Acid spill results in more than 4,400 claims with more coming in

By CRM staff

Toronto, Ontario – April 9, 2019 – One year after the sulphuric acid spill that trailed through a highway in British Columbia and insurers are still dealing with claims.

Teck Trail Operations sells sulphuric acid to International Raw Materials (IRM), which contracts with a transportation provider to transport the acid. Sulphuric acid is used in numerous applications including pulp mills, mining, water treatment and for fertilizer production.

Two incidents involving spills of sulphuric acid during transport by Westcan Bulk Transport occurred on April 10 and May 23, 2018, in Trail, B.C.

Sulphuric acid can result in corrosion to the undercarriage of a vehicle including the aluminum parts, brake lines, and brake systems.

More than 4,400 claims have been submitted to ICBC to date. In total, about 10 percent of the vehicles are write-offs because of the acidic contamination.

On top of ICBC’s claims a private insurer, Family Insurance, has come forward and claimed that more than 200 vehicles have been written off due to the spills.

“Family Insurance received more than 600 claims as a result of the Trail acid spills,” chief operating officer Graham Doerr told the Trail Times. “We have written off about one vehicle for every three claims received.”

A representative from the private insurer told the Trail Times, they were still receiving claims earlier this year. ICBC spokesperson Lindsay Wilkins also told the Trail Times the minimal number of claims are still coming in.

In October the crown insurer filed a civil claim against Teck Metals, Teck Resources, International Raw Materials, Westcan, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the City of Trail, two drivers and the provincial government.

ICBC is seeking costs and damages.

According to CTV News Teck responded to the suit and stated that ICBC was not obligated to compensate the drivers for their damaged vehicles under comprehensive or collision insurance and any such payment was voluntary. Westcan responded and said, RCMP should have drawn away traffic from the spill. The city isn’t responsible for road maintenance.

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