Similkameen River Diesel Spill

May 31, 2016

In early April 2016, a fuel tanker truck with trailer and pup traveling east on the Crowsnest Highway was involved in a motor vehicle accident, which caused the pup trailer to rupture and veer over the embankment. This resulted in an estimated 26,000 Litres of marked diesel fuel spilling onto a steep slope (grade ~ 45┬░), approximately 44 km southwest of Princeton, BC. The spilled diesel impacted the embankment, a roadside ditch and the Similkameen River.

Visual evidence of an iridescent hydrocarbon sheen was observed in back eddies along the river margins, from the spill site to north of Copper Creek, approximately 4 km downstream of the spill area. Keystone Environmental was retained to assist with the spill response and discussions with the various stakeholders. We implemented a fish trapping program collected several small fish including rainbow trout and sculpins upstream and downstream of the release. We did not observe evidence of adverse impacts to fish during the trapping program.

Given the challenging terrain of the spill area, flushing with river water was implemented at the base of the slope to extract diesel from areas covered by rip rap. This method was successful in removing the majority of the hydrocarbons. Due to the steep slope of the embankment, physical remediation was deemed not a safe remediation option. Nutrients were added on the embankment to promote bio-remediation and the hydrocarbon concentrations have started to decline.

We were able to combine two unique remediation techniques in the challenging terrain to provide a cost effective solution that satisfied the needs of the Ministry of Environment, ICBC, and other stakeholders. We continue to monitor the progress of the remediation efforts.

For more information on how Keystone Environmental can assist you with your Environmental needs please contact Raminder Grewal at 604-430-0671,