New prevention and community notification measures are being established less than a year after a release of oil at the Trans Mountain storage facility in Abbotsford.

On January 24, 2012, oil from a storage tank at the Sumas Mountain Terminal spilled and was fully contained within an area on the property that was lined with an impermeable membrane. The containment worked as designed, and all of the oil was recovered on the same day as the release. It was later determined that damage caused by freezing of the internal roof drain system caused the spill.

No one was hurt and there was no threat to the public because of the spill. However, significant odours were reported in the area causing concern in the community. As a result, Trans Mountain has taken a number of steps to improve air quality monitoring and its process for communicating with local residents.  Steps include:

Early Notification for Residents

A free of charge, opt-in resident notification system will send an email or text message if there’s an incident that requires notification to area residents. The system will be ready by the end of this year.

Enhanced Odour Complaints and Investigation Process

Taking steps to minimize odours and investigate their cause is a top priority. Odours can be reported to 1.888.876.6711 around the clock. All odour reports will be thoroughly investigated and addressed. As a result of the January incident, additional measures will include notification of the local fire department dispatch.

Air Quality Monitoring and Reporting

An air monitoring terminal will be installed at the Sumas Mountain Terminal by the end of this year and an independent, rapid response service provider will conduct air monitoring sampling and analysis if needed in the event of an incident.

In addition to the measures to improve air quality monitoring and notification processes, the drain system – found to be the cause of the incident – has been repaired and tested. Procedures have been put in place to prevent a similar incident.  Later this fall, a heating system will be installed on the valves at each of the six tanks at the Sumas Mountain Terminal to prevent potential freezing during the winter.

The Terminal has been operating for more than 40 years.