B.C. farming community concerned about fumes, livestock after smelly spill in ditch

Map of the spill site in Rolla, B.C., posted by the Peace Valley Regional District.

The Peace Valley Regional District says a strong odour from a ditch in the northeastern B.C. farming community of Rolla was due to the spill of a hydrocarbon from an unknown source.

The district says in a statement that it was contacted by the Environment Ministry on Saturday, when it was asked to help inform residents to avoid the area until mitigation work could be completed.

It says residents living near the spill site, with a sheen showing in the ditch, were to shelter in place if the smell became stronger in the community that is about 22 kilometres northeast of Dawson Creek.

The regional district says it has not received an update from the province since Saturday, and the provincial web page for spill incidents has not been updated since then.

The ministry's latest online update says one of its emergency response officers began investigating at the site on Saturday, a day after the spill was reported, and absorbent pads and an underflow dam are being used to contain the substance.

It says the downstream contamination and odour were still present and residents had informed the officer they were concerned about fumes, drinking water and the health of livestock.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2022.