Crews work at the site of a Jan. 1, 2020, Burlington Northern Santa Fe derailment east of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The lead locomotive, seen mostly submerged on Jan. 2, on a 113-car train entered the Kootenay River over 50 km south of Creston, B.C., carrying 7,200 litres of diesel fuel. (Boundary County Emergency Management)

Crews work at the site of a Jan. 1, 2020, Burlington Northern Santa Fe derailment east of Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The lead locomotive, seen mostly submerged on Jan. 2, on a 113-car train entered the Kootenay River over 50 km south of Creston, B.C., carrying 7,200 litres of diesel fuel. (Boundary County Emergency Management)

UPDATE: Diesel in Kootenay River contained 50 km upstream of U.S.-Canada border

Locomotive fuel in Kootenay River contained east of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, south of Creston

Diesel leaking into the Kootenay River from a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) locomotive that derailed Jan. 1 was contained before it travelled downstream to Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

“We got containment booms down well before the diesel reached that point,” Andrew O’Neel, Boundary County emergency management public information officer, told the Advance on Jan. 4.

The Kootenay River, which flows west into Idaho from Montana, eventually crosses the border into Canada, about 43 kilometres downstream from Bonners Ferry.

BNSF has been working on cleanup and reclamation in close co-ordination with representatives from Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About 820 metres of containment booms were put in place in the 48 hours following the incident, with another 1,300 metres added today to environmentally sensitive areas identified by the DEQ and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.

A rockslide caused the derailment at 10 p.m. MST Jan. 1 about 16 kilometres east of Bonners Ferry. Three locomotives and six cars of a 113-car BNSF train derailed, with the lead locomotive ending up in the Kootenay River. Emergency crews had three containment booms in place before 3 a.m. Jan. 2.

“The firefighters began deploying booms in the assumption that it would be leaking diesel,” said O’Neel.

He added that some diesel has accumulated on the surface between the accident scene and the containment boom, which is catching the diesel — the engine carried about 7,200 litres — that is leaking from the partially submerged locomotive before it reaches Bonners Ferry. BNSF engineers are still assessing the situation and developing a recovery plan for the locomotive.

As a precaution, water downstream of the booms has been sent to a Spokane, Wash., lab for quality testing. The results should be known by Jan. 8.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Creston Valley Hospital. Photo: Aaron Hemens
‘Wear your mask, because it’s the best shot we’ve got’: Creston Valley Hospital’s Chief of Staff

“Hard things are much easier to do if we stay connected. This virus is doing its very best to undermine our unity. Remember, we are fighting a virus, not each other,” writes Dr. Nerine Kleinhans

A man wearing a face-mask walks past protestors at a rally against COVID-19 health measures in Creston on Nov. 28. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston residents rally against COVID-19 health measures

More than 100 community members of all ages were in attendance, and many were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

This picture of Taghum resident Marc Savard was taken in February when he first spoke to the Nelson Star and little was known about the virus that had shut him out of his job in Wuhan, China. Photo: Tyler Harper
VIDEO: Once an outlier, Nelson man’s COVID-19 experience now typical

Savard was living in Wuhan, China, when the pandemic began

A still frame from “Wheels”. Submitted by Mark Wolfe
Creston short film wins festival award

“Wheels” was selected as one of the recipients of a merit award for the Canada Shorts film festival

One of seven kitties rescued from a property east of Grand Forks Friday, Nov. 27. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks women rescue sick kitties from rural property

Kimberly Feeny and Lisa Valenta spent their Friday nursing seven cats rescued east of the city

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo:
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Urban wildlife Part VI: The East Kootenay birds of autumn

The work of local photographers printed in the pages of the East Kootenay Advertiser throughout 2020. Part VI.

Most Read