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100,000 gallons of oil spill in Chaudière River

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Paulina Keber
Staff Writer

Monday, July 8, 2013, 11:51 AM -

This past Saturday Lac-Mégantic, Quebec experienced a horrific event when a train holding crude oil derailed as it was making its way through the downtown core. Oil began to leak from the tanker cars causing a series of explosions, killing five people and forcing over 2,000 people to evacuate their homes. To make matters worse, the oil leaking from the cars has begun to get into the lake and nearby waterways. 

When a tragedy like Lac-Mégantic occurs, it is the people that must be taken care of first. But the government must also take the necessary measures to try and limit the impact of the oil spill on the environment. 

Yves François Blanchet, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, has been present in Lac-Mégantic since Saturday. In a statement made Sunday morning, the government ensured that "all necessary manpower and equipment are being deployed to ensure the safety of the people and the protection of the environment.” 

In a tweet by Blanchet it was revealed that an estimated 100,000 gallons of oil has been spilled into the Chaudière River. Although the spill seems to have been recovered for the most part.

The Environmental Emergency team also arrived quickly to the scene following the reporting of the derailment. The mobile laboratory analysis (TAGA) was then quickly mobilized to carry out measurements and analyze the scene. 

Crews have responded quickly and began pumping the oil upon arrival to the scene. Three barrages have also been installed to detect and control any arrival of oil into the water. 

While actions are being taken to recover the oil, Minister Yves François Blanchet informed the public over twitter that there is still much work to be done.

Since several neighboring municipalities draw their water from the river, the Ministry teams have assessed the impact and have also offered their support to municipalities downstream of Lake Megantic in order to help preserve the water supply. 

Regarding the smoke that emerged from the fire, atmospheric measurements are being performed to identify if there are any toxic substances present in the air. There are also concerns about the smoke carrying to surrounded populated areas. 


The atmospheric measurements will also be used to assess whether specific measures should be taken to avoid the transportation of crude oil through populated areas. The overall safety of transporting oil products has also been brought to question following this incident. Minister Blanchet ensures that all measures are being taken to limit the impact on the population and on the environment. Nevertheless, this event has devastated the community and damaged the wildlife in the surrounding area.

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