Dr. Trevor Corneil, medical health officer with Interior Health, said he does not expect any long-term effects from the jet fuel spill on Friday, July 26 but wants residents to take precautions in the short-term.
“Certainly above the [Brilliant] dam, it’s a Do Not Use water advisory which includes drinking, swimming, fishing and recreation until such time as the Ministry of Environment is able to sort out that things are clean,” said Corneil, who was reached by telephone Sunday morning.
“People on well water are absolutely safe from our assessment. Individuals who have their own gardens on the water should wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly but if they are concerned about contamination to dispose of them.”
Corneil said there was jet fuel observed below the dam but it is slowly evaporating. He advises that people not fish, drink from or swim in the Columbia or Kootenay rivers until further notice.
With respect to reports of video showing dead minnows in the Slocan River, Corneil said damage would likely be short term and any long-term ecological impact would be clarified by the Ministry of Environment after testing of sediment and fish.
“We do advise people follow our updates for the next 48 to 72 hours,” he said. ” We’ve had a small number of people, under 15, presenting just within the first 24 hours to New Denver emergency. A few people in Nelson, too, but we’re not sure if those were related to the spill. Some people did have burning in their throats but that’s certainly the worst that we have heard. No one has been admitted [to hospital].”
Posted earlier Sunday, July 28:
Updated information regarding the Columbia and Kootenay rivers with respect to the spill of Jet fuel that happened at Lemon Creek on Friday, July 26:
– The Regional District of Central Kootenay is advising residents to not drink water from the Slocan River, irrigate with water from the river or swim in waters south of the Lemon Creek jet fuel spill until further notice (this includes the Slocan, Kootenay and Columbia Rivers). This notice was incorrectly dated December 27, 2013 on the RDCK website but was issued Saturday, July 27 according to Bill Macpherson, public information officer for the RDCK, who spoke with the Castlegar News by telephone on Sunday morning.
– The City of Castlegar draws its water from Lower Arrow Lake (not the Columbia or Kootenay rivers). It is treated with a small amount of chlorine at a facility above Celgar Pulp Co. Trail, however, does use the Columbia River as that city’s primary water supply, supplemented by the Bear Creek Well in Waneta.
– Macpherson also said there was evidence some of the fuel had passed through the Brilliant Dam but it was his understanding the majority of the fuel spilled had dissipated. We are awaiting word from the Ministry of Environment for more information about any possible effects from the spill below the Brilliant Dam.
Release from Interior Health re: first aid measures for those with minor symptoms if exposure to this fuel occurs:
The fuel involved (Jet Fuel A-1) is a volatile organic compound that in high concentrations (liquid or gas) can cause significant damage to skin, lung tissue, gastrointestinal tissue, and brain tissue. Volatile organic compounds such as these can also exacerbate any chronic diseases such as emphysema, heart disease, and neuromuscular disorders.Eye contact: Flush with cool water. Remove contact lenses, if applicable, and continue flushing.Obtain medical attention if irritation persists.
Skin contact: Flush with cool water. Wash with soap and water. Obtain medical attention if irritation persists.
Inhalation: If symptoms develop, move person to fresh air. If symptoms persist, obtain medical attention. If breathing has stopped, trained personnel should administer CPR immediately.
Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. If vomiting occurs naturally, have person lean forward to reduce risk of
aspiration. Never give anything by mouth if person is unconscious, or is convulsing.
Anyone with serious symptoms should call 9-1-1 or go to the closest emergency department.