Ashcroft British Columbia - Health officials have issued a water warning after a train derailed near Ashcroft this week dumping coal into the Thompson River.
The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) train was just outside the small community, located about 90 kilometres west of Kamloops, when 29 cars derailed Thursday afternoon.
No one was injured, but on Friday the Interior Health Authority confirmed a "substantial amount" of metallurgical coal, a product used in steel production, had spilled into the river.
"Local communities have been notified and the public is advised not to consume water from the river for a distance of 50 kilometres downstream from the spill site. This is precaution until further information is available on potential health risks," officials said in a statement.
Water quality sampling stations have been set up and test results are expected within four days.
The health authority warned that boiling river water will not remove the risk of chemical contamination, and urged anyone who drank the water and feels unwell to contact a doctor.
Coal is a non-regulated material and relatively non-toxic, Interior Health added.
"The most likely effect from ingesting coal would be an upset stomach," it said.
CP is expected to be finished clearing the crash site Friday evening.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has also sent investigators to the scene to assess what happened.