Investigation, cleanup continues after fuel tanker crash

50,000 litres of fuel spilled into Salmo River

Cleanup is underway after a tanker crash last week on Highway 3 killed one man and spilled 50,000 litres of fuel into Salmo River.

The tanker, which was carrying diesel and gasoline, went into the river March 27. The driver, an Alberta man, was found dead at the scene. An RCMP spokesperson declined to comment on how the crash occurred, and would only say the investigation is still underway.

Fish and invertebrate species were also found dead in the river two kilometres downstream from the crash.

The tanker was removed two days later. A spokesperson for the environment ministry said cleanup efforts include removal of debris and contaminated soil, surface water sampling, wildlife management, shoreline cleanup and assessments to determine long-term remediation.

“Any spill that impacts the environment is a concern,” said the spokesperson in a statement.

“An incident command post has been established and the province is working collaboratively with Westcan Bulk Transport, the trucking company, and its response contractor, as well as other agencies and partners to develop and implement environmental monitoring, mitigation and cleanup plans.”

The environment ministry also contacted Washington state emergency management division but said there’s no evidence the fuel crossed the border.

The crash closed Highway 3 between Salmo and Creston for two days and caused significant delays at the Kootenay Bay ferry terminal, which operated through the night to reduce a backlog of traffic.

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