Fishing forum > Cheakamus river warning (near Squamish)

Author Topic: Cheakamus river warning (near Squamish)

"...A train has derailed just north of Vancouver, spilling toxic sodium hydroxide into the Cheakamus River.

The spill has killed and injured fish and prompted officials to warn people to stay away from the river near Squamish..."



From Brian Klassen:

Early today, Aug 5th, CN Rail had a train derailment in the Cheakamus River Canyon near Chance Creek which resulted in 4 rail cars of Caustic Soda to enter the Cheakamus River. From reports I have heard but not verified, 151 000 litrers of Caustic Soda leaked from the cars and into the river. Fish kill is very large. I was informed of this around 1200 hrs and as I was in the field, I could not get there until 1300 hrs. There is much evidence of lots of dead and burnt juveniles in the river margins in the North Vancouver Outdoor School area of the river. Dead fish species I identified in a short 15 minute walk were steelhead, coho, chinook, char, sculpins and lampreys. I also found a adult chinook (20+ lbs) dead as well. Karl Halverson of the NVOS property also found dead Pink and Steelhead ( rainbow trout ) adults as well as numerous juveniles. He also took PH readings in the river and it went higher than 8 on his portable tester. That is very toxic. Many of the juveniles I observed were severly stressed and several had visable burn marks on them. Remember that this is about 15+ km downstream from where the spill happened. I suspect it's much worse farther upstream.

Caustic Soda is known as sodium hydroxide, used in pulp bleaching process. At 10% concentration it can burn the skin. Paper mills etc use it at 50% concentration or highe (pH 14). It causes severe corrosive damage.

Photos of the disasters can now be found on this page.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Updated August 6th, 2005

They are still looking for volunteers to document the fish disaster (probably 95% of the Checkamus fish are dead, not lethargic as claimed by some media), ie. collecting fish, recording them, etc. Volunteers are meeting at Tenderfoot Hatchery at 8:30am on Sunday August 7th, but you can come anytime after that also, there is plenty to do. Bring hip waders and gloves if you have them.

Direction to the hatchery: North, from Vancouver, on Highway 99. Look for hatchery signs just prior to the junction for Alice Lake Provincial Park. Turn left onto Squamish Valley Road. Travel four kilometres west to Cheekye, take the right fork (Paradise Valley Road). Four kilometres then turn right onto Midnight Way. Hatchery is at the south end of the road, approximately 1 kilometre.

perhaps it is time that toxic chemicals are prohibited from being transported on dangerous railway routes that pose environmental nightmares when a problem happens. This toxic crap should be trucked in much safer containers on highways. I say CN should have to compensate large amounts of $$$

Is there any word on the closures due to this? I heard something on the radio that the Squamish and all tributaries will be closed starting Monday, August 15. Is this true?

This must be devastating for Rio at River's Edge.

I booked my vacation for the last week of August. Was going to camp there and fish the Mamquam for a few days. Oh well, there's always the pinks in 2007.

yea the squamish river is now closed below the mouth of the cheakemus. including the mamquam, cheakamus, and howe sound.

Fishing forum > Cheakamus river warning (near Squamish)


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