Liberia: EPA Drops Water Pollution Claim against Bea Mountain
— Declares Marvoe Creek, Mafa River in Grand County “safe for all intent and purpose”
Though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has declared Marvoe Creek and the Mafa River in Grand Cape Mount County safe and free from all forms of contamination, the Agency has meanwhile clarified that Bea Mountain cannot be blamed for the pollution of the waters.
Speaking on ELBC radio, the Executive Director of the EPA, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh said that the final scientific investigation conducted did not show that the pollution was caused by the company.
“Something was definitely responsible for the pollution, which is scientific. We conducted the investigation and noticed earlier that there was indeed pollution, so we asked the residents to stay away from the waters,” he explained.
According to him, during this period when they realized there was pollution, the company was asked to reach out to the communities through its corporate social responsibility, which was done by the company.
“Bea Mountain was able to provide the people of the communities with some level of protein (fish and beans) as well as water while they stayed away because of the pollution.
Prior to the EPA releasing its final report on the water bodies, the Agency had earlier claimed that the higher than the permissible level of free cyanide, with source from the company, was responsible for the waters’ pollution, an accusation at the time that Bea Mountain management rejected.
“The level of contamination we saw before no longer exists and the lives of the people as relates to the water sources are not at risk any more. However, Director Tarpeh disclosed that a period of 30 days is being given to observe the natural occurrence.
Meanwhile, a release from the EPA said the technical team of the Agency recently completed a final round of environmental assessment and water quality testing on both waters in the county.
According to the EPA, all parameters tested are appreciably below the permissible limits set by the EPA.
The release said on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, a high-level technical team from the Agency paid an initial visit to the communities where allegations of water pollution by Bea Mountain Mining Corporation were raised.
“The Agency’s initial visit was based on observation by residents of Jikandor village and surrounding towns about reported deaths of aquatic species in Marvoe Creek and Mafa River,” the release said.
The release further stated that in its official notice to the Agency on May 24, 2022, Bea Mountain Mining Corporation also confirmed receiving similar reports.
“On June 3, 2022, the Agency released a report to the public, in which it warned everyone to avoid using the water streams for any purpose until a final detailed assessment was conducted.”
According to the release, the final round of assessment, therefore, sought to assess the water quality at Marvoe Creek and Mafa River to establish the current health of the riverine system.
“Based on the results of the final rounds of assessment, the Agency is pleased to report that all parameters tested are appreciably below the permissible limits set by the EPA. The water resource is safe for all intent and purpose,” the release further mentioned.
“We thank the residents of Jekandor, Korma and Malina for their patience, understanding and cooperation as we undertook the exercises. We also thank the Management of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation for their cooperation and support to these host communities,” the EPA release concluded.