Contaminated water spills from Teck's Trail operation

Teck Metals has confirmed a spill of metal-contaminated water at its operations in Trail, B.C.

Mining giant has long history of hazardous materials discharge

Teck's operations in Trail, B.C., were recently fined $3.4 million for polluting the Columbia River.

Teck Metals has confirmed a spill of metal-contaminated water at its operations in Trail, B.C.

The company says it thinks the spill lasted 15 to 20 minutes and was caused by a break in a water runoff line leading to a treatment plant. It says some of the contaminated water may have gone into nearby Stoney Creek, which flows into the Columbia River.

The Ministry of Environment says an estimated 90 litres of contaminated water was spilled. 

The spill has been contained, said a company spokesperson in a written statement, and there is "no human risk as a result of this incident." Teck also said an environmental assessment of the spill will be undertaken. 

Teck was recently fined $3.4 million for polluting the Columbia River from its zinc and lead smelter in Trail over about 16 months ending in February 2015.

During the 16 month time frame, there were 13 separate discharge incidents and the company admitted to discharging elevated levels of toxins such as ammonia and cadmium from its zinc and lead smelter.

Teck also told a U.S. court in 2012 their smelter had been polluting the Columbia for more than a century, with discharges of hazardous material dating back to 1896.  

With files from Kamil Karamali. 

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