Dear Kamloops Mayor and Council,
We believe it is timely and necessary for Kamloops City Council to take a leadership role in bringing about greater understanding of the current condition and future safety of the existing 66-year-old 24-inch Trans Mountain Pipeline as it passes through the Kamloops area.
We submit that there is a large and unacknowledged danger from a leak or leaks from this outdated and possibly obsolete pipeline and ask Council to become engaged in further educating all of us about any and all risks, followed by appropriate action to protect local residents and the environment to the highest degree possible.
First, we would like to update you on the recent Keystone Pipeline’s 1.4-million-litre spill of Alberta tar sands diluted bitumen in North Dakota. The area toxically contaminated is now said to be 10 times larger than initial reports, covering 4.8 acres.
In previous communications with councillors, we were told that what has happened with Keystone is not relevant to the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs through Kamloops residential areas and crosses our waterways. If this is the actual position of Council, we find this to be unacceptable and alarming.
These two pipelines are similar in that both carry diluted bitumen from Alberta tar sands. However, the Keystone was built in 2011 and is logically much better engineered, constructed, and monitored with the most modern standards, and yet it still managed to leak 1.4 millions litres onto 4.8 acres before detection and shutdown took place.
Remember, please, Trans Mountain was built in 1953, and was not even intended at the time to be used for transporting the more acidic and caustic — and toxic — diluted bitumen, but rather to transport standard petroleum products.
It is our belief that there is a potential disaster scenario for Kamloops residents with the existing obsolete and outdated Trans Mountain Pipeline — a situation which cannot be ignored.
A similar scenario exists for residents of the Chilliwack area. This was researched several years ago by The WaterWealth Project and this study reveals many of the same concerns that we have. Included below from this group’s website discusses some of the health risks of a leak from the Trans Mountain Pipeline, such as highly volatile Benzene exposure.
This citizen advocacy group believes that the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline is such a threat to Chilliwack residents that it should be replaced with new pipe in a new route that avoids residential areas.
We request that Council undertake a thorough examination of risks to Kamloops residential areas and waterways, including specific detailed history of all leaks and any pipeline company concerns with the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline.
We trust that Council will then take necessary actions to ensure Kamloops residents and waterways are protected to the highest possible degree for now and for the future.
SUSAN MANN, M.D. (ret.)