Dam burst in British Columbia threatens spawning salmon


A dam at a toxic waste pond burst last week and spilled 10 Mm3 of water and about half as much presumably toxic sludge into a tributary of the Fraser River in British Columbia. If you want to see what 10 Mm3 of water looks like, watch the video posted by The Guardian.

The Fraser River empties into the newly named Salish Sea at Vancouver, B. C.

The Guardian article barely mentions salmon, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer calls it British Columbia’s Exxon Valdez and suggests that over 2.5 million salmon could be affected. Although the water is apparently safe to drink now, no one knows what the long-term effects might be, after the toxic sludge enters the food chain. NBC news reports that the spill has already destroyed spawning beds for endangered Coho salmon, and there is fear that chinook and sockeye salmon, which are running upstream right now, may also be in danger.

The Provincial government is minimizing the danger.


Oops! Did I do that right? 10 x 106 cubic meters.

Here is a 37 minute helicopter survey of the horrific damage.

At 4:50 to around 5:50 in the video is a red canoe among the debris. It looks as though some people may have been killed also; not to mention all the wildlife.

Farther along in the video we see a road sliced through.

At 24:00 There are people who narrowly missed being wiped out. We don’t see what was upstream from that.

More road washout at 30:00.

The last 5 or 6 minutes show a good view of the breach with a bulldozer near the breach itself.

Here is a former foreman telling about how management ignored warnings.

And Alaska wants an okay for the Bristol Bay mine to go ahead and do the same thing to the salmon spawning rivers in Alaska. Gold is more valuable than food, or so they think.

I don’t mean to disrupt this thread, but here’s something very interesting about abiogenesis.

I’ve mentioned many times that, even as an interested total amateur, it’s clear that emergence of the cellular membrane is every bit as important in abiogenesis as emergence of self-replicating nucleic acids.

These researchers are actually, technically, interested in the Last Universal Common Ancestor, a slightly different topic from abiogenesis but a very closely related one.

Their model of the LUCA involves a proto-membrane.


harold said:

I don’t mean to disrupt this thread, but here’s something very interesting about abiogenesis.


Abiogenesis may be relevant to this thread, but only if the toxic chemicals from the dam breach manage to extinct all life.

Management ignored warnings!? But but but, under the free market system individuals have an economic incentive to take care of their private property! Economic incentive! Private property! Deregulate! Genius of the private sector!

Abolish the EPA tyranny! Abolish the NPS! Public lands in private hands! Genius of the private sector!

Anybody remember the Johnstown Flood? Another triumph of the private sector! Thank goodness the rich mens’ private hunting lodge took as good care of that privately-owned exploded dam as the mining company did in BC. Time to deregulate: genius of the market, coming through!

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on August 14, 2014 3:37 PM.

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