Feb 2 Canadian diversified miner Teck Resources
Ltd is investigating another spill at its Trail
smelting complex in British Columbia, but said on Sunday it does
not expect the incident to have a long-term impact on fish or
Up to 25 cubic meters (883 cubic feet) of a solution
containing some sodium hydroxide was released into a sewer line
on Tuesday, Teck said in a statement. The sewer leads to a
treatment plant that discharges into the Columbia River.
Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive chemical that when
concentrated can burn and blister skin. The liquid released at
the Trail facility, home to one of the world's largest zinc and
lead smelting and refining complexes, was diluted with water.
"Initial information indicates that the sewage treatment
plant process may have diluted the high pH solution somewhat but
otherwise had a limited effect," Teck spokesman Richard Deane
said in an email on Sunday.
Deane said Teck is investigating the incident, and outside
experts will complete an environmental impact assessment.
In May 2011, Teck agreed to pay a C$325,000 penalty for two
chemical spills at Trail, including one that saw mercury
released into the Columbia River, which flows south into
A U.S. law firm filed a class action lawsuit against Teck in
December, alleging that pollution from Trail has caused health
problems in the Northport, Washington area. Lead plaintiff
Barbara Anderson has been diagnosed with breast cancer and
inflammatory bowel disease, the suit said.
Teck is still reviewing the complaint, but said a 2004 U.S.
government study found no link between rates of inflammatory
bowel disease in Northport and the company's Trail operations.
The miner said it has spent more than $1.5 billion to modernize
Trail, cutting the amount of metal released into the air and
water by 95 percent since the mid-1990s.