Warm winter weather and heavy rainfall contributed to sediment and erosion problems: BC Hydro

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro says they are working on being in compliance with sediment and erosion protocols after they were hit with an order from the B.C. Environmental Office on March 3.

The problems dated back to April when another order was issued. More inspections by the Environmental Office were done between September of 2015 and January of 2017. There were two instances where sediment water was dumped into the L3 watercourse which is classified as a S4 fish-bearing stream.

When reached for comment, BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says that heavy rainfall last month as well as warmer temperatures that resulted in excess water challenges.

“We are working closely with Peace River Hydro Partners and the Environmental Assessment Office to be in compliance. We have an erosion and sediment control plan in place; however, we experienced some excess water challenges last month after heavy rainfall and the warmest winter weather for the region in 30 years.”

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Conway says they also started an expanded and more intense erosion and sediment program a few months ago. He says this will help them reach compliance.

“Earlier this year, we committed to an expanded and more intense erosion and sediment control program including reporting, mapping and weekly updates. Between October 2016 and February 2017, we’ve done more than 1,000 inspections on site to ensure compliance with erosion and sediment control requirements. We also retained a new contractor to implement engineered water management and sediment control measures at the L3 ravine at the dam site. This work will help us meet our compliance requirements.”

They will also abide by a condition of the order that requires them to find professionals to help them with a better water plan.

“In response to the order, we will have a Qualified Professional prepare and submit a water quality monitoring plan, as well as an assessment of any potential effects to fish and fish habitat associated with sediment releases.”

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