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Investigation into impacts of Jaffray fuel spill continues

Investigators with B.C.’s Ministry of Environment are still trying to find out whether groundwater has been tainted from a spill of 12,000 litres of fuel in Jaffray.

Kandis Lipsett, senior environmental response officer said the ministry is trying to find out how deeply the ground was saturated.

“It’s not yet determined if the aquifer has been impacted by the contamination,” said Lipset. “A remediation company is doing soil delineation. In other words, they scrape layers off, and as they do that, samples are continuously taken until it’s determined they have identified the extent of ground absorption.”

Lipsett said this work has to be done carefully.

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“It’s a slow process because it has to be done with a lot of care, given that soil layers have different permeability,” said Lipsett. “The remediation company does not want to function an impermeable layer, like clay, and cause the product to potentially move farther than it already was.”

The ministry has been working on a plan in the meantime, just in case fuel has tainted local groundwater.

“A hydrogeologist is doing some mapping and planning in the meantime, while the remediation is occurring,” said Lipsett. “If it is determined that the aquifer has been impacted, immediate action can be taken.”

RDEK Area B Director Stan Doehle suggested residents should take some precautions until more details are revealed.

“As the investigation into the spill is still underway, residents in the area may choose to use an alternative source for drinking water until the full scope of the incident has been determined,” he said.

Interior Health agrees and has issued a precautionary Water Quality Advisory.

The spill happened Saturday morning.

“A fuel truck was filling an underground tank and it overfilled. The overfill spillway was behind the building and it wasn’t noticed until it poured past the building, overland and into a rock pit,” said Lipsett.

Investigators have been in the area since they arrived Saturday afternoon.

More: Jaffray fuel spill leads to precautionary water quality advisory (Feb 15, 2023)

Previous: Ministry of Environment looking into Jaffray fuel spill (Feb 13, 2023)

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