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14th January 2017
Thompson River coal spill prompts health warning

A CP Rail train carrying coal derailed on Thursday, sending the rock into the river

CBC News Posted: Jan 13, 2017 6:14 PM PT Last Updated: Jan 13, 2017 6:14 PM PT

Interior Health is warning residents to avoid drinking water from the Thompson River after a train derailed near Ashcroft, B.C. on Thursday, spilling what the health authority calls a "substantial" amount of fine-ground metallurgical coal into the water.

The cars came to a stop on the riverbank, but the railway company confirmed that the cars' contents spilled into the water.

Coal 'relatively' non-toxic: health authority

Interior Health, along with the Ministry of Environment, is warning residents not to drink water from the river for at least 50 kilometres from the crash site as a precaution.

Boiling the water won't remove the risk of chemical contamination, according to a news release. Although coal is relatively non-toxic, Interior Health warned that ingesting it would likely cause an upset stomach.

The water quality at and around the spill site is currently being tested. The results are expected over the next few days.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is still investigating to determine the cause of the derailment.