Faro: water management - Energy, Mines and Resources - Government of Yukon

Energy, Mines and Resources


Faro: water management

The core of care and maintenance operations at the former Faro mine site is to manage water on the site.

This includes ensuring that clean water from local creeks is kept clean as it travels across the site and that impacted water on the site is contained, collected, stored, treated and eventually discharged clean back to the environment.

The care and maintenance operator is also responsible maintaining the water systems and infrastructures on site and for executing a comprehensive water monitoring plan.

All care and maintenance operations are conducted under section 37 of the Waters Act [ 357 KB].

To view monthly water monitoring data, visit the Yukon Water Board's Waterline website and search for licence QZ06-075-1 under Deloitte & Touche Inc..

Water systems on site

There are freshwater systems and impacted water systems on site. One of the primary objectives of water management at the Faro mine site is to keep freshwater and impacted water separate.

Freshwater systems

There are three main creeks that travel through the former Faro mine site: Faro Creek, Rose Creek, and Vangorda Creek.

The freshwater systems convey clean water around the site using diversions, pumps and pipes. This includes the Rose Creek diversion, the Faro Creek diversion, the North Fork rock drain, the Grum interceptor, and the Vangorda Creek diversion.

The care and maintenance operator monitors water quality and flow, erosion, sedimentation, and glaciation within these freshwater systems.

Impacted water systems

Acid rock drainage is the contamination issue on the Faro mine site. As a result of acid rock drainage, acidic and heavy-metal impacted water accumulates in the pits and drains from waste rock piles and the tailings area.

The care and maintenance operator is responsible for collecting, treating, and managing impacted water, using a series of storage ponds, pits, pumps, and pipelines, as well as treatment of this water using the 2 on-site water treatment plants.

diagram of water treatment showing tailing pond, treatment plant, sludge storage, settling tank, clean water, and water monitoring.Impacted water is collected using pits, seepage interception systems, pumps, and diversions. Conveyance for treatment is done using piping to one of two treatment plants. Water collection occurs year round, with treatment undertaken from April to October.

Impacted water is managed via the following:

  • 14 main water management locations throughout the site;
  • 48 pumps rotated through and monitored seasonally;
  • over 30 km of pipeline, used to move water to allow for treatment;
  • 2 water treatment plants on site (one built in 1992 and the other in 2014), which use lime-based neutralization systems to effectively treat impacted water; and,
  • 4 stations on site that monitor and regulate impacted water.

Water monitoring and data

Water is managed on the site based on section 37 of Waters Act [ 357 KB]. The effluent quality standards used by the site are based on the former water licence.

To view monthly water monitoring data, visit the Yukon Water Board's Waterline website and search for licence QZ06-075-1 under Deloitte & Touche Inc..

Effluent quality standards


Effluent quality standard
Suspended solids ≤ 15 mg/L
pH ≥ 6.5 pH units
Colour ≤ 20 Pt-Co units
Turbidity ≤ 15 NTU
Ammonia (as N) ≤ 1.3 mg/L
Antimony ≤ 0.1 mg/L
Arsenic ≤ 0.05 mg/L
Barium ≤ 1 mg/L
Cadmium ≤ 0.02 mg/L
Copper ≤ 0.2 mg/L
Cyanide (as CN)1 ≤ 0.05 mg/L
Lead ≤ 0.2 mg/L
 Mercury ≤ 0.005 mg/L
Molybdenum ≤ 0.5 mg/L
Nickel ≤ 0.5 mg/L
Selenium ≤ 0.05 mg/L
Silver ≤ 0.1 mg/L
Zinc ≤ 0.5 mg/L
Bioassay Pass 100% 96-hour LC50
Oil or grease No visible or floating

1 Cyanide not required for V2, V25BSP

The compliance points sampled on the Faro side of the mine site are named X5 and X13, while on the Vangorda side of the mine site, compliance sampling is performed at monitoring locations V2 and V25BSP. The X5 and V25BSP points are locations where treated water enters receiving waters. The X13 and V2 points are locations that passively receive waters that originate from the site. Compliance sampling verifies the results of other samples which are collected before water leaves the site, and confirms that the water is safe to discharge.