The company responsible for spilling 32,000 litres of jet fuel into Lemon Creek in B.C.'s Slocan Valley could face charges, government officials told a packed community hall in Winlaw Tuesday night.
Bud Stirman, an inspector with Transport Canada, said that if investigators find that Executive Flight Centre, the company whose truck was transporting the fuel, violated the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, it could be charged with non-compliance of regulations.
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Charges, however, will likely have to wait until Transport Canada has carried out a full investigation.
On Friday, a tanker carrying 35,000 litres of jet fuel to helicopters fighting a wildfire rolled into Lemon Creek while driving along a remote logging road.
The noxious fumes forced about 1,300 from their homes temporarily and the implementation of a do-not-use water order that remains in place.
Cleanup efforts underway
There are about 80 people on the ground in the Slocan Valley helping with the cleanup efforts, said Wayne Smook, a spokesperson for Executive Flight Centre.
The team is made up of EFC and SNC-Lavalin employees, and government workers, though EFC will be covering cleanup costs.
Smook offered an apology on behalf of the company to the more than 200 residents in attendance at the community meeting.
The spill has left some homes and farms reeking of fuel, and three rivers in the valley are still no-go zones. Health officials at the meeting said it would be at least five more days until residents can safely use their water again, but it could take longer.
People in the region have been left with many questions about the future of the valley’s rivers and what the spill could mean for their families and businesses.
"I’m really concerned about the health of my family and my community," said Jane Flontron, who spoke at the meeting.
"If my linens smell like fuel, there is no way I am going to eat from my garden."