I am writing in response to the Sept. 30 article, “What’s in the Water?” to correct the inaccurate claims regarding the health of the Elk River and provide your readers with additional information on the extensive work underway to maintain the environment and aquatic health in the region.
As the opening of your article states, the Elk River is a “recreational and ecological paradise”, home to “premier fisheries” and a “bastion of boating, fishing, lakeshore camping and picnicking.” Further, extensive research has found that the water is safe and populations of fish are healthy.
It is true that there are water quality challenges in the region associated with increasing selenium levels. Selenium is a naturally occurring element that is essential in small amounts for both human and aquatic health. Mining can accelerate the release of selenium and, if present in high enough concentrations in the watershed, it can adversely affect aquatic health. That is why Teck has worked in cooperation with governments in both Canada and the U.S. as well as aboriginal groups, communities, independent scientific experts and others to develop an Elk Valley Water Quality Plan (Plan) that sets out an accepted approach to addressing levels of selenium and other constituents within the region. Through this plan, we are investing approximately $600 million in the largest water treatment program of its kind in North America.
Moving forward, we remain committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure the paradise described in your article is maintained for future generations
To learn more about the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan I would encourage your readers to visit www.teck.com/elkvalley.
Marcia Smith, senior vice president
Sustainability and External Affairs
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