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Final report on McLean Mill log pond water spill released

City of Port Alberni will be undertaking additional sampling in the pond
The log pond at McLean Mill in December 2013, as seen from standing atop the ramp at the steam-driven mill on the national historic site near Port Alberni. LINH NGUYEN PHOTO

Sediment and water sampling results from the McLean Mill Log Pond are now are publically available, after a mishap threatened water quality in Kitsuksis Creek earlier this fall.

The City of Port Alberni issued a water quality alert in September after a dewatering of the McLean Mill Log Pond occurred during maintenance of a faulty valve on the dyke. The result was a release of pond water and sediments into a channel that connects to Kitsuksis Creek downstream. Under the direction of the city, TerraWest Environmental Ltd. conducted sediment and water samples.

READ: City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

READ: City of Port Alberni takes over McLean Mill pond project

Three sediment and three surface water samples were taken from designated sampling locations in and around the log pond and were analyzed for potential contaminants of concern.

Of the 279 tests conducted for sediment samples, 12 were found with exceedances in the metal levels of the soils. Chlorphenol and dioxins/furans were identified at a single site.

The water sampling identified that cobalt levels exceed the standards for drinking water, but the levels are well below the standards for other uses—habitat for freshwater aquatic life and agricultural uses, for example.

Based on the recommendations put forward in this report, the city will be undertaking additional sampling in the pond. They will also be conducting a full review of all historical reports and records for comparison and working with BC Dam Safety to determine the project scope for upgrading the log pond dam.

The city will continue to keep affected residents and stakeholders informed throughout the process.

Area residents are still advised that unless their drinking water comes from a public water system, all water used for human consumption should be treated before use.

The full report can be found online.

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