British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Storming the beaches : surface water aspects of the Britannia Mine remediation Adamson, Mark; Munn, Matthew D.; O’Hara, Gerry


The Britannia Beach area has been affected by historical mining activity with deposits of mine waste (mostly waste rock and concentrated ore) at various locations. The area is characterized by steep slopes draining onto a flat alluvial fan, bisected by Britannia Creek. The mine is located in the temperate rainforest region of B.C., and significant volumes of stormwater run-off are generated in the wet months (October through April). Where surface water runs off mine wastes, the water quality is adversely affected (low pH and increased metal concentrations), and this water ultimately discharges to Howe Sound. A study of the existing surface water drainage system was initiated in 2006 with the objective of characterizing the metal flux discharging to Howe Sound via Britannia Beach storm drains. The purpose of the study was to identify ways to reduce this flux. This paper describes the field program and instrumentation used to collect flow and water quality data, and outlines different mitigation measures that could improve the stormwater discharge quality to Howe Sound. Such measures include separation of uncontaminated stormwater from contaminated run-off, rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, integration with the existing mine water treatment facility and lime addition.

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