Update: July 28
REMEDIATION EFFORTS AND MONITORING ONGOING FOLLOWING LEMON CREEK FUEL SPILL
While the Regional District of Central Kootenay’s Emergency Operations Centre has been scaled back following the lifting of an Evacuation Order and a State of Local Emergency, residents can continue to contact the Emergency Operations Centre at 1-800-268-7325 throughout today.
Although much of the fuel has vaporized and air/water sample levels are within prescribed standards, the Interior Health Authority has a order in place that impacts surface water users south of Lemon Creek within the geographic area covered by the evacuation order.
Residents using surface water should refrain from drinking or irrigating crops with surface water at this time. Persons intending to recreate or swim in the Slocan River and smaller tributaries should NOT do so at this time for health reasons.
The Interior Health Authority contact is Gretchen Rondestvedt. She can be reached at (250) 215-4103; media inquiries should be directed to Karl Hardt (250) 354-3030.
The Ministry of Environment along with other agencies continues to remediate the impacts of the fuel spill and monitor water courses and air quality throughout the geographic evacuation order area.
The Ministry of Environment contact is Rick Wagner. He can be reached at (250)-851-6410.
The Ministry of Forests and the Southeast Fire Centre have advised that the truck tanker has been removed from Lemon Creek. Executive Flight Services continues with remediation measures at the Lemon Creek incident site. Executive Flight Services has the lead role in these efforts.
Executive Flight Services can be reached at (403) 291-2825.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay is very appreciative of the efforts of the many volunteer fire departments and the numerous agencies and individuals who assisted in responding to the incident and subsequent evacuation of residents. The RDCK will continue to work with the above organizations and other supporting agencies in the immediate future, as required.
Residents who have specific concerns are asked to contact the appropriate organizations. The Emergency Operations Centre will continue to operate until it is not necessary to staff it.
July 27, 2013:
The RDCK Emergency Operations Centre has issued the following update:
As of 8 a.m. this morning, the evacuation order geographic area has been reduced following the tanker spill in Lemon Creek. Highway 6 remains closed between Highway 31 and Highway 3.
The north and south evacuation order boundaries remain unchanged. Residents living further than 800 metres from water courses will not be under an order; if they have gone to a reception centre they can return when able to do so.
For now, those evacuated are asked to remain in place until Highway 6 is reopened. The Vancouver HAZMAT team is working with other agencies and crews at containing the spill which is moving downstream. A two to three kilometre plume 30 to 50 metres wide is above the Brilliant Dam and crews are using a back eddy to contain it. Further testing downstream is ongoing, although sampling and visual evidence of air and water at several upstream junctions with the Slocan River indicate little odour and relatively clear sampling. More sampling of air and water at multiple spots is ongoing.
A ‘do not use’ water order remains in place for water users within the evacuation order area and within three kilometres of water courses It has been determined that almost all of the tanker load – approximately 35,000 litres – was released into Lemon Creek and downstream following the accident. Crews employed by the company are determining expedient removal options for the tanker. Ongoing interagency efforts continue unabated and it is hoped that acceptable sampling results will enable Highway 6 to re-open and the evacuation order removed as quickly as possible..
Previous story: Update: The provincial medical health officer has expanded the evacuation order to three kilometres (expanded from the original 300 metres) from Lemon Creek and its tributaries, due to potential neurological damage from fumes. Hasmat response team is en route and should be on the ground by 3 or 4 a.m. Emergency social services have set up reception centres at LV Rogers in Nelson, WE Graham in Slocan, and Mary Hall, Selkirk College, Nelson campus. As many as 3,000 households under evacuation order. This from EOC spokesman Bill Macpherson.
Previous story: The Regional District of Central Kootenay has declared a state of local emergency after a tanker truck carrying roughly 35,000 litres of jet fuel went off the road and into Lemon Creek in the Slocan Valley. RDCK Emergency Operations Centre spokesman Bill Macpherson says first responders are unable to get very close, due to the overpowering fumes, but was able to confirm the truck was in service to assist the fire fighting efforts involving two fires in Perry Ridge, about 4.5 kilometres from Winlaw, one of which has burned over 40 hectares. “We don’t have full details yet – they’re coming in as we speak,” Macpherson said. “Downstream residents are advised to be cautious about drinking water, and there is always the possibility of an explosion in confined space,” Macpherson said. “If there is a fuel smell, open your windows and leave the house.” He said the RDCK has declared a state of local emergency and one residences near the crash site needed to be evacuated. An evacuation order has been issued for area from Junction of Highway 6 and Highway 3A to three kilometres north of Lemon Creek. Issued by RDCK and province through regional medical officer. “Precautionary more than anything,” says Macpherson, EOC with RDCK. “Specific to residents who live within 300 metres of water bodies within that area, ie Lemon Creek and Slocan River. Smaller tributaries also apply.” Castlegar fire chief Gerry Rempel says they have requested Castlegar’s environmental spill containment trailer, which is en route. Motorists travelling on Highway 6 south of Lemon Creek shortly after said they could smell fumes near Threads Gill, five kilometers from the highway crossing of the creek. Jet fuel could also been seen floating on the top of the Slocan River by the bridge crossing at Perry Siding north.