British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Assessment of copper in Spectacle Wetland, Mount Washington Back, Theodore; Perkins, Matt; Rand, Brianne


On Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island, Pyrrhotite Creek was diverted into the Spectacle Wetland as a passive remediation technique to reduce the amount of copper running into the Tsolum River. The objective of this report is to determine the concentration of loaded copper in Spectacle Wetland. We designed a systematic methodology for sampling the sediments found in the inflow, riparian, sandbars and outflow. In the Camosun College chemistry lab, the sediment underwent an Aqua Regia digestion, which removed the majority of the copper ions attached to the sediment. The samples were analyzed using an AA Spectrophotometer to determine the concentration of copper. These results underwent various statistical and visual analyses using Minitab, Ecological Methodology and Arcview GIS software. The lowest copper concentrations were found in the southeast arm of the lake, whereas higher concentrations were found throughout the rest of the lake, particularly in the outflow areas. Moderate copper concentrations were found in the inlet area, particularly in the riparian, sand bar, and stream fan areas. It can be demonstrated that high concentrations of copper are present in Spectacle Wetland. With more rigorous sampling and monitoring, for example, coring and residence time of the copper, the functionality of the wetland could be better determined.

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