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Effluent spill at West Fraser plant in Quesnel

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (From news reports) -- A West Fraser Timber-owned facility in Quesnel is the site of a major environmental incident.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment was on-scene April 15 at the WestPine MDF (medium-density fibreboard) plant on Carradice Road to investigate.

The information so far is that a substantial amount of effluent was discharged into the open. The nearby Fraser River was not impacted, according to investigators.

"The ministry was notified of a spill incident that occurred at the WestPine MDF facility on April 15 at 4:30pm," said a spokesperson from the provincial government.

The initial report is that "2.5-million litres of effluent spilled into a gravel pit when a valve was compromised causing a leak. No waterways are suspected to be impacted at this time."

There is no description thus far on what comprised the effluent. The chemical composition is part of the investigation, said the spokesperson.

WestPine MDF's staff have contracted a company to remediate the site and remove the effluent.

"All processed effluent has been diverted to offsite storage," said the ministry spokesperson. "Ministry staff are monitoring the cleanup and working with the company to ensure the appropriate measures are being undertaken to protect the environment."

The company has been contacted for comment and has not yet responded.

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