Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Concerns on three local dams after Ministry of Environment audit

Three Prince Rupert area dams are among nine in the province that appeared in a Vancouver Sun article last week, a report that states that they were considered to be  at a high risk of failing.

The three Rupert dams; Kloiya, Rainbow Lake and Diana Lake were found on a list gleaned from a successful Vancouver Sun Freedom of Information request.

At the moment, the city of Prince Rupert has reportedly taken on the responsibility of conducting weekly checks of the facilities, which were once the responsibility of the string of forestry companies that operated the Skeena pulp mill over the years.

The inspections are required to ensure no new problems arise which could lead to any further degradation of the dams .

While there are concerns of a potential failure of any of the nine dams listed by the Vancouver paper in an article on October 14th.  The Sun also reported that a senior ministry official has said that most maintenance and inspection concerns have been addressed with the nine dams.

The Sun also later relayed the response of Environment Minister Barry Penner, who says that the nine dams listed by the Sun had been repaired and that there were no dams at the moment considered to be of a high risk 

And it would seem that of the nine identified by the Sun, the Prince Rupert ones seem to be at the bottom of the concern list, in a an information bulletin from the Ministry of Environment issued the same day as the Sun story, the three local dams were not mentioned as requiring immediate action.

The added focus on the province's dams coincides with the Ministry releasing its report based on the ongoing rapid assessments of every dam in the province, a review conducted since a spectacular dam collapse in Oliver earlier this year.

The report posted on line on October 14th (available here) has provincial summaries regarding the twelve recommendations listed,  which the Ministry says it has taken the lead on the majority of.

In addition to that review, the Ministry also outlines in its information bulletin how they plan to  "take steps to improve the Provincial Dam Safety Program".

The Vancouver Sun put in its request for a Freedom of Information review on provincial dams, after the Oliver collapse, an event that caused extensive damage to properties in Oliver.

Other reports on the efforts of the Ministry can be found below:

CBC-- Hundreds of B. C. dams in need of repair: report
Globe and Mail-- Penner says dams will be safer

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