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Contamination leads to Vancouver lawsuit 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Teck Resources is being sued by a regional district in B.C.'s interior. (FILE PHOTO)

Teck Resources is being sued by a regional district in B.C.'s interior. (FILE PHOTO)

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is suing a Vancouver company for clean-up costs it alleges were a result of contaminated mining materials being dumped at a pond and left there for years.

According to the notice of civil claim filed this week, the mining materials — a mix of lead, zinc, cadmium and arsenic — were placed in the Tailings Pond and closed off with a dam.

The property was formerly owned by Teck Resources Limited and is now owned by the district.

The district alleges that, in 2007, about three decades after the nearby mine permanently closed, the dump site leaked to neighbouring properties during a spring freshet — contaminating lands of a nearby highway and a private property in Salmo.

“Teck, as the successor to Cominco (the original mining company), has failed to take any steps or any reasonable steps, to prevent the migration of the contamination off of the property to the off-site areas,” the district said.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

The district claimed contamination “will likely” continue to leak, and it has already had to build a spillway, decommission and remediate the dam, engineer a wetland to treat surface water and build a containment berm to prevent leaks from going into the storm water system.

Teck said ownership of the property was transferred to the district in 1998.

“We will review the claim with counsel and we intend to respond in due course,” the company said in an email. 

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