Vavenby residents won't know about water use until end of week

A semi-truck crashed into the North Thompson River 31 kilometres north of Vavenby, causing diesel fuel to leak into the river upstream of the community, which is about one hour and 40 minutes north of Kamloops on Highway 5 North

It will be at least a few days before users of the Vavenby Community Water System know if they can again use the the water.

A semi-truck crashed into the North Thompson River 31 kilometres north of Vavenby, causing diesel fuel to leak into the river upstream of the community, which is about one hour and 40 minutes north of Kamloops on Highway 5 North.

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Notes from a Thompson-Nicola Regional District meeting updating users of the water supply stated officials planned to remove the truck and trailer from the river and assess any damage on Monday.

Testing and analysis of the water system will occur over the next couple of days and the TNRD expects to be able to announce the results late either Thursday or early Friday.

If test results of the water system show no sign of contaminants in the system, it is expected Interior Health will lift its do-not-use notice.

No more than 400 litres of fuel was being carried by the truck, the level of sheen at the accident scene is minimal and booms were deployed downriver to try to capture any incidental fuel leakage, according to the notes.

TNRD Electoral Area A director Carol Schaffer told KTW once the truck is removed from the river, the Ministry of Environment will begin testing.

How much fuel leaked into the river won’t be known until the truck is recovered.

Schaffer said she was told by an RCMP officer that the accident was a single-vehicle crash and that the lone male driver of the semi-truck was not seriously injured.

The vehicle was hauling meat, she said.

All water users are advised to use bottled water or an alternate source of water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, bathing and food preparation until further notice. Boiling the water will not make it safe.

Residents who draw their water from the system should check for signs of diesel fuel, such as a sheen or fuel odour.

There are approximately 21 unique users of 35 surface water licenses on the North Thompson River downstream from the accident — the majority of whom were alerted to the possible contamination.

The regional district is providing water to the water system users. It will be available at the Vavenby Fire Department daily between the hours of 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. until further notice.

“We still got lots left,” Scahaffer said, noting that more water was being delivered on Monday.

The Avola water system, which draws from Avola Creek, is not affected.

Clearwater Mayor Merlin Blackwell told KTW his community — located downstream of Vavenby — is not impacted by the spill as the town doesn’t draw its water from the North Thompson River.

The TNRD was notified of the spill approximately four hours after it occurred and pumps were shut off at about 6 a.m., according to meeting notes.

For further information, call the TNRD Emergency Operations Centre at 1-866-377-7188.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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