Montreal

Suncor facility in Rimouski leaked thousands of litres of gasoline

Thousands of litres of gasoline leaked from a Suncor facility in Rimouski, Que., on Thursday evening.

City officials say there's no threat of explosion as cleanup continues

The gas leak at Suncor's Rimouski, Que., terminal started early Thursday evening. (Radio-Canada)

Thousands of litres of gasoline leaked from a Suncor facility in Rimouski, Que., on Thursday evening, said a spokesman with the company.

Residents living near the facility called police to complain about a strong gas smell.

Staff found a small crack in a valve near a reservoir that held two million litres of gasoline.

The workers have diverted the gas into another reservoir, containing 1.6 million litres of the gas.

Claude Schink, the facility's supervisor, expects the cleanup will continue pumping fuel until 2 p.m. ET Friday.

Schink told a news conference the company does not have a number on how much fuel was spilled, but said the crack in the valve was small.

So far, 30,000 litres of foam, water and gasoline have been vacuumed from the site.

Leak safely contained, says Suncor

The design of the Suncor terminal includes a secondary containment area, which is where the gasoline that leaked has been collected.

Suncor has a vacuum truck on site and has been pumping gasoline from the containment dyke.

A team of government agencies are on the site, including Quebec’s environmental agency, firefighters, public works, Suncor, and Quebec’s provincial police.

Citizens shouldn't be the alert system of a company.- Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace

Crews are working to collect the gas and put it into tanker trucks. Firefighters have set up a 300-metre perimeter around the leak area.

A spokesman for the city of Rimouski said its first priority is to ensure the safety of citizens. So far, there have been no evacuations. Its second priority is making sure the spill is cleaned up with minimal impact to the environment.

Schink said an investigation will look into how the gas leaked and why Suncor workers didn't discover the leak first.

Reason to be wary, says Greenpeace

A spokesman for the Greenpeace environmental group says it shouldn't be up to local residents to keep the area safe.

“How long would it have lasted if citizens were not there? Citizens shouldn't be the alert system of a company,” said spokesman Patrick Bonin.

As Quebec looks at allowing more oil to be transported through the province through the Energy East Pipeline Project, Greenpeace says this leak is a sign people should be wary.

“The math is simple: The more we transport, explore, exploit, store oil, the more risk we face, the more risk the community faces,” said Bonin.

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