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

Just Posted

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Revelstoke City Council approved a cost sharing agreement for the upcoming construction of a traffic circle as well as a realignment on Nichol Rd. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
City paying 10% of costs for upcoming Nichol Rd. round-about

Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Mackenzie Village are paying the rest

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read