Coal Train Derailment near Hazelton

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is based on reports received by Emergency Management B.C. Information provided is considered to be current at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Incident Description

Incident Date January 19, 2018
Name Coal Train Derailment near Hazelton
Source Train Derailment
Nearest Community Hazelton
Spilled Content Coal
Who is involved? CN Rail, B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, Emergency Management B.C., Gitxsan First Nation, Environment & Climate Change Canada, Hemmera


Response Phase Detail

The responsible person or spiller is legally required to clean-up or manage the clean-up of a spill. In incidents where the responsible person is unknown, unable or unwilling to manage the clean up, the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (MOE) may assume the role. The updates below reflect the Ministry’s oversight of the spillers’ actions; details describe the spill response phase, only, and not the complete lifecycle of the spill. See More Information for other related reports. 

Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top. Industry-specific language may be explained in the Glossary of Terms (PDF).

Most Recent Update

January 25, 2018 - 11:30 am

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. 

coal removal at Mission Creek

(Ongoing coal removal on the bank of Mission Creek - January 24, 2018)

Dam set up in Mission Creek

(Filter fence set up in Mission Creek - January 24, 2018)

January 24, 2018 - 8:27 am

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. 

January 23, 2018 - 9:06 am

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. 

January 21, 2018 - 5:40 pm

The bulk of the spilled coal has been removed from the ice on Mission Creek (also known as Station Creek). A full train track closure is occurring today from 4 pm until midnight to allow crews to remove the wrecked coal train cars that are near the creek.

Additional sediment fencing and crews with hand tools will be at the ready to deal with any coal that could be moved towards the water during the recovery of the wrecked cars. Crews are also working to divert some of the stream flow away from the coal that has entered the water so it can be safely removed. 

The B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy and Environment & Climate Change Canada both collected water samples on the evening of January 20, 2018. Water sampling and monitoring continued today. 

Results of the water monitoring and sampling are being compiled and are scheduled to be shared by CN Rail tomorrow (Monday, January 22, 2018). 

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

Coal train cars on their side

(Coal train cars on their side after a derailment near Hazelton B.C. - January 20, 2018)

crews work to clean up coal spill (Crews working to remove coal and wrecked train cars - January 20, 2018)

  January 20, 2018 - 4:50 pm

The coal spilled as a result of yesterday's train derailment near Hazelton, B.C. has entered Station Creek in one location. 

Protective measures are being taken to limit the spread of coal into the water column of the creek. Onsite water monitoring began yesterday and continued today.  

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is drafting an order to issue to CN Rail to ensure the proper steps are taken to mitigate any impacts. One Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) remains onsite to monitor the cleanup.

The Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Doug Donaldson, toured the incident site this afternoon.

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

Coal train car on it's side

(Crew dealing with coal train derailment near Hazelton, B.C. - January 20, 2018)

January 20, 2018 - 9:30 am

Yesterday morning (Friday, January 19), a loaded CN Rail coal train derailed in between the two communities of New Hazelton and South Hazelton. The derailment occurred near an overhead highway crossing above Highway 16. The highway remains open. 

Twenty-seven train cars derailed and are lying on their side. The cars were carrying approximately 100 tons of coal each. Each car has lost at least part of their load. 

CN Rail reports the majority of the coal has remained on the railroad's right of way, however, some has left the right of way and is on top of a frozen creek called Station Creek (also known as Mission Creek). Protective measures have been taken to stop the coal from entering the running water. 

Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EEROs) with B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy travelled to the site yesterday to assess the situation. The two responding EEROs are working with CN Rail's environmental emergency response crew to ensure the coal spill is cleaned up. 

CN Rail has notified local First Nation communities. Updates will be provided as new information comes in from the field. 

coal train derailment near Hazelton

(Coal train derailment near Hazelton, B.C. - January 19, 2018)



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