Yakima, Wash. – Washington Department of Ecology and Okanogan County Department of Emergency Management are sampling the Similkameen River near Nighthawk as a precaution following a coal slurry spill upstream in Canada.
About 6,000 gallons of water containing coal dust from the Coalmont Energy mine near Princeton, B.C., spilled over the banks of a containment pond Saturday into the Tulameen River. The spill turned the river water black.
The spill into the Tulameen, which flows into the Similikameen River, occurred about 80 miles from the border town of Nighthawk, Wash. From Nighthawk the Similkameen flows to the Okanogan River near Oroville in Okanogan County.
Canadian authorities report the material appears to be settling out into the riverbed not far from the source of the spill.
Washington state officials do not anticipate the spill will harm state waters, but they plan to confirm that spill related contaminants are not a concern.
Washington and Canadian government officials are continuing to share information and remain in communication about the spill.