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Health officials urge caution after ferry spills gear oil into Kootenay Lake

FILE PHOTO: The ferry heads to Crawford Bay after leaving dock from Balfour. Health officials are urging people in British Columbia’s Interior to stay clear of a shoreline along Kootenay Lake after a ferry spilled about 400 litres of oil into the water.

Doug Firby

Health officials are urging people in British Columbia's Interior to stay clear of a shoreline along Kootenay Lake after a ferry spilled about 400 litres of oil into the water.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment says the Kootenay Balfour Ferry was reported on Saturday to be leaking gear oil near the Balfour Terminal along the lake's western edge, northeast of Nelson.

Interior Health is cautioning people to avoid using a 400-metre stretch of shoreline next to the ferry terminal, saying the spill has affected the area and visitors should not go into the water.

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The ministry says the spill resulted in a rainbow sheen extending about 400 metres from the spill site.

No oiled wildlife has been reported.

It says the oil was recovered on Saturday, but pea-sized globules continue to leak from under the vessel and are being captured by booms.

The health authority says the spill does not appear to have affected drinking water intakes in the area.

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