Trail Operations Approach to Effluent Management

On February 29, 2016, Teck Metals Ltd. (Teck Trail Operations) was assessed a penalty of $3.4 million, in relation to a number of water discharge incidents that occurred between November 2013 and February 2015. These incidents resulted in discharge water with elevated levels of substances including copper, zinc, ammonia, chlorine and cadmium. Reviews conducted following each incident confirmed there was no human health risk and no indication of long-term impact on fish or the environment.
A full investigation was taken following each incident, which resulted in specific corrective actions to prevent a reoccurrence. A description of the incidents is noted below:

  • Testing at an outfall indicated elevated copper levels: November 12, 2013
  • Concrete accidentally entered an outfall, causing the pH to rise: November 28, 2013
  • Equipment plugging allowed water containing zinc dust to overflow to an outfall: December 22, 2013
  • A failed valve check resulted in a short release of ammonia to an outfall: January 15, 2014
  • High pH solution was discharged to a domestic sewer line: January 28, 2014
  • A power outage caused a short shutdown of the de-chlorination system, resulting in chlorinated water being released: July 15, 2014
  • A maintenance shutdown resulted in elevated chlorine at an outfall: October 26-27 and November 18, 2014
  • Maintenance work resulted in an accidental discharge of a low pH solution to an outfall: December 9, 2014
  • Elevated cadmium at an outfall resulting from water runoff at site: October 22 and December 6, 2014; January 20 and February 5, 2015

Over the past two years, Teck Trail Operations has completed a site wide Effluent Management review, to identify and prioritize effluent management improvement options. Work completed to date includes: 

  • Verifying piping and updating labelling at all entry points leading to our three outfalls
  • Auditing and creating new control plans for high risk entry points
  • Updating effluent risk management at each entry point relative to the Fisheries Act
  • Re-routing bulk material movement
  • Improved catchbasin cleaning and re-routing an entry point to improve stormwater management;
  • Developing new training manuals focused on key environmental risks in plant areas
  • Training over 1,000 personnel on new Environmental manuals and Environmental Awareness
  • Installing water de-chlorination systems at each outfall

To further enhance environmental performance Teck Trail Operations is investing $8.1 million as part of the Effluent Management Improvement plan, including a retention reservoir upstream at the CIV outfall to capture unplanned discharges.