Engineers and Geoscientists BC

Mount Polley Geotechnical Report Released

Posted on January 30, 2015
Mount Polley Geotechnical Report Released
APEGBC appreciates the release by the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines of the report from the independent inquiry into the Mount Polley tailings pond breach.
The panel concluded that evidence indicates the breach was the result of a failure in the foundation of the embankment, a failure that occurred in a glaciolacustrine (GLU) layer of the embankment’s foundation.
As the public safety regulator for engineering and geoscience in BC, our foremost concern is for the safety and welfare of British Columbians. The report is an important step towards understanding the cause of the incident and addressing the work that needs to take place to improve the safety of dams in British Columbia.
The panel made seven recommendations that related to using best available technology, enhancing regulatory, operational and corporate best practices, and strengthening professional practice and professional guidelines.
The recommendation addressing professional practice states: “Encourage the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) to develop guidelines that would lead to improved site characteristics for tailings dams with respect to the geological, geomorphological, hydrogeological, and possible seismotectonic characteristics.”
The Province also released the inspections and third-party reviews of tailings storage facilities at other permitted mines in British Columbia, ordered by the Chief Inspector of Mines following the failure at Mount Polley. The inspections and reviews have not identified any immediate safety concerns and are available online.
APEGBC welcomes recommendations that will help minimize risk and protect the public.  APEGBC is committed to upholding high standards of professional practice for members as they undertake their work and will be reviewing the report in detail to determine what impacts it has for the regulation of the professions in the province.

In August 2014, the government of British Columbia announced an independent inquiry by geotechnical experts into the breach at the Mount Polley Dam in conjunction with mandated third-party reviews of all 2014 dam safety inspections for tailing ponds at BC mines.
The full report is available online:
News release from the BC Government:

News release from the Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel:
Contact Information:
Megan Archibald
Director, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement
Phone: 604.412.4883
Mobile: 604.839.1595
Email: [email protected]