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Slag Containing Arsenic, Mercury, and Lead Contaminates Columbia River

EMSL Analytical provides advanced metals testing for water samples and other environmental samples.


According to the Huffington Post, Teck Resources Ltd. has admitted that discharge from their smelter has polluted the Columbia River across the U.S. and Canada border for 100 years, from 1896 to 1995.

The Columbia River is contaminated with slag containing arsenic, mercury, lead, and other metals left over after the company processed zinc at its smelter located near the river. Teck Resource’s subsidiary, Teck America, cleaned up 10,031 tons of slag two year ago, but the lawsuit claims that a total of 159,835 tons have been dumped into the river and has settled in a riverbed downstream.

The state of Washington believes that Teck Resources should take responsibility for the cost of the entire cleanup, which is estimated to be $1 billion. In response, Teck has claimed that they only took responsibility for the amount of time in which the discharge was released. They did not admit to the amount of discharge released or the impact that the discharge had. Teck has also argued that they are not the only company responsible for the river contamination.

“The characterization of materials in a body of water is vital to human health if people use it for recreation or fish from the water are being consumed,” states Michael Chapman, Chemistry Laboratory Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “EMSL Analytical is one of the nation’s leading testing laboratories, providing validated testing to detect toxic metals and hazardous waste.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nation’s leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public.  Please visit our website for a complete listing of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies


 Columbia River
 Teck Resources

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