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May we please clean up? : integrating risk-based approaches with effluent permitting requirements at mine reclamation sites

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Title: May we please clean up? : integrating risk-based approaches with effluent permitting requirements at mine reclamation sites
Author: Nikl, L.H.; Wernick, Barbara Gail; McKeown, D.H.
Issue Date: 2007
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2009-05-27
Series/Report no. British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium 2007
Abstract: The “one size fits all” concept has frequently been applied by regulators to environmental decision-making, much to the frustration of environmental managers. Governments at all levels are often well intentioned but also under pressure to render decisions that are regionally, nationally or even internationally consistent. However, the environment that we are attempting to conserve, protect, and/or manage is rarely, if ever, consistent from site to site. Risk-based approaches rely on conceptual and operational methods that are widely accepted in British Columbia and internationally for managing contaminated sites. Moreover, these approaches provide regulators with the necessary confidence that a proposed discharge meets provincial and federal expectations for pollution control. End-of-pipe standards often lack flexibility and can stall reclamation work. For example, the treated effluent discharge at the former Britannia Mine in Howe Sound did not meet effluent permitting expectations based on conventional permitting practices. Therefore, a risk-based approach was used to develop a study program in which the characteristics of the environment, the form of the metals in the effluent, the interaction of the effluent with ecological receptors, and scientific uncertainty were all considered. The outcome of the assessment was that the discharge was acceptable from an environmental risk perspective. The biological tools used in risk assessment offer defensible and environmentally appropriate solutions for many substances, including those for which standards/guidelines do not exist or for which recognized analytical methods are unavailable (e.g., flocculants and coagulants).
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/8300
Peer Review Status:

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