B.C.’s Ministry of Environment says roughly 50,000 litres of fuel leaked from a tanker truck that crashed into the south Salmo River on Wednesday, killing one person.
The ministry said most of the fuel that spilled into the environment is “weathered and unrecoverable” after a second overflight was conducted Friday.
Crews were only able to save a limited amount of fuel from the tankers, which were removed from the site Friday evening along with the truck cab.
Responders have also reported “evidence of fish die-off at the impact site,” with the ministry saying Friday half a dozen deceased minnows were discovered Thursday.
There have been no new reports of dead fish at the site since.
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The ministry said an overflight of the river Thursday spotted a 14-kilometre stretch of fuel sheening from the crash site to the confluence of the Salmo and Pend-d’Oreille Rivers.
A less prevalent fuel sheen persisted 25 kilometres further down the Pend-d’Oreille Rivers to BC Hydro’s Seven Mile Dam, it said.
Boom was laid at the crash site and control points downstream, while vacuum trucks and absorbent pads were also deployed.
Environmental monitoring is ongoing at the crash site, the ministry said, and a plan is being developed to sample water, manage wildlife and conduct shoreline cleanup and assessment.
The crash happened around 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday at the bottom of Kootenay Pass, about two kilometres east of the Highway 3 and Highway 6 junction.
Police say the tractor trailer was pulling two tankers filled with diesel and gasoline.
The driver, an Alberta resident, was killed. It is not known where in Alberta they were from.
The route was closed to traffic Wednesday and Thursday while teams worked to remove the tanker from the river, and drivers were being detoured to the Kootenay Lake Ferry.
Highway 3 was reopened just after 4 p.m. Friday.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.