Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia has announced disciplinary hearings for three individuals related to the 2014 breach of the tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley Mine.
On August 4, 2014, the Mount Polley Mine’s tailings storage facility breached, releasing nearly all of its contained water and mine tailings into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and nearby Quesnel Lake.
The information released today marks the conclusion of a lengthy, independent investigation. Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Investigation Committee alleges that three individuals 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.
At this stage, the allegations have not been heard by a disciplinary panel and are unproven.
The investigation was led by a 3-person subcommittee of senior professionals from Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Investigation Committee. During the course of its investigation, the subcommittee received more than 13,000 documents for review, including contracts, reports, correspondence, and daily site reports. In addition, it considered the reports resulting from other public investigations conducted by the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel and the Chief Inspector of Mines.
Following the breach, Engineers and Geoscientists BC took actions to improve dam safety in BC, which included producing professional practice guidelines for site characterization for dam foundations in BC, updating existing guidelines to confirm the duties of the “Engineer of Record,” and holding professional development seminars.
A Notice of Inquiry, which outlines the specific allegations, has been issued to each of the three individuals. The disciplinary hearings are scheduled for 2019.
If allegations are proven at the conclusion of a disciplinary hearing, Engineers and Geoscientists BC can impose sanctions under the Engineers and Geoscientists Act, which can include a reprimand, practice restrictions, suspension, cancellation of membership, or a fine of up to $25,000 – the maximum allowable under the Act – and can require those subject to the disciplinary process to pay legal costs to Engineers and Geoscientists BC.
Hearing dates, and the complete Notices of Inquiry, are available on our website.
First published on September 26, 2018
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