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B.C. train derailment spills potash into Hunter Creek

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Dramatic video footage of a Canadian Pacific Railway train derailment last week, near Hunter Creek, west of Hope, British Columbia, shows piles of mangled rail cars that went off the tracks of a bridge about 80-ft high.

At least 60 train cars derailed on September 14. Approximately 20 of them spilled loads of potash into the water beneath the bridge. Potash is non-toxic for aquatic organisms and primarily consists of potassium chloride for use in fertilizer and the manufacturing of glass, soap and food products.

Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of potash, with the second largest reserve on the planet.

There were no injuries, fires, or dangerous goods involved in the derailment, officials said. Repair work on the bridge is underway.

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Hope Mayor Peter Robb told media that containment booms have been utilized where potash spilled into the creek.

“CN’s team of environmental experts as well as third party contractors are on location as potash entered an adjacent creek,” the rail company said in a statement to media. “The spill is contained and removal as well as remediation work continues. Water monitoring is ongoing both upstream and downstream and additional containment barriers have been put into place.”

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying an investigation team to the derailment site. No official cause for the accident has been determined at this time.

Fraser Valley Regional District is asking residents to exercise caution, as there will be extra trains running in both directions and different schedules on all tracks due to the derailment.

Trains resumed in the area of the derailment by Thursday morning, although train debris continues to be removed from the site.

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