‘No immediate risk’ from 2.5-million-litre effluent spill from B.C. fibreboard plant

British Columbia’s Environment Ministry says a 2.5-million-litre effluent spill from a fibreboard factory in Quesnel doesn’t pose any immediate risk to public safety.

It says in a statement that Monday’s spill from the WestPine Medium-Density Fibreboard plant into a gravel pit has been assessed and no waterways have been affected.

Factory owner West Fraser says in a statement that a valve on a failed line between the factory and a pulp mill has been replaced, and the cleanup effort is complete.

West Fraser spokeswoman Joyce Wagenaar says in the statement that the effluent is within B.C.’s water quality safety levels, based on an initial evaluation. 

She says the effluent is “water softener backwash” that contains concentrations of calcium carbonate and chloride.

The ministry says an environmental emergency officer intends to visit the site this week to confirm West Fraser is taking appropriate action.

“Northern Health, and the First Nations Health Authority have been notified, and thus far, they have not raised any concerns regarding public health impacts, particularly related to drinking water,” the ministry statement said. 

“Currently, the ministry does not perceive an imminent or acute risk to the environment.”