The province of British Columbia has pleaded not guilty for its alleged role in a tanker spill that dumped more than 30,000 litres of fuel into Lemon Creek and the Slocan River.

In July 2013, a tanker truck carrying fuel for helicopters fighting a forest fire overturned into Lemon Creek, about ten kilometres south of Slocan Valley, B.C. The resulting spill led to a massive evacuation and $4-million cleanup.

The province, the fuel company and the truck driver are all co-defendants in the case and face eight charges related to the spill.

On Tuesday, the province entered a plea of not guilty to all eight charges.

'I'm not really surprised,' says resident

"I'm not really surprised. I think that there will be finger-pointing. Everyone will point at each other as to who is negligent and guilty," said Marilyn Burgoon, the local resident who pushed for charges to be laid.

"Eventually I hope there will be justice for Lemon Creek and for the citizens of the Slocan Valley," she said. 

The fuel company — Executive Flight Centre — and its driver have not yet entered a plea, but both are expected to plead guilty when the case is back in court in late March.

The trial is expected to take at least six weeks.

With files from Bob Keating.