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Interior Health issues precautionary water advisory in Jaffray following fuel spill

Standing surface fuel has been removed, while a hydrology study is underway to assess impact to water table

A significant fuel spill in Jaffray over the weekend did not enter any above ground waterways and a containment area for contaminated soil and snow has been created, according to B.C.’s environment ministry.

However, Interior Health has issued a precautionary water quality advisory, noting there has been no observed impacts to groundwater as of Tuesday afternoon. That said, residents are advised to monitor their water quality and use an alternate source of water if they notice any changes, such as a fuel odour or an oil sheen.

A hydrology study is also underway to determine if there is any contamination. That includes a delicate process of superficially scraping an area while taking care to avoid puncturing different soil layers and taking samples along the way.

The fuel spill, estimated at 12,000 litres, occurred when a fuel truck overfilled an underground holding tank at a local gas station on Saturday (Feb. 11), as the overflow spillway area for the tank was not visible to the operator.

Much of the fuel product migrated over land into a drywell on site, while all of the surface standing fuel was vacuumed up by an environmental response contractor on Sunday (Feb. 12), according to the environment ministry.

Firefighters initially responded to the scene on Saturday morning, as the gas station and and parking lot were evacuated out of an abundance of caution. An environmental contractor arrived later in the day to conduct remediation operations, while a ministry response officer was on site by Monday.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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