BC Hydro statement on Peace Canyon Dam
Our local engineers recently discovered there was a water disposal well operating within a few kilometres of our Peace Canyon dam.
While there is no immediate public safety risk associated with disposal wells, this discovery raised concerns. Water disposal activity can cause significant ground motion that has the potential to damage our facilities when in close proximity.
BC Hydro engineers promptly recognized this activity and we immediately communicated our concerns to the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC). The OGC then decided to take action in the form of issuing a suspension order.
The Ministry of Natural Gas Development previously put restrictions in place so that no new fracking tenures will be issued within 5 kilometres of all BC Hydro's generating facilities. The BC Oil and Gas Commission has also agreed to notify Hydro prior to issuing any new permits for the existing tenures.
Disposal wells have been known to cause stronger seismic events over a larger area than those caused by fracking, so a 5-kilometre buffer zone will not be sufficient for these projects.
As a result, it is our understanding that the suspension order will remain in place until the OCG, working with BC Hydro, determines the appropriate course of action.
Our highest responsibility is public safety. Our dam safety program meets the highest standards including 24/7 instrumentation monitoring, weekly inspections, bi-annual engineering reports and regular expert reviews of all our dams by international, independent experts. BC Hydro is investing approximately $1.5 billion in dam safety across the province over the next 10 years.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468