Teck liable for Columbia River clean-up in Wash. state, judge rules

The Canadian Press

TRAIL, B.C. - A Washington state judge says Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.A) is liable for cleaning up contamination of the Columbia River in that state from its smelter across the border in Trail, B.C.

In a decision issued late Friday, Judge Lonny Suko says the company knew for decades that slag and effluent dumped into the river in Canada contaminated the river downstream and the company continued to do so.

He says Teck treated the Columbia like a waste disposal facility.

The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation initiated the lawsuit in 2004, over high levels of mercury, lead, arsenic and other hazardous materials in the Upper Columbia and Lake Roosevelt.

Tribal chairman John Sirois welcomed the decision, and says he looks forward to having the contamination cleaned up.

Teck says remedial studies are still underway and it remains to be seen what the costs will be to the company, although some estimates have put the cost of the clean-up as high as a billion dollars.