Sediment and Water Sampling Results in for McLean Mill Log Pond

Sediment and Water Sampling Results in for McLean Mill Log Pond


As you may know, on September 19, 2018, the Alberni Valley Enhancement Association undertook the decommissioning of an aging sluice gate (a valve that controls water flows through a dam) in the McLean Mill Log Pond. Indications of poor water quality in the log pond became apparent during a planned discharge which resulted in the isolation of the pond.

TerraWest Environmental, an environmental consulting firm specializing in environmental assessments, was called to the site to collect water and soil samples. The samples were analyzed by Exova, a laboratory-based testing company, to determine the quality of the water and composition of soil in the log pond. A final report, developed by D.R. Clough Consulting, has been submitted to the City. Click here for a copy of the report. 


Three sediment samples and three surface water samples were taken from designated sampling locations in/around the log pond (see map below). The sample locations were selected based on possible sources of contaminants on the east and west sides of the pond, as well as in the centre of the pond just above the discharge location.

The samples were analyzed for potential contaminants of concern. The results were compared to the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Contaminated Sites Regulation (CSR) and looked at sediment criteria for freshwater sensitive sediment and water standards for freshwater aquatic life, irrigation, livestock, and drinking water use.

Sample Results

The results show the following:

Sediment - The sediment sampling identified 12 exceedances in the 279 tests conducted. The exceedances were identified as metals in the soils and additionally Chlorphenol and Dioxins/Furans at a single site.

Water - The water sampling identified the only exceedance in the 177 relevant samples as being Cobalt. While the Cobalt exceeds the standards for drinking water, it is well below the standards for other uses including habitat for freshwater aquatic life and agricultural uses.

The City continues to advise area residents that unless you get your drinking water from a public water system, all water used for human consumption should be treated before use. It is up to individuals obtaining their water directly from wells, creeks, rivers and lakes, to treat their water to ensure it is fit for consumption.

Next Steps

City of Port Alberni is committed to the safety and well-being of people, the environment and fish. Based on recommendations put forward in the Clough Consulting report, the City is directing its consultants to:

  • Undertake additional sampling in McLean Mill Log Pond to determine if sediment and surface water impacts extend beyond the initial sample locations;
  • Conduct a full review of all historical reports and records for comparison; and
  • Work with BC Dam Safety and other agencies/consulting firms to determine the project scope for upgrading the current McLean Mill Log Pond dam.

For More Information

If you have questions about this matter, please contact:

Tim Pley, Chief Administrative Officer

P: 250-720-2824


Your patience and understanding has been greatly appreciated throughout this process and we will continue to keep you informed as information becomes available.