While the giant mine clean up continues, there are no plans to test arsenic levels in the surrounding areas.
“The city itself only tests water from our drinking water sources”, says Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck. “So that’s Yellowknife River and Yellowknife Bay. We conduct a number of different types of tests on that water to make sure that our drinking water is safe. We don’t test any other lakes or water bodies. If testing is done then it would be academic bodies or perhaps the GNWT.”
The city recently sat down with the giant mine oversight board, where Chairperson Kathleen Racher says the arsenic cleanup is only at the former site of the diamond mine.
“There’s no one person or one organization or one level of governments job so it’s spread out”, says Racher. “Somebody needs to do it. Unfortunately our mandate is supposed to be about the Giant Mine sight so I think we’re just waiting to see what the other levels of government come up with.”
A three-year study on arsenic in the Yellowknife region is expected to be delivered in 2018, according to minister of Environment and Natural Resources Robert C. McLeod.
Three additional monitoring projects are also examining arsenic contamination in water, sediments, soils and fish in the region.
McLeod added that his department has met with the Department of Health and Social Services in light of recent confusion about arsenic data.