During our October 14th Twitter town hall on marine safety we received a number of questions originally provided by the Dogwood Initiative. Rather than answering each question individually we took the opportunity to provide longer form answers to each of those questions below.


Q: How many metres of hull clearance does an Aframax tanker have under the Second Narrows Bridge?

A: Normally a ship has about 10 metres of water under the hull while transiting the Second Narrows.

An Under Keel Clearance diagram, showing a cross section representing the narrowest portion of the Second Narrows MRA passage, can be found in our Facilities Application, Volume 8A, Section 2.1.4.

The proposed expansion at Westridge Marine Terminal is based on partially loaded Aframax tankers, as per Port Metro Vancouver restrictions, the same tankers currently being loaded at Westridge.


Q: If dilbit floats, why did Enbridge spend $1B to replace the bottom of the Kalamazoo?

A: We can’t comment on the incident or on Enbridge’s clean-up efforts in Kalamazoo. However, any product moved in the Trans Mountain pipeline must meet Kinder Morgan Canada’s tariff requirements, which include technical specifications for products in order for them to be accepted for transportation in the Trans Mountain Pipeline system.

Products shipped in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, including diluted bitumen have a maximum density of 0.94, which means it has a lower density than both fresh (1.00) and salt water (1.03) and therefore floats.

We have performed a 10 day oil testing study to quantify how diluted bitumen reacts in water over time, including testing the efficiency of a variety of clean up methods discussed in response to the question below.


Q: Would you be willing to dump a barrel of diluted bitumen into a wave tank in front of TV cameras?

A: A 10 day oil testing study was completed in Gainford, Alberta. This study was observed by government agencies. As part of our Facilities Application the research was undertaken to quantify how the diluted bitumen reacts over time in water, with wave action, with fast-moving currents, with different sediment levels and with various other factors. Additionally, as part of this study, a series of tests were conducted to determine the efficiency of various types of oil spill response equipment under similar conditions.

More information can be found in this report, A Study of Fate and Behaviour of Diluted Bitumen on Oils on Marine Waters.

More information on diluted bitumen can be found here.


Q: How much are you planning to spend on ads during municipal elections?

A: Our information campaign was developed as part of our ongoing engagement and communication efforts to provide information to and gather feedback from as many British Columbians as possible. The cost of the campaign is part of the overall project cost of 5.4 billion, which includes the development and construction of the proposed pipeline.


Q: Why won’t you register with Elections B.C. as a third party advertiser during elections?

A: On October 16, 2014 Elections BC found that Trans Mountain does not need to register as a third party advertiser.


Q: Why don’t you ask the NEB to restore public hearings and oral cross-examination?

A: Trans Mountain is supportive of a fair, thorough and efficient regulatory review process for our proposed project. We believe the Board has established a fair and efficient review process balancing public participation with the legislated review period.

The 400 intervenors have multiple opportunities to submit and test evidence through two rounds of Information Request submissions and there’s no limit to the volume of questions.

Intervenors have an opportunity to submit their own evidence and make their own arguments with respect to conditions and the overall project.

Commenters have the rights to make comments and the NEB has the opportunity to follow up on issues through more information requests.


Q: We live in a seismically active region. Why don’t you have an earthquake plan?

A: Through its experience with managing pipelines in the varied terrain of North America, Kinder Morgan Canada is very aware of the effect of the geologic environment on its pipeline infrastructure. Our Geohazard Management Program is one of the key tools for managing the risks associated with natural hazards to pipeline infrastructure.

We’re committed to reducing the earthquake risks to the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and we proactively assess earthquake hazards with consideration of advancements in understanding how pipelines perform during seismic events. More details about our seismic safety measures.

Where the pipeline or facilities are determined to be at risk of failure from an earthquake, pipeline infrastructure improvement projects are completed to reduce the risk.

A couple examples of projects we’ve already completed to manage earthquake risk are: the replacement of the pipeline crossing of the Fraser River by directional drilling to install the pipeline below susceptible soils, and the reinforcement of the earthen dykes at Burnaby Terminal.

We’ve also prepared an Earthquake Action Protocol to rapidly prioritize locations for pipeline inspection following an earthquake. This Protocol includes shutting down and isolating the pipeline in the event of a serious earthquake.

As part of our Facilities Application a comprehensive seismic assessment desktop study was completed by BGC Engineering Inc. This study is found in Volume 4A, Appendix J.

Volume 4A, Section 2.9.3 Seismic Hazards, of our Facilities Application also speaks to earthquakes.


Q: Why did you get rid of the fire truck at your tank farm without telling Burnaby’s fire department?

A: Safety is our number one priority. We are prepared for emergencies, including fire. We have firefighting equipment and safeguards in place, including early fire detection system and foam piping on all floating roof tanks, fire pumps, a foam trailer, a large fire water reservoir, hoses, monitors and other equipment.

Because of the installation of new fire equipment the fire truck was no longer required at the Burnaby Terminal Site, and was transferred to another location. The fire fighting systems at Burnaby Terminal continue to be enhanced and simplified ensuring a prompt and effective response at the terminal.

We have met with Burnaby Fire on a number of occasions dating back to 2011, to review the fire systems and enhancements that were planned. Discussions included equipment that replaced the fire truck resulting in a more effective response to a fire event.