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'Extremely disappointed': Inspectors not happy with remediation project east of Yellowknife

Inspectors with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada are 'extremely disappointed' with its remediation team working east of Yellowknife — it has failed to comply with 18 conditions of a land use permit and associated management plan.

Remediation team failed to comply with 18 conditions of a land use permit and management plan

A flooded area of the Beaulieu Mine camp. Inspectors have ordered immediate third-party water sampling. (Inspection report, INAC)
Inspectors with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada are "extremely disappointed" with its own remediation team working east of Yellowknife — the team has failed to comply with 18 conditions of a land use permit and associated management plan.

The team, lead by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada's own Contaminants and Remediation Division (CARD), is cleaning up seven abandoned mine sites located between 70 and 90 kilometres east of Yellowknife.

Tim Morton and Devin Penney, both federal resource management officers, inspected the mine sites on May 23, 2017, and filed a critical report with the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board on May 26.

The inspectors found that the clean-up team had failed to report a hydrocarbon spill, failed to stop petroleum products from spreading to surrounding lands, failed to use drip trays under leaking equipment, failed to clean up all leaks, and contaminated material, failed to report a truck fire, and — among other things — operated a quarry too close to a body of water.

"The inspectors discovered what appear to be a very large hydrocarbon spill near the shoreline of Spectrum Lake," Morton wrote in the report.

"The source of the spill appeared to be from old drums that were located near the base of the hill near the shoreline of Spectrum Lake. Some of these barrels appeared to have been moved since the March 28, 2017 inspection."
Old drums leaking near the shoreline of Spectrum Lake. (Inspection report, INAC)

Morton said they were "extremely disappointed" to discover the unauthorized quarry located to the east of an airstrip at the Bullmoose Mine site.

"The inspectors were extremely disappointed to discover that [drip trays] were not in use at the time of the inspection."

Drip tray overflowing at the Bullmoose camp. (Inspection report, INAC)
Morton ordered the remediation team to make 16 changes to address the problems.

Those include immediately stopping all quarrying activities within the Bullmoose land use area, conduct third-party water sampling of the flooded Beaulieu Mine Camp, take measures to prevent any hydrocarbons from reaching Spectrum Lake, report that spill to the N.W.T. Spill Report Line, provide a detailed report regarding a burnt rock truck located at Ruth Mine camp, and place drip trays under all vehicles parked for more than two hours.

Orders not listed as "immediate" were given a June 1 deadline.
A rock truck parked at Ruth Camp that appears to have caught on fire. (Inspection report, INAC)

The report also warned the remediation team that "if the contravention is not corrected within the time specified in the notice, the inspector may order the cessation of the land-use operation or of any part thereof."

The report added failure to comply with an order can lead to fines of $100,000 or jail time.

In a letter dated May 26 responding to the report, Carey Ogilvie, a senior manager with the federal remediation team, stated, "I am acknowledging receipt of the inspection report and orders and once again confirming we at CARD are taking follow-up actions in coordination with the Public Services and Procurement Canada Project Manager."

A previous inspection on March 1 also made note of failures to use drip trays, and leaking equipment.

No one with the federal remediation team or the inspectors responded to a CBC request for comment.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has not confirmed if any or all of the orders have been addressed.

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