Arsenic warnings posted around Yellowknife

May 18, 2016

Edge YK posted this story recently about official warnings against swimming, fishing or drinking water from some local lakes, including the popular Frame Lake, around Yellowknife.

“Frame Lake, Jackfish Lake and around a dozen other small lakes near the Giant Mine bypass road are not safe for swimming, drinking or fishing due to heightened levels of arsenic, Dr. André Corriveau announced today. Frame Lake, in particular, has arsenic levels more than 10 times the limit suggested by Health Canada’s safe drinking guidelines.”

Most of the arsenic deposited in these regional water bodies originated in the early period of Giant’s operations, which began in 1948. Before 1951, no pollution control was used and arsenic smoke was sent straight up the mine’s roaster’s stack. Pollution continued, although at lower levels, through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.

Below is a map from the GNWT indicating levels of arsenic contamination in regional lakes.