Trans Mountain Pipeline Briefly Shut Down Following Oil Spill
Sana Kazilbash posted on June 16, 2020 |
Cleanup is underway after 150,000 litres of oil was spilled at a pump station in British Columbia.

Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline was shut down over the weekend after an oil spill leaked 940 to 1,195 barrels of light crude oil at the Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford, British Columbia. After a completion of safety protocols, the pipeline company resumed operations at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.

A cleanup is currently taking place, and the oil spill is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). According to a statement by Trans Mountain, the accident appears to have been caused by a fitting on a small, 1-inch diameter piece of pipe connected to the mainline.

Workers recovering oil after a spill in Abbotsford, B.C. (Picture courtesy of The Abbotsford News.)
Workers recovering oil after a spill in Abbotsford, B.C. (Picture courtesy of The Abbotsford News.)

Unlike the Russian oil spill on May 29, the discharged oil has been fully contained at the pump station. Trans Mountain has stated that all free-standing oil has been recovered and will be disposed of at an approved facility. The incident poses no threat to the environment, thus far. 

The Trans Mountain pipeline delivers around 300,000 barrels of crude oil and refined products every day through 1,150 kilometres (roughly, 714 miles) of pipeline in Alberta and British Columbia, and 111 kilometres (70 miles) of pipeline in the Washington state. Although the 150,000-litre oil spill is a comparatively minor one, it comes at a sensitive time for Trans Mountain. The pipeline company has been working on a planned expansion that would triple its capacity of crude oil, amidst opposition from residents who say that the pipeline is a threat to the environment. It appears to be the fourth time in 15 years that the pipeline has caused a spill in the area.

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