Teck plume still a problem

The smoke continues to billow from Teck Trail Operations’ gas handling process.

Close but no cigar.

The smoke continues to billow from Teck Trail Operations’ gas handling process as the mineral giant continues to address the visible plume from the main zinc stack.

Richard Deane, Teck manager of environment health and safety and public affairs, said work crews have completed a number of adjustments which have improved the performance of the stack but did not fully rectify the issue.

“Teck is committed to a high level of environmental performance and we are currently carrying out additional work to further improve the zinc stack plume emissions.”

Deane was quick to point out that metal levels from the zinc stack “have not increased and we remain well within our permit levels for both metals and particulate.”

In a follow up to last week, Teck has continued to provide ongoing updates regarding the plume to Trail city council and the Trail Health and Environment Committee throughout the situation.

A more visible plume coming from the main zinc stack drew “dozens” of calls of concern to City Hall and to its council members over the last few weeks as people have been anxious about the irritating column of exhaust.

Council met with Teck’s general manager, Greg Belland, and other company officials over one week ago at City Hall.

Belland said the company was dealing with an ongoing issue within the acid and absorption plants that resulted in a more visible plume. The plume was primarily ammonium bisulphate, an irritant but not a health risk.

The problem resided primarily in the largest acid plant, where the absorption tower was not working properly, overloading the clean up pump.

As well, the converter which changes sulfur dioxide gas was not operating well and some of the gases were getting through.

If anyone has concerns or feedback for Trail Operations they can call the Trail Operations Environmental Issues Line (24 hour) at 364-4817.