UPDATE: Derailment cleanup in Mission Creek near New Hazelton

Access pad and additional filter fence installed in Mission Creek to aid in safe removal of coal.

Ongoing coal removal on the bank of Mission Creek (also known as Station Creek). Photo taken Jan. 24. (Emergency Management B.C. photo)

UPDATE:

From Emergency Management B.C. as of Thursday, Jan. 25 — 11:30 a.m.:

Two EEROs (Environmental Emergency Response Officers) remain onsite to oversee ongoing spill response efforts.

Hemmera has maintained their role as lead environmental consultant for Canadian National Railway. Under Hemmera’s direction, samples were collected for lab analysis, consistent with the sampling plan. An access pad and an additional filter fence were installed yesterday to aid in the safe removal of coal.

As crews were able to gain better access to the creek bank, the estimated volume of coal still present has increased.

Ongoing coal recovery continues along the impacted bank and in Mission Creek. Filter fencing set up in the creek is also being maintained.

Water monitoring and water sampling will also continue today with an expanded list of parameters to be analyzed.

The next update will be provided when new information is available.

UPDATE:

From Emergency Management B.C. as of the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 24:

Canadian National Railway set up an environmental response trailer at the incident site yesterday (Tuesday, January 23) to handle communications and public requests. The trailer is located 200 meters west of the rail overpass on Highway 16 near South Hazelton. Public information will be available there starting today.

Crews began removing the coal from Mission Creek by hand yesterday (Tuesday, January 23). It is estimated that between 180-200 cubic meters of coal remains on the slope between the rail line and Mission Creek. Additional work was done to prepare the slope for more extensive coal removal today. Response crews continue to work to maintain the silt fencing in the creek during the coal removal.

A set of water, sediment, and in-stream coal samples were collected yesterday (Tuesday, January 23). An additional environmental response contractor, Hemmera, has been hired by Canadian National Railway to assist with assessing environmental impacts, monitoring the incident site, and sampling. Hemmera attended the site with specialists in environmental emergency response, toxicology and biology.

Sample results will be provided to the B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy and shared with stakeholders, impacted First Nation communities and all agencies involved in the incident. An additional Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) will be on site to provide increased oversight for the response.

The next update will be provided as soon as new information is available.

UPDATE:

From Emergency Management B.C. as of the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 23:

All of the rail cars from the stream side of the rail bed were removed during the track closure on the night of Sunday, January 21.

Removal of the train cars allowed crews to begin a better assessment of the area. The environmental assessment continued yesterday, Monday, January 22.

Mission Creek has been divided into segments to enable crews to begin coal removal segment by segment. Estimates of the quantities of coal spilled are being calculated now that crews have safe access to the whole site on the stream side of the tracks.

The next update will be provided as soon as new information is available.

STORY published:

A train derailment involving 27 cars spilled coal onto the frozen Station Creek, also known as Mission Creek, southwest New Hazelton.

The westbound coal train left the tracks at about 8 a.m. Friday. CN spokesperson Kate Fenske said in an email that there were no reports of injuries and no dangerous goods were involved.

The derailment was near the Highway 16 overpass on the way to South Hazelton, but no crossings were blocked. Fenske added that emergency response crews and environmental teams responded to assess the situation and begin a clean-up.

The cause of the incident was still under investigation as of Monday morning.

Emergency Management B.C. said Sunday evening that the bulk of the spilled coal has been removed from the ice on Mission Creek. Photos show some of the coal sediment did get into the water. CN said the majority of the coal remained on the railroad’s right of way.

The cars were carrying approximately 100 tons of coal each. Each car lost at least part of its load, according to Emergency Management B.C.

The track was closed completely Sunday evening so crews could remove the wrecked coal train cars near the creek. Additional sediment fencing and crews with hand tools were to be at the ready to deal with any coal that could be moved towards the water during the recovery of the wrecked cars. Crews also worked to divert some of the stream flow away from the coal that entered the water so it could be safely removed, according to Emergency Management B.C.

Completion of that work was not confirmed by press time Monday morning.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Environment and Climate Change Canada both collected water samples on the evening of Jan. 20. Water sampling and monitoring continued Sunday.

Results of the water monitoring and sampling were scheduled to be shared by CN Rail Monday after press time.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy was drafting an order to issue to CN Rail to ensure the proper steps are taken to mitigate any impacts. Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EEROs) with B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy travelled to the site Friday to assess the situation. One EERO remained onsite to monitor the start of cleanup Saturday.

Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development and Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson toured the incident site Saturday afternoon. CN Rail also notified local First Nation communities.

A CN coal train also derailed on Dec. 8 near the Bulkley Canyon east of New Hazelton. CN said the 50 coal cars were empty in that incident.

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