The rollover of a semi carrying sulphuric acid called for a coordinated emergency response just outside of Rossland on Saturday.
The 9-1-1 came into Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue on Aug. 11 at 9:30 a.m.
Station 374 Trail was at the scene on Highway 22, toward the Paterson border, within minutes, reported Captain Jason Langman.
“On arrival we had a semi-tanker on its side containing sulphuric acid,” Langman said. “There was no spill.”
A three-man crew from Trail along with five Rossland firefighters and the Teck Emergency Response Team stayed on site until shortly after midnight, at which time the tanker was fully offloaded and the Harms Pacific Transport truck removed.
There were no injuries to the driver or first responders.
In addition to response teams, the RCMP and technical advisors from IRM (International Raw Materials) attended the accident scene, confirmed Carrie Gaines, IRM’s manager of sulphuric acid.
IRM purchases the product from Teck Trail then ships the caustic liquid from the plant to various destinations via transport truck or rail.
“We are continuing to work with Harms Pacific Transport to ensure the incident site is properly cleaned and the investigation into the cause of the incident is completed,” Gaines told the Trail Times on Monday. “We would like to reiterate that there was no sulphuric acid spilled, and no injuries during the incident or recovery. We are very appreciative of all the work by the first responders.”
On average, two to five trucks carry sulphuric acid across the border for IRM each day.
“With the cooperation of these agencies and the carrier, the sulphuric acid was safely transferred from the overturned trailer,” Gaines stated Sunday. “The area in which there was a minor diesel and hydraulic fluid spill has been contained, and Harms Pacific Transport will ensure the area is fully cleaned with contaminated soil removed.”
The highway was closed for a short time immediately after the accident then reopened to single lane traffic.
“IRM would like to express our appreciation to all first responders for their focused and methodical efforts in safely managing this incident,” Gaines said. “We would also like to express our apologies to the public for any inconvenience this accident may have caused.”
IRM markets and distributes crop nutrients and industrial commodities throughout its extensive distribution system.
“We deliver inputs essential for growing healthy, sustainable crops and maximizing yields in farming systems around the world,” Gaines said. “Beyond agriculture, we provide inputs used in a range of industrial and technical applications.”
Coincidentally, the City of Trail announced Friday that staff and council had met with IRM several times in that past two weeks.
Following those meetings, the municipality released an Aug. 10 update in regards to two sulphuric acid spills that occurred on Highway 3B in Trail earlier this year.
The first was around 8 a.m. the morning of April 10 and the second was at approximately 6 p.m. May 23.
Since that time, ICBC has processed hundreds of claims for vehicles affected by the two incidents in which, collectively, approximately 80 litres of acid was released onto the highway.
“Trail city council and staff have been in frequent communication with the appropriate officials in regard to the acid spills,” Mayor Mike Martin stated.
“In particular, we’ve had several discussions with representatives, including the company president, from International Raw Materials (IRM), the company that owns the acid and is responsible for its transport. We have discussed why the spills occurred and what actions they have taken to ensure this never happens again. As a result of these lengthy meetings, we feel confident that since the spills occurred, IRM’s acid transportation protocols have been reviewed meticulously and enforced with the carriers to ensure acid transport is being carried out with utmost care.”
Martin says the number of insurance claims is very concerning.
“Therefore, we remind and encourage everyone that drove through, or even thinks they may have driven through one or both of the spills, to work with your insurance provider to seek appropriate compensation, which is a civil matter.”
As far as city infrastructure and vehicles that may have been affected by the acid spills, the municipality has been working through channels to conduct the required inspections and evaluations, Martin added.
“Not only are the acid spills extremely unfortunate from an environmental perspective, they’ve also caused financial hardship, inconvenience and stress for all those involved,” he concluded. “We understand the financial loss some may be facing due to their written off vehicle(s) and we encourage all those affected to continue to pursue the matter with your insurance provider.”