CLEARWATER, B.C. — Weekend travellers ended up camping on the highway rather than at the campground yesterday, after an accident on a major B.C. highway caused a dangerous acid spill, halting traffic for hours.
According to a report from The Province, a late-morning collision on Sunday between a tanker and minivan on Highway 5 north of Clearwater caused anywhere from 3,785 to 7,570 litres of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid to be spewed from the ruptured tanker. The acids are typically used in pulp mills and highly toxic, according to the report, prompting a hazardous materials team and provincial environment ministry and emergency program officials to arrive on scene to contain the spill. The Province noted that there is a concern about soil contamination surrounding the site, but that no rivers or underground pipelines have been affected.
Vehicles were lined up for hours in the afternoon, with some cars eventually setting up camp by the side of the road by evening. As of this morning, drivebc.ca, which gives up-to-date information on the province’s highways, did not note any closures on Highway 5 relating to the spill.
The tractor unit driver was not injured in the crash, while the minivan’s two occupants escaped with minor and more serious injuries, though none were life-threatening.
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