Major oil spill at Kinder Morgan B.C. facility
Published Thursday, May 7, 2009 5:38PM PDT Last Updated Monday, November 24, 2014 1:08PM PST
A major oil spill at a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C., has now been contained.
Fire and hazmat teams were called to the Burnaby Mountain facility after a contractor discovered a leak of almost 200,000 litres of crude oil seeping from one of the tanks around 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Kinder Morgan said the bulk of the oil released, which was the equivalent of about 1,200 barrels, was contained inside a tank liner, but some did enter the groundwater suppression system.
“The spill affected soil and groundwater in the vicinity of the tank bay, as well as sediment, water and wildlife in the tertiary retention area,” according to the energy giant’s Trans Mountain Pipeline website.
There were 20 ducks and 25 amphibians exposed to oil. All of the amphibians were treated and released, while “rehabilitation was not possible” for 16 of the ducks, the company said.
The entire spill was contained on Trans Mountain property, and none leaked into the surrounding residential area or nearby Burrard Inlet.
Witnesses still report a strong smell of gas in the air, but Kinder Morgan spokesman Andrew Galarnyk said it was only a so-called "nuisance odour" and not dangerous.
Emergency responders have covered the oil in foam to prevent it from spreading and three types of air monitoring are underway to deal with the resulting odours. Vacuum trucks are picking up any oil outside the tank liner.
Environment Canada has visited the facility and is assessing the potential environmental damage.
The cause of the leak is still under investigation. Kinder Morgan reports that contractors were working close to the area before the spill.
More than 230 cubic metres of oil erupted from a Kinder Morgan pipeline in the same area after a line was ruptured by a construction crew working in the municipality in July 2007, covering houses and seeping into nearby Burrard Inlet.
In March, the Transportation Safety Board ruled the accident was the fault of the company, not the city, because it was responsible for making sure the excavation crew knew exactly where the pipeline was before they were allowed to start digging.
There are still 26 outstanding lawsuits as a result of the accident, many of them from homeowners who had to be relocated for months while their homes were cleaned up.
Kinder Morgan is one of the largest pipeline and energy storage companies in North America, with more than 56,000 kilometres of oil pipelines. The company transports, stores and handles energy products including natural gas, refined petroleum, crude oil and ethanol.
Note: This story was updated in Nov. 2014 with additional details about the impact of the spill.