concentration in the rivers are at their most elevated level. This is causing seasonal selenium exceedances to the British Columbia Drinking Water Quality Guideline (BCDWQG) and the well operating permit held by The District, of 10 µg/L selenium. To date, The District of Sparwood has managed the water quality by shutting down Well #3 and providing water from Wells #1 and #2 only. To address this issue, the Environmental Assessment Office in collaboration with provincial agencies, the District and Teck, developed Condition 10 to require monitoring and the replacement of Well #3 by Teck.
Concentrations of selenium in the District’s Wells #1 and #2 are consistently below the BCDWQG and show little variation annually. Water quality data indicates that Wells #1, #2 and #4 have little connectivity to the Elk River or Michel Creek and are not influenced by selenium in surface water.
The District has hired qualified professionals to support the evaluation, design, tender and construction of Well #4 and its related infrastructure. The District will work in partnership with Teck to review and update the Water Quality Plan, conduct monthly water quality sampling for all District drinking water wells and uphold commitments to the Baldy Ridge Extension Environmental Assessment Certificate, Condition 10. Teck is covering all costs associated with the construction and water quality testing of Well #4.
“We are pleased that Teck recognizes that safe, potable water to the District of Sparwood is of great importance. We thank Teck for their cooperation and look forward to working with them on other projects in the future,” says David Wilks, Mayor of Sparwood.
“At Teck, nothing is more important than the health of people and the environment and we’re pleased to work collaboratively with the District of Sparwood on the Well #4 initiative,” Larry Davey, Vice President Planning and Development, Teck Coal.