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UPDATE: The B.C. Ministry of Environment said on its website that that additional equipment and specialized crews from Kelowna and Calgary arrived on scene and are preparing to offload the caustic liquid this morning, pending Transport Canada’s final approval. One of the Ministry’s Environmental Emergency Response Officers is on scene providing oversight.
Highway 2 will be closed for approximately ten minutes while the tank is tapped to ensure the public’s safety. The highway will re-open once the tap is successfully in place. The entire off-loading operation is expected to take approximately 1 to 2 hours. Please check DriveBC.ca for details on highway closures.
The next update will be provided as soon as new information is available.
TOMSLAKE, B.C. — Officials from the B.C. Ministry of Environment are at the scene of a caustic liquid spill that occurred over the weekend near the B.C.-Alberta border on Highway 2.
At around 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, October 8th, a motor vehicle incident involving a tanker truck occurred on Highway 2, roughly 15 ft from the provincial border. The truck was carrying a cargo of caustic liquid, which began leaking from the top hatch of the truck into the ditch.
The Grande Prairie County Fire Department arrived on scene with hazmat resources, attempting to stop the flow of product on Sunday night. The highway was closed in both directions and the driver was extricated from the vehicle and flown to hospital via air ambulance.
The truck was carrying approximately 15,700 L of caustic liquid, 100 L of which is estimated to have spilled to ground. The Grande Prairie County Fire Department patched the hatch on Sunday night and the leak was reduced to a slow drip. No waterways were impacted by the spill.
Environment Ministry officials say that the product must be offloaded before the truck can be righted and removed. Due to the characteristics of the caustic liquid, there are limited tanks suitable to offload the product into, which impacts how quickly the truck can be removed.
Officials say that contractors have been hired by the truck’s owner to offload the product and right the vehicle. The Ministry said in a release that it is working with Transport Canada to review and approve the recovery plan to allow those operations to commence.
B.C. Ministry of Environment also said it is working to have the responsible party develop a remediation plan to address the remaining contamination at the site. Highway 2 will be periodically closed to ensure responder safety during the recovery operation.
There is currently no estimate on how long recovery operations will take, given the difficulty of repositioning the truck to support the offloading of its contents.
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