The regulatory body that oversees British Columbia’s engineers and geoscientists is alleging negligence and unprofessional conduct against three engineers in connection with the 2014 Mount Polley dam collapse that sent millions of cubic metres of tailings-pond water into B.C. waterways.
Engineers and Geoscientists BC announced the hearings, scheduled for next year, for Todd Martin, Laura Fidel and Stephen Rice on Wednesday following an independent investigation into the breach.
The regulator’s investigation committee alleges that the three individuals, who were involved in the design, construction and monitoring of the tailings-storage facility, demonstrated negligence and/or unprofessional conduct in the course of their professional activities. The allegations have not yet been heard by a disciplinary panel and are unproven.
The August, 2014, incident spewed some 24 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings into several lakes and rivers in B.C.’s Interior, marking the largest mine-waste disaster in Canadian history. The flood of wastewater scoured out a creekbed and created a massive sediment plume in Quesnel Lake, which provides an important salmon habitat.
A three-year deadline for provincial charges passed last year, but B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman maintained that the mining company could still be held responsible through federal laws.
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