8/11/14 KNBA News - British Columbia officials, critics dispute spilled tailings pond waters

Aug 11, 2014

British Columbia Environment Ministry officials say water that poured out of a massive mine-tailings pond last week appears to be safe, and won't harm the Fraser River salmon run just getting underway. The Ministry says early tests showed levels of dissolved metals and acid are within government standards. But they also say more tests are needed; the tests could not measure all dissolved metals. The escaped wastewater and silt could fill almost 6,000 Olympic-size swimming pools, almost three times an earlier estimate. Critics say provincial water-quality standards are too weak. They also say metal concentrations that don't kill salmon can disrupt their senses, making it hard for the fish to find their spawning grounds. Fraser River salmon travel north to Alaskan waters, and reduced numbers may reduce Alaska's catch.

Russia has banned imports of Alaskan fish in retaliation for sanctions the United States and other nations have imposed over the fighting in Ukraine. Alaska shipped some $9 million worth of fish to Russia last year.

A Fairbanks filmmaker has a movie in the works featuring Yup'ik characters.