Teck Emergency Response Team in downtown Trail on April 10, 2018, after sulphuric acid spill on the highway through the city. (Trail Times file photo)

One year after acid spill along highway near Trail, claims still trickling in

Approximately 440+ vehicles failed ICBC inspections due to sulphuric acid contamination

One year after the first of two significant acid spills on the highway through Trail, claims are still trickling in to ICBC.

Roughly 4,450 claims have been submitted to the B.C. insurer to date.

Of those, approximately 10 per cent of the vehicles are write-offs due to sulphuric acid contamination stemming from the April 10 and/or May 23 spills.

“A minimal number of claims are still coming in,” ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins told the Trail Times. “Any customer may still file a claim with us, but we anticipate the vast majority of claims related to this incident have already been filed.”

READ MORE: Where it all began, Trail Times reader calls in tip

The 440+ vehicles that failed ICBC inspections were deemed unsafe and immediately taken off the road. All those write-offs – including a $780,000 regional fire engine and two RCMP cruisers – remain in storage because Wilkins says they are evidence in legal proceedings.

As a means to recover extraordinary costs related to the two spills, in October, ICBC filed a Notice of Civil Claim against a number of defendants.

“A trial date has not been set,” Wilkins confirmed. “We are waiting for some of the defendants to file their responses.”

Named as “Corporate Defendants” are: Westcan Bulk Transport, the contracted carrier at the time of the spills; IRM (International Raw Materials), an American company that purchases the acid from Teck then transports it south of the border; and Teck, though the suit doesn’t specify whether it’s Teck Trail or Teck Resources.

Two commercial truck drivers are identified in the lawsuit as are the City of Trail and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), the latter two named as “Municipal Defendants.”

Lastly, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment are listed as “Crown Defendants.”

The Trail Times recently contacted Teck, the RDKB and the City of Trail for comments about pending litigation.

“Teck has filed our response to ICBC’s Notice of Civil Claim,” Teck spokesperson Catherine Adair replied. “As this case is currently working its way through the courts we cannot provide further details at this time.”

The City of Trail declined to comment and the regional district replied, “our legal counsel is taking the appropriate steps that follow receipt of such a notice.”

Family Insurance, based in Vancouver, was another insurer with clients directly affected by the Trail acid spills.

Last summer, company inspectors set up shop in Champion Chevrolet while they tested an unknown number of vehicles over several weeks. Repeated phone calls and emails to Family Insurance with questions about respective losses went unanswered.

The Times also contacted IRM regarding current practices of shipping sulphuric acid out of the Trail plant.

“IRM is directly operating the Waneta-based transload station,” began spokesperson Carrie Gaines. “We have hired local operators and positioned managers at the site to oversee day-to-day business.”

Trucking responsibilities have been contracted with Trimac Transportation.

READ MORE: Trail acid spills, top story of 2018

READ MORE: Claims skyrocket after Trail acid spill

“(They) have extensive experience in Trail operating with Teck and an exemplary safety record,” she explained. “Trimac secured four new acid trailers to service this line of business, designed and built specifically for the project.”

Gaines says the company averages approximately 100 railcars per month of shipments from the Waneta site, which equates to roughly 10,000 metric tons per month.

“We have managed a gradual and controlled ramp up of trucking from Teck to the transload site and to date are still operating conservatively below site capacity,” she added. “Historically we shipped up to 13,000 or 14,000 metric tons per month through this facility.”

Gaines declined to comment on the pending lawsuit with ICBC.

According to a joint statement from IRM and Teck, approximately 220 litres of sulphuric acid was spilled between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on April 10, and 70 litres the evening of May 23.

In both cases, the companies have reported that road contamination started at the Rossland Avenue intersection, or the junction of Highway 3B and Highway 22. The first spill reportedly stretched 16-kilometres (km) through Trail and out to the train offload site in Waneta. The May spill is reported to have extended six km, ending near Glenmerry.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Victoria to reassess 2020 budget in light of COVID-19; more hotel rooms found for the homeless

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps provided an update on municipal measures on March 31

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Victoria police arrest man in stolen Jubilee Hospital worker’s car

Suspect found in car with drugs, stolen property and weapons

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read