Canadian Underwriter

Toxic spill “poisons” B.C. river

August 8, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter

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A Canadian National tank car that recently derailed causing toxic chemicals to spill into the Cheakamus River.The possible cause of the derailment may be a faulty section of track, according to Canadian National officials. The damaged track was removed for analysis by CN so that information could be retrieved internally prior to being sent to the federal Transportation Safety Board for laboratory examination. The Board’s investigators will make the final ruling on the cause of the crash, but CN indicates that the faulty track may be the cause. Currently, the railway is assessing how to remove the remaining chemical from the damaged tank car and also how to clean up residue along the riverbank, which is devastating local wildlife.
Brian Klassen, a member of the South Coast Steelhead Coalition, says the steelhead population has been devastated and adds that an estimated that 90 to 95% of fish were fatally poisoned.
According to Lance Sundquist, incident commander, the B.C. Environment Ministry, ‘toxicity levels in the river have returned to normal.”
CN sent a work crew to the site to recover the cars, clean up the spill and restore service to the line.