Sept. 10: Updated information on recent acid spills in Trail
Teck Trail Operations sells sulphuric acid to International Raw Materials Ltd. (IRM), which contracts with a transportation provider to transport the acid. Sulphuric acid is used in numerous applications including pulp mills, mining, water treatment and for fertilizer production.
Two incidents involving spills of sulphuric acid during transport by Westcan Bulk Transport occurred on April 10 and May 23, 2018 in Trail.
We wish to sincerely apologize to any individuals who have been impacted by these spills and to the City of Trail and area residents for the incidents. These incidents are unacceptable to us, and to the community. We are all working diligently with the parties involved in acid transportation to prevent any recurrence. The information below is based on current information available to Teck and IRM and is intended to provide individuals with a clearer picture of what occurred.
1. April 10, 2018:
• Sulphuric acid leaked intermittently onto southbound Highway 3B from the intersection of Highways 22 and 3B (Rossland Avenue intersection) to the Quirk Siding Reload Centre in Waneta, a distance of 16 km.
•Amount of the spill was approximately 220 litres of sulphuric acid intermittently along the 16 km distance.
•The spill occurred between 8:00 am and 9:30 am. Responders were on the scene by 9:30 am and traffic control was promptly put in place where acid was evident. Cleanup was completed at approximately 2 p.m.
2. May 23, 2018:
•Sulphuric acid leaked intermittently onto southbound Highway 3B from the intersection of Highways 22 and 3B (Rossland Avenue intersection) to the intersection of Highway Drive near Glenmerry, a distance of 6 km.
•Amount of the spill was approximately 70 litres of sulphuric acid intermittently along the 6 km distance.
•The spill occurred between 6:30 and 7:00 pm*
• Responders were on the scene by 7:30 pm* and traffic control was promptly put in place where acid was evident. Cleanup was completed at approximately 11:15 pm.
In both incidents, presence of acid on the highway was primarily evident near intersections where the trucks had stopped and started.
Between these intersections there was minimal to no evidence of acid on the roadway.
Click here to see map of route: Trail Acid Spill
•Teck Emergency Services and Westcan responded to both incidents. The Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue responded to the May incident.
•Cleanup was done in accordance with Transportation of Dangerous Goods standards, including: °Limerock was used to neutralize the visible acid, which was then collected and taken to Teck for disposal.
°The roadway was flushed with thousands of litres of water.
°Tests to confirm the acid had been neutralized (pH tests) were conducted.
°In areas where there was any potential for acid to enter drains prior to cleanup commencing, seal mats were used to cover the drains and later removed prior to street flushing.
•The acid was neutralized during the cleanup process and is no longer chemically active.
2. Mitigation Actions:
•IRM and Westcan ceased trucking operations while each spill was investigated. Shipping initially was reinstated after the cause of the first spill was identified and corrective actions taken.
•Following the May incident, more improvements were implemented to ensure safe transport of sulphuric acid. Only at that point was shipping reinstated.
•The upgraded procedures Westcan is operating under are now even more stringent than industry standard.
•IRM is currently conducting a review of the management of the Quirk Siding Reload Centre and the related transportation of products.
Sept. 10 correction:
*timing related to May 23 incident updated
Concern for Vehicles:
•Individuals with questions or concerns should contact their insurance provider.
•ICBC Customer Fact Sheet: www.icbc.com/trail
Health and Environment:
• Due to the limited amount of material spilled and the thorough cleanup process, no health or environmental impacts have been reported or are expected.
• There was no residual acid resulting from subsequent rain events, street cleaning, etc.
• The City of Trail conducted testing of all surface infrastructure and found no acid residue. Further testing of underground infrastructure will be completed this fall.
• The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure assessed the Victoria Street Bridge and will continue to do so in accordance with its regular inspection schedule to ensure there is no damage or accelerated deterioration due to the spill incidents.
• This assessment confirmed there are no impacts to the safe operation of the bridge and/or the highway.