British Columbia

Spill at Kinder Morgan station near Kamloops, B.C. was larger than first stated by province

Ministry of Environment originally said the May 27 spill at the Darfield station was around 100 litres. In fact, it was 4,800, the company says.

Province's Environment ministry originally said May 27 spill was around 100 litres

The provincial Ministry of Environment originally said about 100 litres of crude oil leaked into the ground at the Darfield station, north of Kamloops, B.C. on May 27. (Dennis Owen/Reuters)

An oil spill at a Kinder Morgan pipeline pump station north of Kamloops, B.C., was bigger than the province's environment ministry initially stated.

The May 27 spill occurred when a flow meter at the company's Darfield pump station leaked crude oil into the ground.

At the time, the B.C. environment ministry said about 100 litres of crude oil had been released and Kinder Morgan would not confirm the amount of the spill, pending an investigation

4,800 litres released

On Saturday, Ali Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, said an estimated 4.8 cubic metres or 4,800 litres of medium crude was released.

One hundred litres is the minimum threshold under the company's  spill reporting obligations.

Ministry spokesperson, David Karn, said in an email to CBC news that government officials have communicated with the company about "the importance of accurate spill volume reporting."

The company says workers are now in the final stages of the clean up.

The province said no waterways were affected, and that the spill has been contained within station property.

In a statement on the afternoon of the spill, Kinder Morgan said it was alerted to an operational disruption through its internal safety system in the early hours of the day.

Ottawa to buy pipeline

The spill occurred just days before a deadline set by Kinder Morgan for its controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The company suspended all non-essential construction on the project in April, citing opposition from the B.C. government that put the viability of the pipeline in question. And it had set a May 31 deadline for getting assurances it could proceed without delays on the controversial project.

Two days after the spill, Ottawa announced it would buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion.

As a precaution after the spill, the company shut down the main Trans Mountain pipeline, but restarted it later that day.

It also conducted air monitoring and advised neighbours and stakeholders about the spill.


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