Water ban in Canada


The Living Force
When does Corporate water contamination - stop?

◾‘Unbelievable devastation’: Massive mining waste spill causes water ban in Canada (Video)

Wednesday August 6, 2014

Millions of cubic meters of water, sand and chemicals, which were released into the waterways of British Columbia, Canada, from a breached mine tailings pond have led to a total water ban for residents in the area of the incident.

Some 10 million cubic meters of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of fine sand from the tailings pond of the Mount Polley copper and gold mine spilled over into lakes and creeks in the area on Monday, according to a statement by the British Columbia’s Environment Minister Bill Bennett, released the following day.

The waste waters that are now out in the wild are likely to contain lead, arsenic, zinc, mercury and phosphorus, as that’s what 2013 research found in the pond, according to a report from Environment Canada.

The water is currently being tested for possible contamination. Meanwhile, 300 people living in the affected area have been warned not to drink local water and also to keep pets and livestock away from it.

The aerial footage of Mount Polley posted by Cariboo Regional District shows a washed out road and massive amounts of grey muddy water all over the region with loads of uprooted trees flowing in it.

"The tailings pond is so full of chemicals. The water is green, fish floating.... It's sad," another local, Lawna Bourassa, told the news outlet.

‘Massive Environmental Disaster’ in Canada as Toxic Tailing Pond Floods Waterways

Tuesday August 5, 2014

Water ban put in place as a tailing pond gives way and tens of millions of gallons of waste course through area rivers and lakes.

A middle-of-the-night breach of the tailings pond for an open-pit copper and gold mine in British Columbia sent a massive volume of toxic waste into several nearby waterways on Monday, leading authorities to issue a water-use ban.

Slurry from Mount Polley Mine near Likely, B.C. breached the earthen dam around 3:45 am on Monday, with hundreds of millions of gallons — equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to Canada's Global News — gushing into Quesnel Lake, Cariboo Creek, Hazeltine Creek and Polley Lake. An estimated 300 homes, plus visitors and campers, are affected by the ban on drinking and bathing in the area's water.

Chief Anne Louie of the Williams Lake Indian band told the National Post the breach was a “massive environmental disaster.”

With salmon runs currently making their way to their spawning grounds, “Our people are at the river side wondering if their vital food source is safe to eat,” said Garry John, aboriginal activist and member of the board of directors of the Council of Canadians, in a press release.

The Canadian media company QMI Agency reports:

Federal data on the project show the company significantly increased its on-site storage of toxins such as arsenic, mercury and lead in the past two years.

Environment Canada's data on Imperial Metal's mine tailings show mercury compounds, a neurotoxin that can cause degenerative disease, ramped up from 435 kilograms in 2012 to 3,114 kg last year — a seven-fold increase.

Likewise, levels of the deadly poison arsenic more than quadrupled to 406,122 kg last year.

Local experts say they raised concerns about such a breach years ago. “We held discussions with the mine staff related to the potential of this situation occurring," Chief Louie told the Post. "We have a report that we worked on a couple of years ago," she added, referring to an independent review by an environmental consulting firm completed in 2011. The report suggested additional monitoring and emergency contingency plans were in order.

Imperial Metals, which also operates a gold mine in Nevada, said Tuesday morning that the dam had been stabilized. In a statement, the company said: "Exact quantities of water and tailings discharged have yet to be determined. The tailings are alkaline with an average ph of 8.5 and are not acid generating."

But Ramsey Hart, the Canada programs director for MiningWatch Canada, noted that toxic heavy metals, which settle at the bottom of rivers and lakes, are difficult to clean up. "You can't release that amount of toxic metals into ecosystems without having long-term repercussions," Hart told QMI Agency. "If they're able to clean some of it up that would be helpful, but they'll never be able to clean it all up — those metals don't go anywhere."

The breach is further evidence that such mining projects should be vigorously opposed, said Leila Darwish, the Council of Canadians’ Pacific Regional Organizer.

These companies are gambling with our drinking water, our health and the environment. While mining companies like Imperial Metals make massive profits for 25-30 years, these projects are putting entire water systems and communities at risk.


FOTCM Member
The controlling (Mount Polley Mine) shareholder in this mess is N. Murry Edwards, he is also a major shareholder in Canadian Natural Resources (& CEO), which earlier this year had a large oil spill in Cold Lake, Alberta - _http://o.canada.com/technology/environment/oil-spill-alberta-underground.

From Forbes: _http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/H6O3.html

Edwards has more at stake in the Canadian oil sands than possibly any other individual. His company, Canadian Natural Resources, has sketched out plans to spend $25 billion to turn the gucky mud found in northern Alberta into barrels of crude. This media shy lawyer-turned financier also owns big stakes in Ensign Energy, Canada's second biggest oil services company, and Penn West, one of Canada's biggest energy trusts. Also owns Lake Louise, Canada's famous ski hill, and a chunk of the Calgary Flames hockey team.

Here is a video news link of what might happen with this latest disaster: _http://globalnews.ca/video/1498487/who-will-pay-for-toxic-spill-clean-up

I'm kind of thinking the news media will start to play a softer tune, aided by a few well placed comments by authoritarians who will downplay the toxic effects. A meager fine will be issued to the mine and the taxpayers will do what they always do; yet are never asked, bail out another within our corporate welfare state. They just never seem to truly acknowledge responsibility for their toxic failures, and as usual, the planet and its people, plants and animals pay.


An early article about the spill quoted a company spokesman saying that the water was 'nearly drinkable' and interestingly made no mention of any specific tailing pollutants, such as arsenic, lead, selenium and mercury.

A cartoon going around right now and can be found at _http://t.co/Pa09FdphPw (I've attached it, but I'm not sure it will end up in this post)...


  • british-columbians.jpg
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Ah, found the actual quote, mentioned in this CBC article that does go into some detail at the end of what is likely to be in the tailings:

"It's very close to drinking water quality, the water in our tailings," (Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch) said. "There's almost everything in it but at low levels.... No mercury, very low arsenic and very low other metals."



Padawan Learner
I heard this on the radio, but they also quite downplayed the whole situation, saying at first that "it might be toxic" but then saying that it probably won't cause any harm.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
crystalicdream said:
I heard this on the radio, but they also quite downplayed the whole situation, saying at first that "it might be toxic" but then saying that it probably won't cause any harm.
I wouldn't trust the CBC for honest and objective reporting any farther that I can spit. Their totally pro-Israel reporting on the latest Israeli slaughter in Gaza is a prime example.


The Living Force
More water problems, this time in Brazil.

‘Water war’ in Brazil as Rio’s supply threatened

Friday August 15, 2014

A severe drought affecting Brazil’s biggest city has led to a “water war” that could cause the water supply to collapse in parts of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Authorities in São Paulo have been battling a water crisis for months as reservoirs run dry for lack of rainfall.

Earlier this month, the state energy company in São Paulo (Cesp) asked the national operator of the electric system (ONS) to reduce the water flow at the Jaguari hydro-electric dam on the Rio Paraíba do Sul from 40,000 litres per second to 10,000 litres per second.

The measure was intended to prioritise water supply to residents in São Paulo state over energy generation.

But according to the ONS, which reduced the flow over several days to just 30,000 litres per second, a unilateral reduction would empty reserves and leave millions in 41 municipalities without water by the end of October.

In a statement, the operator said: “The ONS informed the National Water Agency and Cesp that it was not considered viable to meet the request of the agency.”

Public prosecutors in Rio have requested information about increasing the water flow of the Paraíba do Sul river, which runs through Rio state and into São Paulo.

The dispute over resources has caused conflict between the state governments in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Reports suggested the row could end up in the hands of the president, Dilma Rousseff.

“São Paulo cannot take a unilateral decision,” Luiz Fernando Pezão, Rio governor, told Estadão newspaper.

“I’m sure the federal government, through the National Water Agency, will determine what has to be done with the Paraíba do Sul river.”

Residents in Rio state have reportedly already been affected with shortages that coincided with the temporary reduction in water flow at the dam.

Local authorities said families in Barra do Piraí were finding their taps dry for 12 hours a day.

Mayor Maércio de Almeida blamed Cesp’s request for a reduction in water flow.

“This decision was nonsense, taken without consulting anyone,” he said. “I hope the National Water Agency will take some action.”

The drought in the region supplied by the Paraíba do Sul river was said to be worse than that affecting the Cantareira system, whichsupplies 8.45 million people in São Paulo and surrounding areas.

At the end of last month, federal prosecutors recommended immediate water rationing in São Paulo after a study suggested the system could dry up within 100 days.


FOTCM Member
Read an article regarding water needs and the old NAWAPA project. This cross references to one article on SoTT mentioning NAWAPA and the Site C Dam in BC. To many above the 49th, Site C is extremely unpopular in BC, Canada. From my understanding, though, NAWAPA was a link to the Arctic and not BC, so that is unclear.

Yet here was the thing that was interesting as it had emerged as an idea with John Kennedy in 1962 which also had support from some within Canada (there is some great vintage film below). This all seemed pretty solid until it all died with John him and his brother while LBJ took the nation to Vietnam and any 'building' of the nation was set aside in favor of a more imperial nature.

Although water diversion today (even back in the original NAFA agreement days) is hotly contested, this plan may have indeed been a boon for many reasons - depending on the context and studies.

Here is the article from Matthew Ehret / February 12, 2013 (video on youtube):

The History of NAWAPA: Reviving the Spirit of John F. Kennedy

By Michael Kirsch

The history of NAWAPA has recently been made available for the first time, captured in the feature film, “NAWAPA 1964” which consists entirely of Senate Correspondences of Senator Frank Moss, published news reports, speeches and TV broadcasts, all taking place between 1962-1973. See larouchepac.com/nawapa1964

“Man’s dependency on an adequate supply of fresh water is an indisputable fact. It is equally a fact that there is an insufficiency of such water and that this insufficiency has been particularly felt in the Western United States. Many efforts have been and are continuing to be made to solve the problem of limited water supply, and although great strides have been achieved, so great is the problem and so important its solution that it now has become imperative that consideration be given to what at one time seemed unachievable proposals. The time has passed during which this problem can be solved through traditionally local or piecemeal approaches. The solution must be equal in magnitude to the problem.” -Frank E. Moss, Chairman, Special Subcommittee on Western Water Development 1964

In the Spring of 1964, a United States Senate Special Subcommittee on Western Water Development was formed to evaluate a plan that newspapers in the U.S. and Canada were soon heralding as the most ambitious public works project in history: the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA), the brainchild of Donald McCord Baker and Hillman Hansen, two engineers working out of Ralph M. Parsons’ engineering firm in California. Headed by Utah Senator Frank “Ted” Moss, the committee published a comprehensive report by October of that year, titled “A Summary of Water Resources Projects, Plans, and Studies Relating to The Western and Midwestern United States.” The report found that if all the projects studied or authorized by Federal and non-Federal agencies were to be implemented, they would have amounted to 3,151 projects, storing 2.7 billion acre-feet; in comparison, the NAWAPA project would entail 369 separate projects, storing a total of 4.3 billion acre-feet, and, therefore, warranted a full engineering feasibility study.

On September 1965, Moss introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 55, calling for NAWAPA to be referred to the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian organization with a mandate to resolve boundary water issues. A similar resolution was introduced six days later in the House by Rep. David King as House Con. Res. 488. The measure received wide publicity, and judging from Moss’ correspondences, it enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress, as well as from citizens in the U.S. and Canada who wrote to Moss volunteering their efforts to help organize for it. Among the co-sponsors of the NAWAPA resolution was Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who wrote to Moss, “I am glad to join you as a co-sponsor of S. Con Res. 55 expressing the sense of Congress that the President refer to the International Joint Commission the subject of the North American Water and Power Alliance… This proposal deserves careful study and consideration by both the United States and Canada and has applications to the East as well as the West.”

Moss actively organized for joint action between the U.S. and Canada, and participated in several high profile debates with Canadian officials on the project. Despite vocal opposition from some quarters, favorable opinions on NAWAPA from Canadian legislators reached as high as Prime Minister Lester Pearson, who stated publicly that water diversion from the Arctic could be “one of the most important developments in our history.”

However, official government action on NAWAPA stalled, especially as the U.S. was sucked into heavy combat in Vietnam beginning in November 1965. This coincided with a retreat from the pro-development programs of the Kennedy era, including the beginning of massive cuts to NASA’s budget, and a halt to new starts on dam projects. Therefore, while the Canadian government became increasingly favorable to the idea of NAWAPA in 1966-1967, the context surrounding NAWAPA was transforming; this new context became the determining factor in its outcome, regardless of any actions taken by its proponents.

Any hope of a return to Kennedy’s “New Frontier” outlook, was effectively dashed with the June 6, 1968 assassination of his brother Robert following his victory in the California Democratic Presidential primary election, which followed on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. only two months earlier. A new cultural pessimism began to set in, typified by the “Limits to Growth ideology of the environmentalist movement and its oligarchical sponsors. The truth of man’s inherent ability to improve upon nature was replaced with cries of overpopulation and demands to “leave nature alone,” codified in legislation that specifically banned the kinds of water transfer measures outlined in NAWAPA. (1)

If Kennedy Had Lived

The original NAWAPA proposal was conceived at a time when the meaning of “conservation” implied mankind’s utilization of the principles and material of the biosphere in which he lives, to improve upon it—it did not imply that man should leave nature as he finds it. During this time, in the wake of the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, it was a well-understood maxim, that mankind’s continued investment toward discovery and utilization of technology, would allow for continually increasing consumption, production, and population growth. This was a time of Great Projects, the dawning of the age of peaceful nuclear energy, and the bold optimism typified by John F. Kennedy’s Apollo program. Though the goal of landing a man on the moon was achieved within the timetable Kennedy prescribed, his commitment to the broad physical-economic advancement of the United States went unfulfilled in the wake of his assassination. This commitment can be seen in his 1961 bill for an investment tax credit to spur high-gain industrial growth, in conjunction with the technological driver of the space program, as well as his position on the development of water resources in the West.

He articulated this vision in a series of dam dedications on two western states tours in 1962 and 1963. (2)

On August 17th and 18th, 1962, two months before defusing the nightmare scenario of the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK took a short trip to the West to dedicate three great projects of reclamation, leading him to declare that year the banner year for reclamation. Indeed, 1962 saw the most new and largest project starts since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.

Kennedy first stopped in South Dakota to tour and dedicate the Missouri river’s Oahe Dam, which at that time would be the largest earth-fill dam in the world.

“When we are inclined to take these wonders for granted, let us remember that only a generation or two ago all the great rivers of America, the Missouri, the Columbia, the Mississippi, the Tennessee, ran to the sea unharnessed and unchecked. Their power potential was wasted. Their economic benefits were sparse. And their flooding caused an appalling destruction of life and of property…this nation began to develop its rivers systematically, to conserve its soil and its water, and to channel the destructive force of these great rivers into light and peace. And today, as a result of this, the face of this nation has been changed. Forests are growing where there was once dirt and waste. Now there is prosperity where our poorest citizens once lived. If there is one outstanding story among all this which indicates the kind of progress we can make working together, it’s the story of the REA….

“This is not a choice between spending and saving, for REA is a form of saving, as is this dam, hours and lives, saving farms and saving and returning to our Nation’s Government every dollar loaned, with interest, in taxes on new appliances and new equipment, and new farm income. This program and so many like it have returned to the public treasuries many times the entire cost of the program.

“The question which confronts us is… the whole question of our resource development in the western United States in the 1960’s. …Surely a continent so rich in minerals, so blessed with water, and a society so replete with engineers and scientists can make and must make the best possible use of the bounty which nature and God have given us, public and private, federal and local, cooperative and corporate.

“If we can apply to the challenges of the sixties the same principles of efficiency, cooperation, and foresight, which made this great dam possible, the same principles which cause American technicians to be sought out the world over to assist in developing the Nile, the Volta, the Mekong and the Indus Rivers, then we can look to a happy future….I don’t want to see the United States second in space or in the development of power resources. And I think it’s most appropriate in this great decade that we light the entire country….” —Oahe Dam, August 17, 1962

Later that same day, Kennedy flew to Pueblo, Colorado, to dedicate the Fryingpan-Arkansas reclamation project, which involved a trans-mountain tunnel system, transferring water between the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds. This powerful speech continued the theme of a multi-generational perspective fornational planning.

“I don’t think there is any more valuable lesson for a President or member of the House and Senate than to fly as we have flown today over some of the bleakest land in the United States, and then to come to a river, and see what grows next to it…and know how vitally important water is. I hope that those of us who hold positions of public responsibility in 1962, are as farseeing about the needs of this country in 1982, and 1992, as those men and women were 30 years ago who began to make this project possible…

“This is an investment in the future of this country, an investment that will repay large dividends. It is an investment in the growth of the West, in the new cities and industries which this project helps make possible.

“…And I hope that in the 1960’s we will commit ourselves to this same kind of mutual effort, and not regard those projects which aid our cities as inimical to Colorado or those projects which help our farmers as taking it way from our cities. Because that concept of the moving ahead of a great country on a great errand is what I think can give this country its leadership in the future as it has in the past.

“Every Member of Congress, everyone in the executive branch from the President on, in the field of national resources, has to plan during their period of administration or office for the next generation, because no project that we plan today will be beneficial to us. Anything we begin today is for those who come after us. And just as those who began something years ago make it possible for us to be here, I hope we’ll fulfill our responsibility to the next generation that’s going to follow us.” —Pueblo, CO. August 17th, 1962

The next day Kennedy was in Los Banos, CA to dedicate the San Luis Dam project, part of the massive California State Water Project initiated under Governor Pat Brown.

“This is a fast trip, but if it had no other benefit than to permit us to look at this valley and others like it across the country, where we can see the greenest and richest earth producing the greatest and richest crops in the country, and then a mile away see the same earth, and see it brown and dusty and useless, and all because there’s water in one place and there isn’t in another. I know of no better trip for any President or any Member of the House or Senate, or indeed any citizen, particularly those of us who live in the East, where water is everywhere and is a burden, to realize how very precious it is here in the western United States. —San Luis Dam, August 18th, 1962

The next year, on September 24th-28th, 1963, President Kennedy again toured the country, stopping at 10 different cities, including a stop to dedicate the Hanford Nuclear Facility, as well as two major water resource development projects which were part of the Upper Colorado Basin and California water developments. On the morning of September 27th, a short ceremony was held at the municipal airport of Salt Lake City at which President Kennedy pressed a key to start the first generator at Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah, 150 miles away.

“As I move through the West, especially in this state and other states where water is short, I realize that nearly all of the standard of living which we enjoy in this part of the United States has been due partly to our own efforts, the generation which is now here, but really even more to the generation that went before—the people who started in the early 1920’s, for example, to organize the distribution of water along the basin…

So I think it is essential that we, in the 1960’s, take steps to provide for the kind of country and state that we are going to have 20 years from now, so that we do for our children the same thing that was done for us.”

In this state, this section of the United States, of course, the key is water. And unless we organize every drop to be of service to mankind, this state is going to stand still. You can’t possibly grow once the water level remains the same. Once the amount of water you have available for irrigation and reclamation and power remains the same, this state stands still. So water is the key-the management of water, I think, is the key that will open a very bright future…

“I am particularly glad because Senator Moss has preached the doctrine of the wise use of water with, I think, more vigor, almost, than any Member of the United States Senate. He is chairman of the Subcommittee on Irrigation and Reclamation. He learned this lesson the hard way, as anyone must who lives here…But the important thing to remember is, for 50 years men have been talking about this project. It is now a reality. What are we going to do now so that 50 years from now the people who live in Utah and the United States will feel that in the early sixties we made the proper decision for the management of our resources?” —Flaming Gorge Dam, September 27th, 1963

On September 28th, JFK stopped in Whiskeytown CA, landing by helicopter directly on the dam, during the last day of his tour. The Whiskeytown Dam was the last of 5 Trinity River dams, which completed a section of the California Water Project.

“Water should be used. Land west of the 100th parallel was never regarded as fertile until some days after the Civil War a few men began to come out here and made determinations of what could be done. And we have moved ahead, and this project is only the most recent. I am proud of it. It was opposed for many years…

For too long this water ran unused to the sea. For too long surplus water in one area was wasted, while there was a deficit nearby. Now, by diverting these waters to the eastern slope, we can irrigate crops on the fertile plains of the Sacramento Valley and supply water also for municipal and industrial use to the cities to the south….And while running their course, these waters will generate millions of kilowatts of energy and help expand the economy of the fastest growing state in the Nation. In these ways, Whiskeytown Reservoir and the Trinity division will add to our natural beauty and will show that man can improve on nature, and make it possible for this state to continue to grow.” —Whiskey Town, CA September 28th, 1963

At Greers Ferry, Arkansas, on October 3rd, just a month and a half before he was assassinated, Kennedy gave the last and one of the most remarkable speeches on national development, and the unity of all the states, polemicizing against those who considered infrastructure development as a mere local issue.

“This dam represents not merely the time of construction; it represents almost 30 years of effort…That is a long view. It is a man’s lifetime, and I would like to see us in this decade preparing as we must for all of the people who will come after us. I would like to see us do what we are doing here, do it in the Northwest, do it in the Midwest, do it in the East…”

“…Those people who say it is ‘pork barrel’—which is more wasteful: the waste of life and property and hope or a multi-purpose project which can be used by all of our people? Which is more wasteful: to fail to tap the energies of that river, to let that water flood, to deny this chance for the development of recreation and power, or to use it and to use it wisely? Which is more wasteful: to let the land wash away, to let it lie arid, or to use it and use it wisely and to make those investments which will make this a richer state and country in the years to come? These projects produce wealth, they bring industry, they bring jobs, and the wealth they bring brings wealth to other sections of the United States.” —Heber Springs, Arkanas, October 3rd, 1963

Four months after Kennedy’s assassination, the plan for NAWAPA, which had been in development for several years, was made public.
End notes
(1) Marcia Merry Baker, “NAWAPA’s History and Scope,” Executive Intelligence Review, August 6, 2010.

(2) JFK Speeches Toward a Nation-Wide TVA. larouchepac.com/reclaimjfk


The Living Force
Ultrasonic Cleaning versus Agitation Cleaning
I always thought that this technology would be the way to go to decrease water usage but doing a Web search I see that this has not gone very far world wide. I was expecting to see something in Japan but all I see is washing with cold water as some magic trick.
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