The B.C. Ministry of Environment has confirmed a spill of about 100 litres at Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain station at Darfield, which is just north of Barriere and about 80 kilometres north of Kamloops.
The ministry said the leak on Sunday was from a flow metre, with the spill remaining on the property and no waterways being affected.
Sharon Halliwell lives about a city block from the Darfield station and told KTW she was visited by a Kinder Morgan representative on Sunday morning.
“He said there was a release,” she recounted. “I questioned him and asked if that was the same as a spill. He said yes.”
Halliwell said she was told Kinder Morgan was aware of the spill and contacted the Ministry of Environment.
“He told me I would probably be hearing and seeing activity there for the next 10 days,” she said.
Halliwell said the spill created an odour that smelled like tar, but by Sunday afternoon a breeze had apparently carried the smell away.
“Either that or I am used to it by now,” she said, noting Kinder Morgan officials will visit her if there is venting or other activity planned.
Halliwell said she is on well water, but was assured by Kinder Morgan that her water supply is unaffected and safe to use.
“I’m hoping they’re not lying,” she said.
Kinder Morgan is expected to comment on the spill sometime on Sunday.
Before the incident at the station on Sunday, Halliwell said, she was not a supporter of Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline.
“I think we need to look at other methods to produce gas and heat for our homes and vehicles because there’s so much damage to the environment,” Halliwell told KTW. “I’m animal crazy. When I think about stuff going into the river and waters, I don’t think as much about people because we can have boil-water orders. I worry about the animals.”
Kinder Morgan has set May 31 — this Thursday — as its deadline to achieve certainty with all levels of government that the $7.4-billion project to send bitumen from Alberta to Burnaby via an expanded pipeline can proceed.
Last month, Kinder Morgan announced it was suspending “all non-essential activities and related spending” on the project as protesters continued to arrive at its terminal in Burnaby and the provincial NDP government vowed to continue to do what it can to stop the project from proceeding. The provincial government is awaiting a court decision on whether Victoria has authority — and whether that authority supersedes federal legislation — on shipment of heavy oils based on the environment impact of spills.