November 25, 2015 - 11:31 AM
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, DISTRICT OFFICES TO REOPEN
COLDSTREAM - An overnight fuel spill at a Coldstream gas staiton has prompted a full response from emergency crews.
Officials say approximately 6,000 litres of gasoline spilled at the Centex Gas Station on Kalamalka Road just after midnight, Nov. 25. The spill is believed to have occurred when a fuel delivery truck operator overfilled the station's fuel tank, but the circumstances remain under investigation, Environmental Emergency Response Officer for the Ministry of Environment Rick Wagner said at a media conference Wednesday morning.
“The footprint of the spill is almost the whole gas station lot, so there's a considerable amount,” Wagner said. “In this case, we were very fortunate that there was so much ice and snow on the lot that will absorb a lot of fuel.”
He said clean-up crews are working hard and fast to mop up the spill before the weather changes. If they can get it cleaned up before it rains or the snow and ice begin to melt, the possibility of the material spreading will be greatly reduced. So far, there is no indication the gas has migrated into any storm sewer drains or water bodies, and the Coldstream Creek is not believed to be impacted.
“There’s a window this can get done in before we have a problem,” Wagner said.
As a precaution due to gas fumes in the air, the Coldstream Municipal Office and Coldstream Elementary School were closed for the day, and several residents in the vicinity were told to stay indoors. A section of Kalamalka Road between Whetzell Drive to Aberdeen Road was also closed for some time.
“The (vapour) readings I got were above levels I felt were safe to be in for long term exposures,” Wagner said.
The odour of gasoline is present near the gas station, and Wagner said the smell will fluctuate over the day as crews steam off frozen gas and vacuum it up.
In a Wednesday afternoon media release, the District of Coldstream said Kalamalka Road is expected to reopen at 3 p.m. Nov. 25 (with intermittent traffic delays), and that the district office and Coldstream Elementary will be back open Thursday, Nov. 26.
The Ministry of Environment remains on site to monitor the clean-up work and continues to investigate the cause of the spill. Wagner says the truck driver has been interviewed and it's possible charges will be laid.
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— This story was updated at 3:36 p.m. Nov. 25, 2015 to include new information from the District of Coldstream about office, road, and school reopenings.
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