A train derailment involving 27 cars spilled coal onto the frozen Station Creek, also known as Mission Creek, southwest New Hazelton.
The westbound coal train left the tracks at about 8 a.m. Friday. CN spokesperson Kate Fenske said in an email that there were no reports of injuries and no dangerous goods were involved.
The derailment was near the Highway 16 overpass on the way to South Hazelton, but no crossings were blocked. Fenske added that emergency response crews and environmental teams responded to assess the situation and begin a clean-up.
The cause of the incident was still under investigation as of Monday morning.
Emergency Management B.C. said Sunday evening that the bulk of the spilled coal has been removed from the ice on Mission Creek. Photos show some of the coal sediment did get into the water. CN said the majority of the coal remained on the railroad’s right of way.
The cars were carrying approximately 100 tons of coal each. Each car lost at least part of its load, according to Emergency Management B.C.
The track was closed completely Sunday evening so crews could remove the wrecked coal train cars near the creek. Additional sediment fencing and crews with hand tools were to be at the ready to deal with any coal that could be moved towards the water during the recovery of the wrecked cars.Crews also worked to divert some of the stream flow away from the coal that entered the water so it could be safely removed, according to Emergency Management B.C.
Completion of that work was not confirmed by press time Monday morning.
The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Environment and Climate Change Canada both collected water samples on the evening of Jan. 20. Water sampling and monitoring continued Sunday.
Results of the water monitoring and sampling were scheduled to be shared by CN Rail Monday after press time.
The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy was drafting an order to issue to CN Rail to ensure the proper steps are taken to mitigate any impacts. Two Environmental Emergency Response Officers (EEROs) with B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy travelled to the site Friday to assess the situation. One EERO remained onsite to monitor the start of cleanup Saturday.
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development and Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson toured the incident site Saturday afternoon. CN Rail also notified local First Nation communities.
Michelle Bryant-Gravelle of Ridley Terminals, which handles coal delivered by CN, responded to a request for comment in an email: “RTI does not have a comment as the train was not in our custody, we defer to CN to respond.”
A CN coal train also derailed on Dec. 8 near the Bulkley Canyon east of New Hazelton. CN said the 50 coal cars were empty in that incident.