B.C. Environmental Assessment Office issues order to Site C dam over sediment and erosion problems

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After already dealing with issues from a 400-metre tension crack at the Site C dam, the project has been hit with an environmental order from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.

Chris Parks, Senior EA Compliance and Enforcement officer issued the order on March 3.

According to the documents, inspections were conducted between September, 2015 and January of 2017.

In April of 2016, an order was issued specifically due to erosion and sediment control requirements. Then, on August 30, 2016, EAO Compliance and Enforcement observed staff that were employed by project contractor Morgan Construction and Environmental Ltd. pumping sediment laden water directly to the L3 watercourse from a flooded area at the North Bank Haul Road crossing.

The L3 watercourse is is classified as an S4 fish-bearing stream.

Then on February 28, 2017 the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office received a report from the Project Independent Environmental Monitor that back on February 16, 2017 staff that were employed by Project contractor Peace River Hydro Partners pumped sediment water from a flooded work area to a ditch that connects with the L3 watercourse. The report also identified that there have been erosion and sediment issues since November 8, 2016.

According to the documents from March 3, it states: ‘directing sediment laden water into fish-bearing water courses is not compliant with Conditions 2 and 69 of the Certificate and previous order’.

Chris Parks has determined that the Certificate holder (Site C) is in continued noncompliance with Conditions 2 and 69.

“The noncompliant erosion and sediment transport from Project works has resulted in observable deposition of sediments in the L3 watercourse, and may have adversely affected fish and fish habitat in the L3 watercourse and Peace River.”

BC Hydro must submit a Water Quality Monitoring Plan (WQMP) specific to the L3 watercourse and Peace River downstream of the L3 watercourse by March 10, 2017 and also submit an assessment of the potential effects to fish and fish habitat associated with Project historic sediment releases to the L3 and Peace River by March 31, 2017 and be completed by a qualified professional.

BC Hydro was not immediately available for comment.

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