Home fuel tank fails, spilling oil near Nakusp

Officials say 700 litres may have escaped in the spill

Environment officials say cleanup is underway of about 700 litres of home heating fuel that spilled in a rural area on the outskirts of Nakusp.

The fuel spill apparently began last week, when a home fuel storage tank failed on private property on Nakusp East Road, on the bench above the village.

The spill was first noticed when locals reported the smell of diesel oil on Dec. 4, says David Karn of the Ministry of Environment. Officials checked but couldn’t track down the source of the smell until Dec. 6. They immediately dispatched a cleanup crew to the scene.

“It was an outside tank, and it had a failure,” says Karn. “We don’t know what the failure was, but it was outside — it may have been rusted — and released the oil.”

Karn says some of the spill seems to have migrated to a storm ditch, and that led to concerns the fuel could have entered the ecosystem.

“That ditch makes its way to a storm drain, and eventually, much further down, flows into the lake,” he said. “They have since gone there and there is no visually observed impact on the lake- no oil sheen or anything like that.”

The response contractor and cleanup crew have created a series of dams and diversions, containing the spill and allowing crews to gather and vacuum up much of the oil.

The property owner is responsible for the cleanup under the Environment Act.

Karn says it’s likely that cleanup efforts will be continuing for a few more days.

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