• Michel Creek Stream Bank Protection

  • Sparwood, BC

Michel Creek flows through Teck Coal’s Elkview Operations, which are located about three kilometres east of Sparwood, BC.  During freshet and other high water events, the creek has been eroding the bank adjacent to an old mine tailings pile, referred to as the Michel Refuse Pile.  Teck Coal was concerned that continued loss of the embankment below the Michel Refuse Pile would compromise the long-term stability of the pile.  To address this concern, Kerr Wood Leidal Associates (KWL) was retained to design stream bank protection, which consisted of about 750 m of riprap along the east bank of Michel Creek below the pile.  

Modelling, Design, and Approvals

Design of the bank stabilization works was based on the Q50 and Q200 peak flows for Michel Creek.  KWL modelled water levels and velocities using HEC-RAS software to determine the height of bank protection and size of riprap to be used.

The following regulatory approvals were required for this project:

  • Water Act Approval – a Section 9 Approval was required from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) BC; and
  • Fisheries Act Approval – review and comment was required from DFO.

Scheduling Challenges and Solutions

Even though this project had an extremely tight timeline, it was completed under budget and ahead of schedule.  Conceptual design began in April 2015, and construction was completed by mid-August 2015.

The project had to be constructed within the summer fisheries window, but given that conceptual design did not begin until April, this did not leave enough time to complete the detailed design.  To solve this, the construction contract was split into two: the materials hauling contract was based on the conceptual level design volume of material required, and the installation contract was based on the detailed design requirements.  This allowed KWL sufficient time to complete the detailed design without delaying the construction schedule.

Teck Coal was instrumental in keeping the project on schedule by providing review comments to designers typically within 24 hours.  In addition, Teck Coal also kept the authorities (MOE and DFO) appraised of the project and brought them to site early to get input on the conceptual design to optimize the permit application turn-around time.

Teck Coal supported KWL’s approach of having frequent site inspections at the start of the project so as to clarify issues early on and set the expectations for the contractor.  As a result, all contractor questions and instructions were issued on-site and documented in the site inspection reports.  No requests for information or field instructions were issued for this project.  This saved time and money for all involved.

KWL's effective project management strategy for this project resulted in efficient, on-schedule construction and cost savings.