STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Another Spill at Suncor

Posted by mhudema on July 17, 2008

Suncor pipeline spill results in shutdown

Today staff
Thursday July 17, 2008

It’s estimated that up to 1,260 barrels of diesel fuel was spilled as a result of a leak from a Suncor Energy pipeline Tuesday morning about 40 kilometres north of Lac La Biche.
“It’s a very considerable size spill,” said Darin Barter, Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) spokesman this morning. He added the pipeline was shutdown immediately after the leak was first noticed by staff at Suncor’s Pipeline Control Centre in Sherwood Park.
The pipeline, which remains out of operation, carries product from Fort McMurray to Edmonton. It is one of the company’s original pipelines, installed about 40 years ago.
“The positive thing that out of what is a bad situation is that it’s all on dry land,” he said. “There are no water bodies that have been affected, and there’s been no evacuations.
“The ability to clean in that area is very good.”
The ERCB is monitoring clean-up operations at the site of the leak. All other appropriate authorities and agencies have been notified.
As is normal practice, the ERCB, the oilsands primary regulator, will conduct an investigation into the incident.


Initially, the clean-up involves the use of vacuum trucks, which were on site Wednesday. Barter acknowledged there is going to be some soil contamination in the top levels. He predicted that soil will likely have to be removed to a certain depth, and taken to a waste management facility for proper disposal.
Barter noted Suncor will not be able to resume operating the pipeline “until they can prove to us that it’s safe to operate.”
At this time, Suncor has said production from its oilsands facility is not affected.
The ERCB reported no injuries as a result of the leak, and there is no danger to the public from the release.
Suncor staff first noticed the leak at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The ERCB was subsequently notified at approximately 4 p.m. that day.
That notification delay will form part of the investigation.
“Notification to us is very important,” said Barter. “The ability for a company to identify, take immediate steps and notify the ERCB is very important to us. That gets action happening. We can contact other government agencies, emergency services if the company hasn’t already done so. So that notification to us is absolutely paramount.”
Shawn Davis, Suncor spokeswoman, noted the time delay was due to the fact Suncor staff had to travel to the leak area to confirm the spill.
According to the ERCB, the pipeline failure rate in Alberta was at a record low 2.1 failures per 1,000 km of pipeline in 2007, down more than 30 per cent from 2000 when there were 3.3 per 1,000 km.
There are 392,000 km of ERCB-regulated pipeline in Alberta.
In 2007, the ERCB conducted 1,647 pipeline inspections.

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