Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Insurer Reports 'High Volume' of Claims after Acid Spills on B.C. Highway

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Insurer Reports 'High Volume' of Claims after Acid Spills on B.C. Highway

Article excerpt

Acid spills along B.C. highway prompts 3,000 claims

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TRAIL, B.C. - Thousands of insurance claims have been made in the wake of two acid spills along a southeastern British Columbia highway earlier this year that damaged vehicles.

Insurance Corporation of B.C. spokeswoman Lindsay Wilkins said vehicle claims related to the April 10 and May 23 spills of sulphuric acid in Trail have topped 3,000, although fewer are now showing exposure to acid.

"These are complex claims that require extra time to process as each vehicle may have been exposed to varying degrees of sulphuric acid, affecting different parts and components of the vehicle," she said in an email statement.

A technical expert has been retained to determine the level of contamination of each vehicle and a team of 30 is now dedicated to processing the claims, which Wilkins said are "complex."

Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. said in a release posted on its website that the separate spills, one amounting to about 220 litres and the other of about 70 litres, occurred along as much as 16 kilometres of a busy commuter route through Trail.

The spills happened after Teck sold the acid from its Trail smelter and the buyer, International Raw Materials Ltd., contracted to move the corrosive liquid by truck to two other locations in the city.

The truck leaked the acid intermittently along the route, with the largest puddles at intersections where it stopped and started, said Trail Mayor Mike Martin in a telephone interview.

"I've seen numbers in the range of 15 to 20,000 thousand vehicles per day that would be passing along that route in both directions," he said, adding the number of southbound vehicles that could have splashed through the acid "would have been considerable."

Two vehicles belonging to the Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue were among those damaged.

"Essentially, a brand new fire engine worth probably in the order of around $800,000 as well as a command vehicle," said Martin.

Wilkins said the fire truck was a loss but the corporation was still determining if some parts from the truck could be saved. …

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