Kootenay Lake Ferry Oil Spill Update – RDCK

The Regional District of Central Kootenay is updating residents on the status of the gear oil spill in Balfour from the Kootenay Lake Ferry on April 15th.

(RDCK RELEASE) – The spill has been contained and the faulty piece of equipment was removed from the ferry yesterday morning. Two barrels or just over 416 L of emulsified oil and water solution were recovered from the leaking piece of machinery.

Monitoring and sampling has been done along the shore as far as Heuston Rd to ensure there is no residual product and to identify areas that require further remediation.

Oil seen on the water as a shiny sheen and a rainbow sheen are at very low quantities that subject matter experts have indicated will dissipate or have dissipated already. For the volume of material, dissipation is considered the best means of mitigation along with the booms placed around the spill.

Water samples were taken Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and results should be back by Friday.

For further information, please see the Ministry of Environment’s spill site report for the Balfour incident: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/spills-environmental-emergencies/spill-incidents/kootenay-lake-ferry-incident

Most Recent Update

April 19, 2017 – 9:19 am

The faulty piece of equipment was removed from the ferry yesterday morning. Western Pacific Marine recovered two barrels of emulsified oil and water solution from the leaking piece of machinery, for a total of just over 416 L of mixed oil and water. Western Pacific Marine is waiting until the the oil settles out and separates from the water to determine the exact amount of spilled gear oil. However, the amount spill has been determined to be less than originally thought.

Due to the removal of the faulty equipment, no more gear oil is leaking into the lake and the boom immediately around the the boat was removed yesterday evening.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay reports there are no parks in the immediate area of the incident and recreational concerns regarding the beach are reduced this time of year.

Unified Command will review the findings of a shoreline assessment planned for Thursday, April 20 to monitor the effectiveness of natural attenuation. Natural attenuation refers to a variety of physical, chemical, or biological processes, such as wave action and UV degradation, that reduce the mass, toxicity, mobility, volume, or concentration of contaminants without direct human intervention.

Please see this information sheet on oil types and weathering processes from the U.S. National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Further actions will be determined after Thursday’s assessment.

No further updates will be provided on this incident unless the situation deteriorates.

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