Suspected (not confirmed) contamination on the underbelly of a truck owned by a Trail resident. Sheri Regnier photo

Acid tainted vehicles from Trail spills, held for evidence

Contaminated vehicles are evidence in ICBC’s lawsuit against “negligent parties”

With more than 400 vehicles junked after the Trail acid spills, rumours have been swirling as to the fate of those vehicles.

The Trail Times contacted ICBC to ask what happened to all those write-offs.

Turns out, none of the vehicles have been surreptitiously shipped off to another province for re-sale and no one is buying back their car at a cheaper price from an auction or some unnamed car lot. Notably, the vehicles have not been scrapped for parts at this point, either.

There is no truth to these allegations, according to ICBC.

“All of the vehicles we have had to total loss are being retained as evidence for our Notice of Civil Claim action,” confirmed ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins. “All of the vehicles are still in Trail at a few different locations.”

After 4,200+ claims and hundreds of vehicles written-off due to caustic contamination, the corporation filed a lawsuit “seeking financial relief for the loss of, or damage to, vehicles caused by the sulfuric acid spills in Trail earlier this year, as well as related costs and expenses.”

The BC insurer identified a number of “negligent parties” in its lawsuit, or Notice of Civil Claim, which was filed last month with the Vancouver Registry of the B.C. Supreme Court.

Collectively identified as “Corporate Defendants” are Westcan Bulk Transport, International Raw Materials (IRM), the U.S company that buys sulphuric acid from Teck, and Teck itself.

Two commercial truck drivers were noted in the claim as were the City of Trail and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the latter two named as “municipal defendants.”

Lastly, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment are listed as “Crown Defendants.”

On Tuesday, April 10 approximately 220 litres of sulphuric acid was spilled intermittently on a 16-kilometre (km) stretch of Highway 3B beginning at the Rossland Avenue intersection and ending at the reload centre in Waneta.

According to a joint release by Teck and IRM, the spill occurred between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Responders were on the scene by 9:30 a.m. the companies stated, and clean up was completed by 2 p.m.

The second sulphuric acid spill is reported to have occurred between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23. In that incident, approximately 70 litres of acid was intermittently leaked over a 6-km distance of Highway 3B starting from the Rossland Avenue intersection and ending near Highway Drive in Glenmerry.

Teck and IRM stated that responders were on scene by 7:30 p.m. and clean up was completed at approximately 11:15 p.m.

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