We’re committed to transparency involving any and all spills that have occurred along our lines, or on partner vessels carrying Trans Mountain-transported product. Information about reported spills is available to the public.

While no spill is acceptable, when one does happen, we notify the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) – the independent federal regulator of pipelines in Canada since 1961.

As a regulated company, Trans Mountain is responsible for reporting spills greater than 1.5 cubic metres or any spill to a water body regardless of volume. Over the years, the CER has revised the spill reporting criteria for pipeline companies. Trans Mountain has followed all CER regulations in terms of reporting pipeline leaks and malfunctions, according to the rules and thresholds listed below.

Time PeriodCER Spill Reporting Criteria
1999-CurrentRelease of low vapour pressure (LVP) hydrocarbons greater than 1.5m 3  Release of gas or high vapour pressure (HVP) hydrocarbons  Release resulting in significant adverse effect
1988-1999Release of oil greater than 1.5m 3  Release of gas or high vapour (HVP) hydocarbons  Release resulting in the discharge of toxic substances in land or into a body of water
1974-1988Any leak, break, fire or explosion in, or failure or malfunction of pipeline

It is important to note that the CER’s definition for a pipeline spill is not limited to the products transported in the pipeline. A spill or release is defined a “discharge, spray, spill, leak, seep, pour, emit, dump and exhaust.” That means if water is released from a pipeline or facility, that incident is also reported to the CER. 

Trans Mountain’s Spill History

Since 1961, Trans Mountain has reported approximately 84 spills to the CER. Click here for a table of spills we reported. Some of the incidents were below the reportable threshold.

  • 70% of Trans Mountain’s past spills have occurred at pump stations or terminals. All of our pump stations and terminals are equipped with monitoring and spill containment systems to provide early detection and lessen impacts and ensure spilled volumes are contained on site. These facilities are rigorously maintained and inspected to meet CER standards.
  • The remaining 30% of Trans Mountain’s spills have occurred along the pipeline, with 20 incidents related to releases of crude oil from the pipeline. Of these spills, only nine exceeded the reporting threshold of 1.5 cubic metres — with just three of those nine occurring in the last 40 years. In all of these circumstances, Trans Mountain deployed its emergency response and spill management procedures.

Since 1956, vessels from our Westridge Marine Terminal have been transporting petroleum products safely through Port Metro Vancouver without a single spill from a tanker.

Find out more about pipeline emergency management in Canada.

Find out more about regulations regarding marine spill cleanup in Canada.

Updated May 16, 2019.