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EPA Releases Finding On Water Pollution In Cape Mount

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released what seems to be a preliminary finding on the alleged water pollution at Marvoe Creek and the Mafa River in Cape Mount County. The EPA informed the public that on Wednesday May 25, 2022, a high-level technical team visited the communities where allegations of water pollution by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation were raised. The EPA said its visit was based on reported deaths of aquatic species in the Marvoe Creek and the Mafa River as conveyed on several media platforms and corroborated by an Incident Notice filed by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation on May 24, 2022. The team explained that during the visit, it conducted scientific investigations downstream of Bea Mountain operations and continued upstream to assess the quality of the water, probe the authenticity of the alleged pollution and trace plausible source (s) of pollution. The initial phase of the investigation included samples collection, social interviews, community engagement, environmental scoping, geospatial data and drone imagery. The EPA reported that there were deaths to aquatic species including fish, crabs, crawfish, and other fauna inhabitants; and these fatalities were caused by asphyxiation (deprivation of oxygen needed to sustain life under water) and the analysis results showed higher than permissible level of free cyanide (with source from the BMMC Tiling Storage Facility) resulting into a corresponding reduction in dissolved oxygen level. However, the Agency said at the time of sampling, the level of free cyanide was below the limits scientifically required to cause such fatality as found in the circumstance. The EPA said it needed to and will probe further especially when there are other conditions that could cause this degree of distress and or death of the aquatic fauna as well as the presence of excess cyanide led to the contamination of the water sources and that the situation has severely disrupted and injured the livelihood of the communities that depend on that water resources for their livelihood. Consistent with its standard operating procedures, the EPA said it convened an emergency technical sitting and BMMC was presented where the findings of its initial investigation and based on the outcome of the investigation, the Agency has called on BMMC to continue its ongoing effort to provide safe drinking water, fish, and other protein sources to residents of downstream communities. Meanwhile, the Agency advises that until a final determination is made as to full remedial actions and their orderly implementation, all affected communities should desist from using and or consuming anything from the water bodies and or using these contaminated water sources for any purpose. In the coming days, the Agency said it will conduct additional investigation to pinpoint other elements that may have also contributed to the asphyxiation. The EPA said where necessary, a third-party, EPA certified consultant/Laboratory will be called in to assist with these investigations. The Agency has assured that a detailed assessment of the water streams will be conducted to determine the magnitude and extent of the quality of the water streams and to conduct an aquatic ecological assessment of the riverine systems. “Following this additional scientific intervention, a full restoration plan (corrective measures) will be designed and implemented under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency,” the investigationassured. The Agency calls on the public to remain calm and non-speculative as it continues this very methodical, rigid, and scientific, but necessary process. The Agency reaffirms its commitment to ensuring a clean, healthy, and safe environment for this and succeeding generations.

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