British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Five-year receiving environment study, Brenda Mines McKee, P. M.; Fraser, Brian; Patterson, Michael


Noranda Inc. commissioned a five-year receiving environment study downstream of their water treatment plant (WTP) at the closed Brenda Mines property, near Westbank, B.C. The Study was required as a condition of the WTP discharge permit. The Brenda Mines WTP began operation in 1998 to remove molybdenum from site water. The plant discharges about 3 X 10⁶ m³/y to MacDonald Creek, a Trepanier Creek tributary. The watershed provides fish habitat and is a source of domestic and agricultural water. Results of the study show that downstream water quality has not been adversely affected by treated effluent. Molybdenum concentrations have consistently met provincial criteria for all uses. Sulphate concentrations in MacDonald Creek and Trepanier Creek have remained within the range predicted in water quality modeling studies, and meet the site-specific criteria developed for the discharge. Biological impacts of treated effluent have been negligible, as determined in monitoring of fish communities, benthic communities, riparian vegetation, aquatic mosses, Okanagan Lake sediments at the Trepanier Creek mouth and agricultural crops irrigated with Trepanier Creek water. Results indicate that treated effluent does not affect biological communities in MacDonald Creek and Trepanier Creek, nor does it impact downstream water use.

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