British Columbia

B.C. oil spill prompts charges

The B.C. government is taking action against four companies allegedly responsible for a major pipeline rupture in Burnaby more than two years ago.

The B.C. government is taking action against four companies allegedly responsible for a major pipeline rupture in Burnaby more than two years ago.

Crude oil was sent metres into the air after a construction crew ruptured the line while digging in July 2007. Dozens of homes were contaminated and nearly 250,000 litres of oil eventually made its way into Burrard Inlet.

The B.C. Environment Ministry announced Monday that it had laid charges against Kinder Morgan Canada, Trans Mountain Pipeline, B. Cusano Contracting and R.F. Binnie and Associates.

Each of the accused firms face six counts under various pieces of legislation, including the federal Fisheries Act and provincial Environmental Management Act.

An investigation into the incident by the Transportation Safety Board concluded that improper pre-construction procedures and poor communications were two of the main factors that contributed to the break in the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.

According to the TSB, the 610-mm pipe was struck and punctured by a contractor's excavator bucket during the digging of a trench for a new storm sewer line along Inlet Drive in Burnaby.

The report indicated that the location of the pipeline was not accurately represented on the contractors' design drawings.

Some 210,000 litres of oil were recovered after a massive clean-up along the coastline.

In addition to the environmental damage, crude oil also sprayed 11 houses and caused a large evacuation of the area, in which 250 residents were asked to leave their homes.

now