08/05/2013 07:37 EDT | Updated 10/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Lemon Creek Jet Fuel Spill Residents Get Support Centre


A centre for support services has been established for residents affected by a jet fuel spill in Lemon Creek in B.C.'s Slocan Valley, says the company overseeing the cleanup.

Showers, potable water and other disaster relief services are available at the elementary school in Winlaw, said Jonathan Lok, spokesperson for the Lemon Creek Response Team.

Lok says many of the residents have been using services scattered throughout the region for the last week and a half, but the new centre brings them all together.

"The impacts on life become somewhat cumulative, so by setting up this centre we're hoping it will be a chance for them to come in, congregate, receive a little bit of personal support and have a place to have those services and resources that they need until the situation is resolved," Lok said.

The clean-up is going as expected, but Lok says it's too soon to estimate how much longer it will take.

In late July, a tanker truck operated by Executive Flight Centre overturned, spilling approximately 35,000 litres of jet fuel.

Since then, homes in the Slocan Valley between Lemon Creek and the Brilliant Dam have been under a 'do not use' order for water.

Last week, the company warned residents about unauthorized offers to check air and water quality on properties around Lemon Creek.

So far, about 1,000 litres of contaminants have been skimmed off the water into a vacuum truck as crews continue to work on cleaning up the area.

While the smell of jet fuel is still quite strong, responders say they haven't found any detectable levels of explosive gas.

No dead wildlife have been found over the past few days, but responders are still finding dead fish in some channels.

People are still being warned not to drink, swim or irrigate from Lemon Creek, the Slocan River and a stretch of the Kootenay River.

Executive Flight Centre says it has enlisted a team from Kirkland, Wash., to conduct a Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique known as SCAT.

But some farmers and gardeners in the Slocan Valley say that's not enough and have asked for immediate testing to determine if the recent fuel spill has contaminated local crops.

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