APEGBC Professional Practice Guidelines Respond to Mount Polley Recommendations

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - April 16, 2015) - The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) announced today that work is progressing on a significant element of its action plan to help improve dam safety in BC.

Following the release of the Report on Mount Polley Tailings Storage Facility Breach on January 30, APEGBC initiated work on a key recommendation in the report to develop professional practice guidelines for dam site characterization assessments. The guidelines will outline the standard of care and professional obligations professional engineers and geoscientists must uphold when conducting these assessments, and will define the roles and responsibilities of the various participants and stakeholders involved in this process.

"APEGBC's first priority is public safety," said Ann English, P.Eng., CEO and Registrar. "These guidelines are a significant step towards improving dam safety in BC. This is just one of the ways APEGBC is taking action to help prevent an accident like this from happening again."

The four senior technical experts leading this work include Dirk van Zyl, P.Eng., who participated on the independent expert engineering investigation and review panel that authored the Mount Polley report. The guidelines will undergo review by a group comprising expert engineers and geoscientists, staff from the Ministries of Energy and Mines and Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and representatives from the Canadian Dam Association.

"Our government is committed to ensuring that all of the independent panel's recommendations are implemented and we support the action that APEGBC is taking," said Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett. "Developing new guidelines for professional engineers and geoscientists to follow when conducting dam site characterizations is an important part of learning from this serious incident and making sure it never happens again."

The guidelines will complement existing practice standards APEGBC has defined for professional engineers and geoscientists involved in dam-related work, including APEGBC's Guidelines for Legislated Dam Safety Reviews in BC.

"Engineers and geoscientists in BC are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional practice possible," said English. "And APEGBC is fully committed to understanding the factors that led to the Mount Polley Mine dam breach."

The guidelines are scheduled to be released in March 2016.

Founded in 1920, APEGBC is the regulatory and licensing body for the professions of engineering and geoscience and is charged with protecting the public interest. With over 32,000 members, APEGBC is one of the largest professional associations in BC and maintains high academic, experience and professional practice standards.

Contact Information:

Contact Information:
Megan Archibald
Director, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement