Read this story from The Vancouver Sun on the recent admission by Teck Resources that effluent from its Trail, BC, smelter has been polluting US waters downstream in the Columbia River for 100 years, with the company’s knowledge. (Sept. 11, 2012)
Teck Resources has admitted that mining waste and effluent from its Trail smelter polluted the Columbia River across the U.S.-Canada border in Washington State for 100 years.
Its subsidiary, Teck Metals Ltd., agreed to these facts as part of a civil lawsuit with U.S. plaintiffs, which include American first nations and the State of Washington, over damages from the pollution that was discharged from 1896 to 1995.
The Teck Metals agreement released Monday acknowledges some portion of the effluent and slag from its Trail operations in southeastern B.C. were transported and present in the Upper Columbia River in the U.S., and that some hazardous substances were released into the environment in the U.S.
The company said this is expected to allow the court to find that Teck is potentially liable for damages.
However, Teck says the statement of facts doesn’t concede the pollution caused any harm.
“We haven’t agreed to the amount of injury that’s potentially the result of that (pollution release) — certainly not the risk to human health and the environment,” said Dave Godlewski, vice-president of environment and public affairs for U.S. subsidiary Teck American.
That’s being determined by ongoing studies that could be complete by 2015. Teck reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2006 to fund $20 million in environmental impact studies.
Results of a 2001 preliminary EPA study showed that contamination was present in sediment above the Grand Coulee Dam.