Lot holding some of the vehicles written off from acid spills, August 2018. (Sheri Regnier/Trail Times)

Lot holding some of the vehicles written off from acid spills, August 2018. (Sheri Regnier/Trail Times)

Court action in Trail acid spills may take years

B.C. court case involves a number of defendants and a number of plaintiffs

With more than one plaintiff trying to recoup huge financial losses from a number of litigants linked to the Trail acid spills – an actual court date is likely years away.

Previous: One year later after acid spills, claims still trickling in

Previous: Timeline on Trail acid spills

One of the major players hit with extraordinary damages is, of course, ICBC.

The B.C. insurer confirmed there is no trial date set. Further, the corporation could not even provide a timeline of when the case will roll before a judge in the B.C. Supreme Court.

“ICBC commenced a legal action against a number of defendants, and a number of other insurers have commenced legal actions against those defendants as well,” ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins told the Trail Times.

‘These actions will likely be heard together,” she said.

“With so many parties involved, it’s not possible for us to provide a timeline estimation.”

Approximately 4,700 claims related to the Trail acid spills have been filed with ICBC to date.

Ten per cent of claims were written off, meaning roughly 470 vehicles were junked after an ICBC inspection deemed them unsafe due to sulphuric acid contamination.

Wilkins said ICBC has retained the vehicles “in order for the defendants to have the ability to inspect them.”

Family Insurance is another company greatly impacted by the spills.

Graham Doerr, chief operating officer, confirmed they received more than 600 claims and wrote off approximately 200 vehicles – or one in three – due to sulphuric acid contamination.

“This was a significant event for our business,” he said.

Doerr also stated that the written-off vehicles were being held in storage, and that the management of this file lies with the company’s National Claims Team.

The Trail Times contacted Doerr, who is Vancouver-based, for an update on legal proceedings.

A reply was not available by press time.

ICBC filed and served a Notice of Civil Claim to multiple “negligent parties” in October 2018.

Collectively identified as “Corporate Defendants” are three companies and two individuals.

Those are Westcan Bulk Transport, the carrier at the time of the incidents plus two of their commercial truck drivers, as well as International Raw Materials (IRM), and “Teck.”

IRM is the American company that buys sulphuric acid, a by-product resulting from smelting at Teck Trail Operations, and ships it out of the region via highway or railway.

The City of Trail and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, collectively named as the “Municipal Defendants,” are also included in the lawsuit.

As well, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Ministry of Environment, are named and identified as “Crown Defendants.”

The Times previously contacted the regional district, City of Trail, Teck and IRM for comment regarding the lawsuit. With legal proceedings underway, all four defendants declined to comment.

The two reported acid spills occurred in the spring of 2018.

According to a joint statement from IRM and Teck, approximately 220 litres of sulphuric acid was spilled between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on April 10, and 70 litres the evening of May 23.

In both cases, the companies have reported that road contamination started at the Rossland Avenue intersection, or the junction of Highway 3B and Highway 22. The first spill reportedly stretched 16-kilometres (km) through Trail and out to the train offload site in Waneta. The May spill is reported to have extended six km, ending near Glenmerry.

In the past year, sulphuric acid transportation operations from Teck Trail have changed.

A new company, Trimac Transportation, has been contracted to carry the caustic fluid from the Trail smelter to railcars in Waneta. Additionally, IRM reports four designated trailers, specifically designed for Trail operations, are being used.

“IRM is directly operating the Waneta-based transload station,” IRM spokesperson Carrie Gaines said. “We have hired local operators and positioned managers at the site to oversee day-to-day business.”



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
November temperatures warmer than average in Kelowna

Kelowna won’t see much in the way of rain or snow until around Dec. 10

A rendering of the proposed development at the intersection of Leon Avenue and Water Street. (Contributed)
Massive Leon Ave development coming back to Kelowna council

The towers would stand at 24, 28 and 42 storeys, the largest of which would be the tallest building in the city

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

The Stuart Park ice rink in January 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna’s Stuart Park outdoor ice rink opening delayed

Recent provincial health orders have again shifted the city’s strategy regarding the popular rink

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Rutland IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

After twice have their wedding plans altered due to COVID-19 restrictions, Suzanne Schmidt and Andrew Sturgess got married in Bakerview Park last weekend, with the only guests being their two daughters, Zoey (foreground) and Tessa. (Darren Ripka photo)
From New Zealand to Bakerview Park, B.C. couple weds in ‘backyard’

Twice scaled-down wedding ‘proof that good things still happen during bad times’

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

Most Read