The Aquatic Receiving Environment Monitoring Program (AREMP) is an in-depth review of the aquatic health of the Lower Columbia River downstream of Teck's Trail Operations which has confirmed that water quality is good, the river is healthy, and fish are safe to eat. As outlined in the report, the study detected no community-level adverse responses that would be attributable to influence of Trail Operations on the Lower Columbia River area of interest.
This study is part of the work we do to ensure we are operating within our regulatory permits which are designed by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment to protect aquatic life and ensure water quality is safe for recreation and drinking. The AREMP also studies the same area and follows up on a previous aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment as detailed below.
- In terms of water quality, respective water quality objectives or guidelines were met throughout the Lower Columbia River
- The exception is for cadmium and mercury which is important to note exceed guidelines upstream of Trail Operations
- In terms of fish health, there were continually reduced metal concentrations in fish tissue from 2000 to 2012
- The fish are safe to eat and within the published Canadian guidelines for human consumption
- There was no impact on larger wildlife such as the belted kingfisher, great blue heron, mallard, osprey and river otter
The study provides baseline data, which will be used by future monitoring programs to look for any changes within the environment.
2008 Aquatic Ecological Risk Assessment
From 2000 through 2008, Teck conducted an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) in the Trail area. The purpose of the study was to identify where there are past or ongoing impacts on the environment due to historical smelter emissions. For the terrestrial portion of the ERA, refer to Lower Columbia Ecosystem Management Program (LCEMP). The aquatic portion of the ERA concluded that for the Columbia River, there was no compelling evidence of smelter-related risks or impacts on fish, aquatic plants or insects. However, further monitoring and study is recommended in a few areas localized to the smelter, which are now being studied as part of Teck’s Groundwater Remediation program. For the tributary streams, the study concluded that no further monitoring or study is warranted, with the exception of wetland areas within the tributary watersheds. The wetland areas are small but important and further study has been recommended to determine whether any risks or impacts exist. The wetlands are now being studied as part of Teck’s ongoing Lower Columbia Ecosystem Management Program.
The summary and detailed reports are available at the following links: