Trans Mountain pipeline to resume operations after oil spill

Trans Mountain is responding to a release at the Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford

Trans Mountain is responding to a release at the Sumas Pump Station in Abbotsford

The line was shut down early Saturday when an alarm was triggered at the Sumas pump station.

Trans Mountain said Sunday that between 940 to 1,195 litres of crude spilled onto company-owned land adjacent to the Sumas Pump Station.

All COVID-19 protocols are being followed both at the Incident Command Post and at the site of the cleanup.

The company noted that it has initiated a "thorough" investigation into the incident, which it said is related to a fitting on a small diameter piece of pipe connected to the mainline.

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

"We think of these as one-time events, but when you think about the life of a pipeline and you add up all these spills into the marine ecosystem and land's really catastrophic for ecosystems", McCartney added.

Leah George-Wilson, chief of Tsleil-Waututh Nation, said spills from the Trans Mountain pipeline-which the Canadian government purchased from Kinder Morgan in 2018 despite widespread opposition-are "inevitable, can't be fully cleaned up, and have devastating effects".

The Transportation Safety Board says it has also deployed an investigator to the spill that occurred in a pump station.

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The hundreds of barrels of free-standing oil have been recovered and transported to an approved facility for disposal, according to the release. Monitoring has not identified any risk to the public or community.

Many Indigenous communities, environmental groups and the BC government oppose the expansion of the pipeline, which would triple the oil it carries from Alberta's tar sands to the Pacific coast. Trans Mountain has not released information on how much oil was spilled.

Trans Mountain shared photos of what the site looked like before and after the cleanup.

It said there was no pipeline expansion construction taking place nearby at the time of the spill.

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