Three pumps have been installed to decrease the level of the tailings pond on the old HB mine near Salmo

Salmo tailings pond seeping, sloughing

The Regional District of Central Kootenay continued to work Wednesday to save a tailings pond near Salmo following heavy rain.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay continued to work Wednesday to save a tailings pond near Salmo following heavy rain.

Some sloughing on the earthen dam, part of the former HB mine property purchased by the regional district as part of its central landfill area in 1998, was observed sloughing and seeping Tuesday.

The pond is located east of the junction of Highways 3 and 6 and south of Emerald Road.

Residents who could be affected by a structural failure that would affect the highway and properties below the site have been notified by RCMP, regional district spokesman Bill Macpherson said.

Flaggers are positioned on the highway as a precaution.

As a first step, geotechnical engineers have installed three pumps to decrease the level of the tailings pond. Additional larger diameter pumps and siphoning hoses are en route to continue to reduce water levels, while an outlet channel is being deepened.

Several excavators are on site and will work at filling areas of seepage when it’s safe to do so, Macpherson said.

Environmental monitoring and reporting is ongoing and 24-hour security has been established at the site.

“The weather forecast is favourable, with little or no precipitation forecast,” Macpherson noted, “and geo-technicians and engineers on site indicate the area is gradually getting drier.”

That should permit more remediation planning and onsite work over the next few days, he said.