Department of Ecology News Release - May 29, 2008 (updated 08/26/08)
SPOKANE – The Department of Ecology (Ecology) is monitoring potential human and environmental health effects after the Teck Cominco Ltd. lead and zinc refinery in Trail, British Columbia, released an estimated 2,100 pounds (940 kilograms) of lead contained in about 1,100 gallons (4,000 liters) of hydrofluoric acid solution into the Columbia River on May 28.
Ecology is working with British Columbia and other Washington state and local agencies to determine possible effects on public health and the environment from the spill. It is unlikely any groundwater wells will be affected because the spill was diluted in the spring high-flow conditions.
“Historically, Washington’s environment has paid the price for pollution released from this facility. We are deeply concerned that this spill could add to that unfortunate legacy,” said Ecology Director Jay Manning. “Teck Cominco should use every available resource to negate the adverse environmental effects from this spill. We will do what we can to minimize the spill’s impact here in Washington to protect Lake Roosevelt and the people who live in the area.”
The spill occurred after a pipe failed at the Teck Cominco facility, located about 12 miles north of the Washington border, and continued for more than four hours starting at about 5 p.m. yesterday. State and local officials did not receive notification of the incident until just before midnight Wednesday.
The Teck Cominco facility has been shut down since about 10 p.m. yesterday to make repairs.
Investigators from British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment have been working with the company compiling data since yesterday and are in transit to the release site to determine the environmental effects of the release material as well as clarifying potential cleanup strategies.
Ecology is working with British Columbia to help:
British Columbia investigators are awaiting results of water sampling near Wenata, British Columbia, near the Washington border, and Ecology investigators are taking samples near the Canadian border to help determine the full extent of spill.
Manning expressed appreciation for British Columbia's Ministry of Environment and its cooperation with Ecology.
Curt Hart, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Cathy Cochrane, 509-329-3433 (office), cell, 509-953-8357 (email@example.com)
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