Burnaby mayor slams Chevron over oil refinery leak

The mayor of Burnaby says Chevron Canada was wrong not to notify the city earlier of the oil seepage that crews are now trying to contain in the Burrard Inlet.

Derek Corrigan wants to know why the company remained silent for three weeks after finding a mixture of gasoline, diesel, crude oil and water in a ditch near their refinery in Burnaby Heights, as well as an oily sheen on a 25-metre-wide section of nearby beach.

“They [Chevron] believed it was minor. We said, “˜Well, exactly the opposite,’” Corrigan told The Province Thursday.

“Obviously, anytime there’s any kind of seepage that beats their containment system . . . we’re concerned.”

Crews are trying to contain the seepage and identify its source, Chevron spokesman Ray Lord said Thursday.

To prevent any more of it from seeping into the inlet, he said, crews are collecting any oil mixture they find at the original ditch, cleaning up the beach and monitoring samples taken from area wells.

He said the public and wildlife are not threatened.

Corrigan said Chevron detected the seepage on April 21, and notified the city May 13.

Chevron should have been more open about the incident, Corrigan said.

Lord said Chevron carried out all the notifications required, but “we can certainly consider that.”

Lord couldn’t say how long oil has been leaking, nor how much had been leaked because most of it is found in water.

However, B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, which will continue to monitor Chevron’s containment efforts, said in a statement it is about 50 litres of hydrocarbons, and “significantly small.”

Corrigan said Burnaby residents are “exceedingly sensitive” to oil spills and seepages.

He referred to the rupture in 2007 of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, which spewed 234 cubic metres of crude oil onto Inlet Drive and affected 50 homes.

“We expect that [Chevron’s] system should be fail-safe,” he said.

“It may physically not be a great amount of oil, but it requires us to find out what failed within this system that let this happen at all.”


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