UPDATE: Canoe Forest Products has confirmed the water discharge occurred at the company’s plywood plant with the initial problem being a since repaired plumbing leak.
The leak caused water to accumulate in the glue room pit.
It was pumped to outside collection vats where it appears some of the potentially contaminated water escaped.
“We take responsibility for this accident and we will work with the proper agencies to ensure impacts are minimized,” says CFP operations manager Marcello Angelozzi in a news release.
The company claims reports that thousands of litres reached the lake are inaccurate.
“There is no longer any water being discharged from the plant. We are now working with provincial and federal agencies to determine what, if any, impacts there are as a result of this incident,” says Angelozzi.
The company says it regrets any impacts on the people of Salmon Arm, adding the situation is being closely monitored.
UPDATE: The City of Salmon Arm will resume using its Shuswap Lake water intake.
Interior Health says there is virtually no risk to the health of residents given the distance of the intake from the spill site.
However, people with private water sources that draw from the lake in the affected area are still advised to not use the water.
And any recreational use, including boating and fishing, should be avoided from 100 metres off the log booms in the mill vicinity until testing confirms there’s no risk to public health.
SALMON ARM, B.C. —; Thousands of litres of potentially contaminated run-off water has seeped into Shuswap Lake.
PSA: #Shuswap Lake Spill: For precaution, avoid water use north-east of Canoe #SalmonArm FMI https://t.co/0gtxRTrToC
— Interior Health (@Interior_Health) March 16, 2016
The City of Salmon Arm, which uses the lake as a water source, is being forced to turn to alternate sources. Any residents who have private water sources that draw from Shuswap Lake are also being asked to not use the water.
The Ministry of Environment and Interior Health (IH) are investigating the reported spill, which happened near the shoreline of Canoe Forest Products northeast of the community of Canoe.
“It is estimated that several thousands of litres of run-off water containing some glue and fuel products was washed into the lake,” according to an Interior Health news release.
IH is also asking the public to avoid recreational activities on the lake (such as swimming, boating and fishing) until it’s confirmed the water is safe for use.