The Elk Valley’s contamination crisis

The Narwhal has published an account of the selenium contamination crisis happening to the Elk Valley’s watershed. This is brief introduction to their story:

In this beautiful valley in southern British Columbia — a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts — a water crisis is slowly unfolding. The Elk Valley is home to some of Canada’s largest mines, which grow daily in an unrelenting pursuit of metallurgical coal, used primarily to create steel. With the coal extracted in these mines, owned and operated by one of B.C.’s most influential corporations, Teck Resources, comes selenium, a naturally occurring element that, while fine in small doses, can quickly become toxic to aquatic life.

Selenium levels in the Elk Valley are off the charts — far above the limits set out in B.C.’s water quality guidelines. And yet, coal mining operations continue unabated in the Elk, where fish are suffering from misshapen jaws and missing gill plates — signature birth defects caused by selenium poisoning. Now, residents are being warned not to drink water from local wells that are contaminated with selenium at levels above what is considered safe for human consumption.

Read more about Coal Valley and the contamination crisis here on The Narwhal.

About the Narwhal
The Narwhal’s team of investigative journalists dive deep to tell stories about Canada’s natural environment. They claim to have just two rules: 1) Follow the facts. 2) Tell it like it is.

As a non-profit organization, their goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. In 2018, The Narwhal won four Canadian Online Publishing Awards, including silvers for best news website and best publication and gold and silver for best photo journalism.