Letter: Spill response called misleading

If there is a spill on any of our waterways, we can say goodbye to salmon, or any other living thing spawn in or near that water.

Re: Chilliwack Progress “Kinder Morgan holds spill drill Thursday on Cheam beach” emergency response drill to oil spills on the Fraser River was a misleading feel good story about something that will not even apply to the Kinder Morgan pipelines. Those pipelines will not be carrying oil!

The pipelines will carry diluted bitumen also know as dilbit which sinks in the event of a spill on water. A few floating containment booms such as those used in this exercise would be useless, given the historic track record of response times to spills that have happened recently. Dilbit is much more difficult to remove from waterways than the typical light crude oil. Bitumen extracted from tar sands has the consistency of peanut butter and must be diluted with chemicals to flow through pipelines.

Claims made by Enbridge where the company was promoting a page on its website saying that “crude oils, including diluted bitumen,” floats in water, was disproven when 3.3 million litres was spilled in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River on July 26, 2010. The company is still cleaning up and learning lessons about the way diluted bitumen behaves in fresh water.

The biggest lesson, simply put, is that bitumen sinks. The Environmental Protection Agency in the US believes there is at least 684,000 litres of bitumen still in the river.

When emergency responders rushed to the spill, they found that the Kalamazoo River had been blackened by oil. They didn’t discover until more than a week later that the ruptured pipeline had been carrying dilbit from Canada’s tar sands region. While most conventional oils float on water, much of the dilbit sank beneath the surface. Cleaning it up would challenge them in ways they had never imagined. Instead of taking a couple of months as they originally expected, today the job still isn’t complete.

Submerged oil is significantly harder to clean up than floating oil: A large amount of dilbit and oil remains in the Kalamazoo riverbed and that river will likely never fully recover.

To summarize, it’s clear that if there is a spill on any of our waterways, we can say goodbye to having salmon, or any other living thing spawn in or near that water ever again.

Robbin Yager


Just Posted

New real-time location technology coming soon to Fraser Valley buses

Waiting riders will be able to see location of their bus using their phones

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Sept. 16 to 22

Assault in Hope leads to firearms seizure, recovered goods and arrest

Victim recovering after being beaten and dragged along ground at Lake of the Woods

There’s a new way to send in photographic evidence of fisheries violations to DFO

Conservation and Protection officials have a hotline and email to get reports

Supernatural fundraiser coming to Kilby this October

The Vancouver Supernatural Group will be investigating paranormal activity at the historic site

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. communities urged to improve disability access

One in four B.C. residents has disability, work wanted

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Most Read