I wanted to provide your readers with information regarding the work underway to protect water quality in the Elk River and Koocanusa Reservoir that was not included in your Jan. 11 article (“State Department Pledges Action on Montana’s Polluted Transboundary Watersheds”).
Contrary to what is asserted in the article, there is significant work underway to address constituents of concern in the watershed, including selenium. The Elk Valley Water Quality Plan sets out clear short-, medium- and long-term water quality targets to protect and maintain aquatic health, and was developed with the assistance of First Nations, scientists and governments in both Canada and the United States.
As the article notes, a challenge in the performance of our West Line Creek Active Water Treatment Facility was recently identified; however, a solution is now being implemented, and the facility is anticipated to resume operation later this year. Further treatment facilities are in development, all with the goal of achieving the water quality targets set out in the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.
In addition, we are investing hundreds of millions for R&D including an innovative saturated rock fill project with the capacity to treat a greater volume of water than the existing facility, new mining practices, and water treatment. This work and those investments will continue as we move towards achieving the objectives of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.
Challenges related to water quality and mining are complex, and require a comprehensive, long-term approach to solving. Teck is committed to taking the steps necessary to meet this challenge, and ensuring the health of the watershed for future generations.
Senior Vice President
Sustainability and External Affairs