Motor Vehicle Incident South of Salmo

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 March 27, 2019
Name Motor Vehicle Incident South of Salmo (DGIR:184713)
Source Fuel Tanker
Nearest Community Salmo, B.C. 
Spilled Content Gasoline & Diesel
Who is involved? B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy (ENV), Salmo Fire Department, RCMP, Emergency Management BC, B.C. Ministry of Health, Interior Health, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Salmo Emergency Program, Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington State Emergency Management Division, Westcan Bulk Transport Ltd., BC Hydro


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 (ENV) 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

March 30, 2019- 10:20 pm

As of March 30, the fuel sheening on the Salmo River impact site has visibly diminished. Aquatic assessments indicated mortalities of both fish and invertebrate species in the 2 km section immediately downstream of the incident site.

Environmental impact assessment plans have been reviewed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) and all plans are being actioned. A rapid assessment of the impacted area was conducted to guide Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) operations planned to begin on March 31. 

The responding Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EERO) will continue to work with the responsible person, contractors and other agencies to ensure cleanup and monitoring activities for this incident are carried out safely and effectively. 

No further updates are anticipated. 

March 29, 2019 - 6:30 pm 

The truck cab and fuel tankers have been removed from the incident site and Highway 3 is now open. Please check DriveBC for specifics on highway closures.

An estimated 50,000 L of fuel has been released to the environment. A second overflight of the incident site was conducted this afternoon with representatives from B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV), the response contractor and the responsible person. Most of the sheen observed in the overflight was reported as weathered and unrecoverable. 

Containment and skimming operations continued today at the incident site and at areas further downstream. Yesterday, on March 28, a response contractor reported seeing half a dozen deceased minnows. There were no reports of fish mortality today (March 29). 

Environmental monitoring is ongoing and the following plans are being developed: surface water sampling plan, wildlife management plan, waste management plan, a Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Technique (SCAT) plan, and an aquatic and habitat assessment plan.

Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EERO) will continue to monitor  the situation and maintain a presence at the incident site over the weekend.

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

Salmo River Fuel Spill

(March 28, 2019 - Containment boom and absorbent boom deployed upstream from the confluence of the Salmo and Pend d'Oreille Rivers)

March 29, 2019 - 8:15 am

Responders took action yesterday (March 28, 2019) to control product that was leaking from the B-train tanks and to collect spilled fuel. Boom was deployed at control points around the impact site and downstream. Vacuum trucks and absorbent pads were also used at the impact site. Air monitoring is ongoing at the incident site. No water intakes have been identified downstream at this time. 

An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) and response contractor staff conducted an overflight of the impact site and areas downstream from the incident yesterday afternoon (March 28, 2019).

During the overflight, responders noted fuel sheening on the Salmo River from the impact site down to the confluence with the Pend-d'Oreille River. This section of sheening is approximately 14 km. The sheen was less prevalent but still observed from the confluence of the Salmo and Pend-d'Oreille Rivers down to BC Hydro's Seven Mile Dam, 25 km from the impact site.  

Fuel offloading at the impact site occurred last night (March 28, 2019)  to remove flammability concerns prior to salvage operations. Limited fuel was recovered from the tankers.The exact amount of fuel spilled to the environment is being determined. Environmental monitoring is ongoing and responders have reported evidence of fish die-off at the impact site.

Response contractors are preparing a water sampling plan, as well as a Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Techniques (SCAT) plan to assess the shoreline downstream from the impact site. A wildlife management plan and a waste management plan are also being formulated. 

Updates will be posted when new information is available. 

March 28, 2019 - 1:00 pm

Response contractors arrived on scene earlier this morning. Incident site and downstream assessments are ongoing. 

Responders on site reported that the B-train tankers were compromised but it is unknown at this time how much product has spilled. 

An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) is on scene and an overflight of the incident site is planned for this afternoon. 

Highway 3 remains closed. Please visit DriveBC for information on highway closures. 

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

March 28, 2019 - 8:30 am

A fuel tanker was involved in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 3 southeast of Salmo, B.C. yesterday evening (March 27, 2019). A fatality was reported as a result of the motor vehicle incident.

The tractor and the B-train tankers (two trailers linked together by a fifth-wheel) are currently in the Pend Orielle River *CORRECTION: Salmo River, approximately 2 km east of the Highway 3 and Highway 6 junction. 

The b-train tankers were carrying diesel and gasoline. Responders on site have reported that the b-train tankers have been compromised and an unknown amount of fuel has spilled. 

An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) is currently on site. A response contractor, vacuum trucks and other spill response equipment is expected to arrive on site early this morning. 

Highway 3 is currently closed. Please check DriveBC for the latest information on highway closures. 

Updates will be posted as new information is gathered. 


Approximate Incident Location