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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - September 1, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta -Friday, September 1, 1972 THE LETHBRIDOE HKALD 13 Are an harmed by coal developments? Some are convinced they do; others are not So cerain By RICHARD BURKE lions Herald Staff Writer them. or simply suffocating Strip mining and coal explor- ation. Do they contribute lo the deterioration of a water sup- ply? Are mining operations in the Livingstone Gap area a main cause or periodic silty conditions in the Oldman Hiyer headwaters and at the point where it passes Leth- bridgc? Southern Alberta naturalist Andy Russell is convinced there a definite relationship be- tween dirty water at Lethbridge and strip mining. Others are not so sure. The Livingstone Gap north' of Coleman nurtures the head- waters of the Oldman River. It is also the scene of widespread coal exploration and mining op- erations. Mr. Russell contends the coal exploration and mining develop- ments have taken on a "ruth- less form" causing severe ecolo- gical damage in the immedi- ate area and for many miles downstream. His support comes from the fish and wildlife division of the provincial department of lands and forests. His statements are questioned by a biologist at the water resources division, pro-' provincial environment de- partment, and a CanPac Min- erals Ltd executive. Mismanagement "It's not decelopment, it's Mr. Russell says. "None of it has been managed with any thought given to the en- vironment." Water in the Oldman River is muddier now than when the mining started. And it will get worse, Mr. Russell said. He has seen the progress of mining. His ranch is in the area. He walked 60 miles one week through the Livingstone Gap. He has witnessed erosion inlo the Oyster, Straight, Honeymoon and Pasque creeks, which empty into the Oldman. Springtime brings an abun- dance of evidence, even in Lethbridge, when the snow melts and the resulting run-off carries with it the silt which gets in its way. Throughout the summer, the same thing hap- pens- when it rains in the mountains, Mr, Russell said. Records are kept at the water treatment plant in Lethbridge Fish reproduction is similar- ly affected when silt covers up the gravel stream beds in the spring the Irout spawning season. Soil which is scraped off lo uncover the coal seams is often piled up or dumped (down a mountain) without any thought about possible consequences, Mr. Hadford said. One of the consequences, a frequent oc- currence, is landslides into the streams from these piles, he said, affecting the stream for 10 to 15 miles downstream. "The frequency of these slides coulci be greatly re- duced with some Mr. Hadford said. More foresight The entire coal operation, be- ginning with the exploratory process, could involve more foresight, Mr. Russell said. In recent months, he has come across two bulldozer op- erators who were "driving around lost with their blades riown." The machine operators have no supervision and no feeling about the environment "They -would rather mow down a tree than drive around Mr: Russell said. The job they are doing, put ting in roads and searching to coal, is unnecessary, he said "All roads put in for explora lion could be avoided." Thi ones that are put in are le! bare when the company leaves he said. CanPac Minerals Ltd., CPR subsidiary, is the majo coal exploration company i the area. Richard Marshall, en gineering and production man ager for CanPac, said all com panics there are required b law to consider the enviror ment. Before any roads are put in the land must be surveyed, M Marshall said. Once the roa< have fallen out of use, the are properly to th contour of the mountain, an reseeded, he said. The bulldozer operators don go in alone. They are supe show tha it plant it durini ig the spring the Common sights near the headwaters of the Oldman River. MEMBER STUDENTS FINANCE. successful this APPEALS number of regular placements for summer employment in Lethhridgc and district of the Canada J cr Centre. Seventy-six per cent 28 per cent from the placed in summe The Studenls Finance Board requires on Appeals Commillee totals, it was employment for for ihe Lethbridge at the final or more, comparec of the Hire-a-Student per cent in 1971. for students, and will have the abilily lo participate in objective total of stud en ceived .summer e''Ho making with regards to Appeals submitted by students. Tlie Appeals CommilPeo has been established by the Beard lo with in Student employment ag n both Lethbridge and (hot all students are Ireoled fairly, willi respect lo Ineir individual circumstances, in Ilie awarding of financial assislonce under the various Acls and Regulations administered by the a great increase by students and employer gistrations were increas 1 The appointed candidale will serve as one member of a Ihree member Committee, along with a studenl rspresenrotive, and a whi number of vacancies re ed by employers increas of the sponsored courses from 1071. The Committee will meet as required in Lelhbridge during Ihe and skating will Lcthbrirtge student coming academic during the week of Sept. 18 lo the CMC was judg fourth most successful it Tho appoinlee will be paid a small for last year, but st Inquiries, submissions nominations should be directed no in swimming and skating will be taken in Gym 1 other Canadian c fcr 1972 have not yet be than September 14, 1972 Civic Sports Centre from 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. recommendation was Mr. P. Tielzen, Chairman _ GOVERNMENT to the committee to th( Students Finance Board swimming i n a full-time co-orciina Dept. of Advanced Education the advanced aquatic on staff to handle t 11160 Jaspor Avenue llf fS W rcgistratioas will be employment situat EDMONTON, Alberta Sept. 11 from lo winter months, a TSJ 2V2 in Ihe all-purpose room the summer cmpl Civic Sports earlier. turbidily of [he river water is many times higher than the rest of the year. This spring, for example, the dirty water season started in March and ended in mirtjune with the peak turbidity at parts of solids per mil- lion parts of water March 12. The average reading during the run-off period was between 500 and 600 parts of dirt per mil- lion. Clear water As a comparison, when the water is clear, such as it is now, chemical analysis shows about 20 parls per million. The provincial government maxi- mum standard is parts per million. The level was at 20 last Fri- day, but jumped in one day to more than 300 parts per mil- lion. The cause, as explained by John Kelly of water re- sources, was rain storms in the mounains and foothills. Kfcrber Photos However, "in Lethbridge, we ,must come lo hte conclusion the strip mining doesn't affect the qualify of Mr. Kelly said1. When it rains, the water level rises but the additional dirt in the water comes from river bank erosion, between here and Fort Macleod, not from the mountains, he said.. Mr. Kelly did not deny the strip mines could contribute to soil erosion, affecting the quality of water upstream from Lelhbridge. The upstream water is of concern to fluane Radford, a provincial fishery biologist. 425 waiting The waiting list at St. Mic ael's General Hospitol is 42 including 25 on urgent cas and the rest elective surgerj The waiting list was about t same a year ago, a hospil spokesman said. vised. "There's always ex- ception, however, and could get he added. (JanPac has carved 60 miles of roads out of the area to ex- ore acres of land. No roads Luke Slebbins, a biologist at University of Lethbridge, aid, "They never should have een allowed to put in roads, he method for finding coal .uses the worst siltation pos- ble." Mr. Stebbins suggested opters could be instead bulldozers for coal explora- on and to fly in equipment to ike samples. Mr. Russell said more than ist roads are plowed up. Num- rous areas off the roads are ft exposed allowing the top- oil to be washed into the .reams or buried and making eclamation difficult. If the topsoil is washed way, Mr. Marshall said, "we 'ould have to replace it" ac- ording to present government egulations. When operations iscontinue in the fall, the prop- rty is left in such a state that won't wash away in the pring, he said. Lost topsoil What happens when it does vash away? What problems does silting cause? The affects on fish' have been documented. Mr. Kelly said silt poses fill-' ering and maintenance prob- ems for a town or city. One day in May here, 11 tons of allum were used to pick up the silt and settle it out of the water. The same day the year before, only 2% tons had been required to do the job. Silting also affects the course of the river, Mr. Kelly said. The more material the river [alters upstream, the more it deposits at slow points along the river. Sand bars are built up which contribute to silting when high water flows over them. Legislation which would put stricter conrtols on strip min- ing is scheduled to come be- fore the provincial government this fall. "The coal companies are ing all they can while they Mr. Russell said. "They can still have their coal but with at least 80 per cent less damage to the cnYiroament." Mr. Marshall indicated his firm is delaying further explor- ation and development in the area until new government reg- ulations are announced. five Toy ment centres and to Fish hurt Where fish are spawning and feeding, the presence of silt re- duces the potential of streams to maintain and produce fish, Mr. Hadford said "It is a well- known fact that this is a ser- ious problem next lo a strip mine." The silt from the open exca- vations washes into the streams and sets otf a chain reac- disrupting the food cycle, he said. It decreases the water's transparency, affecting the photosynthetic process nec- essary for algae lo flourish, or it can simply cover or abra- sively rub the algae off the rocks to be washed away. Fish feed on algae. Silt also clogs pill mem- branes of fish, leaving them susceptible to bacterial infec- TOURNAMENT Hear it Live. Play-by-Play Wherever you are on CBC RADIO Saturday, September 2nd Monday, September 4th Wednesday, September 6th Friday, September Sin Saturday, September 16lh Sunday, September 17lh Friday, September 22nd Sunday, September 24th Tuesday, September 26lh Thursday, Septembe' Saturday, September 30th p.m. from Montreal from Toronto from Winnipeg p.m. from Voncouve p.m. from Steckholl from Stockholm a.m. from Moscow 11 -.03 a.m. from Moscow -10.-30 a.m from Moscow a m. from Moscow Fiom Prague CBR1010 Your CBC Radio Network Station Serving Southern ;