A criminal trial over a massive fuel spill in the Slocan Valley is underway in Nelson.

In July 2013, a tanker truck carrying fuel for helicopters fighting a forest fire overturned, gushing about 33,000 litres of fuel into Lemon Creek. 

The accident led to a mass evacuation and a $4-million cleanup.

The Ministry of Transportation, Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services and driver Danny Lasante all face eight charges under the Fisheries Act. 

Private charges were laid by local resident Marilyn Burgoon, and then taken over by the Crown.

"I think it's time to have justice for the public. I am really glad it went from a private prosecution to a public prosecution. I think that is an important step for our community," said Burgoon, who was in court on Monday. 

Lemon Creek

The province, the company and the driver all face charges. (CBC)

In February, the province plead not guilty.

While the criminal trial goes on, a civil case is being prepared on behalf of the residents of Slocan Valley.

In a separate case, the law firm representing 2,500 residents says it's the first such environmental lawsuit certified by the court against the province of B.C. 

With files from Bob Keating