TECK – Investigation underway for cause of leak

Roughly 25,000 litres of electrolyte solution escapes

A leak in the lead refinery building of Teck Metals Trail Operations released approximately 25,000 litres of lead refinery electrolyte solution into the ground Monday.

Richard Deane, manager of energy and public affairs with Teck, said preliminary indications are that the sealing system in the electrolyte holding area failed.

“We do have a thorough investigation underway to determine the cause, identify corrective measures and remedial options. That investigation will identify the exact causes of the leak.”

According to a news release, the area where the leak occurred is actively monitored and Deane said there’s no indication that the acidic solution has affected adjacent land or water and doesn’t pose a risk to people, fish or wildlife.

“Teck does take its performance here at Trail Operations very seriously, incidents such as this very seriously and over the past two decades we’ve made significant investments that have improved our environmental performance,” said Deane.

Deane couldn’t say when the investigation would be completed, but added that the failed sealing system was being repaired and the others were undergoing inspections to ensure they are in good condition.

The lead refinery building had a previous leak in 2008, where cracks inside a heat exchanger resulted in excessive lead discharges into the Columbia River.

Teck agreed to pay $325,000 this May for two environmental incidents that occurred in 2010, in which mercury was discharged into the river and leachate overflowed into Stoney Creek.

The money is going towards seven community environmental initiatives.