British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Site specific risk assessments of two former copper concentrate shed sites near Topley, B.C. McKee, P. M.; Morris, N. P.; Nicholson, Ronald V.


Falconbridge Limited owns two former concentrate transfer sites near Topley, B.C. The Sites were used for storage and rail shipment of Cu concentrate from the now closed Granisle and Bell mines. The Sites had other historic uses including road salt storage. Preliminary and Detailed Site Investigations were completed to evaluate the extent and degree of soil contamination, and site-specific risk assessments (SSRAs) completed to guide the development of Remediation Plans. At both sites, soils and groundwater contain elevated concentrations of Cu, salt, other metals and organic compounds. Groundwater modeling demonstrates that Cu is strongly attenuated by formation of poorlysoluble Cu carbonate along flow paths, so that no significant Cu contamination reaches the adjacent Bulkley River or neighbouring properties. This has been verified by groundwater and river monitoring. The SSRAs identified no potential human health risk to persons who access the properties or swim and fish in the Bulkley River. Ecological risks are confined to terrestrial receptors (plants and small wildlife species) assumed to reside within the most contaminated portions of the Sites. Risks to terrestrial biota are less than those calculated in the SSRAs due to habitat limitations. For aquatic biota, no significant risks were identified in the river. The SSRAs concluded that ecological benefit associated with remediation would be minimal, and that risks would remain low provided that the Sites are managed as “Brownfield” industrial sites. Long-term monitoring is appropriate to ensure that risks remain low.

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