PHOTOS: Trans Mountain hosts mock oil spill response practice in Kamloops

About 30 people partook in the Inks Lake exercise, which involved using what is essentially a chain saw on skis to cut into the ice. The machine is used to ensure the cutting of straight lines through the ice for long distances. (Michael Potestio/KTW)About 30 people partook in the Inks Lake exercise, which involved using what is essentially a chain saw on skis to cut into the ice. The machine is used to ensure the cutting of straight lines through the ice for long distances. (Michael Potestio/KTW)
In the simulation on Inks Lake in Kamloops, B.C., the pipeline was severed and leaked for 24 hours. Crews were tasked with cleaning up the large spill by cutting out blocks of lake ice in order to collect the crude. (Trans Mountain photo)In the simulation on Inks Lake in Kamloops, B.C., the pipeline was severed and leaked for 24 hours. Crews were tasked with cleaning up the large spill by cutting out blocks of lake ice in order to collect the crude. (Trans Mountain photo)
Kelly Malinoski, Trans Mountain’s director of emergency management, shows on a map where the simulated spill was located. (Michael Potestio/KTW)Kelly Malinoski, Trans Mountain’s director of emergency management, shows on a map where the simulated spill was located. (Michael Potestio/KTW)
There were more than 220 participants and observers from 25 different agencies practising the planning process out of the faux incident command centre on Wednesday, including City of Kamloops, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly known as the National Energy Board. (Michael Potestio/KTW)There were more than 220 participants and observers from 25 different agencies practising the planning process out of the faux incident command centre on Wednesday, including City of Kamloops, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly known as the National Energy Board. (Michael Potestio/KTW)

–– Kamloops This Week

How do you handle a full-bore oil spill in the dead of winter?

For Trans Mountain, it’s all about practice.

The company that will twin its pipeline between Alberta and Burnaby conducted a full-scale emergency response simulation in Kamloops on Wednesday.

More than 200 people from the various organizations that would be involved in such an incident practised their spill-planning processes at the Coast Kamloops Hotel and Conference Centre, while Trans Mountain workers familiarized themselves with clean-up equipment in the field, at a simulated spill at Inks Lake, just south of the city.

Setting the scene for the simulated response, an excavator accidentally struck the pipeline, with diluted bitumen flowing over land and into a creek connecting to Jacko Lake in mid-February. Due to safety concerns, Inks Lake was used instead of the actual Jacko Lake.

ALSO READ: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion cost jumps 70% to $12.6 billion

In the simulation, the line was severed and leaked for 24 hours. Crews were tasked with cleaning up the large spill by cutting out blocks of lake ice in order to collect the crude.

Doing this results in the oil — which would be flowing between the water and crust of ice — to pop up through the hole in the ice, enabling workers to collect it using skimmers, Kelly Malinoski, Trans Mountain’s director of emergency management told KTW.

She said the most important aspect of responding to an oil spill is the environmental impacts.

About 30 people partook in the Inks Lake exercise, which involved using what is essentially a chain saw on skis to cut into the ice. Malinoski said the machine is used to ensure the cutting of straight lines through the ice for long distances.

About 30 emergency-response exercises are conducted every year along the entire pipeline route to ensure Trans Mountain workers and partner agencies are familiar with what to do should the real life situation ever occur.

Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell said the exercises involve various circumstances and scales to be prepared for anything, and the winter scenario is something done every couple of years in a few different locations. Exercises of Wednesday’s scope are conducted about twice a year — one each in the summer and winter to practise spill response under those specific conditions.

An important component of the simulation is conducting them with the various agencies that would be involved, Hounsell said.

There were more than 220 participants and observers from 25 different agencies practising the planning process out of the faux incident command centre on Wednesday, including City of Kamloops, Thompson-Nicola Regional District, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc and the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly known as the National Energy Board.

Kent Lien, technical leader of emergency management for the CER, said he couldn’t stress the importance of Wednesday’s exercise enough.

“The value of meeting the other potential responsible players in event of emergency, you gain that personal contact with them and you’re able to discuss the roles and responsibilities, that’s incredibly valuable,” Lien said, noting the ability to practise the procedures enables improvement in emergency responses.

Lien said the CER wears two hats during the simulation — as participants operating at the incident command centre and as evaluators of the exercise.

“We’re always looking for continual improvement from the companies that we regulate,” he said, adding the CER will prepare a report on the emergency-response exercise.

The publicly available report will note any deficiencies or areas of improvement, which the CER will follow up on with the company.

Work on twinning the 28 kilometres of the Trans Mountain pipeline that travels through Kamloops will begin this spring.

Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Trans Mountain pipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island Symphony conductor Pierre Simard is releasing his new synthwave album ‘Plandemic’ on March 5. (Photo courtesy Olivia Simard)
Vancouver Island Symphony conductor releasing side-project EP of electronic music

Pierre Simard, recording as Plan Omega, presents ‘Plandemic’

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a B.C. Ferries vessel. (File photo)
Nanaimo ferry passengers who refused to wear masks and caused disturbance fined $460 each

Incident happened Sunday, Feb. 21, aboard the Queen of Cowichan

Beef to the woman walking two dogs that attacked my two small chihuahua dogs along Estevan Road. I was dragged down the embankment with my dogs. All three of us were pinned against the fence by your dogs with no escape route. Your dogs were on retractable leashes that were not appropriate for their size and weight and you had no control over them at all.
Beefs & Bouquets, Feb. 24

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement

Lease agreement ‘important first step’ in $105-million Duke Point expansion project

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Nanaimo’s Joanne Secord is a quarterfinalist in Inked Magazine’s Cover Model Search contest. (Janayh Wright Photography)
50-year-old Nanaimo mom hopes her tattoos will earn her a magazine cover shoot

Joanne Secord on cusp of semifinals in Inked Magazine contest

Nanaimo Courthouse. (News Bulletin file photo)
Motorist sentenced to two years for dangerous driving causing death on Gabriola Island

William Goosman pleaded guilty last fall in connection with incident that killed Jay Dearman

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read