The B.CA. government has announced it will pay more than $4 billion to cover the costs of cleaning up a chemical spill that killed one person and contaminated two more in the southern province.
A federal-provincial task force is investigating the disaster that killed two people and contaminated a third.
It is the first major environmental spill to occur in British Columbia since the construction of the dam that supplied the province with drinking water.
The cleanup plan includes paying for about $300 million in property damage and $1.3 billion in compensation for affected residents, according to a release Monday.
A total of about 1.3 million cubic metres of chemical was spilled into the Pacific Ocean near a remote community on Sept. 29.
That spill was the largest chemical spill in Canada’s history, but has yet to be fully assessed by a federal-state commission and provincial-province panel.
More than a week later, a second spill occurred on the same shore.
As of late Monday, about $1 billion had been paid to affected communities, according the release.
For more than a year, the B.CEs largest employer, the province’s largest chemical company, has been operating in limbo after the government suspended the company’s operations and ordered it to pay more for cleanup.
In a letter to the province in February, the company said it needed to pay $1,600 per household, but it did not say how much.
The company has said the delay was due to the “complex and complex” nature of the case.
The government will pay $400 per household for the families of those killed in the Sept. 30 spill, and another $1 per household in the immediate area, the release said.
It did not provide a total amount of compensation for those who are still waiting for compensation.
After the first spill, the provincial government asked the company to pay up to $250 million for those families and the immediate region.
The province has said it has identified several communities that are “potentially impacted” and has asked the federal government to help provide relief to those affected.
At least $1 million of that money will be used to cover cleanup costs in the affected communities.
“This funding will cover the cost of cleaning contaminated water, providing food and shelter, and assisting the affected residents and their families,” the release stated.
The B.COs own company, Caltex, has said its business operations are unaffected by the spill.
Caltex, which is based in Burnaby, has confirmed that it is “actively working to recover from the spill.”
Caltex has been working to restore business as usual and has hired additional workers to support its operations.