Industrial spill of frac sand in Bashaw prompts health warning

EDMONTON – After confirming the public may have been exposed to an industrial spill of frac sand, Alberta health officials have issued an advisory for residents.

The spill happened on June 17 at the Wild Rose Country Commodities site near the CN railway in the town of Bashaw.

Officials say it involved about 580 tonnes of frac sand.

Alberta Health Services says the spill has been cleaned up, but is asking any individuals who may have removed sand from the site to take the following precautions:

Dampen the sand by misting with water to control dusts and the transmission of airborne particulatesThe material should then be securely bagged and disposed of at a municipal landfillDo not inhale the dust which may be created during the handling of the productWear goggles and respiratory protectionWash clothing and footwear after handling materials; andKeep children away from the area while handling the material

Frac sand is a very fine crystalline silica (quartz) material and can easily be mistaken for sand that can be used in children’s sandboxes or playgrounds. AHS says direct exposure to it – or inhalation of it – can pose a health risk. However, it says limited, short-term exposure isn’t expected to cause serious health effects.

Anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the material should contact AHS Environmental Public Health at 1-877-360-6366.



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