Commissioning is now under way at Teck Resources Ltd.’s Elkview Saturated Rock Fill (Elkview SRF) expansion, which will double the water treatment facility’s capacity to 20 million liters (l) of water per day.

The Elkview SRF has been achieving near complete removal of selenium and nitrate from up to 10 million l of water per day since 2018 and is part of Teck’s ongoing work to implement the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan (EVWQP). The goal of the EVWQP is to maintain the health of the watershed in the area of Teck’s British Columbia steelmaking coal operations.

“Teck is committed to responsible mining that is protective of the environment and supports the social and economic well-being of the Elk Valley,” said Robin Sheremeta, senior vice president, coal. “The completion of the Elkview Saturated Rock Fill expansion is another important step forward in the implementation of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan. We continue to make significant progress in advancing the plan and reducing selenium levels throughout the watershed.”

Construction was completed in late 2020 and the facility is now commissioning to ramp up to achieve 100% of design targets. The Elkview SRF is Teck’s second treatment facility in the Elk Valley, with two additional facilities under construction at Fording River Operations. Teck expects to have capacity to treat up to 47.5 million litres per day later this year — nearly 2.5 times the 2020 treatment capacity.

“Teck’s use of saturated rock fills to treat mine-affected water is leading-edge sustainable technology,” said Dr. Lisa Kirk, an affiliate professor in Montana State University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the principal biogeochemist at the Montana-based consulting Enviromin, who helped develop saturated rock fill technology. “Saturated rock fill is extremely effective at removing selenium and nitrate from mine affected water and improving water quality.”