Vavenby residents advised not to drink water after semi-trailer accident in North Thompson river - InfoNews

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Vavenby residents advised not to drink water after semi-trailer accident in North Thompson river

FILE - A truck crashed into the North Thompson river on Jan. 16, 2017, prompting a 'do not use' water advisory for the residents of Vavenby.
Image Credit: Contributed/Jennifer Marien
December 30, 2018 - 11:57 AM

VAVENBY - A diesel spill has occurred in the North Thompson River upstream of Vavenby after a motor vehicle incident this morning.

Interior Health is advising residents 10 km south of Avola and the confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers to be cautious and check their water for any signs of diesel fuel such as a sheen surface or a fuel odour.

Early this morning, Sunday, Dec. 30 a semi-trailer, carrying approximately 300 litres of diesel, crashed into the river south of Avola. Clearwater RCMP say both occupants of the vehicle were rescued.

The Interior Health Authority have issued a 'do not use' order for users of the TNRD Vavenby Community Water System, a TNRD media release says.

TNRD officials in Vavenby, the nearest community water system downstream from the spill, were notified immediately and the water system has been placed on a 'do not use' order.

The health authority says residents in the affected area should not use the river water if it smells or tastes like fuel. This means no drinking, showering or bathing or brushing teeth if a fuel odour is detected. Diesel fuel can pose a health risk following ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption.

The Avola community water system, which draws from Avola Creek, is not impacted by this incident, an Interior Health release says.

The duration of this order is unknown at this time and subject to the results of the water samples being collected.

The TNRD will be providing bottled water and bulk water at the Vavenby Fire Hall for residents on the Vavenby Community Water System.

"There are probably about 250 people that are actually affected at least using the Vavenby water system," Debbie Sell with the TNRD says. "But remembering that there are others that draw from the water system as well that are not part of the TNRD water system."

The Ministry of Environment is monitoring the situation and working with an environmental consultant who is collecting water samples as part of the remediation plan.

David Karn with the ministry writes in an email, "‎It's undetermined if there was any fuel spilled into the river. Vavenby drinking water intake has been shut down as a precaution. The ministry of Environment continues to monitor the situation."

Tonight at 6:30 p.m. the TNRD is holding a public meeting at Vavenby Community Hall. They will provide more information regarding the current 'do not use' order.

—This story was updated at 2:13 p.m. Dec. 30, 2018 with information on the public meeting in Vavenby.

—This story was upadated at 2:03 pm. Dec. 30, 2018 with new information from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

—This story was updated at 1:27 p.m. Dec. 30, 2018 with new information from Clearwater RCMP.


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