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The difficult task of cleaning up after an oil spill begins in Lac-Megantic.

Oil spill cleanup underway in Quebec's Lac-Megantic area

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    Digital writers

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 5:28 PM -

    Officials are working to contain oil that has spilled into the area surrounding Lac-Megantic, the site of a devastating train derailment. The Quebec town is a lakeside community, typically known for its natural beauty.

    Lac-Megantic, a community about 250 kilometres east of Montreal, was ravaged after the unattended train rolled in last Saturday morning and exploded into balls of fire, killing at least 15 people and leaving nearly 35 more missing.

    The full extent of the environmental damage sustained during the explosion remains to be seen.

    Steven Guilbault, co-founder and senior director of the not-for-profit group Equiterre, told CTV Canada AM that "a lot remains unknown" about the type of oil that was being transported.

    While MMA Railway has confirmed the train was hauling shale, Guilbault told CTV that there are many types of shale and heavier forms are more difficult to clean up.

    Approximately 100,000 litres of oil were spilled into the Chaudière River and Lac-Megantic over the weekend.

    The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is still investigating the cause of the accident.

    With files from The Canadian Press and CTV

    Like a war zone: Death toll in Quebec train derailment climbs to 14

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