VANCOUVER - A Vancouver-based resource company has admitted effluent from its mining and smelting operations in southeast B.C. has polluted the Columbia River across the U.S. border in Washington state for more than 100 years.
Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.A) says its subsidiary, Teck Metals, has entered into an agreement with American plaintiffs in civil court proceedings over environmental damage caused by the effluent discharges, which date back to 1895.
The company says the agreement states that some hazardous materials in the slag discharged from Teck's operations in Trail, B.C., ended up in the Upper Columbia River in the U.S.
Teck says the agreement is expected to lead to a court judgment in favour of the plaintiffs in which the company is found liable for any damage, with the condition of the river to be assessed by Teck under a 2006 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The assessment is expected to be completed in 2015 and will be used in subsequent court proceedings to determine if Teck must pay any costs.
Teck says current studies have shown water in the Upper Columbia River meets the proper quality standards in both Canada and the U.S., beaches are safe for recreational activities, and fish in the river are as safe or safer to eat than fish in other waterways in Washington state.