Cleawater crash diverts traffic in Little Fort

Clearwater, Little Fort

A semi lays on its side just east of Raft River bridge in Clearwater on Sunday

A semi lays on its side just east of Raft River bridge in Clearwater on Sunday

An overturned tanker truck loaded with acid closed Highway 5 for about 15 hours the weekend before last.

The incident occurred at about 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, as the result of a collision between the semi and a minivan just east of the Raft River bridge in Clearwater.

Two occupants of the minivan were taken by ambulance to Dr. Helmcken Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the truck suffered a broken collarbone and reportedly walked away from the crash.

With the highway blocked for so long, several hundred vehicles were lined up until traffic got moving again at about 2 a.m. on Monday.

Traffic was diverted at Valemount and Little Fort. Some travelers made their way south from Vavenby by way of the Adams Lake forest service road.

Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department and other local emergency responders had used an incident involving a spill involving corrosive chemicals at Raft River bridge for a table-top exercise just a year or two ago, said fire department spokesperson Guy Holland.

Their training stood them in good stead when they arrived on the scene, he said. They were able to identify the cargo from the placards on the truck. With that knowledge they cordoned off an area for 150 m around the crash. Until the all clear was given, any firefighter crossing that perimeter wore his or her air tanks.

The fire department was on the scene from before noon until late afternoon, said Holland. Members returned to the scene at about 9 p.m. for several more hours while special corrosive-resistant pumps were used to empty the tanker. The process involved drilling three holes in succession in the tank at high, medium and low locations, he said. After the tank was empty a tow truck righted the vehicle and it was removed.

About 18,000 liters of a 15 per cent solution of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid spilled from the tanker into a nearby ditch, according to Rick Wagner, an environmental emergency response officer.

The Ministry of Environment official praised Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department members and other first responders for the systematic way they isolated the area, gathered information and notified the appropriate people and agencies.

The acidic solution had been produced by a manufacturer in the Lower Mainland and was on its way to a pulp mill in the Peace River district, Wagner said.

An initial sample of the soil removed from the site was sent to a facility in Princeton that is approved to receive hazardous wastes, he said.

The remainder is being stockpiled at a local gravel pit.

The plan is to counteract the acid with a neutralizing agent such as lime. It then could safely be used as cover material for Clearwater’s landfill, the environmental official said.

Determining how much soil to remove was relatively straightforward, he reported. A pH meter was used to detect the acidity.

The Ministry of Environment will continue in an oversight role on the cleanup to ensure it meets provincial standards, he added.

“I think it went well,” Wagner commented. “The people who responded did a good job. No one was hurt and the environment was protected.”


Just Posted

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Four Paws Food Bank-Barriere helps area pet owners

Leia Kett (as in Star War’s Princess Leia) has been a Barriere… Continue reading

Barriere resident Donna Genier was happy to be able to gather with a small group of family and close friends to play a game of scrub last Sunday at the Barriere ball fields in memory of her youngest son Kurt Genier. Kurt passed unexpectedly in 2014 Since then, starting in 2015 an annual Memorial Slow Pitch Baseball Tournament has been held in Barriere to remember the young man who loved to play baseball. Unfortunately, the tourney had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. (Elli Kohnert photo)
Kurt Genier remembered with ball game in Barriere

The annual Kurt Genier Memorial Slow Pitch Ball Tournament was not able… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

6 years after a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal gets hit again

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read