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Pipeline Rupture Coats Vancouver Suburb in Black Slick, Prompting Evacuations

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User ID: 229752
07/24/2007 11:15 PM
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Pipeline Rupture Coats Vancouver Suburb in Black Slick, Prompting Evacuations
BURNABY, B.C. (CP) - Thick, black oil dripped from lampposts, splattered across suburban lawns and crept into the Burrard Inlet after a geyser of crude spewed from a burst pipeline Tuesday.

Work crews accidentally ripped into the TransMountain pipeline, causing the oil to "explode" from the ground, as one witness put it, and burble up from manholes, pouring down streets toward the ocean.

Officials knocked on about 100 doors to tell residents they may have to evacuate. As of late Tuesday afternoon, fewer than two dozen were considering leaving.

One man said his red Honda suddenly became chocolate brown as he was driving.

"I don't know where it came from, it just hit the vehicle and there's oil all over. I had to stop, I couldn't see," said the man, who didn't want to give his name.

The growing slick in Burrard Inlet prompted Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan to assure residents the city will take "urgent action" to protect the Vancouver Port and Stanley Park.

Both sites are about 17 kilometres down the inlet toward the ocean from the oil spill, but it was unclear whether tides could hasten the spill's spread.

However, Susan Rae, a public information officer with the City of Burnaby, said the spill in the inlet was quickly contained and a company contracted for the work.

"There's between three and four vessels down in the Barnett Beach area and also in the Burrard Inlet, and they have contained any spill that's come down the side of the hill," said Rae.

Peat moss and sand were being used to sop up the oil from neighbourhood streets and the sanitary and storm sewers were going to be flushed, she said.

However, an earth sciences professor at nearby Simon Fraser University in Burnaby said cleaning up may not be so easy.

Dirk Kirste said crude oil will contaminate the soil, stick to plants and if it gets to the ground water system, it could affect people's gardens.

Stephen Harris of of the Fraser Health Authority said Tuesday that tests showed drinking water was not contaminated.

The oil could get built up on shore by the waves and the shore would have to be cleaned, said Kirste, an environmental geochemist.

It's hard to say how much oil would be needed to cause significant damage, but the oil was reportedly gushing for 25 minutes.

"If there's creek beds in the area that it can access, it'll flow down through the creek beds, it'll move, obviously across yards and attach itself on to plants and fences and get into the soil," said Kirste. Cleanup requires all the soil to be dug up and removed.

"There's no remediation process you can use to get rid of the oil."

Kirste noted oil can have different contaminants, including high concentrations of trace metals depending on how processed it is, he said.

A heavy sickening odour hung in the air hours after the rupture.

The pipeline, owned by Kinder Morgan Canada. was punctured by a piece of excavating equipment being used by city crews to upgrade a sewer.

The resulting geyser shot 12 metres into the air, Rae said.

The TransMountain pipeline carries crude oil from Edmonton to the Burnaby area, where it is stored before being piped onto ocean tankers for distribution.

The company was assuming the cost of the cleanup until it can be determined who is liable for the mess.

Company crews from across the province and Alberta were being called in to do the work.

Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said survey maps of the pipeline are accurate.

"We had inspectors on site here as recently as a couple days ago ensuring the work was being done appropriately and within the right distance from our pipeline."

Burnaby fire officials, a hazardous materials team and Environment Ministry officials were on the scene.

Kathleen Dean lives half a block away from the rupture.

"All I can see is fire trucks, police cars, environmental people, lots of different authorities from all over the place are down there," Dean said.

She said she can't get close to the area to see any effects of the oil rupture.

"They've got it pretty well all sealed off so that you cannot go down there."

Brian Sterling, who lives down the street from the pipeline rupture, said he ran out to see what was happening when he heard sirens blaring.

"I thought there was a holdup going on at the gas station because I heard sirens and sirens and siren after siren and I thought, 'What the hell's going on?' "

A look at Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline which was ruptured Tuesday by a work crew flooding a neighbourhood with crude oil:

Age: In operation since 1953

Route: Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., via Kamloops, B.C., and Sumas, Wash., to refineries in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.

What it ships: Crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Length: 1,150 kilometres

Size: 610 millimetres for most of its length; Two 80 km segments of 762 mm pipe.

Current capacity: 225,000 barrels of oil per day.

[link to www.redorbit.com]
theresident (OP)

User ID: 229752
07/25/2007 09:52 AM
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Re: Pipeline Rupture Coats Vancouver Suburb in Black Slick, Prompting Evacuations
Burst oil pipe sprays Vancouver

A major oil pipeline has burst in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada, causing homes to be evacuated and threatening the city's port.

Witnesses described crude oil shooting out of the burst pipe. The oil then ran downhill and into an ocean inlet before the pipeline's flow was shut off.

A roadwork crew ruptured the pipe, said Derek Corrigan, the mayor of Burnaby.

Officials for the port of Vancouver said they were working to contain the spill away from the busy harbour.

At least 50 homes were evacuated as crude oil shot out of the burst pipe, raining down on houses and coating a road.

[link to news.bbc.co.uk]