Canadian oil spill concerns


Summary

Burnaby City's cleanup crews were on the scene shortly after the spill, which was contained half an hour after a road crew accidentally ruptured the TransMountain pipeline.

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The City's mayor said the spill was threatening wildlife species.

The damage was still being assessed, and it is still unclear how much oil was spilled and where exactly it went, Mayor Derek Corrigan said.

"It's a big improvement since yesterday. I mean oil was going down hill into the inlet, but crews have been cleaning up diligently," he said.

"That said, it's still an environmental disaster and we're very concerned about how this will impact the area."

Oil mess

The oil spill spewed a geyser that blackened lawns, greased the roadway and left a slick on Burrard Inlet's waters.

A dozen homes were severely damaged, and another 92 homes were placed on a voluntary evacuation list.

The pipeline is owned by Kinder Morgan Canada and carries crude oil from Edmonton, in the neighbouring province of Alberta, to the Burnaby area.

Mayor Corrigan said today that the city had hired a private contractor, Cusano Contracting, to do roadwork that included the installation of storm sewers.

An investigation was underway to find out who was at fault.

Counting the cost

British Columbia law requires that companies that cause such damage are responsible for assuming the clean-up costs.

"We're talking millions of dollars here," Mr Corrigan said.

Mr Corrigan said Kinder Morgan provided the city with drawings showing the location of the pipeline.

"The contractor followed instructions from Kinder Morgan but something went wrong in that process," he said.

"Either the line was misidentified on the map or the construction crew didn't properly identify the location of the line."

Cusano did not immediately return calls.

Philippe Reicher, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan Canada, said his company was not discussing the matter, but would issue a press release with details of the accident.

Environmental danger

City crews were able to pump a lot of the oil out of the storm water system before it got into Burrard Inlet, but Corrigan said the area needed a lot of work to stem long-term environmental damage.

The inlet area is home to several wildlife species that could face significant damage to their habitat and well-being.

There is a marshy area across from the spill where the oil seems to be entering the ocean, Living Oceans Society spokeswoman Oonagh O'Conner said.

"It stays in the environment for a long time," she said.

"It can still wreak havoc on fish, especially larvae and eggs, years after it hits the ocean."

Crude oil was toxic, she said, and in the longer term it was a carcinogen. Because the area was marshy, it would not be cleansed by the way waves would clean a rocky ocean shoreline.


Burnaby City's cleanup crews were on the scene shortly after the spill, which was contained half an hour after a road crew accidentally ruptured the TransMountain pipeline.

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The City's mayor said the spill was threatening wildlife species.

The damage was still being assessed, and it is still unclear how much oil was spilled and where exactly it went, Mayor Derek Corrigan said.

"It's a big improvement since yesterday. I mean oil was going down hill into the inlet, but crews have been cleaning up diligently," he said.

"That said, it's still an environmental disaster and we're very concerned about how this will impact the area."

Oil mess

The oil spill spewed a geyser that blackened lawns, greased the roadway and left a slick on Burrard Inlet's waters.

A dozen homes were severely damaged, and another 92 homes were placed on a voluntary evacuation list.

The pipeline is owned by Kinder Morgan Canada and carries crude oil from Edmonton, in the neighbouring province of Alberta, to the Burnaby area.

Mayor Corrigan said today that the city had hired a private contractor, Cusano Contracting, to do roadwork that included the installation of storm sewers.

An investigation was underway to find out who was at fault.

Counting the cost

British Columbia law requires that companies that cause such damage are responsible for assuming the clean-up costs.

"We're talking millions of dollars here," Mr Corrigan said.

Mr Corrigan said Kinder Morgan provided the city with drawings showing the location of the pipeline.

"The contractor followed instructions from Kinder Morgan but something went wrong in that process," he said.

"Either the line was misidentified on the map or the construction crew didn't properly identify the location of the line."

Cusano did not immediately return calls.

Philippe Reicher, a spokesman for Kinder Morgan Canada, said his company was not discussing the matter, but would issue a press release with details of the accident.

Environmental danger

City crews were able to pump a lot of the oil out of the storm water system before it got into Burrard Inlet, but Corrigan said the area needed a lot of work to stem long-term environmental damage.

The inlet area is home to several wildlife species that could face significant damage to their habitat and well-being.

There is a marshy area across from the spill where the oil seems to be entering the ocean, Living Oceans Society spokeswoman Oonagh O'Conner said.

"It stays in the environment for a long time," she said.

"It can still wreak havoc on fish, especially larvae and eggs, years after it hits the ocean."

Crude oil was toxic, she said, and in the longer term it was a carcinogen. Because the area was marshy, it would not be cleansed by the way waves would clean a rocky ocean shoreline.