Skip to content

Mining giant Teck awarded $1.98M in water treatment tank case

Tanks used at a groundwater treatment plant in Trail were found to have a number of "structural and water-proofing defects."
B.C. Supreme Court has found LSC Pre-Cast Systems Ltd. was negligent.

B.C. Supreme Court has awarded Vancouver-based mining giant Teck $1.98 million for negligence, breach of contract and breach of statutory warranty in connection with defective water treatment tanks for its Trail smelter.

In 2015, Teck began construction of a groundwater treatment plant. The purpose of the plant is to remove trace amounts of ammonia and metals from groundwater before they're released into the environment, Justice Carla Forth said in a Sept. 7 decision.

She said the tanks were not reasonably fit to hold contaminated water.

For that storage, Teck hired LSC Pre-Cast Systems Ltd. (LSC) for the designing, engineering, manufacturing and supplying of two pre-cast concrete bioreactor tanks.

In fall 2015, Hil-Tech Contracting Limited installed the tanks using LSC’s installation instructions.

LSC engineers performed field reviews during the installation and identified various cracks and deficiencies. LSC replaced two wall panels, the ruling said.

In March 2016, Hil-Tech began filling the tanks, which began to leak in a number of areas.

LSC was contacted and it recommended certain methods to address the leaks. LSC soon inspected and advised that the tanks were ready for hydro testing.

In late May 2016, Teck filled the tanks and further leaking was identified in a number of areas, including water spraying at the southeast and southwest corners.

Teck then hired Read Jones Christofferson Ltd. (RJC) to investigate the leaking. The resulting report said the tanks were not designed to withstand the foreseeable extent of the load required when the tanks were filled.

“RJC opined that the original LCS tank design contained a number of structural and water-proofing defects,” Forth said.

“RJC further opined that the LSC design did not meet the basic strength and stability requirements of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code and the Canadian Standards Association application to the tanks,” Forth said. “The LSC design was defective under normal tank operation loading and rare seismic loading.”

The judge concluded LSC was negligent in the tanks’ design.

“It is unquestionable that tanks that are meant to contain contaminated water cannot leak,” Forth said. “The hydrostatic tests demonstrated that the tanks leaked. A leaking tank is not suitable for the purpose of containing contaminated groundwater.”

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks