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Canadian smelter leaks sodium hydroxide solution

Feb. 2, 2014 at 6:57 PM

TRAIL, British Columbia, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Up to 6,600 gallons of sodium hydroxide solution spilled from a Canadian smelter into a sewer line, eventually reaching the Columbia River, officials say.

Between 3,170 and 6,600 gallons of the chemical solution spilled from a Teck Resources smelter near Trail, British Columbia, Tuesday, flowing into a sewer line leading to a regional sewage plant that discharges into the Columbia River, which travels into the United States on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

"Our initial information indicates that the sewage treatment plant process would have a limited effect on that solution as it passed through the plant and eventually discharged into the Columbia River," Teck spokesman Richard Deane said.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday the company said it doesn't expect any long-term impact on the river's ecosystem but was investigating how the chemical mixture could have drained into the sewer.

"We are going to be having a third-party environmental impact assessment conducted to confirm whether there will be any impact as a result of this incident," Deane said.

The Environment Ministry, the Provincial Emergency Program and Environment Canada were notified, he said.

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