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Updated: Sat, 09 Aug 2014 16:21:35 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Mount Polley mine spill: Drinking-water ban lifted for most of Likely, B.C.



A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C. Tuesday, August, 5, 2014. The pond which stores toxic waste from the Mount Polley Mine had its dam break on Monday spilling its contents into the Hazeltine Creek causing a wide water-use ban in the area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward The Canadian Press

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C. Tuesday, August, 5, 2014. The pond which stores toxic waste from the Mount Polley Mine had its dam break on Monday spilling its contents into the Hazeltine Creek causing a wide water-use ban in the area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward The Canadian Press

The partial lifting yesterday of the do-not-use water advisory imposed after the Mount Polley Mine breach in B.C.'s Cariboo region now includes most of the village of Likely, B.C. according to the latest release from the provincial Ministry of the Environment.

The miine tailings pond breached on Monday, releasing 10 billion litres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metals-laden fine sand, contaminating lakes, creeks and rivers in the region.

Interior Health has lifted the do-not-use water advisory from the Quesnel River north of where it narrows and is shallow, and it now includes most of the village of Likely, B.C.

The lifting of the ban incorporates an area north of 6236 Cedar Creek Rd. on the Quesnel River and the balance of the Quesnel River system to the Fraser River.

Interior Health said the water may now be consumed as it had been before the ban.

The health authority also said the water is safe for recreational purposes, but advised staying away from the area, given the amount of debris on the waters.

- MORE | Taxpayers should not foot Mount Polley cleanup, says federal minister

- MINISTRY ORDER | B.C. mine-waste spill could mean $1M fine for Imperial Metals

- PHOTOS | 'The devastation up the lake is unbelievable'

Water use ban still in effect in other areas

The water ban does remain in place for Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek and all parts of Quesnel Lake and points south of 6236 Cedar Creek Rd. in Likely.

It says the water-use ban for the wider area could be reinstated if Polley Lake were to overflow and send a large flow of water into the surrounding waterways.

On Friday, B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced the second set of water-quality testing results.

The samples were taken on Aug. 5 at five different locations along the Quesnel River, to determine potential impacts on drinking water quality and aquatic life.

Jennifer McGuire, also with the ministry, said there was still no expectation that aquatic life would be impacted by cadmium levels, but zinc levels were showing in excess of the more stringent guidelines.

"The numbers are under the acute level, but slightly in excess of the chronic guideline level," she said.

The samples were tested for pH, conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, total dissolved solids, hardness, alkalinity, nutrients, general ions, total and dissolved metals, and E.coli.

On mobile? Click here for aerial footage over the spill site from Tuesday, provided by B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation

McGuire also said officials are still awaiting the results of a sample taken from Polley Lake, two live fish sent for tissue sampling and sediment testing.

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