NEWS
06/14/2020 22:54 EDT

Trans Mountain Pipeline Spill In B.C. Blamed On Pipe Fitting

It happened at the Sumas pump station in Abbotsford, B.C.

Darryl Dyck/CANADIAN PRESS
Workers wearing respirators are seen at the site of a crude oil spill at a Trans Mountain pipeline pump station in Abbotsford, B.C. on June 14, 2020.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Trans Mountain estimates as much as 1,195 barrels, or 190,000 litres, of light crude spilled from its pipeline pumping station in Abbotsford, B.C.

While an investigation is ongoing, the Crown-owned company said in a statement the cause of the spill appears to be related to a fitting on a one-inch, or 2.5-centimetre, piece of pipe.

The statement said the pipeline was expected to restart Sunday after all safety protocols were completed.

It said the spill was fully contained on Trans Mountain property, the free-standing oil has been recovered and it will be disposed of at an approved facility.

4th time in 15 years

Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver said the spill happened just south of a cultural and burial ground of great significance to their people.

He said in a statement Sunday that it’s the fourth time in 15 years that there has been a spill from the pipeline on their land.

“Our main concern is for the clean-up of this spill and preventing further impacts to our territory. We need to have our monitors on the ground immediately.”

Trans Mountain said the site has permanent air and groundwater monitoring in place there’s no indication of a risk to the public or community.

“An Incident Command Post remains active and the company continues to work with local authorities, area Indigenous groups and regulators, including the Canada Energy Regulator, Transportation Safety Board and B.C. Ministry of Environment, in the oversight and cleanup of this incident,” the company said in a statement. 

Jeremy Hainsworth/ASSOCIATED PRESS
This May 3, 2018 photo shows the Kirkeholmen oil tanker anchored outside the Kinder Morgan Inc. Westridge oil terminal in Vancouver at the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline that begins in northern Alberta. A project to expand the pipeline would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline to ship oil.

A spokesman for Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said the department is “monitoring the situation closely.”

The pipeline was shut early Saturday when an alarm was received about the spill at the station in the B.C.’s Fraser Valley, not far from the U.S. border.

The pipeline moves about 300,000 barrels of crude a day between Alberta and B.C.’s waterfront terminal near Vancouver.

The federal government approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline last June that would see the crude capacity triple.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2020.

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